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How I learned to Read and Write

Bibi Ashraf
1899
Lahore, Punjab (Original Language: Urdu)

The original essay appeared in two instalments in Tehzib-e Niswan (Lahore) (23 and 30 March 1899).  It was then published with a biographical introduction by the journal’s editor, Muhammadi Begum, in a book entitled Hayat-e Ashraf (Lahore: Imambara Sayyida Mubarak …

A Pilgrimage to the House of God and a Journey to the Land of the Beloved

Fatima Begum
1934
Mecca, Arabia (Original Language: Urdu)

The original Urdu text corresponding to both the excerpts below and those available in the related published volume are available above.

 

Life Aboard Ship

Gulf of Aden, 14 March 1934: At about 10 o’clock, when I returned to my …

Munis al-Arvah

Jahanara Begum
1640
Lahore, Punjab (Original Language: Persian)

Know that, after the performance of religious duties, requirements, and the recitation of the Holy Qur’an, this weak woman who hopes for salvation regards no action as nobler than the remembrance of the spiritual states and stations of the revered …

Some Reminiscences of Kashmir

Atiya Fyzee
1906
London, England

A journey from Bombay to Kashmir via Ahmadabad, Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Amritsar, and Lahore affords, especially to a Purdahnasheen, all the new experiences that she may wish, and reveals many of India’s varied interests, ancient and modern. Among the latter, …

Yali

Atiya Fyzee
1898
Janjira, India (Original Language: English)

EXTRACT FROM YALI AKHBAR (1898)

9th May [18]98

“Yali”

 

First of all I will beg the reader’s pardon, especially dear ma’s (as she prefers Urdu) for writing in English. I tried in Hindustani but the “kulum” proved a …

Roznamcha

Nazr Sajjad Haidar
1942
Dehradun, India (Original Language: Urdu)

EXTRACT ONE

26 May 1912: Today was the most important day of life. When I woke up in the morning to offer my prayers, I saw a different atmosphere in the house. My elder female relatives were busy in arrangements …

Risalah Sahibiya

Jahanara Begum
1640
Lahore, Punjab (Original Language: Persian)

Extract from Risala-i-Sahibiyah (1640)

Translated by Sunil Sharma

 

Since my twentieth year I have had a sincere resolution and firm belief in the … order of the masters of Chisht (may their secrets be sanctified) and the ring of …

Scattered Pearls Among the Classes of Cloistered Ladies

1894
Cairo, Egypt (Original Language: Arabic)

Sharafiyya daughter of Sa’id the Captain

She was born in the year 1260 of the Hijra [CE 1844] and is still living.  This biographical subject has events to her name that testify to her fidelity and loyalty; she may be …

Kaghazi Hai Pairahan

Ismat Chughtai
1994
Badayun, India (Original Language: Urdu)

EXTRACT ONE

I was weeping inconsolably.

 

Someone was being beaten brutally. The perpetrator was a giant-like

monster, while the one being beaten was a tiny, dark-skinned child.

I do not remember clearly the people involved as I was very …

Sair-i Yurap

Nazli Begum of Janjira
1908
London, England (Original Language: Urdu)

Friday, 22 May 1908
Since we have to go to the royal meeting today all day we prepared for it. We arranged our things. Atiya has gone to buy some necessary items since morning. Her being with us has provided …