24th November, is the birthday of legendary Urdu poet, Parveen Shakir. She started writing at an early age, initially under the pen name of Beena, and published her first volume of poetry, Khushbu, to great acclaim, in 1976 and won Pakistan’s Adamjee Award.
She received two undergraduate degrees in English literature and linguistics.
She was Urdu poet, teacher and a civil servant of the Government of Pakistan. Shakir was born on 24th November, 1952 in Karachi.
She was a teacher for 9 years before joining the Pakistan Civil Service, where she served in the Customs department.
In 1986, she was appointed second secretary, CBR in Islamabad.
In 1990, she taught at Trinity College, Connecticut, USA, and then did her masters in public administration at Harvard University in 1991.
She married Naseer Ali, a doctor by profession, whom she later divorced. Parveen was killed in a car-truck collision in Islamabad on December 26, 1994, when she was only 42. With the premature end of her poetic career, Urdu poetry suffered an irreparable loss. She is survived by her son, Syed Murad Ali.
Her poetry was a breath of fresh air in Urdu poetry. She used the first-person feminine pronoun, which is rarely used in Urdu poetry even by female poets. The feminine perspective of love and the associated social problems were her theme. Critics compare her poetry to that of Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad.
Her first book, Khushboo, won the Adamjee Award. Later she was awarded the Pride of Performance.
She subsequently published Sad-barg (Marsh Marigold), Khud kalami (Conversing with the Self), Inkaar (Refusal), Maah-e-Tamam (Full Moon) and Kaf-e-Aa’ina (The Edge of the Mirror), all to great acclaim.
Story first published: 24th November 2009