Poetry and Shorts Collection
Dimensions is a book of poetry and shorts by Pakistani writer and feminist activist, Shahidah Janjua. It takes the reader through the author’s life, each poem and piece of prose both segmented and connected by recurring, colliding themes.
Beginning with evocative imagery of Lahore, Dimensions opens with reflections on Janjua’s early life. The smells, sights, sounds and rhythm of her childhood express both warm nostalgia and intense discomfort. She identifies women as a central, vital force in her life and this is a thread that continues throughout the book.
It moves on to the palpable pain of the loss of her son, with poems and extracts of her diary speaking to him – and us - of her love, her regrets and her memories. Shahidah Janjua manages to be articulate even in the depths of this pain, with words about grief that are both universal and profoundly personal.
Light-hearted poems also pepper Dimensions, offering a welcome relief from the intensity of the author’s uncompromising, articulate analysis of the misogyny and hate in the world around her. And tales of Shahidah the wild child are an indication of the rebellious, misbehaving streak that remains, decades later.
A powerful text about the powerful connections between women, the pain we live through and the injustices that surround us, Dimensions is a deeply feminist work that cuts through the fog and shines a blazing light on oppression. It takes readers from wistful longing to brutal pain and back in a single breath, via humour and carefully chosen evocations.
Shahidah Janjua’s words are both beautiful and desolate, because the world she describes is too. This book is a work of beauty, a work of passionate feminism, and a work of truth; truth about women, our lives and our many, complex realities.
A Patriot’s Journey Through Partition and the Independence of Pakistan
My father wrote his memoir in order to document his experiences of the years leading up to and just after, the partition of India and the birth of Pakistan. He was encouraging of others to do the same. Strictly speaking this is not a historical document. However, it is the experience and perspective of a significant individual whose actions made a difference at that time, and for a considerable period afterwards.
“I remember many hours of conversation with the late Air Commodore MK Janjua, Pakistan's first air chief who, falling foul of his political masters, was falsely arraigned and sentenced in the 1951 Rawalpindi Conspiracy case, which allegedly was Communist driven. A fellow prisoner, the poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, in 1979 assured me during a visit to London that Janjua was neither conspirator nor Communist, but a victim of events over which he had no control. He was eventually cashiered and released and ended his long years of exile in London where I came to know him well.”