Saturday, March 6, 2010
Celebrating Parveen Shakir: Poetess for Our Day
from Urdu Poetry Forum,internet images and various blogposts
The following is inspired by and reposted from the website of Mr. Akhtar Wasim Dar who is a scholar/writer among many other gifts. (Find his URLS and credit to others below) Yes, some of you into linear chronology may look at his date and then at this one...Yes writers, readers and lovers of poetry do tricks with time!)
Akhtar Wasim Dar Sahib wrote (in the future): Woman of Substance
Today is international Day for Women, and a perfect time to remember our Woman of substance Parveen Shakir(1952-1994) a poetess of extreme caliber, style, passion and talent. A woman petite and fragile in looks but like a rock in her principle stands towards life and the values she stood for. Living in a society where women were still fighting for their basic rights, her femininity was not a limiting factor when it came to express her point of view in poetry or prose. She was popular both with critics and public because of ingenuity of her words and the skill that tuned the right chords.
Her poetics works Khushboo(Fragrance)
Inkar(Refusal) is a journey of a young idealist girl to a woman of substance.
ADVICE TO A FRIEND
by Parveen Shakir
Listen, Girl, These moments are clouds:
You let them Pass and they are gone .
Soak up their moist touch .
Get drenched .
Don’t waste a single drop.
Listen, Downpours don’t remember streets ,
And sunshine Can’t read Road signs
End Post by Akhtar Wasim Dar Sahib found on his website - Plz bookmark and see his site often - My Page On the Web Go - HERE and/or Go - HERE
NOTE & apology: Sir Dar's post was beautiful and perfect just as it was so I trust he will forgive me for extending the content...Perhaps it's a fault of women who love such beautiful writing and accomplishments - to want to keep learning and reading more about and by such sisters of literature, heart and soul?
(Credit for following below this excerpt)
As a young student in high school, I was introduced to Shakir’s romantic poetry, which was best represented by her first collection of poetry ‘Khushbu’. I had won an essay writing competition in Urdu and a delightful award came in the form of this tender volume of poetry. Since then I have always returned to bits and pieces of Khushbu. It may not be according to the cannons of literary theory, but it is spontaneous, fresh and almost dreamlike...
Shakir had a natural talent for public speaking, reciting poetry and just being herself. I remember one monsoon evening in Murree when we were hooked to her presentation on Pakistan’s Independence Day. There was a distinct tenderness in her voice that was in sharp contrast to the platitudes being churned out. Above all she was beautiful. I remember she would read verses from her own work and from the great masters of Urdu poetry with complete ease and immense refinement...
Her later collections comprised Sad Barg (marsh merrygold), Khud Kalami (conversing with one’self), Inkaar (refusal), Maah-e-Tamaam (full moon) and Kaf-e-Aaina (edge of the mirror).
Her raw romanticism runs through her poetry. For instance, yay haseen shaam apni is a love poem of rare beauty; and has always been a favourite of mine. It is composite, taut and melodic; and here is my translation.
This melting evening of ours
Where everything dissolves
The scent of your clothes
The blossoming sprouts of my dreams
A deferred vision, this is
In a little while,
A star will emerge on the horizon
To gaze at you meaningfully…!
Your heart shall then reminisce
The echo of a memory
The tale of a separation,
Of an unfinished moment
Of un-blossomed dreams, things unsaid
We ought to have met
In times, considerate
In pursuit of attainable dreams
On a different sky
On a different earth
We ought to have met
The initial voice of a love struck, yearning Shakir turned serious and questioning before her death. This evolution came about in 1980s when she had to deal with the confines of the Pakistani establishment as a Customs officer. In a later poem, Advice from a senior executive, she opens her heart:
The senior executive in my office
Called me rather unusually to his office one day
And after asking after a file or two
Frowning uneasily he mentioned my un’civil’ pastimes
Shedding light upon the standing of the poetess in a society
The gist of what he said
Was that a poet has the same role in a nation
As an appendix in our bodies
Absolutely Useless, But able at times to cause great pain
So there is only one way of getting rid of it - Surgery!
A faint smile played upon his lips, as he imagined he had rid himself
Of the appendix of my personality
(translated by Rehan Qayoom)
Her poem ‘Working Woman’ also talks of the blurred boundaries and the inevitable double burden...Parveen was daring enough to choose a career of her own and bagged a distinguished position in the competitive entry examination for recruitment in the civil services...Long before single motherhood hit the Pakistani urban landscape, Shakir had become a successful, widely known single mother of her son Murad to whom she addressed a poem ‘Apnay betay kay liye ek nazm ’:
The world expected love from me
As if I had to pay a debt
The coins of my truthfulness
Were trampled in a manner
That if I had not held myself together
We would have been shelter-less
And devoid of social clothing
I have lived in my house
And paid jiziya all my life
(translated by author)
Murad must be a confident young man now. I hope he has pondered over this poem “It Has Been Said” translated by CM Naim. I will quote a few moving lines.
... then Zaid cursed Bakar, ‘Your mother
is more well known than your father!’ ”
this curse is your fate too.
In a fathers’ world you too, one day,
must pay a heavy price
for being known by your mother,
though your eyes’ color, your brow’s
and all the curves your lips create
come from the man
who shared with me in your birth,
yet alone gives you significance
in the eyes of the law-givers.
But the tree that nurtured you three
must claim one season as its own,
to comb the stars, turn thoughts into
make poems leapfrog your ancestors’ walls …
(Above excerpt is from blogger Raza Rumi dot com for this deep and lovely blogpost: "Coins of My Truthfulness" here Raza Rumi is a development professional and a writer)
Finally, credit for this collage also goes to Mr. Khurram Ali Shafique (an historian and scholar of Allama Iqbal as well as works based on Rumi) who first brought this poetess, Ms. Shakir, to the attention of the bloggers on The Republic of Rumi - republic of rumi dot blogspot dot com - and readers of this site - so - I hope to find this original post soon.
Posted by CN at 1:05 PM