Bibi Ashraf

بیبی اشرف
Lahore, Punjab


Bibi Ashraf, or Ashrafunnissa Begum (1840-1903), was a teacher at the Victoria Girls’ School in Lahore from the late 1880s until shortly before her death in 1903.  She also wrote poetry and essays for a local Urdu women’s magazine, Tehzib-e Niswan.  Among these was a rare autobiographical account of how, as a young Muslim girl in north India, she sought to educate herself.

Biography by Siobhan Lambert-Hurley


How I learned to Read and Write

Bibi Ashraf
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 Begum, n.d.).  The essay has been translated from this source with a biographical introduction to …