Sara Shagufta

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Sara Shagufta
Born(1954-10-31)31 October 1954
Gujranwala, Pakistan
Died4 June 1984(1984-06-04) (aged 29)
Drigh Colony, Karachi, Pakistan
LanguageUrdu, Punjabi
Notable works
  • Aankhein
  • Neend Ka Rang
PartnerAhmad Javed

Qaiser Munawar

Afzal Ahmad Syed

Sara Shagufta (31 October 1954 – 4 June 1984) was a Pakistani poet who wrote poetry in Urdu and Punjabi language. She committed suicide by throwing herself before a passing train in Karachi.


Sara was born on 31 October, 1954 in Gujranwala, Pakistan in a lower-class family. Her family had migrated to Karachi from Punjab during the partition of India in 1960s.[1] Her father had remarried, so her mother was responsible for her and her siblings’ upbringing. Her mother supported the family through home-based work such as making flower garlands. Sara’s letters give an insight on the difficulties she and her family faced growing up in a household with an absent father. They faced economic hardship, which escalated as far as the family going hungry.[2] Belonging to a poor and uneducated family, she wanted to rise socially but could not pass her matriculation.[3][4]

She forcibly married at the age of 17 and had a child with her husband, that passed away as a newborn. The blame for the baby's death was directed towards Sara, which led to her divorce from her husband. [5] This was followed by three other unsuccessful marriages.[4][5]

An abusive relationship with her father, emotionally and sexually abused in her childhood, divorced by four men, shunned by her children and outcasted by society, Sara Shagufta led a life littered with suffering. She developed mental illnesses as a result of the challenges she faced.[5] She was admitted to a mental hospital due to her illness. After a non-fatal suicide attempt, she committed suicide at an early age of 29 on 4 June 1984, around 11 PM, by throwing herself before a train passing from Drigh Colony railway crossing in Karachi.[3][2]


Her collections of poetry was published posthumously as Aankhein and Neend Ka Rang by Saeed Ahmed, a person she was in love with. Asad Alvi translated her poetry into English and published as The Colour of Sleep and Other Poems (2016).[5] English translations of her poems 'Woman and Salt', 'To Daughter, Sheely' and 'The Moon is Quite Alone' appear in We Sinful Women by Rukhsana Ahmad.[6]


Indian author Amrita Pritam, also a close friend of Sara, wrote two books based on the life and works of Sara; Ek Thi Sara (There was a Sara) (1990) and Life and Poetry of Sara Shagufta (1994). Main Sara (Me, Sara), a play written by Shahid Anwar, is based on the life of Sara.[2] Sara Ka Sara Aasman, another play written by Danish Iqbal and directed by Tarique Hameed, is also based on the life of Sara. Based on Amrita Pritam's books on Sara, the play was presented by Wings Cultural Society at All India Radio's Urdu Theatre Festival in 2015.[7][5]

Further reading[edit]

  • Amrita Pritam (1994). Life and Poetry of Sara Shagufta. Delhi: B.R. Publishing Corporation. ISBN 978-81-7018-771-4.
  • Amrita Pritam (1990). Ek thi Sara. New Delhi: Kitabghar Publication. OCLC 33810599.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ InpaperMagazine, From (1 July 2013). "Column: Respectability has many forms: remembering Sara Shagufta By Kamran Asdar Ali". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Kamran Asdar Ali (1 July 2013). "Column: Respectability has many forms: remembering Sara Shagufta". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b Parekh, Rauf (27 April 2015). "Creativity and mental disorder: Urdu poets and writers who committed suicide". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b "सारा शगुफ़्ता : इंसान से पहले मौत ज़िंदा थी- Amarujala". Amar Ujala (in Hindi). 1 October 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e Modi, Chintan Girish (16 July 2016). "LITERARY REVIEW: Still I Rise!". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  6. ^ Ahmad, R. (1991). We sinful women: Contemporary Urdu feminist poetry. London: The Women's Press.
  7. ^ Daftuar, Swati (27 March 2015). "A life in defiance". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 February 2018.