Zahida Khatoon Sherwani, who used Zay-Khay-Sheen as an acronym for her name, died very young ‚€“ just at 20. She was a poetess of great insight that compelled luminaries and celebrated poets to eulogise her work.
Zay-Khay-Sheen is such a splendid addition to Urdu literature that it will be remembered for a long time to come. She has given the most beautiful female touch to Urdu poetry. The hallmark of her poetry was freshness, romantic idealism, open and fearless self-expression. Her diction, though modern, had a shade of traditionalism in it.
She expressed the sensibilities of young girl with the innocence of a girl next door and an innovation of an adept poet. Her romantic poems and ghazals stirred the sentiments of youthful readers.
Two MA and MPhil theses have been written on Zay-Khay-Sheen.
Though a tough task, I sought inspiration and encouragement from my teacher and supervisor Dr Aslam Farkhi to complete this strenuous task. Others who helped me included people like Dr Tahir Masood and Dr Pirzada Qasim.
Previously, just one book was written on this poetess by the deceased poetess‚€™s cousin in 1940. This book published in Hyderabad is now out of print, hence a rare work indeed.
Some of her personal letters, most of them addressed to Begum Laila Khawja Bano, are at present in the custody of Begum Bano‚€™s son Hassan Sani Nizami.
The poetess‚€™s close relatives were approached to have a complete understanding of Zay-Khay-Sheen. Aside from them other people including friends were also contacted who gave the firsthand knowledge of the attributes of the deceased poetess‚€™s personality and her works, both published and unpublished.
For all the research done on Zay-Khay-Sheen, I remain indebted to my husband, Shaukat Zaid, sister Tehseen Fatima and daughter Isra Zaidi. I am also grateful to my typist, Imran Khan, for typing my research paper. Special thanks are due to Taj Aapa (Begum Dr Aslam Farkhi) for her guidance and encouragement throughout this endeavour.