Muhammad Shanazar: Pride of Pakistan
In recent times no Pakistani poet has brought laurels to the country as Muhammad Shanazar. While the past year has propelled him to even greater heights of fame as he has been honored with several awards and titles from across the globe. And the year 2017 is proving to be no less; as today he was awarded the prestigious ‘Pride of Pakistan’ by the Government of Punjab in recognition of his life time services in the English language and for projecting a positive image of Pakistan internationally, through his poetry. It was presented to him by Punjab Education Minister; Rana Mashood at the Rawalpindi Arts Council.
Also he will soon be receiving the ‘Bronze Medal for Culture’ (special edition) from the World Parliament of Literature, ‘the World Union of Poets, Italy’ for embodying and highlighting Pakistani culture in his poems.
The Journey of Muhammad Shanazar
Muhammad Shanazar was born in Rawalpindi on 25th November, 1960. Since childhood he was sensitive, compassionate, had a great love for nature and was a keen observer. He was also very much interested in learning the English language, which ultimately lead to his pursuing an M.A in English Literature from the University of Punjab. He has taught English Language and Literature from (1986-2009) at the Government College of Commerce at Kahuta, and is currently the deputy Director of Commerce Colleges, Rawalpindi.
He seriously began writing poetry in 1998 and to date he has written more than 400 poems. In 2002, he joined Voices Network (which is an internet based writing community in the US that had started out that same year). For a decade he has served as a judge in the international poetry competitions that they have held, critiquing nearly 200,000 poems. His own poems have been exhibited on numerous websites, and published in various world anthologies, for which he has received immense appreciation, specifically from his peers.
His poetry encompasses all the universal issues that are being faced by human beings in the world. Yet his core message is to make people realize the value of human life, specifically by avoiding war and bloodshed at all costs as well to protect the Earth. He says:
There is no greater responsibility for the men of literature than to work for the collective cause irrespective of caste, creed or color. I am of the firm belief that behind all major changes and revolutions there have been the functioning of the greater minds; if it is so, let us then use the force of our powerful pens to make the world understand that
The Works of Muhammad Shanazar
To date he has written 3 books which are:
- ‘Gems’ which consisted of 15 nursery rhymes for children.
- ‘The Cold Stars’ which comprised of 50 poems about childhood recollections was published in 2000.
- ‘The Dance of Darkness’ which included 250 poems dealing with themes such as war, exploitation of humans as well as degeneration of social and cultural traditions, was published in 2014.
He is currently working on:
- ‘Tears of History’ which will consist of a 100 poems.
- ‘Voyages and Visions’ which is an account of his spiritual experiences.
- ‘A Tuft of Poems’ which is a compilation of 150 translated poems of Pakistani poets.
- ‘Burning Roses’ which will consist of 140 translated poems of Ronaq Hayat.
- ‘The Coin of Death’ which will comprise of 70 translated poems of Shazia Akbar.
They are all expected to be published by this year. To him poetry is:
An expression of heart piercing thoughts combined with the emotions flowing from the Greater Mind to the Receptive Mind when both function at a certain indescribable fleeting frequency. The Receptive Mind works wonders performing the task of centuries during these ephemeral moments revealing the curtained truths of the time and place in which Man exists
Translations by Muhammad Shanazar
He has translated over a 1000 poems by contemporary poets on various themes specifically peace, from Urdu, Punjabi and Pothwari into English. These include:
- 60 poems of Dr. Jawaz Jafery entitled ‘Wrist in the Clutches of Death’ for which he was awarded ‘Frang Bardhi Literary Prize 2012’
- 73 poems by Fakhira Batool entitled ‘The Alien Eyes’ for which she received both ‘The International Best Poet 2013’ by IPTRC and the ‘Frang Bardhi Literary Prize 2014’.
- 65 poems of Jagdish Prakash, entitled ‘A Tempest in Silence’ for which he was considered ‘The International Best Poet 2013’ by International Poetry Translation and Research Center China and ‘World Icon of Peace’ by World Institute for Peace Nigeria.
- 142 poems of Ayub Khawar, entitled ‘Symphony and Other Poems’ which earned him ‘Cross for Peace’ by World Union of Poets Italy and ‘World Icon of Peace’ by World Institute for Peace, Nigeria
- 50 poems by Amar Tufail (a UK based poet) entitled ‘Snowy Sunlight’.
He has also translated 14 fictional stories by Farheen Chaudary, which have been published by the name of ‘Sugar Coated’.
Awards Received by Muhammad Shanazar
He has received many awards from all over the world in recognition of his work. They are as follows:
- The National Book Foundation, Pakistan awarded him for “Promotion in Children Literature”.
- In 2004 Voices Network, honored him with their biggest title ‘The Poet in Residence’.
- In 2012, the International Best Translator award by International Poetry Translation and Research Centre, China and ‘The Best Poet’ by The World Poetry Movement, U.S.A.
- In 2015, the ‘Naji Naaman’s Literary Prize’ and ‘Poet of the Month’ (July 2015) by the (World Wide Web).
- He was declared ‘Poet of The World’ by Margutte Italy.
- In 2016, World Union of Poets awarded him the ‘Cross for Peace Award’ (which is a lifetime achievement award given to those who have made considerable efforts for world peace through poetry).
- On 22nd May 2016, he was declared ‘The Poet of Universal Inspiration’ at the world renowned ‘Pentasi B World Poetry Festival in Accra’. It was awarded to him jointly by the Anglican Church in Accra, Ghana and the Government of Ghana.
- The World Union of Poets, Italy have awarded him the following a) Cross for Literature b) Platinum Cross of Coordinators c) Ambassador in the World d) Star of the World.
- On 16th November 2016, he was designated as ‘World Icon of Peace’ by World Institute for Peace, Nigeria.
International Standings of Muhammad Shanazar
He has been acknowledged by many global institutes and accredited with various titles:
- In July 2011, 22nd World Congress of Poets, at Greece included him in United Poets Laureate International.
- Member Board of Directors of Galaktika Poetike ATUNIS, Albania.
- President of the Jury of the Frang Bardhi Prize 2013.
- Member of the ‘International Writers and Artists Association’ U.S.A.
- Member of International Poetry Translation and Research Centre, China
- Considered as an ‘International Contemporary Poet’ by the World Society of Poets.
- President of the Pakistan chapter of The World Union of Writers for Culture, Ecology and Peace.
- A member of the jury for World Union of Poets Prize 2016.
- The Extraordinary Ambassador for Gratis Culture of Naji Naaman Foudation, Lebanon.
- Instituto Educando Brazil conferred upon him honorary Ph.D in Peace and Humanitarian Education.
- World Parliament of Literature, Italy elected him as President of the House of Writers 2016-2017.
- World Institute for Peace appointed him as the Secretary General.
- World Union of Poets, Italy, nominated him Deputy President.
It is indeed an honor to have such a poet in our country. It is imperative that his works should be included in the national curriculum at college and university level, so that the youth may feel proud and be inspired!