Parveen Shakir

Parveen Shakir (Urdu: پروین شاکر) (November 24, 1952 – December 26, 1994) was an Urdu poet, teacher and a civil servant of the Government of Pakistan. Shakir started writing at an early age and published her first volume of poetry, Khushbu [Fragrance], to great acclaim, in 1976. She subsequently published other volumes of poetry - all well-received - Sad-barg [Marsh Marigold] in 1980, Khud Kalami [Soliloquy] and Inkar [Denial] in 1990, Kaf e Aina [The Mirror's Edge] besides a collection of her newspaper columns, titled Gosha-e-Chashm [The Sight Corner], and was awarded one of Pakistan's highest honours, the Pride of Performance for her outstanding contribution to literature. The poetry books are collected in the volume Mah e Tamam [Full Moon] with the exception of Kaf e Aina. Shakir died in 1994 in a car accident while on her way to work .

Early career

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". Shakir held two masters degrees, one in English Literature and one in Linguistics. She also held a PhD and another masters degree in Bank Administration.[citation needed] She was a teacher for nine years before she joined the Civil Service and worked in the Customs Department. In 1986 she was appointed the second secretary, CBR in Islamabad.

Style

Shakir employed mainly two forms of poetry in her work, one being the prevalent ghazal [plural: ghazalyaat], and the other being free verse. 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. Arguably, Shakir can be termed the first poetess to use the word larki (girl) in her works—the male-dominated Urdu poetry scene seldom employs that word, and uses 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 poetesses, before her.