This piece is inspired by Umrao Jan Ada - an early novel written in Urdu language. The novel is about a woman who narrates her tales of self discovery using art and poetry.
Umrao Jan woes originate in a typical patriarchal mold. As a young girl, she is kidnapped in an act of vengeance against Umrao’s father for giving testimony against him. The villain sells her to a Lucknow Kothi—a high-culture space also operating as a brothel.
At the Kothi, Umrao receives an education and induction into arts and culture by an elderly who recreates Umrao as a civilized poet-cum-entertainer. Her quest for knowledge and attainment of self-confidence to handle a predominantly male world takes place within this space. Thus, the tale of exploitation turns into a narrative of self-discovery. Umrao Jan Ada emerges as a voice far ahead of her time.
The empowerment of Umrao is in many ways linked to her profession. At a time when women were more or less completely dependent on men for financial and social sustenance, sex work emerged as one kind of a safety net and Umrao used her body and knowledge to make profit.
Use left/right arrows to navigate the slideshow or swipe left/right if using a mobile device
Choosing a selection results in a full page refresh.
Press the space key then arrow keys to make a selection.
Due to technical upgrades all our international orders (outside Pakistan) are being suspended until 5th of December, 2021. If you place an order before 5th December you’ll receive it in the 3rd week of December, 2021.
In addition, deliveries within Pakistan will take 7-8 business days.
Please kindly place your orders while keeping the above in mind