Omer Tarin

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Omer Tarin (also Omar Tarin and Omer Tareen)
Omer khan tarin 2015.jpg
Omer Salim Khan

(1967-03-10) 10 March 1967 (age 52)
Peshawar, Pakistan
OccupationPoet, writer, scholar, Qadiriyya-Chishtiyya-Nizamiyya sufi[1]

Omer Tarin (real name: Omer Salim Khan),[2] FRAS, FRPA, etc.; born 10 March 1967,[3] is a Pakistani poet, research scholar, social activist and mystic.[4] In some editions of his works, the name is written as Omar Tarin.


Tarin was born in Peshawar city, in 1967 to the Tarin (or Tareen) family, or clan, of Talokar (village),[5] of the Hazara region of the North-West Frontier (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), while his father was posted as a senior civil servant and administrator in Peshawar.[6] From his maternal side, he is related to the Hayat family of Wah, as well as the Hakim Khana family of Lahore, Punjab.[7][8] He was educated at the Burn Hall School (now Army Burn Hall College), Abbottabad and the Aitchison College, Pakistan, prior to graduating from the University of the Punjab, Lahore.[9] He later obtained various higher degrees in English and Post-colonial Studies from Pakistan and abroad.[10]


After a short time in the civil service of Pakistan, Tarin resigned to become a full-time university lecturer and research scholar and involved himself in literary and academic pursuits.[11] He has published five volumes of poetry in English so far, widely reviewed in Pakistan and abroad, as well as several poems published in anthologies and collections worldwide.[12][13] His volumes of poetry are : A Sad Piper (1994; 1996 UK),[14]The Anvil of Dreams (1995),[15] Burnt Offerings (1996, 1997) and Riverbeds Flowing[16] and The Harvest of Love Songs (1997, 2000; and UK ed 2003). Since 2005, he has not published any new volumes of poetry although he has been publishing poems independently from time to time.[17][18][19] In recent years, he has also been involved in various literary and historical projects of an academic nature, chiefly focussing on the colonial history of South Asia,[20][21] in particular North-Western Pakistan. Recent academic publications include works on military history/campaigns on the Frontier[22] and some work on Rudyard Kipling and Kipling's India.[23] A number of these works are available or referenced online, and were published in the Kipling Journal,[24][25] UK and the Journal of the Indian Military Historical Society, also the UK. He has diverse academic and literary interests and is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, UK, The Tolkien Society (UK), associate of the Kipling Society, and the former Indian Military Historical Society (IMHS).[26][27]

In addition to his literary and academic interests, Omer Tarin has also long been involved in social activism, especially in relation to environmental, forests and wildlife conservation, in the Hazara, Pakistan area.[28] He also makes comments on various aspects of global politics, human rights and environmental issues in the media, from time to time.[29][30] He also ran a research and higher education institute in Northern Pakistan from 2008 to 2015.[31][32]

Hazara hills and forests near Abbottabad

In addition, he had also in the past established a private library for research students and scholars in a wing of his home[33] and also donated a sizable collection to the National Archives of Pakistan and the University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.[34]

Since 2008, Tarin has mostly been managing his properties in several parts of Pakistan.[35]


Omer Tarin's poetry holds a notable place in Pakistani poetry in English.[36] It has a certain erudite grace, a universal, humanitarian quality and passionate involvement that raises it above the general run of much of the work recently published in Pakistan and South Asia, generally.[37][38] It seems to be deeply influenced by the mystic, transcendental tradition of the great Sufi and Bhakti poets of the South Asian subcontinent,[39] such as Baba Farid 'Ganj Shakar',[40] Baba Bulleh Shah, Amir Khusrow, Rahman Baba, Kabir Das and even Guru Nanak,[41] in addition to that of the classical Sufi poets and writers of Islam such as Rumi, Hafiz, Saadi and Attar[42][43] —in terms of its essential lyricism, its engagement with 'human' issues, problems and challenges; as well as in the experimentation with form and content, in ways that have certainly not been attempted by other poets here today.[44] He has also a fascination with Japan and Japanese Culture and esoteric, or meditative practices, which find reflection in his works.[45] In the words of Tariq Rahman, a noted Pakistani scholar and literary critic, "a certain force of vitality" and creative 'intensity' is to be found in Tarin's writings that unveils the depths of the poet's knowledge, wisdom and deep understanding of the cultural heritage of his own society as well as Western and other world literary-symbolic traditions.[46] One of Tarin's early poetic mentors, to whom he owes a great deal and to whom he himself paid tribute, was the late Taufiq Rafat, one of the pioneers of English poetry in Pakistan/South Asia,[47] an important scholar of Punjabi Sufic poetry in his own right.[48] His indelible influence is quite manifest in Tarin's own poetical development.[49]

Tarin's poetry reflects certain basic, recurring qualities such as a broad, universal humanity; a mystical regard for nature, life and the universe;[50][51] a sense of the frailty of human existence and a continued concern with the central issues of life/death and immortality;[52] which also inform his style, and the system of symbolism and images that consequently arises from this, via which " patterns emerge in our perception of the world, of creation, of ourselves and our motivations".[53]


Tarin's major publications include:[54]

  • A Sad Piper: Poems (1994 first edition) ISBN 969-8127-03-8
  • The Anvil of Dreams: Poems (1995) ISBN 969-8127-04-6
  • Burnt Offerings, Poems (1996) ISBN 969-8127-07-0
  • The Harvest Season of Love Songs: Poems (1997) ISBN 969-8127-11-9
  • Riverbeds Flowing: Poems (1999; reprint 2009)
  • Sepoys and Sowars: Historical Essays (2000) ISBN 969-814-01-07
  • Selected Shorter Essays (2011) ISBN 978-1-105-15532-1
  • From Hill and Plain: Selected Short Stories (2011) ISBN 978-1-105-18623-3

See also[edit]


  1. ^ According to Tarin he also trained with the Mevlevi Sufi Order, the Naqshbandis and also in the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism during the 1990s. See recent interview by Salma Rafiq, in 'Brilliant Writings' magazine, Lahore, Pakistan, December 2014
  2. ^ Apart from his pen-name, he is also known within Sufi contexts as 'Omer Nizami' or 'Omer Chishti-Nizami'
  3. ^ Astrological notes on celebrities: Omer Tarin
  4. ^ Site of the Ishq-Nuri Chishti-Nizami Tariqa of Pakistan, listing its main spiritual lineage Retrieved 28 November 2015
  5. ^ Note on Sepoy Sikandar Khan Tarin including mention of Omer Salim Khan/Omer Tarin Retrieved Woking Borough Council site, UK February 24th 2019
  6. ^ Biographical information in the Introduction to "A Sad Piper", Leo Books, Islamabad, 1994 edition ISBN 969-8127-03-8; and 2nd edition London, UK, 1995, p. vi
  7. ^ "Omer Tarin " ilyask2". 28 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  8. ^ Thus, from his paternal side he is a great-grandson of Khan sahib Abdul Majid Khan Tarin, OBE, and from his maternal side a great-grandson of Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan and famed writer Hakim Ahmad Shuja. See Ilyas K, Interview of Nov 2011 above
  9. ^ Luminita Karim, article on Omer Tarin in Weekly Poetry Review, in "The Muslim" daily, Islamabad, 28 October 1994, p. 18
  10. ^ Introduction, 'A Sad Piper', 1994
  11. ^ 'Brilliant writings' magazine interview, December 2014 issue
  12. ^ 'Brilliant writings' Dec 2014
  13. ^ Omer Tarin, a Sufic poem in Muse India No 73, May–June 2017
  14. ^ British Library Catalog entry retrieved April 2016
  15. ^ WORLDCAT catalog entry retrieved April 2016
  16. ^ Mahmood A. Khwaja (Autumn 1999). "Book Review, "The Poet as Spiritual Being: A Review of Omer Tarin's Burnt Offerings"". Sangat literary journal, Vol. 27, No. 3. pp. 21–24. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  17. ^ He has, however, recently brought out a small volume of prose writings, "Selected Shorter Essays", 2011. ISBN 978-1-105-15532-1; as well as a collection of short stories, "From Hill and Plain" ISBN 978-1-105-18623-3, as well as some other prose works
  18. ^ "Omar Tarin". Open Library. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  19. ^ 2016 poetry showcase 'Poets and Dreamers' magazine, USA
  20. ^ "News". Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  21. ^ Notes of Peter Oborne's book 'Wounded Tiger' (2014), referring to Omer Tarin Retrieved December 2015
  22. ^ For example, see the Acknowledgements to Tarin in Stuart Flinders' book Cult of a Dark Hero: John Nicholson of Delhi, pub: London, IB Tauris & Co, 2018. ISBN 9781788312363, p.xix
  23. ^ "The Kipling Society". Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  24. ^ For example, in Vol 84, No 339, December 2010, pp. 35–52; and Vol 82, No 327, June 2008, pp. 10–22
  25. ^ "Name Index". Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  26. ^ "Indian Military Historical Society". Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  27. ^ Reference to Omer Tarin's poem read at the Muslim Burial Ground and Peace Memorial annual commemoration, at Woking, Surrey, 15th July 2018. Retrieved online February 24th 2019
  28. ^ 'Brilliant writings' Dec 2014
  29. ^ "Americas | World reaction to Obama's 100 days". BBC News. 29 April 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  30. ^ Interview from 'Combustus' online literary and art magazine, Oregon, USA, September 2013 Retrieved 18 November 2018
  31. ^ "Introductory note to Omer Tarin's poems in Prachya Review, Bangladesh, September 2015".
  32. ^ See 'The News' international daily, Omer Tarin's Literary comments/Book review The News International, Islamabad, Pakistan ed 27 June 2010
  33. ^ Which closed down in 2016, with the bulk of material going to several public libraries and archives in Pakistan. See Google Review below
  34. ^ Google Review about the Omer Salim Khan Private Library Pakistan December 2015
  35. ^ See Interview by Salma Rafiq 2014, as above
  36. ^ Pilkington, Introduction to 2nd ed 'A Sad Piper', 1996 ISBN 1-86033-185-8
  37. ^ Mazhar ul Islam, Preface to 'Harvest Season', Islamabad, 1997 ISBN 969-8127-11-9
  38. ^ "Gina's Interview Series: Famous People From Around the World". Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  39. ^ Ayesha Sadozai. Safar-Namah by Omer Tarin: A Critical Note, in Ellipsis literary magazine, Vermont, USA 2013.p 18
  40. ^ ul Salam, 1997, aa
  41. ^ ul Islam, 1997, aa
  42. ^ ul Islam, 1997, aa
  43. ^ [1] Article by Sufi Tarin on Syed Meher Ali Shah, a Punjabi Sufi poet, in Muse India, No 73, May–June 2017, Special Feature on Sufism and Sufi Literature
  44. ^ Ahmad Zafar (12 May 1995). "Frontier Post". p. 15. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  45. ^ For a detailed report on Haiku and Omer Tarin's work, please see Yasuhiko Shigemoto's interview in The Mainichi shimbun, Japan, issue of 15 August 1998; present Japanese website
  46. ^ See Dr Tariq Rahman, Review of Omer Tarin's poetry in the Section 'Pakistani Literature in English' in 'The News' international, Islamabad ed, Pakistan, 6 December 1996
  47. ^ A Review of Pakistani poetry with special reference to Rafat Retrieved 4 December 2015
  48. ^ Tarin, "Taufiq Rafat: In Memoriam", obituary in The Pulse weekly, Islamabad, 30 Sept-6 Oct 1998, n.p
  49. ^ Rahman, Dec 2006, aa
  50. ^ Dr Iftikhar Malik Review
  51. ^ S J Renfrew, Critical review 2003 in Modern Poetry Retrieved 14 November 2017
  52. ^ E. Cyprian (16 July 1995). "Critical review". "The Nation". Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  53. ^ "Customer Reviews: The harvest season of love songs: Poems". Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  54. ^ For further details see The Open Library Catalog for Omer Tarin

Further reading[edit]

  • A. Rahim, Ed. (1999) "A Select Bibliography of Pakistani Literature in English" ed A Rahim, Islamabad.
  • Ian Hamilton, Ed. (1994). Section on Pakistani English poets/writers in "The Oxford Companion to 20th Century Literature".
  • "Poetry International" (Asia section), Ed by Edwin Thumboo, Vol 7/8, SDSU Press, CA, USA, 2003. [2]
  • Review of Pakistani Literature in English in the "Journal of Commonwealth Literature ", 1997
  • Alamgir Hashmi, "Pakistani Literatura in 1993 and 1994" pub in Revista Alicantina de Studios Ingleses, No. 13 (2000)
  • Tariq Rahman "Review of Pakistani English Poetry", The News on Friday, The News International, Islamabad ed, 6 December 1996.
  • Tariq Rahman "A History of Pakistani Literature in English", Lahore: Vanguard Books, 1991.
  • O. Tarin "Taufiq Rafat: In Memoriam", in Pulse Weekly, Islamabad, 30–6 Sep Oct 1998, np.
  • Luminita Karim, Weekly Poetry Review, Daily The Muslim, Islamabad, 28 Oct 1994
  • B. King ed (1996) "New National and Postcolonial Literatures" Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Eric Cyprian, "Poems of Considerable Merit"; A Critical Review of Omer Tarin's "The Anvil of Dreams" in daily The Nation, Islamabad, 16 July 1995, np.
  • Ayesha K. Sadozai, Vermont, USA, 2013 A Critical Note of the poem 'Safar Namah' by Omer Tarin
  • Bina Shah 'Art Identity' article in the Dawn , Karachi, 21 February 2016 Retrieved 27th Sept 2017