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Parveen Shakir or Parvin Shakir (Urdu: پروین شاکر‎) (24 November 1952 – 26 December 1994) was an Urdu poet, teacher and a civil servant of the Government of Pakistan.

Parveen Shakir
BornParveen Shakir Syed
(1952-11-24)24 November 1952
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Died26 December 1994(1994-12-26) (aged 42)
Islamabad, Pakistan
OccupationUrdu poet
NationalityPakistani
Education
  • Masters of Arts
  • Ph.D
Alma materUniversity of Karachi
GenreGhazal; Free verse
Notable worksKhushbu (1976)
Notable awardsPride of Performance Award by the President of Pakistan (1990)
Adamjee Literary Award in 1976
SpouseSyed Naseer Ali
ChildrenSyed Murad Ali
Website
perveenshakir.com

Early careerEdit

Parveen Shakir started writing at a young age, penning both prose and poetry, and contributing columns in Urdu newspapers, and a few articles in English dailies. Initially, she wrote under the pen-name, "Beena".[1]

She was a teacher for nine years before she joined the Civil service of Pakistan and worked in the Customs Department. In 1986 she was appointed the second secretary, Federal Board of Revenue (old name Central Board of Revenue) in Islamabad, Pakistan.[1]

Parveen Shakir published her first volume of poetry, Khushbu [Fragrance], to great acclaim, in 1976.[1] She subsequently published other volumes of poetry – all well-received – Sad-barg [Marsh Marigold] in 1980, Khud Kalami [Talking To Oneself] and Inkaar [Denial] in 1990, and Kaf-e-Aina [The Mirror's Edge]. She also published a collection of her newspaper columns, titled Gosha-e-Chashm [Corner of the Eye], and was awarded one of Pakistan's highest honours, the Pride of Performance for her outstanding contribution to literature in 1976. The poetry books are collected in the volume Mah-e-Tamaam [Full Moon] with the exception of Kaf-e-Aina.[1]

Parveen died in 1994 in a car accident while on her way to work.[1]

Style of poetryEdit

Shakir employed mainly two forms of poetry in her work, one being the prevalent ghazal [plural: ghazalyaat], and the other being free verse (Urdu: Azaad nazm). The most prominent themes in Shakir's poetry are love, feminism, and social stigmas, though she occasionally wrote on other topics as well. Her work was often based on romanticism, exploring the concepts of love, beauty and their contradictions, and heavily integrated the use of metaphors, similes and personifications.[2]

Arguably, Shakir can be termed the first female poet to use the word larki (girl) in her works—the male-dominated Urdu poetry landscape at the time seldom employed that word, and used the masculine syntax when talking about the 'lover'. Similarly, she often made use of the Urdu first-person, feminine pronoun in her verses which, though extremely common in prose, was rarely used in poetry, even by female poets before her.[2][3]

GhazalyaatEdit

See also Ghazal in Khushbu.

Shakir's ghazalyaat are considered "a combination of classical tradition with modern sensitivity",[2] and mainly deal with the feminine perspective on love and romance, and associated themes such as beauty, intimacy, separation, break-ups, distances, distrust, infidelity, and disloyalty.

Most of Shakir's ghazalyaat contain five to ten couplets, often – though not always – inter-related. Sometimes, two consecutive couplets may differ greatly in meaning and context [For example, in one of her works, the couplet 'That girl, like her home, perhaps/ Fell victim to the flood' is immediately followed by 'I see light when I think of you/ Perhaps remembrance has become the moon'[4]].

Parveen Shakir's ghazalyaat heavily rely on metaphors and similes, which are repeatedly and thought-provokingly used to bring force and lyricism in her work. A fine example of this is seen in one of her most famous couplets, "Wo tou khushbu hai, hawaon main bikhar jaye ga/ Masla phool ka hai, phool kidher jayega?"[5] [Translation: He is fragrance and would waft in the air/ the trouble lies with the flower – where shall the flower go?] where Shakir relates 'fragrance' to an unfaithful lover, 'air' to the unfaithful person's secret loves, and 'flower' to the person being cheated. Other metaphors Shakir commonly uses are titli [butterfly] for a Romeo, badal [cloud] for one's love, baarish [rain] for affection, and andhi [storm] for difficulties.

Some of Parveen Shakir's ghazalyaat or, more specifically, couplets, have gained an iconic status in Urdu literature. One of her most famous couplets if the one given above. Another famous, Shakir couplet is "Jugnuu ko din kay wakt parakhne ki zid karain/ Bachchay hamaray ehed kay chalaak ho gaye"[6] [They insist upon catching the firefly in daylight/ The children of our age, have grown wiser], which is often quoted to comment on the often surprising knowledge and awareness of the younger generation.

Free verseEdit

As compared to her ghazalyaat, Shakir's free verse is much bolder, and explores social issues and taboos, including gender inequality, discrimination, patriotism, deceit, prostitution, the human psyche, and current affairs. It is also much more modern and up-to-date.

Parveen Shakir is known for having employed the usage of pop culture references and English words and phrases, that have mixed up with Urdu, in her free verse – a practice that is both generally considered inappropriate, and criticised, in Urdu poetry. An example is the poem Departmental Store Mein [In a Departmental Store], which is named thus despite the fact that there the term 'departmental store' could easily have been substituted with its Urdu equivalent, and where words like 'natural pink,' 'hand lotion,' 'shade,' 'scent' and 'pack' are brought into use, and references made to cosmetics brands like, Pearl, Revlon, Elizabeth Arden, and Tulip.[7] Other examples are her poems Ecstasy, Nun[8] and Picnic.[9]

Shakir's free verse also contains few credited, translated, or inspired works, i.e. poems that are translations of, or inspired by, other authors. Examples are Wasteland, a poem inspired by Elliot's poem of the same name,[10] and Benasab Wirsay Ka Bojh [The Burden of Illegitimate Inheritance], a translation of W.B. Yeats's Leda and the Swan.[11]

LegacyEdit

Parveen Shakir's poetry was well-received, and after her untimely death she is now considered one of the best and "most prominent" modern poets Urdu language has ever produced. Hailed as a "great poetess," her poetry has drawn comparisons to that of Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad, and she is considered among the breed of writers "regarded as pioneers in defying tradition by expressing the 'female experience' in Urdu poetry."[2]

A source states, "Parveen ... seems to have captured the best of Urdu verse ... Owing to [her] style and range of expressions one will be intrigued and ... entertained by some soul-stirring poetry." Another praises "her rhythmic flow and polished wording".

Pakistan's noted literary figure Iftikhar Arif has praised Parveen Shakir for impressing "the young lot through her thematic variety and realistic poetry," for adding "a new dimension to the traditional theme of love by giving expression to her emotions in a simple and pellucid style," and using a "variety of words to convey different thoughts with varying intensities."[2]

The Delhi Recorder has stated that Shakir "has given the most beautiful female touch to Urdu poetry."

Awards and recognitionEdit

Shakir's first book, Khushboo, was awarded the Adamjee Literary Award in 1976. Later, she was awarded the Pride of Performance, one of Pakistan's highest honours in 1990.[1][12][13]

Upon her death, the Parveen Shakir Trust was established by her close friend, Parveen Qadir Agha. The Parveen Shakir Trust organises a yearly function and gives out the "Aks-e-Khushbu" award.

The first substantial selection of Shakir's work translated into English was made by the poet Rehan Qayoom in 2011.[14]

Commemorative postage stampEdit

In 2013, Pakistan Post Office issued a commemorative postage stamp of Rupees 10 denomination to honor her on Parveen Shakir's 19th death anniversary.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

BirthEdit

Parveen was born on 24 November 1952 in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan.[2]

EducationEdit

Parveen was highly educated. She received two undergraduate degrees, one in English literature and the other in linguistics, and obtained MA degrees in the same subjects from the University of Karachi. She also held a PhD, and another MA degree in Bank Administration.[1]

In 1982, Shakir qualified for the Central Superior Services (CSS) Examination. In 1991, she obtained an MA degree in Public Administration from Harvard University.

Family and deathEdit

 
Final resting place of Shakir in Islamabad

Parveen Shakir married a Pakistani doctor, Syed Naseer Ali, with whom she had a son, Syed Murad Ali — but the marriage did not last long and ended in a divorce.

On 26 December 1994, Parveen's car collided with a bus while she was on her way to work in Islamabad. The accident resulted in her death, a great loss to the Urdu poetry world.[1]

The road on which the accident took place is named after her as Parveen Shakir Road.[13]

BooksEdit

Following is a list of Shakir's published books. English translation of each book's title follows in italics.

Volumes of Poetry

  • Khushbu (1976) – Fragrance[15][2]
  • Sad-barg (1980) – Marsh Marigold[15][2]
  • Khud-kalaami (1990) – Talking to oneself[15][2]
  • Inkaar (1990) – Refusal[15][2]
  • Maah-e-Tamaam (1994) – Full Moon[2]
  • Kaf-e-Aa'ina – The Edge of the Mirror[15]

Prose

  • Gosha-e-Chashm – Corner of the eye (a collection of her newspaper columns)[15]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Profile of Parveen Shakir". urdupoetry.com website. 27 February 2002. Archived from the original on 30 September 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Parveen Shakir birth anniversary". 30 May 2013. Archived from the original on 30 May 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  3. ^ Parveen Shakir remembered on 24th death anniversary Pakistan Today (newspaper), Published 26 December 2018, Retrieved 1 June 2019
  4. ^ Neend tou khwaab ho gai shayad – Pg. 121, Khushbu by Parveen Shakir, JBD Press Edition.
  5. ^ Wo tou khushbu hai – Pg. 190, Khushbu by Parveen Shakir, JBD Press Edition.
  6. ^ Baarish hui tou phool'on k tan chaak ho gaye – Pg. 278, Khushbu by Parveen Shakir, JBD Press Edition.
  7. ^ Departmental Store Mein – Pg. 178, Khushboo by Parveen Shakir, JBD Press Edition.
  8. ^ Nun – Pg. 55, Khushboo by Parveen Shakir, JBD Press Edition.
  9. ^ Departmental Store Mein – Pg. 137, Khushbu by Parveen Shakir, JBD Press Edition.
  10. ^ Wasteland – Pg. 89, Khushbu by Parveen Shakir, JBD Press Edition.
  11. ^ Benasab Wirsay Ca Bojh – Pg. 229, Khushbu by Parveen Shakir, JBD Press Edition.
  12. ^ Saadia Qamar (23 May 2014). "Parveen Shakir in the eyes of Fatema Hassan". The Express Tribune (newspaper). Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  13. ^ a b Parveen Shakir's death anniversary observed Dawn (newspaper), 27 December 2016, Retrieved 1 June 2019
  14. ^ After Parveen Shakir
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Postage Stamp to mark Parveen's death anniversary Dawn (newspaper), 23 December 2013, Retrieved 1 June 2019

External linksEdit