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We have lots of woman poets in Afghanistan but among them all, Rabia Balkhi has had the greatest influence. Her ebullient life and untimely death still attracts people’s minds and hearts hundreds of years later.

The first time I heard the story of Rabia, I couldn’t believe that although she was one of the biggest personalities in her city, she did not have the freedom to tell people what she wanted. She became a victim of a culture in which a rich girl can’t be with a poor boy. People thought this relationship was immoral.

Rabia Balkhi lived in Qasdad, a little city in the southern part of Afghanistan. She was called Rabia-e-Qasdadi. She fell in love with Baktash, her brother’s slave. From the time Rabia was five years old, her servant would tell her everything Baktash did, and would tell Baktash what Rabia did too. The two communicated like this for years until they fell in love. When Rabia’s brother, Hares, found out, he told Rabia’s servants to cut her veins in the bathroom.

Rabia wrote poems with her blood on the walls of the bath while she was dying. She was a woman with feelings and every poem was the sign of her feelings.

After Rabia died, Hares said to Baktash: “Come and fight with me. If I win, I will kill you. If you win, I will give Rabia to you.” Not knowing that Rabia was already dead, Baktash accepted the challenge and came to fight with Hares. Unfortunately, Hares won the fight and killed Baktash.

Now Rabia Balkhi high school is one of the biggest schools of Afghanistan. It has about 4,000 students and has the best equality education for girls in Afghanistan.

By Alia, age 13