Pakistani feminist writer, Kyla Pasha (31), seemed unfazed by the negative sentiments against her country as she landed in Mumbai on Wednesday to launch her first book of poems.
“Indo-Pak relations are littered with friendliness and tensions, but citizens will continue interaction. I have more faith in people than governments,” she said. Her book, High Noon and Body, will release on Thursday.
The book, Pasha’s first volume of poetry, has been published by Delhi’s Yoda Press and will first be released in India before it is distributed to other parts of South Asia.
“I chose to publish in India because it has better distribution and a larger readership for poetry,” said Pasha, adding that she is not wary of reading her work here.
Pasha is not unknown in Lahore, where she works as a freelance journalist and an assistant professor of liberal arts at the Beaconhouse National University. Two years ago, she founded the Chay Magazine, opening an online space for Pakistanis to talk about sexuality.
“Sex and sexuality are taboo topics, so I do face opposition. But Pakistan has a 30 to 35 year history of the women’s movement, so it’s not too hard being a feminist there,” said Pasha, adding that her activism springs from her left-liberal upbringing.
A collection of 39 poems, she wrote the book over three years. It is about devotion to a person, place, life, or a particular politics. “For me, all poems are love poems, and the body, with all the violence that comes with it, plays a huge part in it,” said Pasha.
(The book will be released at an event organised by the PEN-India Centre on Thursday, at the Theosophy Hall, New Marine Lines, at 6.15 pm.)