Noor Mohammed Danish (Urdu: نور محمد دانش ; born 1958) known Noon Meem Danish is a Pakistani poet of African descent. Danish was born in 1958 in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan to a working-class family. He was raised in Lyari, a largely Sheedi neighbourhood, which he describes as "Karachi's Harlem". He did his early education at the Okhai Memon School in Kharadar, and began writing poetry in 1974. Danish's African appearance often led people around him to assume he was a foreigner; he describes being asked frequently where he was from and why he spoke Urdu so well. He adopted "Danish" as his Takhallus (pen-name). Bachay, Titli, Phool, his first collection of poems, was published in 1997. He quickly garnered recognition for the anger he expressed through his works, in which he often made reference to his experiences as a member of the African diaspora; his work attracted the attention of leading Urdu critic Shamsur Rahman Farooqi, who had them published in Indian literary journal Shabkhoon. In 2000, he emigrated to the United States; he had remarked to a friend that he would prefer to be "a third class citizen of a first class country than a first class citizen of a third class country," but put off going through the procedures for almost two years due to his ambivalence about leaving his home. He first took up residence in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of Queens, New York City; he chose it because of its diversity, which helped him to feel less of a stranger as well as affording him the opportunity to study others' cultures. At first, he could only find job as a security guard, but he eventually joined the faculty of New York University; he later moved to the University of Maryland as a language consultant. Danish cites Urdu poets such as Mustafa Zaidi, Obaidullah Aleem, Noon Meem Rashid, and Sirajuddin Zafar as his major influences. He is also an admirer of Langston Hughes and hopes to translate his works into Urdu. He is married and has two children.
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