I have known Farzana G Butt for quite some time. I don’t remember where I met her the first time but I would guess it was at one of the ‘Halqa e Arbab e Adab’ programs arranged by Annie Akhter—around 1999. The Internet revolution was unfolding and new possibilities had emerged. We opened an online bookstore, Clickville—it is still functional (http://clickville_bookstore.tripod.com/Bookstore/). Farzana volunteered to help. She answered any queries sent to the bookstore’s email address (booksrourlove at Y). Farzana Butt did not find running the bookstore a monetarily rewarding enterprise and slowly parted ways. When Farrukh Shah Khan (of WBT-TV) and I started producing the ‘Aik Fikr, Aik Behes’ TV shows, she helped us in promoting the productions. Not sure when she left California, but through Facebook found out she was living in Oregon. We kept in touch with each other via FB.
That Farzana who promoted other people is gone; now there is a new Farzana. The one has found her passion in writing short stories, on women, especially South Asian women, and especially on their sexual exploitation. She has sent me a couple of stories she recently wrote and I must admit I am bamboozled! She has taken the work of South Asian feminist writing from where Ismat Chughtai left it several decades ago. But Farzana is no mere disciple of Chughtai. In her stories, Farzana is using language Ismat Chughtai could not even imagine to use, in her wildest dreams. Farzana says she is justified to use this language because this is exactly how South Asian men talk, when they speak about women.
With this kind of ‘controversial’ material Farzana Butt does not have much chance of getting published in India or Pakistan. How is Farzana planning to reach to her audience? I do not know. But reach she should, as this woman has a lot to say, and whatever she is saying is very pertinent.