Alamgir Hashmi

Ivor Griffiths, Poet, Novelist & Short Story Writer

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Alamgir Hashmi

Alamgir Hashmi (Urdu: عالمگیر ہاشمی) (also known as Aurangzeb Alamgir Hashmi) (born November 15, 1951) is a major English poet of Pakistani origin in the latter half of the 20th century. Considered avant-garde, both his early and later works were published to universal critical acclaim and widespread influence. His was a remarkable new voice since the 1970s; each of his successive books attested to an expanding world of cultural discernment and harmony, which he created in poems of peerless beauty.

As a practicing transnational humanist and educator in North American, European and Asian universities, he wrote and taught from a unique vantage. His contributions to literary theory, literary criticism, historiography and cultural studies had a far-reaching impact as several disciplines began to be remade in the 1980s. As a result, curriculum and pedagogy underwent substantial changes, so that a paradigm shift was clearly in view. However, its full significance was not to be realized until a couple of decades later, through the period of globalization, in a world where fast communication still had to find the means to meet the twin challenge of ignorance and mis-understanding partly caused by knowledge. Hashmi had begun to deal with such (what then appeared, or as he termed, hypothetical) questions a quarter century earlier than anyone else, offering sharp canonical analysis and effectively arguing for a "comparative" aesthetic to foster humane cultural norms. He showed new paths of reading the classical and modern texts, and also emphasized upon the sublime nature, position and pleasures of language arts to be shared when these were being reduced to social or professional utilities. Alongside his scholarly books and articles in journals, his series of lectures and essays (like "Modern Letters") in the general press (print as well as radio and television) also drew interest both for the originality of their content and their lucid prose.

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