‘I work in US but live in Pakistan’ Physician-turned poet Ijaz Shafi’s maiden book launched

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Zubair Qureshi

Friends, critics, and family members on Monday turned up at the house of Parveen Qadir Agha Chairperson of Parveen Shakir Trust to welcome and celebrate maiden poetry collection titled “Dil Ki Awaz” by eminent eye-surgeon of Pakistan working in the United States Dr Ijaz Shafi.
The 150-page book describes various stages of evolution in the poetic journey of Dr Ijaz Shafi who was born in Gujrat, educated at Lahore’s prestigious institutions—Central Model High School, Government College and King Edward Medical College—married in Pakistan to Nilofar also a doctor and after a brief practice in Pakistan’s leading hospitals headed left for the West for higher education and settled there. He is currently living in Farmington, Connecticut, US.
His words ‘Though I worked in the United States all these years yet lived in Pakistan’ give a great deal of understanding about his poetic journey and conviction.
Critics Dr Safiya Ebad, Muneer Fayaz and Khursheed Rabbani on the occasion read out papers about Dr Ijaz’ poetry and discussed underlying tones of nostalgia, rich poetic traditions he has learned and followed, his treatment of subject matter and command of Urdu despite the fact he belonged to completely a different field.
Dr Ijaz Shafi while thanking the guests said living away from his ancestral land had developed a sort of nostalgia and he found solace in poetry (both reading and writing).
While conducting the book-launch session, Fazeelat Hussain, a poet and critic in her own right quoted Amjad Islam Amjad in whose words: “Ijaz Shafi’s poetry has the spark that compels the reader to identify himself/herself with the poet. It is not easy to get recognition as a poet particularly in Urdu poetry that is already rich in great names but it goes to the credit of Ijaz Shafi who has not only made inroads into this realm but done so with his maiden book.”
Dr Ijaz Shafi expressed his gratitude to acclaimed story writer of Pakistan and former MD of the National Book Foundation Mazharul Islam without whose endeavors and guidance the book would not have seen light of the day. He also paid tributes to efforts of Parveen Qadir Agha in this regard.
The poet has dedicated his book to former Senate Secretary Agha Afzaal Hussain and has termed his school and college days and life-long association with Urdu literature as the main motivation behind writing.
Published by Parveen Shakir Trust “Dil Ki Awaz” is available at bookstalls against Rs600 only.

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