I was born in the Kurdish Region in Iraq. According to my mum bombs were falling on our town and it was too dangerous to drive to the hospital. My grandmother and aunts would go around the neighborhood trying to find a midwife. They ended up finding a midwife and on March 3th 1991 my mother gave birth to me in the basement of our house. Our entire family and our neighbors stayed in that same basement. The man in my family including my father had gone to fight on the frontlines. We lost so many family members in that war.
“I was born in a family of limited means. We were all sent to school, but in the 7th standard my family decided that I should drop out — and I didn’t fight it because I knew that money wasn’t coming in easy. My brothers continued to go to school and I took classes in sewing and embroidery, until the age of 14 when I got married to my husband who was only 16 back then.
All my life I have had one big dream and that is to become an engineer. My uncle used to fix communication systems such as phones and Walkie Talkies. Once he took a phone apart and gave it to me. I wanted to understand each part of the phone, I was completely fascinated. After finishing high school, I got accepted by the University of Aleppo to study Control Engineering. That was probably the happiest year of my life, Finally I was getting closer to pursue my dream to become an engineer.
"I've always wanted to be a nurse and at 19 when I cleared my SSC, I thought that I could become whatever I wanted -- but I was wrong. My parents forced me into getting married to a man who lives in a nearby village. I accepted their decision, moved away and tried my best to become a home maker. A few months into our marriage I was pregnant and at that age I was scared, but little did I know that I would have a lot more to fear. My husband, brought home another young woman, casually and began living with her without even giving me an explaination.
“Last night, one of my extremely close friends had gone to the market at around 10pm in Delhi. On her way, two uncouth men began to follow her. By their looks and behavior she knew something is not right. They followed her for about 5 minutes and then they grabbed her by her waist and pulled her away and at that hour, there was nobody around in the street.
The mail from Lucknow was terse. "Ibne Hasan Advocate is no more."
He was "Ibne Hasan bhai" to me ever since he cast me as the young Daagh Dehlvi in 1954 in "Dehli Ki Aakhri Shama" (Flicker of the Last Lamp in Delhi), a Tamseeli Mushaira enactment of the last poetic gathering in the Red Fort in 1857. Ghalib, Zauq, Momin, Daagh and other great contemporaries participated in this historic soiree.
The show was staged at the University Union Hall where Ibne, as master of ceremonies, announced a hundred awards for the young Daagh.
A woman was sacked for having short hair and wearing trousers to work. "They said I was gay," she complained to an unsympathetic labour tribunal in the city of Guiyang, southwest China.
How could her employers get it so wrong? A pixie cut and skinny pants are what all the babes wear these days. Only guys have long hair, handbags and dresses.
The growing gulf between modern and ancient attitudes became evident a few days ago when I sat through a discussion on gender politics.