Today we would be celebrating my mom’s 75th birthday.
I knew my mother, Zarina Sani, for just 15 years. I knew that she was a writer and a poetess I also realized that that she was fairly good because she had been awarded by the State governments of Maharashtra and Bihar for her work and that her writings were regularly published in several magazine but, honestly, all this was rather irrelevant for me, she was above all for me my *mother*
The weight of grieving for her death buried her literary genius for me, time passed, years passed, there was this small nagging voice which did keep reminding me that I have to know her better, let the world know about her works but I never did anything about it. 29 years passed since her death… This year Swati made me promise we will do something about Ammi’s works. Around mid March we discovered that someone had taken pains to create a wikipedia page about her. This was the final impetus or shaming that we needed.
We chalked out a plan for a website and decided that the phase I of the website will have all of published poems transcribed into Devnagri with a scan of the original poem as it appeared in the magazine. The content creation was largely Swati’s effort… getting people to devote time to read out to her the poems as they were in Urdu, writing them in Devnagri and then typing the whole thing. Yes, neither of us knows the Urdu script
As more and more poems got transcribed I got to know my mother in a very different way. I never knew how much her children figured in her writings… I got to know how strong willed she could be… I got to know how her heart bled for the mothers of the soldiers fighting on the border (and she did send one of her son to be a soldier) I got to know her as a gentle feminist who could be patient and still get her views heard…
As of today the website http://zarinasani.org has 56 of her published poems. Future plans include updating all these poems with meanings of the difficult to understand Urdu words. Putting her short stories online and then all the books that she wrote.
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