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On 'Elimination of Violence Against Women Day,' Kaifi Azmi's Iconic Poem 'Aurat'

The poem addressed women to break free from patriarchal hegemony.

Updated
Gender
1 min read

Recital & Producer: Athar Rather
Cameraperson: Athar Rather, Shiv Kumar Maurya
Video Editor: Prajjwal

(This was originally published on 25 November 2021. It is being republished from The Quint archives on the occasion of World Poetry Day on 21 March 2022.)

In 1993, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly declared 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The UN defines violence against women as an act of gender-based violence that results in physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats, etc.

Even after 81 years since it was written in 1940, Kaifi Azmi's 'Aurat' – a brilliantly penned down poetic piece – still manages to find its place in modern feminist texts.

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The poem was written in the wake of war and unrest that followed, and addressed women of that age to break free from patriarchal hegemony.

The essence of the poem lies in its expression of 'free spirit' that the poet constantly refers to. The narrative is set with such brilliance that it feels contemporary in its thematic approach.

Azmi encourages women to imagine a new world that challenges the perceived notion of companionship and the definition of the supposed femininity.

The monologic style of 'Aurat', addressing a woman, who is anyone but also everyone, is not just bold but continues to inspire its readers.

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