A memoir of a true Southasian, Under the Same Sky narrates a deeply personal experience of the transformation of the Indian subcontinent through the greater part of the 20th century, tinted with the hopes and dreams, sorrows and struggles of Perveen Ahmad and those close to her. Witness to the dissection of an ancient land bound together by history, tradition and culture, Perveen Ahmad was, in her own words, ‘an alloy of several cultures’, a quintessential example of the melding of peoples that has long defined the Indian subcontinent. Her childhood was spent in a railway colony in Allahabad, her formative years and early adulthood were spent in Lahore, in the newly born country of Pakistan. And finally, she chose to become a citizen of Bangladesh, accompanying her Bengali husband, the renowned playwright Sayeed Ahmad, to the newly liberated nation and making it her own through her activism and entrepreneurial work for women’s empowerment. This memoir, not unlike the author herself, is an alloy. It is at once a historical narrative of some of the most defining moments in the subcontinent’s formation, a lyrical journey through the life of a woman with some singular experiences and a thoughtful rumination on culture, identity and self-expression in the context of the subcontinent by a keen, insightful mind and an empathetic soul. Under the Same Sky will attract readers interested in different historical perspectives, personal memoirs enlivened by unique experiences and those drawn to distinctive voices with distinctive thoughts and views.
Perveen Ahmad was a women’s activist and a pioneer in the movement for the recognition of Bangladeshi crafts. She worked tirelessly to promote local crafts both nationally and internationally. She travelled across the country to convince thousands of artisans that their work should be recognized as cultural heritage. In 1974 she was instrumental in organizing the "First National Handicrafts Exhibition" at the Shilpakala Academy, which led to the establishment of the first artisans’ organization in the country, Bangladesh Hastashilpa Samabaya Federation Limited - KARIKA in 1974.
She made Bangladesh a member of the World Crafts Council, an affiliate of UNESCO in 1978. She organized the first Asian Regional Artisan's Workshop in 1986 under the World Crafts Council, UNESCO Paris and UNESCO