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JULY 20, SATURDAY
Undercurrent invites you to participate in celebrating the release of journalist Annie Ali Khan’s book of reportage, Sita under the Crescent Moon, published this summer by Simon & Schuster India.
A graduate of Columbia’s School of Journalism, Ali Khan split her journalism between New York and Pakistan. Her later work focused on women in Pakistan, specifically the dispossessed and displaced women in the mega city of Karachi. Sita under the Crescent Moon represents three years of reporting and is the first ethnographic window into the lives of a seven women who live in Karachi and practice healing arts or travel across the provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan, seeking healing at spiritual sites. The sites visited by the women are themselves shrines created in the name of, and in memory of, women saints. Ali Khan’s work is the first glimpse into a centuries-old network of female sacrality and power.
Historian Manan Ahmed will facilitate this event, which also coincides with the first anniversary of Annie’s unexpected passing in Karachi last July. In her honor, friends will read short excerpts from Sita under the Crescent Moon, and poets Arooj Aftab and Hasan Mujtaba will perform. Artist Maha S. Ahmed will also apply mehndi (henna) to guests’ palms in Annie’s memory, reproducing a particular pattern that Annie herself used.
Arooj Aftab is a Pakistani-American composer and performer based in Brooklyn. Her album of ambient, experimental electronic music, Siren Islands, was released in 2018.
Hasan Mujtaba is a Sindhi writer, journalist, poet, and human rights activist based in New York. His work has appeared in BBC Urdu, Dawn and Jang Pakistan.
Manan Ahmed is a historian of medieval and early modern Islamic history at Columbia University. His monograph, A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia, was published in 2016.
Maha S. Ahmed is a designer and artist based in Manhattan.
Durba Mitra is a scholar of women, gender and sexuality at Harvard University. Her book, Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought is forthcoming from Princeton University Press.
Madiha Tahir is a journalist, activist and media scholar based in New York. She is a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University.
Zehra Nawab is an illustrator and journalist based in Toronto, Canada. She designed the book cover for Sita Under the Crescent Moon as well as an interior map.
Shahnaz Rouse is the Joseph Campbell Chair in the Humanities at Sarah Lawrence College.
*Slide show: Annie Ali Khan’s personal archive