Song of the Silk Road: A Photo Essay

by Shadab Zeest Hashmi In Tian Shan mountains of the legendary snow leopard, errant wisps of mist float with the speed of scurrying ghosts, there is a climbers’ cemetery, Himalayan Griffin vultures and golden eagles are often sighted, though my attention is completely arrested by a Blue whistling thrush alighting on a rock— its plumage,…

From the Khyber Pass to the Great Black Swamp: a conversation with Dr. Amjad Hussain

by Shadab Zeest Hashmi On particularly tough days of my first Ramadan in college, I had vivid dreams of Peshawar, my hometown. Eager to succeed as an international student, I would never have confessed to being homesick but for my Psychology course “Sleep and Dreaming” which required a dream journal. “It’s mid-day,” I noted in…

The Female Anatomy of Letters: A Five-part Essay

by Shadab Zeest Hashmi Writing lives in the gut, like the good bacteria and the bad; it carries on an endless flirtation, an infuriating, nagging conversation with the gut’s long-married partner, the psyche. From time to time, it may traverse its underground-cityscape of anxiety, nostalgia, compulsion, its contradictory pull between instinct and fact-checking, its love-hate…

Escaping the Margins: Poetry of Protest, Poetry of Power

by Shadab Zeest Hashmi The author as a student at Kinnaird College I began writing poetry on a campus of red-brick corridors, ancient oaks, belligerent crows, and sharp-witted, lively women who thrived on critical thinking— Kinnaird college, in Lahore, Pakistan. In my earliest writing, I seem to have tested truths, grappled with the abstract, as…

Sultana Morayma: the Last Queen of Al Andalus

by Shadab Zeest Hashmi At the end of the story, in its final pages, is a queen. Not the pious despot Isabella of Castille who is about to command the Inquisition, or the embittered, vengeful Sultana Aixa la Horra who is inciting war within the house of Nasrid, but the queen who is obscured from…