Activist, Poet Ifti Nasim, 1946-2011

KXB’s news post brings to my attention the passing of Ifti Nasim, an out and outspoken gay Pakistani poet who was based in Chicago. Dustin Nakao-Haider’s short film about Nasim captures a bit of his vibrance and humor, at his work as a radio host, at an interfaith community event where he talked about being Muslim, and ends with the poet reciting his How To “Kill” Your Brother With Kindness (Especially If He Is Homophobe).

> Nasim was a fixture in Chicago’s South Asian community, known for his activism, flamboyant fashion and touching poetry that dealt with themes including homosexuality, politics and his native Pakistan. He immigrated more than three decades ago.

Nasim was a founder of SANGAT/Chicago, a South Asian lesbian, gay and transgender organization. His book “Narman” which was believed to be the first book of gay themed poetry to be published in Urdu.

He was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1996.

Associated Press

Nar Narman, a short documentary on the life of Nasim, regarded as the Urdu language’s first gay poet of modern times.
My First Day in New York, A Tree of Water for Matthew Shepard, A Dead Pedophile, Gerontophilia and How To “Kill” Your Brother With Kindness (Especially If He Is Homophobe), Nasim’s poems posted at the gay bombay forum
My Father, a translation of one of his Urdu poems
Punjab Explorer interviews Nasim

2 thoughts on “Activist, Poet Ifti Nasim, 1946-2011

  1. regarded as the Urdu language’s first gay poet of modern times

    Reviving the old tradition, I see. Much of Urdu poetry is about the lust of men for boys. I have never known quite what to make of this. Growing up in Pakistan we are told about our “glorious tradition” and then it turns out to be heavily on this topic! It has always made me look sideways at my male fellow Urdu-speakers!