Monday, 13 September 2021

#WEP #WINNER's #GUESTPOST - Kalpana Misra's Alphabet Circles

Hello everyone! Laura here!

As you all know, the winner of the WEP challenge gets the opportunity to write a guest post. Kalpana Misra's piece Landai moved readers with its portrayal of women in Afghanistan and the power of their poetry. Our judge Nick Wilford said, "This really brought home the terrible reality of what is happening in Afghanistan and how women's voices, which are already clandestine, might be snuffed out completely once again. This shows poetry as a mighty act of resistance."

Today Kalpana talks a bit about a Kashmiri poet named Zareefa. Take it away, Kalpana!


Alphabet Circles

The JCB Prize longlist came out last week. It brought with it feelings of despair. It’s a prize awarded to an Indian author writing in English as well as translations from Indian languages to English. You can read some extracts here. My daughter’s astonishingly good first novel, The Heart Asks Pleasure First couldn’t be considered because she doesn’t have an Indian passport although she lives in India. I don’t know if books should be judged on your nationality.  I know there are excellent reasons for these rules but it is disappointing. Being published as an Indian writer in English isn’t that simple.

So it was all doom and gloom for me in the past week and I didn’t want to read any of the JCB books apart from the translations from Malayalam.

I thought about the Landai the Afghan women write and recite in the face of so much opposition and danger, and my spirits lifted slightly. Here were women who believed in literature enough to defy the patriarchy that blanketed their country. Patriarchy that isn’t only in our part of the world. I went back to Tara Westover and Educated and thought about what it must have taken out of her to write that memoir that made her family cut her off even more effectively than before. Into this frame of mind,  came an article about a 63-year-old Kashmiri woman poet, Zareefa,   who never learnt to write. Her only language is Kashmiri, that’s all she speaks and the government, trying to make that language obsolete, as well as the men who kept her home from school because she was a girl combined their forces to ensure she never learnt to read and write. She didn’t need to. Poems and ghazals just came to her.  But she kept forgetting her poems and wasn’t happy with her children’s methods of recording them - either writing them down for her or making audio recordings. So she invented her own alphabet of circles, which only she can interpret, and through this sign language she reads out her poems.

I was so moved by this story and Zareefa’s tremendous love for her writing that my bad mood and petulance were completely washed away like a cool mountain breeze washing away the city’s pollution.

It is, of course, nice to be recognised, to win prizes, to have people talk about your books and buy them in huge numbers and I’m not ashamed of saying I want that for my daughter. And for me, when I do get published.  But it is easier to make oneself happy thinking of women like Zareefa.



Kalpana is a poet, writer and journalist who got waylaid by teaching. She has recently broken out of this hostage situation and begun to write seriously again. She is half German, half Indian and lives in New Delhi India with her three indoor cats. She is co-owned by four other feral cats. Her three children are far away now but used to be her entire life. She’s still getting used to cooking for one person. Kalpana is nibbling away at her novel, which is always ‘almost ready’. She might be a perfectionist.

She has been widely published in Indian magazines and newspapers.

Blog: https://www.kalpanawrites.com

Some of her work is visible on https://kalpanamisra.contently.com/

Newsletter: https://kalpanamisra.substack.com/


~*~

Thank you for your guest post, Kalpana. Isn't the power of Zareefa's love for her craft inspiring?



We'd love for you to tweet this post or share it to Facebook or your favorite social media site.

@Kalpanapster #WEPFREEDOMOFSPEECH #WEPwinner #guestpost Alphabet Circles https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2021/09/wep-winners-guestpost-kalpana-misras.html @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

@Kalpanapster #WEPFREEDOMOFSPEECH #WEPwinner Landai #guestpost Alphabet Circles https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2021/09/wep-winners-guestpost-kalpana-misras.html @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

Learn about an inspiring poet with @Kalpanapster #WEPFREEDOMOFSPEECH #WEPwinner #guestpost Alphabet Circles https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2021/09/wep-winners-guestpost-kalpana-misras.html @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge


~*~


Our next challenge is just around the corner! We hope you will all consider joining us for our October challenge, The Scream! We'll post about it on October 1st!



See you all there!




9 comments:

  1. Kalpana, you've done it again. So much bravery. Brought a tear to my eye. I hope your daughter gets published soon!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much for this inspiring story. Long may Zareefa's circles expand.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What an incredible story of the power of creativity!
    Hope your wishes come true!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very timely, very apropos. Well done, and kudos to your daughter. It'll all work out when it's meant to! You are a star, and she will follow in your footsteps, and then low and behold, outshine all!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi,
    Reading your article, I could relate very well to hardship that one has when he or she isn't allowed to learn to read or write. I remember being told so well that I could never be a writer because that kind of job wasn't allowed for women of my colour. I think it is this denial of letting us walk through the front door, that we have courage and desire to achieve and excel in the talent that has been put in us. It gives us the strength to not give up. We keep moving forward and we make it.
    Congrats to your daughter and once again congrats to you for your winning the challenge. I am happy for you.
    Shalom aleichem

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pat I'm so glad you overcame prejudice and went ahead and wrote anyway.

      Delete
  6. What an amazing story, Kalpana. The creative gene wins every time!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What an inspirational story! Women are the frontline for oppression in every conflict.
    Congrats for the winning entry and the guest post, Kalpana. Both stellar! Best wishes to you and your daughter.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Do you need a quick loan?
    Have you been denied a bank loan?
    Do you need a loan during this pandemic?
    interest rate of 2% no matter your location
    Do you need a loan to solve your financial problems?
    If so, then you are in luck because my company lends for a short time and the interest rate is low. If you are interested, Kindly reply to us at (Whats App) number:+919394133968
    patialalegitimate515@gmail.com Mr Jeffery.

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear what you have to say. Please stop and say hi!