Archive for category Comments
‘This incredible book is both haunting and beautiful. Fauzia Rafique writes with clarity and honesty, forcing the reader to think about elitism, racism, patriarchy, love, honour and obedience. It is told exclusively through the eyes of a Muslim woman, including her early life in Pakistan & later years in Canada. Skeena’s life affords a chilling glimpse at how easy it is to innocently fall back into like circumstances after finally escaping, at great personal cost, similar harm. I highly recommend this remarkable book by a remarkable writer.’
Retired teacher and book lover
Born in 1949 in a small town in Ontario, Bubbles McKegney graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Mathematics degree at the age of 19 & the following year from Althouse College of Education, Western University. She’s lived briefly in Kenya, Sweden, the United States, and Austria & has resided in Kincardine, Ontario for the past 40 years. She has been a feminist throughout her life, volunteering at the Women for Change Centre, Rape Crisis Centres and the local Women’s Shelter. An avid reader with particular sensitivity to gender issues, she juggled teaching high school and elementary school with raising two sons. Now retired, she lives with the love of her life with whom she’s been happily married for 49 years.
There is a sweet backstory to share. Sam McKegney, Associate Professor at the Department of English in Queen’s University Kingston ON, bought my novel Skeena at the 2017 Conference of Indigenous Literary Studies Association (ILSA) in Chilliwack BC, and he passed it onto his mother Bubbles, a ‘chronic’ reader who had a powerful experience reading it. She later shared her impressions with Sam. Last month, it was Bubbles’s 70th birthday and since she is not into acquiring material objects, Sam thought of giving her a present that would really make her happy. He contacted a few of her favorite authors and requested them to send video messages for the occasion. ‘Skeena is a work that has resonated for her significantly since she first read it back in 2017’, wrote Sam. And that became the reason for me to know Bubbles and to appreciate her thoughts about Skeena. In case you are curious after reading the last line of her bio above, here she is ‘with the love of her life’, Ian McKegney. Happy Birthday Bubbles!
It’s a Best-Seller!
‘I am delighted to share with you the news that my first novel Skeena has become ‘the most-sold Punjabi novel’ of all times in Pakistan. In an email message, Publisher Amjad Salim Minhas said that ‘Sakina is the most sold Punjabi novel Sanjh has ever published; it is also the most sold Punjabi novel in Pakistan’.
This best-selling Shahmukhi Punjabi edition was published in 2007, and it was the most-launched book in Pakistan with events held in nine cities, each in partnership with local writers and literary organisations. This also made it the ‘most reviewed Punjabi book‘; and, the only novel that brought the movement for Punjabi language rights to the fore at each of its launching events.
‘It is interesting to note that Author Anthony Dalton’s 2011 predictions about Skeena’s English edition are sl–ow–ly but surely coming to pass in Punjabi, though we still have to see how the Gurmukhi edition does in the Indian Punjab where Skeena has never been published or marketed.
‘My gratitude to the readers, reviewers, peers; the publisher, editor, all members of the production team; and, the funders and supporters of Skeena’s Shahmukhi Punjabi edition for this profound and rewarding experience.
First published at
Younas Khan who i had met at Skeena’s Sargodha launch in 2007, was kind enough to post a comment on ‘Kishwar Naheed on Skeena’.
‘Skeena definitely is a valuable novel, and i agree that most readers have read it at least three times. First to become fluent in Punjabi, second to understand Skeena, and the third time to enjoy the novel. I also read it twice in 2008.
‘Your reportage of Kishwar Naheed is beautiful.
‘When Shehla Nigar, who is working on her phd thesis, wanted my opinion about Skeena, i asked her to first tell me what she thought about the novel since i had read it six years back. Her instant response was: ‘She is a rebel’. I was unable to contain my appreciation, and i told her that in just three words she has described the essence of Skeena’s character. I told her that i am also impressed with two others, a homosexual character and Iqbal Singh but of course Skeena being the central character dominates.
‘This is a high quality novel, and the first Punjabi novel that i read with passion. This novel should have been in Urdu, if it was written in Urdu it would have had a larger readership and would be counted among the few big Urdu novels. However, it has been written and presented with confidence like a big-budget Indian Punjabi film.
‘I don’t know the history of Punjabi novel but i know that Skeena is a huge contribution to Punjabi literature. It has been written in common spoken Punjabi, the one spoken in our cities, the Punjabi that is understood by the literate and sentient culture of Punjab.
‘I am lucky that i was able to have a short conversation with you in Sargodha, and you had autographed my copy of Skeena with love.
‘I keep Skeena like a treasure. I want to read it again even when i hardly ever read a book again. Skeena is a great addition to punjabi literature, and it will live for a long long time.’
Many thanks to you, Younas Khan, for your thoughts and words (view Younas’s original comment in Punjabi: kishwar-naheed-on-skeena/#comment). For me, they affirm that indeed Skeena is not a newspaper. Skeena’s Urdu version will come out in the next couple of years. And yes, i too have your autograph with autographs of other friends from Sargodha, the launch where the most beautiful review of Skeena was presented (that i subsequently managed to lose; that you had recently promised to try to ‘re-cover’ from the Author’s memory).
Looking forward to see Shehla Nigar’s contemplation on Skeena.
‘Skeena – the Voice of eastern and western civilization’
By Fouzia Hanif
Punjabi in Roman
Rab sohney ne aes jag nu wan swaney te man mohney rangaan nal sjaya te ehna rangaan nal khaiden lai manukh nu aes dunia te bhajia. Jad manukh ney aes jag te akal te Shaur dian manzalan taey keetian taan ohney jo kuj dunia wich waparda wakhia uhnu apney kalam te akhraan raheen kagaz te ulaikia taan je smaaj di islah ho sakey. Aeh kalam te akhraan nal khaiden waley manukh hi likhari sadaey. Eahna likharian wichon ik na sadey Punjab di dharti di dhi da aey jehda na Fauzia Rafique aey. Ohna adab di dunia wich bey-shumaar kam keetay. Ohna da majuda kam jehra manzrey aam te aya aey o novel “Skeena” aey.
Pakistani zananian dey likhey gaey Punjabi novelan wichon Kahkashan Malik horaan dey novel ‘Chikar Rangi Murti’ tun baad meri nazar wich eh Pakistani novel nigar zanani da ik nidar te bebak tahreer te mabni novel aey. Jehra Punjabi novel nu ban-ul-akwami padhar de novelaan wich shamal karda aey.
Jadon main eh novel parhya taan mera ji keeta ke main ahdey barey kuj likhan. Aes novel nu pahli wari parh ke inj japia jivain Skeena ne hudkushi kar laye aey taan manu bohat mayusi hoe. kunje Skeena da kirdar jis taran bayania gia aey o ik dlair te nidar kurri da kirdar aey, ohnu hudkushi nahi karni chahidi si. Baad wich merey te aey haqiqat ashqar hoe je o te budhmat mazhab de nazriay de mutabiq soch rahi si ‘Meri koe Tawarikh nahi’. Kunje Budhmat Mazhab da ik groh dhian wich jan lai aey akhar bolda aey. Jadon main jania ke Skeena zinda aey taan maino changa laga.
Aes novel de plot, kirdar, mukalamey, nazria te mahol ya manzarkashi barey gal keeti javey taan novel da plot mazboot bunyadaan te usria nazar anda aey. Ahdey sarey kirdar apni apni thaan bharpur andaz nal byaney gae ney. Par Skeena te Jeeno da kirdar ajehyan zananian nu wakhanda aey jihrian okraan wich wi apney haqaan lai lardian nazar andian ney. Novel dey mukalme barey gal keeti javey te Skeena de mukalme barrey jandar ne kunje o niki omar tun hi amrani shaur rakhdi si ohda aey mukalama mulahza howey jihdey wich o apni maan ji nu sawal puchdi nazar andi aey:
“pishley mahenay tuseen Amman Zainab nu akhiya si ke ‘purey pind wichon teri nu sab tun wad fasal liyandi pai aey, te Maan Jee, tusin Gamu nu ap puchia si ke ‘Jeeno ney taenu puter nahi dita?’ te Maan Jee Jeeno mehfoz aslon nahi, ——–”
Aes novel wich nazriati paehlu wi kabley deed ney. Ahdey wich siyasi, muashrati, jagirdari atey khas toar te mazhabi paehlu bohat jandar te khubsurat andaz nal bayania gia aey. Pae kis traan mazhab da galat istmaal kar ke zanani da istahsal keeta ja reha aey. Novel wich aey gal bohat wazia aey jo kuj muashra kisey bunde nu dainda aey, ohda radeamal zaroor sahmne anda aey. Fauzia Rafique horaan ne manzarkushi wi dadhi changi keeti jivain ke novel dey aes paragraph tun zahir hunda aey:
“Thandi wa meray mukh te khilar jandi aey, chann akhan nu hanarey de dhongey part wakhanda, khulian asmana te lejanda aey. Haithaan anabi patraan ala Japani mapal, chandi varge safaidian te totey rangian soyan aley chiran nal khalota aey. Asman saf kala shisha, wich jurey sunehri tarey. va da ik bula koasa avey, ek thanda.
“Aj gharon bahar nikalan di raat aey.”
Novel wich kidhrey kidhrey jhol wi nazar anda aey. Jivain Skeena ik zaheen, mutjasus te amrani shaur rakhan wali zanani si te ohda Gamu nu na syanana, uchey mathey waley nojwan da nuro dey bhara wangar lagna, Joynie te Maggi de kirdaraan da Skeena di Khala te Saeen Jee nal mawazna karna kuj jachia nahi. Aes novel nu parh ke qari de andar shaur de kaee part khulde ney jihrey ohnu thaley dityaan gian galaan barey soch vachar karan te majboor karde ney:
– Manafqat tun bachna
– Mazhab da bharpur mutalaa karna te mazhab da sahee istamaal
– Siyasi nazam di islah
– Zananian de Khiyalat te nazriat nu haqeeqi mania wich samjan di loarr
– Maan pu da dhian de war lubhan lagian munde barey puri taraan janch partaal karna
Novel wich kuj ajehyaan galaan wi ney jihriyan ikhlakyat de hawaley nal changian nahi. Jevain Skeena da choti omar tun hi apney bhra nu sharab pinda wakh ke sharab peena, bhang peena, raat nu apni Maan Jee te bhra tun luk ke ghar tun bahir jana te Iqbal Singh urf Gamu nal gair kanooni taaluqat wagara. Aehna sarian galaan nu sada muashra tey aseen kadi pasand nahi karaan gey par gal aey way ke jadon muashrey wich tohade apney beja pabandian laan yaan tuhade tajasus nu daban yaan tohade wastey ajehey halat bana dain jivain Skeena dey ghar wale Ihtasham da Skeena nal rawaya wi zahir karda aey. Taan koi banda kis had taak ja sakda aey, Aye gal Skeena raheen sadey sahmney andi aey.
Mukdi gal aey wey ke muashrey dey amal te hi hamesh kisay wi bundey da radeamal zahir honda aey. Aseen kisey wi kaley bandey nu ilzam nahi de sakdey.