Thursday, January 20, 2022



The second edition of Asif Shafi’s Punjabi poetry collection ‘Payar Sazawan’ was published recently.
The well-known Qatar-based writer’s book has been published by Saad Publications, Lahore. First published in the year 2000, the collection includes mainly ghazals and nazms. The second edition has been published with some additions owing to popular demand of Punjabi poetry lovers.
Shafi, who is a planning engineer by profession, brought out his first book of critical essays at the age of 24. He considers engineering as his profession and poetry as his passion.
Shafi received his basic education at his ancestral town Dharanawala in District Bahawalnagar. He passed his Higher Secondary School Certificate from Government College, Chistian and then joined the prestigious University of Engineering Technology (UET), Lahore, from where he graduated as a mechanical engineer in 1997.
He started his professional career with Petrochemical Industries, Faisalabad where he worked for more than eight years. Before moving to Qatar, he worked in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
“I started participating in poetry competitions while I was still in school. Reciting the verses of ‘Poet of the East’ Dr Mohammad Iqbal in the competitions was an exciting experience. In this way, I remembered hundreds of verses of Iqbal by heart. The rhythm and power of expression in Iqbal’s poetry always attracted me. When I got admission in UET Lahore, I joined the literary society and got the opportunity to meet literary stalwarts like Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, Munir Niazi, Shehzad Ahmed, Khurshid Rizvi, Khawaja Muhammad Zakariya among many other prominent poets. This era in 1994 was the start of my literary journey,” said Shafi, about his motivation towards literature.
About his other books, Shafi said: “My first book was published in 1997 during the last year of my studies at the university. This book included my critical essays on famous Urdu poet Saadullah Shah. The book was acknowledged by the great poet late Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi. Dr Zahid Munir Amir and Jameel Ahmed Adeel contributed essays for the book.
“This book came as a surprise to literary circles as it was written by a 24-year-old poet. During the same period, my university mate, Naveed Sadiq and I jointly published a book titled ‘Pehli Dhoop’ comprising works of UET students including myself. The contents of the books were well appreciated in literary circles in Pakistan.
“My first poetry book ‘Zara Jo Tum Thahar Jatay’ comprising ghazals and nazms was published in 1998 just as I completed my studies. Late Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi wrote appreciation flap while detailed reviews were written by prominent poetess Shahida Hassan, Saadullah Shah and Idrees Babur.
“Three editions of the book have been published so far. My nazms ‘Kabhi Waqt Milay Tu Aa Jao’ and ‘Sadiun Say Ajnabi’ won hearts of young readers.”
“My second poetry book ‘Teray Humrah Chalna Hai’ hit the stands in 2000. The flap was written by Amjad Islam Amjad while critical essay was written by Khalid Aleem. The second edition of this book was published in 2017. My third poetry collection ‘Koi Phool Dil Main Khila Nahi’ was published in 2003. It included appreciation by Shehzad Ahmed. After a long gap of 13 years, my fourth Urdu poetry book ‘Juda Hona Hee Parta Hai was published in July 2016. Its launch ceremony was organised in Qatar by Anjuman Muhibban-e-Urdu.
“My Punjabi language poetry book ‘Payar Sazawan’ was published in 2000. Following the request of my publisher, I published a book of my select poetry titled ‘Kabhi Waqt Milay Tu Aa Jao’ in 2014. Professor Saleem Ahmed Siddiqui published a book in English titled ‘Stranger for Centuries’ comprising translation of my selected poetry in 2011.”
Mohammad Ahmed Shakir, a student of Urdu Department at Sargodha University, has paid tributes to Shafi by writing his M.Phil research thesis on his literary contributions. Shakir penned his thesis entitled ‘Asif Shafi – His personality and poetry’ under the supervision of Prof Sardar Ali Javed.
Earlier, Fauzia Rasheed, a student of Government College University Faisalabad, wrote her M.Phil thesis on the poetry of Shafi and Azam Jamshed, a student of Minhaj University, Lahore, wrote his thesis titled ‘A critical and research overview of Asif Shafi’s poetry.’
Pakistan’s leading Urdu newspapers have given wide coverage to students writing their research papers on the life and works of Shafi.
In October 2018, Pakistan’s Urdu magazine Zarbaft dedicated its 212-page special edition to the literary achievements of Shafi. The special edition of the magazine was published by Faiz Academy, Narowal, Pakistan and encompassed Shafi’s select works and articles written by men of letters on Shafi. Zarbaft is published simultaneously from Lahore and Narowal.
Shafi, who writes ghazals, has been appreciated by legendary literary stalwarts like Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, Shehzad Ahmed, Khawaja Muhammad Zikriya, Amjad Islam Amjad, Dr Saleem Akhter, Shahida Hassan, Saadullah Shah, Idrees Babar, Prof Ali Ahmed Fatmi and Khalid Aleem.
Shafi’s ghazals have been sung by famous Bollywood singers like Peenaz Masani, Vaishali Samant, Pooja Gaitonde and Rafique Sheikh. The album of his ghazals has been named after his book ‘Kabhi Waq Miley To Aa Jao’ and recorded at Buzz In Recording Studio, Vile Parlew East, Mumbai, India.