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"What is important to note for our purposes here, in tracing the debate in post-Partition Pakistan about the '[im]proper' place of the musical arts and within those, of women performers such as Malka Pukhraj and others, is that there is a delicious irony in the fact that the derogration of the "tawaif" - synecdoche for a whole way of life (Muslim Mughal culture), as embodied in the singing and dancing arts, which in turn were embedded in North India's Muslim-led classical traditions - actually began in the Hindu national imaginary emerging in the decades leading up to Independence of India from the British and the resulting Partition. Why? Because the "tawaif" had become a symbol of Muslim glory in the Hindu psyche, given its Mughal roots. What irony, then, that this self-defeating position, originating as part of the Hindu national project, was adopted post 1947, by the Muslim state of Pakistan!"

From The Respectable Courtesan

Doing History Right: Challenging Masculinist Postcolonialism in Pakistani Anglophone Literature

Routledge Companion to Pakistani Anglophone Literature

Editors: Kanwal, Aroosa and Saiyma Aslam

Pages 185 – 200


The Respectable Courtesan: Malka Pukhraj, Music and the Postcolonial Nation

Performing Islam

Volume 6,  Number 1

Pages 41– 59(19) 

May 2017

Re-Orienting Orientalism

Peer Reviewed e-Journal, Arab Stages

December 2014

Alternative Dramaturgy for "Jihad Against Violence: Oh Isis Up Yours!”

Co-authored by Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Nesrin Alrefaai and Katherine Mezur

Published simultaneously in Arab Stages

Volume 1, Number 2

After COVID-19, What?

The Drama Review 

The MIT Press

Volume 64, Number 3

Pages 191 – 224

Fall 2020


In Memoriam: Nawal el Saadawi

Journal of Middle East Women's Studies

Duke University Press

March 2022

The Fundamentalist Nexus of Neoliberalism, Rentier Capitalism, Religious and Secular Patriarchies, and South Asian Feminist Resistances

Journal of International Women's Studies

Volume 24, Issue 2

Article 16

Summer 2022

Co-Editor of South Asian Feminisms and Youth Activism: Focus on India and Pakistan

Journal of International Women's Studies

Special Issue

Volume 24, Issue 2

Other Writing



Whistling Mummy

3 Quarks Daily

March 2018


Sugar Mule


The American 

South Asian Review 

Creative Writing Issue

Editors: Amritjit Singh and John Hawley 


Seminar on Women and Development, Lahore

Women's Studies Quarterly


Billy Bush Sam-Ton 

Poets Against the War Anthology

Editor: Sam Hamill 

Published by Thunder Mouth Press, New York 


"Noise in the shape
Of words whistling
Contorted into
Breath that smells
Of death approaching
Slowly sour
Patching memories
Only she can enter


– From Whistling Mummy

Eyewitness in the (un)Holy Land


June 2019

Be. Very. Careful. Who. You. Invite. In.


February 2023



Reading of an excerpt from La Vie En Rouge: Of Dreamscapes and Destinies, published in The Aleph Review's inaugural issue, 2017

Night of the Cubana

Asiatic (8.1)


PDF available here

Madame Sin


Volume 2, Issue 10


Read here

Bloody Monday

And the World Changed: Contemporary Writings by Pakistani Women

An Oxford University Press Anthology 

Edited by Muneeza Shamsie



Sam's Secret

Himal Magazine


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