Migration in Afghan women’s poetry

Soundings - ISSN 1362-6620
Volume 2020 Number 76

Migration in Afghan women’s poetry
Liza Schuster, Riaz Muhammed Khan Shinwari pages -
DOI: 10.3898/SOUN.76.08.2020


This article reproduces examples of Afghan Landays and offers a commentary on their meanings. Landays are pithy, powerful two-line poems that speak of love, honour, war and separation. They are part of a long oral tradition in Pashtun culture, and are often composed by women. The largest group of Landays are written by women left behind in Afghanistan, and they include references to all stages of the migration experience, from departure, through the period of absence, to return. Landays have continued to circulate among Afghan Pashtuns for decades, and the emotions voiced have remained largely the same - the fear of abandonment, and the loneliness and vulnerability of women who are left behind. The only distinction between the earlier and later Landays seems to be the absence of joy in the later ones. All the teasing and urging of migrants disappears in the period that began with the Soviet invasion.

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To cite this article
Liza Schuster, Riaz Muhammed Khan Shinwari (2020) Migration in Afghan women’s poetry, Soundings, 2020(76), -. https://doi.org/10.3898/SOUN.76.08.2020

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