Few poets and poetesses of the present era have been able to influence the Urdu poetry as deeply as Parveen Shakir of Pakistan. Known as one of the greatest contemporary Urdu poetesses of Pakistan, Shakir was born in Karachi Pakistan on 24th November, 1952. Perveen Shakir completed her education in Karachi and did her Masters; one in English Language and one in Linguistic. Later she got another Masters degree in Bank Administration from Harvard University. Shakir also cleared the CSS exam; a highly competitive exam for Pakistani Civil Services. For nine years Shakir was associated with the teaching profession and then joined the Customs Department as a Civil Servant. She also worked as a second secretary, CBR Islamabad.
It was while she was a college student, Shakir was asked to write a poem on Defense Day; although she did struggle to compose her first poem, her efforts were appreciated. Shakir too found the experience stimulating and thus began her long lustrous journey. Her father was against her composing poems as he thought that she will not be able to concentrate on her studies but nothing could control her new found passion for poetry. Shakir sent two of her poems to Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi a noted poet who not only published them in the digest “Faoon” but also encouraged her; later he was to become her mentor.
Shakir’s biggest contribution is that she added soft feminine touch to the Urdu poetry. Her poems contain a clear feminine tone and the grammatical feminine gender is used throughout her poetry; something even the poetesses before her and of her era could not do. The word “larki” (girl) has consistently and beautifully been used by Shakir as well. The profuse use of metaphors and similes is yet another unique quality of Shakir’s poetry; the metaphors have been so beautifully blended that the reader cannot resist being mesmerized by its beauty and intelligence. Her style could be simple or ornate or even literary depending upon her mood. Parveen Shakir’s published work consists of six books of poetry and one book of prose. This exceptionally talented lady died in a car accident on 26th December, 1994 leaving the world of Urdu poetry poor.