International Women’s Day 2020: Meet this poetess who can’t read or write,still got her book published

Budgam: She has never been to school or any seminary, despite of that Haleema Bano, 43, has got her collection of poetry published while facing many difficulties.

A resident of Churamujra village of Beerwah area, 24 kms from district headquarter Budgam, Haleema lives a penurious life in a two room house with her husband and a daughter.

Haleema, who writes “Qadri” her pen name, was inclined towards poetry from her childhood.

“I started developing interest in poetry from my childhood. I would sung couplets of Habba Khatoon in wedding ceremonies.”

The poetic journey of Budgam poetess was not easy, as she neither can read nor write. In order to overcome the obstacle, she contacted people who could write Kashmiri.

“I’m alien to reading and writing. I have no knowledge of alphabets. Now I’m inwardly creating and memorizing poems and latter articulating to people, who are well versed in Kashmiri.”

In 2014, everything was ready, except money for publishing the book. She went from pillar to post including Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Language but could not find any helping hand. Then, she sold her heifer, goats and trees worth 80000 and spent that money in publication.

“Had Cultural Academy and other organisations published my book, I wouldn’t have been facing economic crisis,” she says.

She named her book “Ishq-e-Nabi”, which has 165 poems on different subjects. She went to many areas for promoting her book including Budgam, Khansahib, Khag, Beerwah, Magam, Magam, Tangmarg and Pattan.

Among 400 copies of Ishq-e-Nabi, Haleema says, “On different pretexts, around 150 books were taken by people without even paying a single penny. More than 100 are still at home.”

Heleema, who is currently working on her second book, has written mostly on Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his family including Hazrat Imam Hussain (as) and Hazrat Fatima (sa).

Budgam poetess has a desire of organising a programme for Kashmiri poets at her residence but poverty is not allowing her.

“I want poet fraternity to assemble at my home for a programme. However, it’s impossible.”

The reason is, she has no money as her husband does not perform any work. “My husband stays at home, she’s suffering from several ailments.”

She asserts that government should come forward and provide financial assistance to needy Kashmiri poets who have inherited the legacy of rich Kashmiri literature.

Further, she is passionate to participate in programmes which Cultural Academy, Radio Kashmir, Adbi Markaz Kamraz and others are organising. However, nobody is informing her about the events. She is getting information only via a radio set which she is continuously listening.

“Despite of knowing about my hard work and talent, people are not informing me about events. It’s because of radio set I come to know. I keep calling to different organisers about the programmes and only on few occasions I could make my participation happen.”

Notably, without naming anybody, Haleema says that some people are trying to exploit her and some even have exploited her.

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