Cover painting and illustrations: Huma Agha Abbas
Cover design & layout: Ramsha Afaq
Huma Agha Abbas and Taiba Abbas
From the shadowed world of Kash Kash Jinn amid the snowbound peaks of the Himalayas, and the haunting snake forests of Nagrai in Kashmir, to Marvi’s thirst for the golden sands of the Thar – The Night In Her Hair is a fictional retelling of legends and folk tales.
The stories move through place and time, bridging the realm of magic and shapeshifters and the world of men and women.
Reimagined with an intimacy and immediacy that draws them out into the present, The Night In Her Hair revisits characters that lived and loved, transcending the very limits of their worlds and their times.
Adapted anew, these are stories of passion and fulfilment, going beyond mortal confines to become part of the soul, a desire and surrender complete in one moment of ascension.
There is Ranjha’s music and Mahiwal’s quest; there are the fated songs of Habba Khatoon; there is Umar’s acceptance and Punhun’s submission; the unerring, unflinching resolve of Mirza and Adam Khan; the searing courage of Sohni, Sassi, Heer, Himal, Dur Khanai, and Sahiban, each woman braving all dangers, defying the ends of her mortality, in a quest for an eternal truth, and whatever the physical and earthly symbols, it becomes a search for something that is nobler and more compelling than life itself.
These are names we’ve always been familiar with in music, verse, and history – names we’ve nearly forgotten and relegated to an ancient past – without realizing their relentless power and timeless significance in our lives today.
Down the northern belt of the mountains, through the fields and rivers of Punjab, to the warm coast of the Arabian Sea – The Night In Her Hair bears witness to lives that became the most extraordinary legacy of spiritual and literary traditions of Sufi thought – lives that continue to shape our creative expression as indelible motifs woven deep inside our cultural psyche and identity.
Huma Agha Abbas is an artist and cultural journalist, and lives in Lahore. Born in Srinagar, she holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Jammu and Kashmir. She moved to New York in the ’70’s where she worked at the United Nations in the Department of Public Information. She has lived in the Caribbean and South Korea where her father was posted as ambassador.
Her articles have appeared in The News and The Nation. Her first book Pakistan the Land and Its Culture, documenting the cultural history and folk heritage of the country, was published in 2006 by the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), as a project of the Federal Ministry of Culture.
Co-authored with her daughter, The Night In Her Hair is her second book.