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Maasoom Shah

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Manav Sachdeva Maasoom
Maasoom Shah
Maasoom Shah
BornManav Sachdeva
(1977-09-28) 28 September 1977 (age 42)
Ludhiana, Punjab, India
ResidenceKyiv, Ukraine
Alma materColumbia University

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Maasoom Shah (Manav Sachdeva) (born September 1977) is a Indian American poet and essayist.

Early life and family background[edit]

Maasoom Shah was born September 28th 1977 in Ludhiana[1], Punjab[2].

Ludhiana is a city, named after Sikandar Lodhi, in the time of Lodhi dynasty which ruled in Delhi from 1451-1526 A.D., city of poets and writers. Great Urdu and Punjabi poets and writers such as Sahir Ludhianvi, Shiv Kumar Batalvi, Saadat Hassan Manto, Gulzar Singh Sandhu, Habib-ur-Rehman Ludhianvi, and Barkat Ali Ludhianwi lived here, were born here, or tasted first publishing success here.

Maasoom Shah started writing Urdu poetry at the age of fifteen. Incidentally he also moved out of India to the States around the same time.[3] Maasoom Shah went to high school and undergraduate in California, He withdrew from the seven year UCR-UCLA Biomed program “for the love of poetry writing and social reform as a shock decision for a scion of doctors, pursued love of literature and languages through an arduous journey at various universities and through various loans and scholarships” (Ann Arbor — University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, George Washington University) until reaching Columbia University.

Later in life, Maasoom Shah traveled to nearly 50 countries, studied comparative literature, international politics, and languages. He knows Farsi, Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi, English, Russian, French, and some Arabic, and Spanish.

His favorite place are indian roads on a rainy day with all the difficulties and its joys.[4]

Since November 2007, Manav has been working with various UN entities (UNAMA,[5] UNICEF, UNFPA, UN Democracy Fund, UNDP, etc.) in New York, Malaysia, Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan, and Canada on preventing violence against women and children, and broadly on conflict issues. Manav met his wife, Nigora Sachdeva while both were volunteering with the UN in Kosovo.[6]


Maasoom Shah studied Poetry and Policy Studies in Master’s at Columbia University, and summer studies in Comparative Literature, Society, and Culture through a full Kokallis Foundation Scholarship at Harvard University.

Performed in New York[7] with Bollywood greats and other poets from India during Prime Minister Vajpayee’s visit to the United States. He also performed as a poet with Geeta Citygirl in Salaam Theatre and other venues in New York such as Bowery Poetry Club, Columbia University, West Bank Books, Zara Club, Brecht Forum etc.

In 2004 he traveled to Afganistan. New York Times covered attempts at opening an international poetry café in Afghanistan: “Manav Sachdeva, 27, who was born in Ludhiana, in northern India, arrived in Afghanistan last spring, jobless, after completing a master's degree in international affairs at Columbia University. He hoped to find a job, but he dreamed about opening a poetry café and world library in Kabul.”[8]

His first book, “The Sufi’s Garland” was published by Roman Books, Kolkata, in 2011. It was dedicated to Emily Dickinson, Antonio Porchia, and Rabindranath Tagore (a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore[9]).[10] Manav told: "In Afghanistan, people love and dance and sing and eat bread in a way that is nourishing. I don’t know but it was a homecoming of sorts. Afghanistan inspired me to polish it, compile it, complete it".[11] It took final shape in the home of the Sufis, Khorazon, Afghanistan.[12]

Most recently selected as a poet panelist during Aroon Shivdasani first ever New York Indian Literary Festival in 2014 where he got to read with Salman Rushdie, Ayad Akhtar, Ravi Shankar etc.

In 2016 he represented his “The Song of Humanity”, long poem at MSU, Michigan.[13]

Major works[edit]

  • The Sufi’s Garland (Poetry Book-English, dedicated to Afghanistan), Roman Books Publishers, 2011. ISBN: 978-93-80905-01-3.
  • Siyaah Shaam Ka Ikhtetaam (The end of a very dark evening). Poems in Urdu, — Urdu, Educational Publishing House, Delhi, India 2020.

Poetry-Related Publications[edit]

  • “Poetry Café Entrepreneur” in International Herald Tribune, February 5th, 2005.
  • “The Sufi’s Garland” Late Fall 2005, The Grand Lake Review
  • “Poems II and IX”, Spring 2005 Tablet Magazine
  • “First Flakes of Winterfall” and “Krishna Waiting On Radha”, Winter/Early Spring 2003 Views Unplugged
  • “The Diaried One” published February 14, 2002, Communique
  • “My Brother” and “Christmas” Fall and Spring 1989, The Tribune—India
  • “CCXLVIII—A Tree in Bamyan—A Caravan of Witness to Taliban & Other Unbeknownst Friends of the Buddha” June 2005 The Fossil Record,
  • “The Sufi’s Garland—A Tribute to Emily, Porchia, and Tagore” Spring 2005 Absolute1.Net
  • “LXXXV—Past I must have lived…” May 2005 Confused in a Deeper Way
  • “LII—dear elixir…” Summer 2005 JMWW—A Quarterly of Writing,
  • “XXVII—the sheer elegance...” and “XXVIII—eagles are mourning the death...” The Persistent Mirage, Ezine, May 2005
  • “Quartos XXIX-XXVI, Sufi's Garland” Summer 2005 PoetryBay Online Magazine, San Francisco
  • “LXXVII—On Why I Remain Tense”, “CIX—Cold Winds Blew...” and “CCXLVI—O Dear Light of Smiles...” January 2006 Kaj-Mahkah: Earth of Earth Annual Anthology
  • “I—Word Weave—Shabad Shradanjali to Tagore’s Gitanjali—The Song of Humanity” and “CXVIII—Lotus Leaves...” September 2005 White Leaf Review UK
  • “Seeker—Poet Portrait Manav Sachdeva Maasoom”, June-July, 2005 Seeker Magazine,
  • “Just Let the World Be! And Your World Will Be!” April 10, 2005 Unpublished
  • “Poems XIII, XLIII, and LVII” , June 2005 Mindfire
  • “The Sufi’s Garland—finally herself becoming, paper, becoming, a feeling…” August 2005 Farsight Magazine,
  • “Equal parts spiritual autobiography and love letter…The Sufi’s Garland” Summer 2005 VS-Books E-Books.

Essays and non-fiction[edit]

  • “Vimukti Mobilization: Guest Aid India Project Visit Monitoring and Evaluation Report”, in AidIndia.Org, November 2000.
  • Sachdeva, Manav. “Asia and the Pacific.” Model UN: A Guide to Delegate Preparation New York: UNA-USA 2003.
  • O’Neil, Robin, and Sachdeva, Manav, “Parent-Early Adolescent Co-regulation of After School Activities and Social Functioning in Middle School.” Undergraduate Psychological Development Research Reports, University of California-Riverside: May 1998.
  • Hayes, Roger, and Sachdeva, Manav, eds. “Study Skills Handbook” published by Riverside: University of California 1998.
  • Foreign Correspondent: The Egalitarian, an Indian newspaper focused on justice and equality.
  • “Poetry Café Entrepreneur” in New York Times / International Herald Tribune, February 5th, 2005.

Awards and honours[edit]

  • Luce Foundation Poet Laureate Award, 2015, UNHQ NY.[14][15][16]

Memberships and E-Memberships[edit]

  • Member, Development Executive, Washington DC
  • Member, South Asia Literary Association,
  • E-Member, South Asian Journalists Association,
  • E-Member, South Asia Media Marketing Association,
  • E-Member, Asian American Journalists Association,
  • Former board member, Journal of International Affairs,
  • Focal Point for UNFPA Kosovo — Gender and Youth,
  • Former Member, Association for India's Development

See also[edit]



Category:1977 births Category:Living people Category:20th-century Indian essayists Category:21st-century Indian essayists Category:Columbia University alumni Category:English people of Punjabi descent Category:Indian emigrants to the United States Category:Indian expatriates in the United States Category:Indian poets Category:Indian-American literature Category:People with acquired American citizenship Category:Postcolonial literature Category:Postmodern writers Category:Urdu poets from India Category:Writers from Ludhiana

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