Pyarelal Shakir was the maternal grandfather Meena Kumari, the famous "tragedy queen" of bollywood world, and has been acknowledged as the first Urdu journalist of the Indian subcontinent. Mr. Shanommagon (India) writing about Meena Kumari states in Behind the Curtains - Bollywood that Pyarelal Shakir married Sundri Devi, Meena Kumairi's maternal grandmother, after the death of her first husband. However, for our purposes, here, his following observations are more noteworthy: "Pyarelal is knows (sic) as the first Urdu journalist of the Indian sub-continent, and it is interesting to note that the first Urdu journalist was a Christian (emphasis supplied). In Urdu literature, he is known as Pyarelal Merathi, as he hailed form Merath (Meerut). He as (sic) known as a revolutionary journalist and the periodical he published was described as rebellious".*
Pyarelal Shakir, was the son of a local evangelist of Asrapur Attari. Despite Shakir's towering figure as a linguist, writer, scholar of Urdu and Farsi (Persian), translator and poet, not much could be gleaned about his life story. Bishop W. G Young records: "It is said that his poetry was of the calibre of that of Iqbal".* Among the few facts known of his many literary services are his editorial activities. He edited several Urdu magazines, Toufa-e Sarhad ( تحفہ سرحد )(Banu), Sada-e Bashir (صداۓ بشیر ) (Gujrat), Adeeb (ادیب ) and Ala'sar ( العصر )(Allahabad). He published a long poem about the life and miracles of Lord Jesus entitled Shahzada (شہزادہ), . From the information available it seems very likely that he spent the last years of his life in Faiz Bazar of Delhi, India, and died in dire difficult financial circumstances. The Government of India had agreed to pay him some pension if recognition of his literary services. His song, Aj Roshan is jeha
n mein ik sitara ho gaya (آج روشن اس جہاں میں اک ستارہ ہو گیا ), is included in the Sialkot Convention Geet Ki Kitab (سیالکوٹ کنونشن گیت کتاب )***
** Referent here is Allama Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, the poet-heliosphere of Pakistan
***This book is still in publication and is widely used by Urdu speaking Christians world-wide.
© Akhtar Injeeli 31/01/2013