There is an undeniable connection and history that we still share with Britain and it’s monarchy. From the different ways they shaped the subcontinent while they reigned here right down to the railways and telecom infrastructure that we still use to this day; we cannot erase their significance from our past.
Now, the monarchy is nothing like it was even just a few decades ago. They no longer keep to themselves but rather take an active part in the public sphere and interact with their subjects. Now, for the first time in history, a Scottish-Pakistani Muslim poet by the name of imtiaz Dharker will be the first Asian, Pakistani or Muslim to fill in the prestigious role of the Queen’s Poet Laureate. A role which has been around for 350 years.
As per the Daily Mail, Dharker will be the second woman in history to hold the position just as Carol Anne Duffy’s 10 year reign ends today, the 30th of April, 2019. The former Laureate has only good words to say about Dharker who also won the Queen’s Gold Medal in Poetry back in 2014. “Reading her, one feels that were there to be a world laureate, Imtiaz Dharker would be the only candidate,” stated Duffy.
“Whether Imtiaz Dharker writes of exile, childhood, politics or grief, her clear-eyed attention brings each subject dazzlingly into focus. She makes it look easy, this clarity and economy, but it is her deft phrasing, wit and grace that create this immediacy,” she added.
Born in Lahore to conservative parents, 65 year old Dharker soon moved to Glasgow early in her childhood and is known for her work on topics such as identity, culture, gender and even feminism. Her work has even appeared in GCSE O and A level syllabuses, and she gives a poetry recital to about 25,000 students each year. Her first collection of poems was titled ‘Purdah’, which speaks of the religious practice of keeping a distance between men and women.
She is known to have labelled herself as a “Cultural Mongrel when in 2015 she said, “I am a Pakistani Scottish Calvinist Muslim, adopted by India and married into Wales. Don’t try to put me in a box. I’m a cultural mongrel.”
As per the official announcement by the culture department, the decision for the final appointment has not yet been made as it is the Queen of England who makes the final call. Other strong contenders for the role after Dharker include poets Benjamin Zephaniah, Lemn Sissay and Patience Agbabi. The role will require her to commemorate certain important life events of the Royal Family.