Poets

Kanwal, Ms. Asnath

Asnath Kanwal, a well-known poetess, columnist and short-story writer hails from Lahore, Pakistan. She is a family lady but this has not overshadowed her long and significant contributions to the world of Urdu literature. In addition to being a graduate of the Punjab University, she also hold Urdu Faazal Diploma, and a diploma of Bible Seminary Training from F.G.A. Bible College Lahore. She regards Dr. Kanwal Feroze as her mentor and teacher in literary matters. She has thus far published three books, Paniyun Ka Phool (poetry 2003), Khawab aur Inqlab (collection of published columns 2005), and Intizar, (collection of short stories (fiction ) 2009). Another two books, in the various stages of publication are,  Ankh Mein Pani Rahney Dey (poetry), and Zairay Daam (fiction).

Her articles and poetry often find place in countrywide and internationally renowned magazines such as, Muasar, Mah-e-Nau, Shadab, Humsukhan, Sanjan, Tadeeb, Nikhar, Zindaghi (Magazine Daily Pakistan), Shairy, Belag, Rang-e-Adab, Sanghat, Duniya-e-Adab, Adbiyat, Sayyara Digest, Sad Rang, Women Times, Zar-Nigahr, Qirtas, Muskarahat and Nala-e Dil. She has nearly a dozen awards and honours to her name: I. D. Shahbaz Award, from Pakistan Christian Writers' Guild, Qateel Shaffai Society Award, Shadu-Wunren Award form Human Rights International, Literary Forum ADRAAK Award, Adab Saywa Award, Naulakha Church Writers Award, Taq Kashmiri Award, form LDBE, and Ex. General Secretary (Central) Pakistan Christian Writer's Guild. Asnath Kanwal has contributed quality material to Urdu literature and her columns have lead many to think and ask difficult questions. Yet as a writer she continues to challenge the intellectual elite while at the same time providing beautiful poetry for sensitive hearts.

Bhatti, Munir (b.1964)

Munir Bhatti is a unique Christian poet who has probably written the largest number of contemporary Christian songs.
 
He first came to public view in 1985 when he started contributing in the magazine Aftab-e-Sedaqat. He went on to produce fifty-eight audio cassettes. Bhatti then joined ROMA cassette ministry in 1986, and has since successfully released another12 volumes.
 
In the eastern tradition of life-long gratitude extended to one's teachers, Munir Bhatti always wishes it to be known that his teachers were B M Yad, and Pervaiz Paras. Though, himself a man of letters with mastery of words written to create devotion the Lord Jesus, Bhatti is known to the Urdu and Punjabi speaking Christian masses for his popular songs, which are too many to be listed here. His most popular religious songs according to one of his fans are: Zindgi Ka Darya, Saleeb Kay Sa'aye Talay, Yassoo Tujehay Salam, Yassoo Zinda ho Gaya, Peyar Ka Saggar and Christian Qawali, Hallelujah.
 
Bhatti also has the honour of being a Christian poet whose poetry is sung by notable Christian as well as non-Christian singers including, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Anwar Raffi, Ghulam Abbas, Perviaz Shan and Ernest Mall.
 
He is worthy but a humble recipient of several awards: Qaid-e-Azam Gold Award, Husn-e-Kar Kardigee Award, Bishop John Joseph Award, Gethsemane Award and Christian Talent Award.The latest addition to his growing list of honours was the awarding of Certificate of Merit presented to him by the Bright Future Society. The certificate was presented to him in Lahore by the UK's Lord Mayor Nazir Ahmad, who visited Pakistan in the May of 2010.

Shahbaz, Younis (b. 1949)

A contemporary scholar whose pen easily and quite successfully spans the complexities of four major languages, Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi and English, Mr. Younis Shabaz has made his mark among the Urdu speaking Christian community by writing popular religious songs. His songs are an eloquent proof of his command over the language that he writes: in Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi. He has also become iconic for his work with the Christian Broadcasting Association (CBA). Three of his plays, Paras, Nia Qdam and Zahoor-e- Zindigi have been televised from Pakistan Television (PTV), Lahore, Pakistan.
 
 Younis Shahbaz also has to his enduring credit the honour of being the chief-patron for the magazine, Cornerstone. This prolific play-writer, poet and translator of several religious books, hails from the city of Sialkot, a city known for producing scholars and poets of the highest calibre. With Masters degrees in English and Punjabi, and a life-time commitment to advancing the cause of Christian Urdu literature, Younis Shahbaz is a name to be followed for may years to come.

Feroze, Dr. Kanwal

Dr. K. Feroze is a renowned poet, writer and journalist of Pakistan who is credited with being the author of four poetry books: "Shehar-e-Saleeb-o-Gul" (1967), "Shakh-e-Shab-e-Wisaal" (1992), "Sham-e-Firat-e-Dil" (2002) and "Shafaq-e-Subh-e-Ghazal" (2009).

Although his poetry has won him great fame and honour in the elite scholarly and literary circles of Pakistan, his real popularity among the common Urdu readers of Pakistan, and espacially among those belonging to the minorities, is due to his socio-political and literary magazine, "Shadab", which he founded and has edited since 1969.

Dr. Kanwal Feroze is the recipient of several major awards and prizes. The latest and most important of these prizes is "Tamgha-e-Imtiaz" (President's Medal of Excellence), bestowed upon him by the Government of Pakistan in 2009.

Shahbaz, Dr. Imam-ud-Deen (1845 - 1921)

Padri Imam-ud-Deen Shahbaz, popularly known as ID Shahbaz,  was born in 1845 in a small village Zafarwal near Narowal (now in Pakistan). He was born in a muslim family and was attracted to the message of Christianity from the tender age of about ten years. As an adult he joined the 
Church Missionary Society (Anglican Church) School in Amratsar, India,  as a teacher, and it was here that he was baptized by Padri Robert Clark in 1866. Between 1866 and 1875 he taught in various schools and then worked as an evengalist bwteen 1875 and 1880.  In 1880 the United Presbytarian (UP) Church announced a poetry compititon in the magazine, Noor Afshan. Many scholars and linguists took part in it, but ID Shahabz was delared the winner and was invited to help the Church with the work of translating the Psalms into Punjabi language. This turned out to be landmark moment of his life and this oppurtunity became his lifelong passion and a source of untold blessing to the millions of Urdu/Pujabi speaking Christians. He was trusted with the responisiblility of nurturering the UP Church in Gurdaspur.
 
His lasting contribution to Christianity in the Sub-continent was his poetic rendition of Psalms into Punjabi. In the later part of his life, his eyesight gradually failed  until around 1908 he became  virtually (according to some sources completley) blind. However, his efforts did not stop with this misfortune. With the help of another Christian minister, Babu Sadiq Masih, who used to read the Psalms for him, ID Shahbaz continued rendering them into Punjabi and setting them to tunes.  This monumental contribution to the Christian worship was appreciated around the world and ID Shahbaz was presented with the prestigious award, Doctor of Divinity (DD) by an American University. 
 
ID Shahbaz was also one of the founders of the Sailkot Convention. He served as a teacher and pastor for the Presbyterian Church, but the Punjabi Zabures, which he translated and set to tunes, are sung by Christians of all denominations throughout Pakistan and India, indeed everywhere where Urdu or Punjabi Christians congregate  to worship their Lord. 
 
DR. ID Shahbaz died in Bulwal District Sargodha in 1921.

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