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Promising Poet

‘Women’s lives and efforts must be recognised’

Humera Khan, Apeejay Panchsheel Park student says women must stand up for themselves and understand their inherent worth



There are few poems in our lifetimes that simply make us spellbound. They captivate us totally and within a click of a finger, open the vistas of our mind, clearing the cobwebs of yesteryears and infusing a new joy. Aalif is one such poem. The poem celebrates the spirit of revolution towards women’s issues and combines it with the intellectual prowess behind the first letter of the Urdu alphabet: Aalif. 

In the Apeejay Promising Poet interview series, Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park student Humera Khan sends a message to the society through her poem to value the lives and contributions of women at all times, at all ages. Edited excerpts:

Humera Khan

Since when did you start writing?

I started writing after class 11. I write whenever I get time. I write randomly to tell the truth, sometimes just two lines, three lines or four lines. Gradually, it has extended to a poem now. I wrote my first poem as it was a part of my holiday homework. It was related to psychology. I wrote a poem on one of the disorders. 

What was the inspiration to pick up the pen?

My sister is a writer. She writes beautiful poems. I am totally inspired by her. So, I tried my hand at writing as well. To tell the truth, she is my idol. I follow whatever she does. She motivates me for everything and I want to be like her.

Praises fall short for your poem Aalif. It has at once the seeds of a revolution and at the same time intellectual prowess.  Please tell us the thought process behind the poem?

I wrote Aalif because my mother is a housewife and I have seen her struggle. I come from Uttar Pradesh and I have seen that the work and contribution of women is not recognised very easily. Women need recognition. It is unfortunate that often they don’t stand up for themselves. They simply accept whatever is given to them. Recently, I saw many women protesting in many social movements and that inspired me. All these things and feelings got collected and I poured them in a poem which is titled Aalif.

I worked on Aalif for a period of 3-4 months actually. I combined the parts and it became a poem. I am very inclined towards the Urdu language. So, I connected that angle of Aalif, the first letter in the Urdu alphabet to women’s struggle. I am keenly interested about the condition of women in Islam.

Tell us about the process of writing a poem?

My writings are based on what I observe. I am not really a writer. Sometimes, I leave the poem if I lose interest. It all depends on the feelings I have towards the poem. If I have more to express then I will write more, but it will take more time in that case. But I don’t sit down on a particular day and write a poem. I write a poem day by day, month by month.

Who is your favourite poet and what is your favourite poem?

My elder sister Tasneem Khan is my favourite poet. I don’t have a favourite poem as of now but my favourite writer is Khaled Hosseini. I love his book A Thousand Splendid Suns. I was motivated by that book to write my poem Aalif. The book portrayed the suppression of women and the Afghanistan war. It was very touching. I also liked his other work Kiterunner.

Do you like rhyme or free verse?

I prefer free verse. Rhyme would be too poetic. To be able to write in rhyme, I would have to study and I am not much of a poet so I avoid that.

How did your school Apeejay Panchsheel Park help you to write such a beautiful poem?

My English teacher Mrs. Ritu Sharma motivated me to write this poem and send it to Apeejay Newsroom for publication. She is indeed a very kind teacher.

What message do you wish to give to all women in the world through your poem?

I would like to give a message to the society: I feel although it’s a very big thing to accept and change, nevertheless women should be respected and their work should be recognised. We don’t pay anything to a housewife but she relentlessly contributes to the household. We should love, respect and give everything to our mother.

Arijit Roy is a young correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected]