International Poet Profile
Muhammad Shanazar was asked to tell us about himself,
his writing inspirations, his country, and a little
about the education systems in his country.
Name: Muhammad Shanazar
Age: 42 years
Education: M.A in English literature from the University
Writing Experience: Started writing poetry in 1998
Hobbies: Writing poetry
Poetry Style: Philosophical
I remember that my younger brother and I were given a pair
of slippers that we used to wear alternately between going
to and coming back from school on hot afternoons.
I always remained at the back of the over-crowded classes
to avoid the coercion exercised by the teachers upon the children.
Early age/Schooling: I was born into a poverty stricken family
in a village, Sahib, Sub Division Gujarkhan District Rawalpindi,
on November 25, 1960. I was brought up in a pastoral atmosphere
very close to nature. I can clearly recall the days of my
infancy, finding around the dunghills, the cattle and ricks
of fodder, I formed the opinion that it is the whole world
where I came to live in.
We lived in a house made of stone and mud, but well maintained
by my mother. My parents were going through very hard times
when I was first sent to the local school bare foot with a
wooden slate in my hands and a heavy satchel on my back. I
remember my younger brother and I were given a pair of slippers
that we used to wear alternately on going and coming back
from school on hot afternoons. I always remained at the back
of the over-crowded classes to avoid the coercion exercised
by the teachers upon the children.
My father served in the Pakistan Army. He often told us that
he was recruited by the colonial rulers when he was only 10
years old. On the day he was recruited, he wore only a shirt
given by someone from the neighborhood to him as an orphaned
The weeping and wailing of the women during my early childhood
upon the frequent murders in the vicinity stunned me into
a state of frenzy.
However, I enjoyed myself during this visionary period playing
in the yards surrounded by the low walls with the vivacious
friends whom the callous tides of the time had separated from
Higher Education: Constant work changed financial conditions
and my parents took more and more interest in my education.
I passed my SSC Examination from Mandra, the Government High
School, and my Intermediate from Government Hashmat Ali Islamia
College in Rawalpindi, graduation from Gordon College in Rawalpindi,
and an M.A in English literature from the University of Punjab.
After education: Post graduation I served three years as
constable in the Police Department. I found it uncongenial
to my temperament and decided that I had to leave it behind
me. Luckily, I came upon an opportunity from the Department
of Education (Technical Wing) to render my services as a lecturer
in English language and literature. After holding this position
for seventeen years, I have recently been promoted to Assistant
Professor, now serving in the Government Institute of Commerce
Severe Shocks: I was severely shocked at the deaths of my
parents. My father was murdered in 1990 and my mother died
in a road accident in 1996.
Poetic Career: Since my childhood, poetry has been touching
my heart. I felt soothed listening to songs when they were
telecast. Injustice and violence, even to the animals and
plants, always perturbed me. I started seriously writing poetry
with specific philosophy behind it in 1998. I chose English
for expressing the voice of conscience. I am an optimist regarding
the results and objectives to be obtained through poetic endeavor.
The prime objective I am working for is to make humanity aware
that "A single drop of human blood possesses more worth
than all treasures the Earth contains".
Literature to create awareness among individuals, as well
as nations, to protect the world, its resources, its beauties
and spheres for the coming generations is the noblest deed
I exhort the intellectual leaders to work on uni-direction;
it is no time to concentrate on the romantic, amorous feelings
or existence of love when human life is under the shadow of
missiles, nuclear and chemical flying weapons.
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, "Giving
posterity to the good men is much better than hoarding gold
and wealth, the cause of disruption."
So far I have written more than one hundred poems of a high
intellectual level. I have also written poems on mind baffling
realities, regarding man's links with the extraterrestrial
world, the secret working hands, the workings of the human
soul, and the perception of the human mind. My poems contain
enough material for the psychological study of human existence.
I concentrate only on the quality of my work and I am hopeful
for a bright future.
The Government of Pakistan's Ministry of Education recently
commended me for promoting children's literature in Pakistan.
I have published a children's book called "Gems".
Education in Pakistan: Our educational system is still passing
through a series of experiments. We blindly borrow and then
follow the ecucation systems and reading materials of other
countries that are alien compared to our environment.
We can divide our society into following sects:
1. The Heavenly Sect sends their children abroad to the highly
sophisticated institutions for schooling. They have nothing
to do with the affairs of the common men; they come to rule
the country and leave when they are out of the rule. They
keep their money in foreign banks.
2. Well-to-do or Prosperous sect sends their children to
the institutions well organized by the private sectors.
3. Moderate Sect sends their children to the institutions
with average level functioning.
4. The Poor Sect contains the men and women of the society
working for daily wages; teachers, civil servants or laborers.
They send their children to the institutions run by the government,
where there is a lack of teaching staff, insufficient equipment
and a sub-standard teaching and learning environment. These
children are under-fed and overburdened by the home assignments
from the school teachers. Mostly the students are spoiled
or at least they do not reach the level that their natural
5. The Poverty Stricken Sect of the society has nothing to
do with education or any changes taking place around the world.
They send their children to workshops or hotels to work, or
they have them busy collecting salvageable items from the
heaps of garbage. To rescue them from such a quagmire is a
great challenge for people possessing humanitarian hearts.
English in Pakistan: As far as English in Pakistan is concerned,
the students as well as parents have the craze to learn the
language but inexperienced teachers hinder them from learning
the language correctly. This inexperience will also mar their
performance at the college level. Very few students as well
as teachers can speak in a coherent manner. English is taught
through a bi-lingual grammar translation method and more stress
at the school level is laid upon reading and writing; speaking
and listening are mercilessly ignored.
Article written by : Muhammad Shanazar
Edited by: Melyssa Sprott
"On The Night", A Poem by Muhammad Shanazar
The beauteous bride dressed in black,
Whose fair forehead is adorned,
With a huge round piece of gold,
Glowing galaxies are fretted,
In the combed lustrous dark hair.
Always comes out after the sunset,
Walks behind the groom of day,
With modest gait, blushed shy face,
Exposing what revealing light conceals,
But hides the frail deeds of humanity.
Muhammad Shanazar, Kahuta, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.