‘To Remain Silent is to Die’: Poetry as Resistance during the Zia Era

‘To Remain Silent is to Die’: Poetry as Resistance during the Zia Era

Maryam Mirza

There is a strange melancholy in reminiscing about Zia ul Haq’s era. Strange because I, as a mind and body, have not lived through it – yet the historical memory of the dictatorial regime remains omnipresent in almost every facet of the Pakistani experience – including the country’s artistic evolution. Despite massive wide scale suppression of resistant voices, the amount of literary, intellectual and artistic work that has recorded rebellion and censorship during the Zia era is unparalleled to another period in Pakistan’s history. Despite state active efforts to shun critical speech, it was through the words of brave and revolutionary writers that today the modern citizen recognises his governance as a crucial turning point in the country’s politics and social life. Continue reading “‘To Remain Silent is to Die’: Poetry as Resistance during the Zia Era”