The oral tradition of Kashmiri language is highly colourful and complex in nature. It consists of various folk forms and its folk literature is the most representative form. It was from Kashmir that Somdeva collected various forms of stories with varied motifs for his universally acknowledged Kathasarit Sagar of 11th century AD. Kashmiri language has not only preserved its folk tradition but also has enriched and modified it in every age. It represents many aspects of social change, behaviour patterns, hopes, repressed wishes, creative thoughts, unconscious yearnings and collective dreams. The folk literature analyses the social drama in the geographical frame and with reference to the historical compulsions. For its beauty, diversity and complexity of interpretation, Kashmiri folk literature has received the attention of various scholars of different fields of learning. Hinton Knowels, compiler of the first anthology of Kashmiri folk tales, writes, "Kashmir as a field of folk literature is perhaps not surpassed in fertility by any other country in the world".
The folk literature in Kashmiri mainly exists in four forms
1. Folk Story (Kath, Daleel) 2. Folk Song (Baath, Manzil bath, Ladishah, Rov, Wanvun, Nende bath, Khaandar beeth) 3. Folk Drama 4. Proverbs and Sayings
The urgency to preserve the folk tradition was felt long back by some European scholars. They contacted various storytellers and a good number of folk tales, proverbs and sayings were collected. The pioneers in this context are J.H Knowels, Aurel Stien and G.A.Grierson. In 1887 Knowels compiled Folk Tales of Kashmir, a dictionary of Kashmiri Proverbs and Sayings. Aurel Stien heard many tales from an oil seller named Hatim and these tales were later edited by Grierson and entitled Hatims Tales. Nand Lal Chatta and C.L.Hakhoo brought out folk tales collections in Hindi entitled Kashmir Ki Lok Kathayein. S.N Dhar’s Tales of Kashmir is also helpful to the students of folk tales. However the most painstaking efforts for preserving the oral tradition were made by the Cultural Academy of Jammu and Kashmir by publishing many volumes of folk songs as well as folk stories. Mohd. Sultan Bhagat brought out his Kaashur LukI Theatre. Moti Lal Kemu tried to preserve the folk drama and made efforts to make it relevant to modern times. He not only wrote in folk form but also added new dimensions to the stage play by using folk elements as symbols.
Kashmiri folk literature is a treasure of unwritten history. It depicts life in various colours and moods. It shows the importance of many social institutions like joint family. It depicts women, specially common and elite and brings out contrasts in their behavior. There are reflections on local customs like Khaana Daamaadi and adoption .One not only comes to know about the social life of the community through Ladeeshah and various Baanda Paathairs but also feel the revolting spirit of the common people who use folk forms to express their displeasure and disapproval of political and economic exploitation.
Kashmiri folk theatre comprises of many Paathairs. The main ones are Darza paathair, Bata paathair, Raaza paathair, Buhari paathair, Haanz paathair, Bakarwaal paathair, Gosaain paathair, Waatal paathair and Mughal paathair. The paathairs are not originally written rather, they have striking resemblances. In some cases they differ only in name. For instance, Bata paathair and Buhari paathar are same in presentation and texture. Being unwritten, the paathairs constantly change in text according to the changes in social setup, contemporary taste and political scenario.
The main characters of paathairs are Maagun and Maskhar. Maagun is in a way the director and producer of the paathair. He is also head of the Baandes in their day today lives. He is like the Sutradhaar of Sanskrit drama. He performs various roles. Maskhar is the chief character in a paathair. His role is of interest for the audience and of much significance for Maagun. Goopali is an important female character in some paathairs like Gosain Paathar.
The study of Kashmiri proverbs and sayings shows social conflicts, psychological contradictions, economic compulsions as well as linguistic beauties. These sayings show how some aspects of the cultural destiny of the people have been shaped.
Kashmiri folk songs are especially rich in depicting emotions, dreams, miseries and desires of the Kashmiri woman. In these woman is represented in complexity of her relationships. She has to observe and honour all the values of feudal society and has to be selfless and emotionless like a stone. From dawn to dusk, she is supposed to attend the domestic work. One can find ample evidence of polygamy, early marriage, Pardah system among the upperclass Muslims, and curses of widowhood everywhere.
Generally the parental home of a woman is a source of joy for her, while the home of her inlaws is the cause for constant nightmare. A woman should be under the control of Hash (mother-in-law) and Zaam (husband’s sister). She has no right to complain. Speaking to her husband in daylight is considered indecent. Hence many instances of moral laxity can be found. The other reasons for this laxity were early widowhood, poverty, strained relations between husband and wife, feudal sensuality and licentious attitudes. All these factors combined, gave rise to professional prostitution among common and aristocrats.
Most of the Manuscripts written in Kashmiri before the fourteenth century have not been found so far as they may have been lost due to recurrent foreign invasions and natural calamities. There is no evidence to show when Kashmiri got over its dialectic stage. At the same time it may be mentioned that the scholars of Kashmir did consider Kashmiri language suitable for serious themes like philosophy and literature. When Shiti Kantha wrote his Mahanaya Prakasha in Kashmiri he translated every Vaakh in Sanskrit to communicate himself fully. One can find some phrases of Kashmiri in Kahalan’s Rajatarangani. In his Desh Opdesh, Kshendera (11th century) suggests that poets should write in their own language. Some people, without much evidence believe that in about 150 B.C Nag San, a Kashmiri Buddhist Scholar wrote his Milind Panha in Kashmiri and BrihatKatha of Gunadhya was also written in Paishachi of Kashmir (Dardic group).
The earliest use of Kashmiri Language was found in Chhuma Padas. This oldest specimen of Kashmiri literature was used to express and explain various Shaivit doctrines especially the Pratibhajna philosophy. These Pads are in Apabharmasha form of Kashmiri and they are as difficult to understand as those of Shiti Kantha’s Mahanay Prakash. Mahanay Prakash, the first book of Kashmiri poetry is written in Sanskrit style. The author claims that he has written the book in Sarvagochara Desha Basha (language of the common people) but the nature of the subject, Sanskrit expressions and the Sanskrit translation of the Vaakhs show amply that Shiti Kantha doubts his communicative ability in Kashmiri language. Mahanaya Prakasha has only linguistic and esoteric importance. The Vaakhs of Shiti Kanth are also very important for the study of the Vaakhs of Lal Ded. Shiti Kanth provides form and subject to Lal Ded which Lal used with different poetic and spiritual experience and recreated Vaakh in Kashmiri and got it to pinnacle of glory.
Vaakh and Shrukh are Kashmiri words for Vaakya and Shloka of Sanskrit. There is not much difference in the structural forms of the two differently named genres. Both are fourlined. However, there is difference in their subjects. Vaakh is associated with Lal Ded so much so that her Vaakhs are the only authentic source for understanding her creative personality. Shrukh form is mainly associated with Nund Ryosh popularly known as Sheikh-ul-Aalam and Alamdari Kashmir (i.e. universal teacher and the Banner Holder of Kashmir). Lal Ded was born in early 14th century at Sempora near Paandrethan and was married at Padampora (modern Pampur). After her marriage she was named Padmavati according to custom but she is known as Lal which was probably her parental name and which is short form of Lalita (The Goddess of Fortune). She was most probably initiated into Yoga at an early age by Siddha Shree Kantha, popularly known as Sedhamol. She did not have a pleasant family life. Early spiritual practices coupled with her sublimation, added great intensity to her spiritual experience. She was born with a poetic soul and had a natural linguistic flair. Hence her experience found expression in such creative language that her Vaakhs have everlasting freshness and inspiration. She presents linguistic transition in 14th Century. Her Vaakhs represent the dawn of the modern Kashmiri language. Her poetry not only provides numerous idioms and phrases but also philosophical thoughts to the Kashmiri language, which adds beauty of expression to it. She is the maker of modern Kashmiri. Due to her inborn communicative skills, her Vaakhs are considered a great literary treasure both for the common reader and the critics. She recreated Vaakh in such a manner that it became the standard of criteria for judging this genre for all types. Assonance, inner rhymes, depth of meaning, images, non-didactic nature and inner poetic conflict or auto-drama are some of the characteristics of her Vaakhs
e.g. aami pana sodras naavi chas lamaan aati bozi dai myon meti diyi taar aamyan Taakyan pony chhum shaman zuv chhum bramaan gara gatsahaa 'With raw thread, I tow my boat upon the sea May my God lead me across! My half baked plates are soaking; I yearn for my Source'
Lal was a Shaivite of Trika branch. Her spiritual experiences come from her active Sadhana and bear no impact other than Trika. On the basis of her Vaakhs it can safely be said that she was neither mad and naked nor undisciplined. She was against religious rituals and dogmas, as she became elevated in Sadhana in the later part of her life. The control of Chitt (Consciousness) and its absorbtion in Shunya – a positive void, is the pinnacle of her experience.
Nunda Ryosh (Sheikh-ul-Aalam) is the founder of Rishi order (a form of Reshi Sufism) of Kashmir. He was greatly influenced by Lal Ded and considered her a great apostle of light .Lal and Sheikh shared the same spiritual moorings and both are the makers of the composite culture of Kashmir. Lal bears a spirit of revolt and reformation and the same is true of the great Sheikh, who lashed out upon that mullah mentality which wanted to exploit the masses and was trying to tarnish the fair face of Kashmir. Sheikh gave his message of love, simplicity, tolerance and non-violence.
The form of poetry used by Nunda Ryosh is known as Shrukh, which is a four-line composition like vaakh. The vaakhs of Lal Ded and shrukhs of Sheikh are intermingled. Many efforts have been made to identify them separately. Even the vaakhs of Lal Ded have been interpolated.
Sheikh was a great organizer. He visited the whole length and breadth of the valley to deliver his message and strengthen the Rishi order. The order believed in public works, service of people as well as meditation for long periods away from mundane world as practiced by the Sheikh himself. Sheikh was a vegetarian and survived on fallen leaves of Difsacus and Chicory. Amongst his disciples Nasr-ud-din, Baam-ud-din, Zain-ud-din, Payaam-ud-din and Shyaama Bibi are well known.
Shrukh unlike vaakh is didactic in content and exhortative in nature .It is a vehicle of Sheikh’s teachings. Instead of abstract images, Nunda Ryosh used the names daily use articles and visual images to express his ideas. Sheikh believed in moral preachings’ for the upliftment of man and harmonious social living and used shrukh to convey his ideas.
Nunda Ryosh died in 1438 AD and was buried at Tsrar-I-Shareef , which has become a place of pilgrimage since then. Sheikh enjoyed reverence of masses and he is the only poet- sage in whose name a coin was issued by the Afghan governor Aatta Mohammad Khan in 1809, almost 370 years after his death. The prophetic insight of the poet seer is evident from his Shrukhs. Only a saying is quoted here
Ann Poshi Teli Yeli Wan Poshi 'The growth of food is subservient to the growth of forest'.
Shahi Khan popularly known as Budshah became king during this period and ruled effectively from 1420-1470 AD. He is also known as Zain-ul-abdin. He is considered one of the greatest kings of Kashmir and a genius who appreciated the cultural tradition and left no stone unturned to preserve it. He was the lover of cultural heights and respected scholars, poets and artists. Almost all fine arts got new life due to his patronage. He was himself a poet and wrote in Persian and Kashmiri languages. It is believed that many books in Kashmiri were written during his reign. These include Zaina Tsareth by Som Pandit, Zaina Prakash by Yodha Bhat, Baanasur vadhKatha by Avatar Bhat. Only Avatar’s Baanaasur vadh katha has survived the ravages of time. It is a long narrative poem about the love affair of Usha and Aniruddh. It is the first epic poem in Kashmiri, but its language is highly Sanskritized. Some scholars prefer to term it as a form of Kashmiri Apabhramsha.
After the death of Badshah in 1470, no Kashmiri work was created, except for Gana Prashast’s Swokh Dwokh Tsareth written in the Baanasura katha style. Folk literatures, however, must have flourished in abundance during this intervening period. Of the folk tales that survived, the AkaNandun and Heemal Naagiraay entertained the people during the calamities of famines and floods, and it is performing the same function even now.
Rupa Bhaawani (1625-1721) the saint poetess was well versed in Vedantic philosophy . She knew Sanskrit and Persian well. She composed vaakhs, which do not have as much of linguistic beauty as the vaakhs of Lal. These seem to be distant from common speech. She wrote her vaakhs in a scholarly fashion, depicting spiritual journey of a seeker. After Bhawani, the vaakh form was continued by Kashmiri pandit saints for their personal communications. Mirza Kaak, Lachi Kaak and Rits Ded expressed their experiences in vaakh form. Rits Ded (1880-1966), though illiterate, was conscious of the whole vaakh tradition and contributed to it by her rich expression and experience. She herself claims the impact of Lal Ded, Nunda Ryosh, Rupa Bhaawani and Mirza Kaak.
No poetic form ever dies and it is as true about vaakh. In 1998 Bimla Raina published her vaakh collection Resh Maalyun Myon. Her Vaakhs are of high literary merit. It seems, she has not only rediscovered vaakh tradition but also has recreated it. Her second collection of vaakhs Veth Ma chhe Shongith (2002) further adds to her mastering of Vaakh. Bimla Raina also tries to rediscover idiom of Lal Ded.
After the establishment of the Muslim rule in the 14th century, many cultural changes took place. However, linguistic changes were most prominent. Persian was rapidly establishing itself in place of Sanskrit. At the instance of Bud Shah the Kashmiri Pandits adopted Persian and the bulk of them became Karkuns – i.e. service class. Kashmiri language developed very rapidly during this period and the important genres of Kashmiri poetry Vatsun and Masnavi came into being and developed to a greater extent. Hence this period can also be called as the Vatsan and Masnavi period.
Genres like Vatsun- a literary form, were used in many Indian languages especially in Kannada for expressing spiritual thoughts. Vatsun genre may have existed in Kashmir even before Lal Ded. However, the first Vatsun writer of repute is Habba Khaatoon. There is no authentic reference about her life. One has to depend upon the folk tradition, legend and her own poetry to determine the course of her life. Folk tradition and legends provide only contradictory accounts. Habba Khaatoon is one of the makers of Vatsun form in Kashmiri and is surely the first significant romantic poetess. Her Vatsuns are brimming with her personal emotions, agony and love. The depths of her feelings give inner rhymes to her Vatsun. She decorated her style with imagery and medial rhyme. Her emotions are reflective of the emotions of the woman in general. She was well educated in music and enriched Kashmiri music by composing Rast Kashmiri, a new raag in Kashmiri music.
Khawaja Habib Ullah Nowsheri (1555-1617), Mirza Akmal-ud-din Badakshi (1642- 1717) are the other two poets of this genre.
Sahib Kaul (1629 ?) is the most important poet of the Mughal Age of Kashmir. His Sanskrit works are well known. He wrote three books in Kashmiri viz. Kalpa Vriksh, Janma Charit and Krishnavataara Charit. His language contains many Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit words. He was a Shaivite and had a remarkable craftsmanship. Krishnavataara is praise worthy for its musical style and the development of Vatsun.
Arnimaal is another remarkable poetess of the Vatsun genre. She was born at Palhalan and married to Bhawani Das Kachru of Srinagar who was a high official in Pathan court. Due to the charms of the court beauties he forgot his poet-wife. This separation is the subject matter of the Vatsan poetry of Arnimaal. Her love lyrics are sensuous, full of agony, reflective of her heritage and flair of language. An example of the kind is given below:
Arni rang gom shraavuni hiya Kar yiye darshun ma diye 'My midsummer Jasmine bloom faded away I yearn to see him'
She was so popular a poet that her contemporary Mahmood Gami, one of the epoch makers in Kashmiri poetry, was fascinated by the flair of song quoted above. He adopted this couplet for his own Vatsun and made his own additions to it. The Vatsuns of Arnimaal have much to tell about the poetess.
Sochaa Kraal (1774-1855) is a significant mystic poet who believed in the doctrine of Wahadat-ul-Wajood, which means that God and man are not separate qualitatively and in essence. Sochaa Kraal expressed his thoughts in a simple but effective style – Naav dar aab ta Aab dar Naav (The boat is in the water and the water is in the boat)
Shah Gafoor had vast knowledge of Sufi tenets as well as the Shastras. He presented an amalgam of both for communicating his experience –
Yot Yith Zanmas Kenh Chuna Larun Darnaayi Daarun Soo Hum Soo 'Taking birth in this world, one gets nothing So meditate upon He is me'
Mohmood Gami (1765 – 1855) is the most attention deserving poet of his times not only for the development of Vatsun but also for the genre of Masnavi. The whole creative beauty of Vatsun is reflected in his lyrics. He was inspired by the folklore and the poets like Arnimaal. He had capacity to understand the tradition and recreate it. He influenced not only his contemporaries but also the poets of the coming generations. His own cotemporary Wali Ullah Matoo called him the master poet. His Vatsuns have a wide variety of themes and they present a synthesis of mundane and spiritual elements.
Mohmood was well versed in Persian and Arabic and had deeply studied Persian poets especially Jami and Nizami who are the masters of Persian Masnavi. Mohmood introduced not only Masnavi with its variety of colours but also Naat to Kashmiri poetry. At the time of his death at the age of 90 he had made Kashmiri language richer by his Vatsun and Masnavis. He introduced Persian aesthetics to a great extent to the Kashmiri poetry. He is remembered for his nice diction, craftsmanship and melody that appeals even to modern taste.
Kar saa myon nyaay ande Maarymande madanvaaro 'When I will get justice Oh! My darling beloved' Katyoo chhukh nunda bane Volo maashooka myaane 'Where are you my fascinating one Come my darling'
Mohmood is basically a lyricist. His lyrics represent Kashmiri culture, social life, yearnings and repressions.
Most of Masnavi writers are also Vatsun writers. Even Naats, Manqabats and Leelas have been written in Vatsun form. Bhakti poets Parmanand and Krishna Razdaan who wrote Leelas also wrote Masnavis in Vatsan technique. The great mystic poets from Rahim Saab Sopori (1775) to Bhaagiwaan Ded ( d 1950?) have used Vatsun form to express themselves. As such Vatsun is the best part of Kashmiri poetry as it has preserved the essence of vocal Kashmiri music. Even the non-Sufi lyricist poet, Rasool Mir could not but use this classical form of Kashmiri literature. Rahim Saab, Rahmaan Daar, Shamas Faqir (1849 to 1904), Niama Saab, Asad Pare(1862-1920) are some of the mystic poets who added to the linguistic beauty of Vatsun. Rahmaan Daar’s Vatsuns are musical with freshness of experience and idiom. Daar’s Shesh Rang, in its unique form of eight lined stanza, is a six stanza song. It is an allegory. Niama Saab & Shamas Faqir communicate deep thoughts in simple language. They have mastery over expression and experimentation in the use of language. Asad Pare’s expressions convey his deep experiences mainly in allegorical style.
In the early 20th century, mystic tradition and Vatsun genre continued with more vigour. Wahab Khaar (1912 d),Ramzaan Bhat(1887-1918),Ahmad Batawaari(1845-1918),Samad Mir(1892- 1959),Abdual Ahad Zargar(1904-1983),Bhaagiwaan Ded etc. developed Vatsun genre and took it to its glory. Samad Mir an illiterate sawyer and a great mystic poet with intensity of spiritual experience, used new metaphors. Zargar was another seeker of the ultimate reality. According to T. N. Raina "Zargar used imagery that would shock normal sensibility into an unusual awareness". Bhaagiwaan Ded is the last poet of repute in the mystic rosary of Vatsun. Her collection Mani Pamposh published in 1998 shows how she has masterly used language and form. She was influenced by her senior contemporaries, Samad Mir and Ahad Zargar. Among all the mystic poets of Kashmir her work is most voluminous. Due to her communicative skills, innovative imagery and command over language, she has carved out a place for herself in the annals of Kashmiri mystic poetry. Almost all the mystic poets were influenced by the philosophy of the Hindu mysticism. They believed in universal love and are the torchbearers of the composite culture of Kashmir.
Due to the wide influences of Persian language a new poetic form viz. Masnavi came into being. Masnavi is a long narrative poem and it has mainly four kinds.
1. Bazmia (Romantic) 2. Razmia(Depicting Bravery and Battle) 3. Mazhabi(Religious) 4. Hazlia(Satiric)
No doubt, a number of local legends like Heemaal Naagi Raay, Aka nandun and the Hindu epics are a part of Masnavi Contents, but most of the Kashmiri Masnavis are translations or adaptations of Persian Masnavis with unchanged characteristics. Mohmood Gaami wrote the Masnavis like Sheereen Khusro, Laila Majnun, Yusuf Zuleikha, Sheikh Mansoor, Sheikh Sanaan and Pahalynaama. His most famous Masnavi, with its linguistic smoothness and beautiful meter changes is Yusuf Zuleikha. It became a model for others who followed him. Gaami however due to the overwhelming Persian impact could not change Persian Masnavis as much as to suit the temper of Kashmiri language perfectly.
Maqbool Amritsari wrote three Masnavis, some Vatsuns and ghazals. Only Yusuf Zuleikha is available in manuscript form. He lived for a greater period of his life in Amritsar and much is not known about him.
Wali Ullah Matoo (d 1858), was a contemporary of Gaami. He wrote Masnavi Heemaal Naagi Raay – a local love legend which depicts hostility between the Naagas and Pisaachas. The poet uses simple language, maintains local temper but does not absorb himself into his subject well and that is the reason why his Masnavi seems soulless.
Maqbool Shah Kraalawaari (1820-1877) wrote Gulrez – considered to be the best Kashmiri love Masnavi. He also wrote some satirical Masnavis, Grees Naama and Peer Naama. Gulrez is an adaptation of a Persian Masnavi of Zia-ud- din. It is based on a roman tie tale of love between Ajab Malik and Nosh Lab. The poet has taken certain liberties with the original to make it suitable to the local people. Local colour in atmosphere and traits of characters, beauty of plot and the vivid expression of emotions are some of the qualities of this Masnavi. The poetic flow and beauty of narration make Gulrez the most important Masnavi of Kashmiri literature. To the poet goes the credit of writing the first satirical Masnavi Grees Naama in Kashmiri language.
Prakash Ram Kurgami (d1885) is the author of Ramavtaar Charit , Lava Kusha Charit , Krishnavataar , Akanandun and Shiv Lagan.His most famous Masnavai is Ramavtaar Charit which is the first Razmi Masnavi in Kashmiri . Its language is sweet and is neither burdened with Sanskrit nor Persian vocabulary. It presents the beauty of Kashmir and creates Kashmiri settings in Lanka. Its songs are melodious and soothing. They are good enough for religious sentiment. He depies the beauty of nature, excellently.
Aav bahaar bol bulbulo Son vwolo barayo shaadee 'Oh! Nightingale, sing it is spring Come to us for entertaining'
Vishnu Razdan of Kulgam, a saintly man has translated Valmiki Ramayana into Kashmiri. Almost all the poets of the 19th century and early 20th century including Abdul Ahad Azad (Chandar Badan) wrote Masnavis. Narrative poetry provided rich entertainment to listeners of that time. Masnavi satisfied the yearnings of people who possessed nothing but frustrating dreams. A fairy or princess depicted sensually showed them such daydreams. Some times they found mystic dimensions in Masnavi and got their hallow spiritual needs satisfied. The long periods of subjugation had taken away the whole zest of activity from their lives. Hence epic heroes like Saam became great source of catharsis. Religious romance and the hallow sensuousness are sources of satisfaction for the people who are bereft of good things in life.
Eighty percent of Masnavis are unpublished as yet. Among the published ones the following three Razmia Masnavis are very significant.
1. Saam Naama of Lakshman Joo Raina Bulbul (1812-1898) 2. Shah Naama of Wahab Pare (1846-1914) 3. Saam Naama of Amir Shah Kriri (1846-1905)
The Shah Naama of Wahab Pare is purported to be a very free translation of the Shah Naama of Firdosi and it seems that Wahab has not paid full attention, nor has he been very serious to the translation. Wahab’s Shah Naama is a huge work of 23491 verses and it has not been possible for him to keep its cohesiveness. Amir Shah Kriri could not make his Saam Naama an organic whole due to the lack of craftsmanship. There are so many digressions in it and too much use of Persian vocabulary does not suit the poem. Bulbul’s Saam Naama has artistic niceties. The smoothness of plot and the flow of language make it a masterpiece. As against Wahab and Amir Shah, Bulbul’s warp and woof is local and hence responsible for effective narration. Against looseness of Wahab and Amir Shah, Bulbul has woven the whole story around the center figure Saam that gives compactness and freshness to the whole epic. Bulbul uses a sweet language, local imagery and common man’s idiom.
Naat is a sort of ode in which adorations to the Holy Prophet of Islam are sung. It has no definite form. Hamud and Manqabat are respectively the praises of God and great seers. Sometimes Hamud Manqabat and Naat are interconnected .
Naat starts with Nunda Ryosh where it is a part of Hamud. After about 150 years Habib-ullah-Nowshari wrote Naat. A little later Fakhir wrote beautiful Naats in Kashmiri in a very simple language. Walli- ullah - Matoo also wrote Naats fulfilling all the literal demands of this genre. Maqbool Shah Kraalawaari introduced Naat in Vanvun form and filled the genre with genuine emotions. Abdul Ahad Nazim and Pir Aziz-ullah Haqani are very important poets in the history of the development of Naat. Nazim’s language, emotions and etiquette are quite suitable for Naat writing.
chus dour pyomut ghatshit rodum yar Madinus tami noori roshan gaay dar-o-divar Madinus. 'I am away from my friend who has gone to Madina His beauty has enlightened the whole Madina'
However the master poet of this genre is Abdual Ahad Nadim (1258-1329 H). He took Naat to its perfection. His simple language devotion, reverence and allusions are the qualities of his Naat. His Naats are in Vatsun form. It has given effectiveness to his poetry.
Naat writing continues till date and modern poets like Mir Ghulam Rasool Nazki, Fazil Kashmiri, Dina Nath Nadim, Pitamber Nath Dhar Fani, Rahaman Rahi and many others have written beautiful thought provoking Naats.
After 1990, most of the poets in Kashmir valley wrote Naats. Some critics believe that the upsurge owns its origin to the political situation over there.
According to Aurbindo, world is not Maya but Leela of God. In this sense Leela as a genre of literature means ‘to play’. As such, Leela is that poetic expression which contains various colours and aspects of creation and thereby reflects the play of the Creator. It doesnot have any definite form. However, as Leela is a song set on instrumental music the Vatsun form is most suitable for it and bulk of this type of poetry has been written and is being written in the Vatsun form.
The early traces of Leela are found in Nund Ryosh. There may have been some other Leela poets, but it is Prakash Ram who popularized this genre. In his Ramavtaar Charit he has inserted a plethora of Leelas and these Leelas were more popular among the masses than the epic itself. He set the pattern of Leela which was followed by Vishnu Razdan whose Leelas have been collected in Leela Sagar recently. Some of his Leelas like Padi Kamalan Tal bi aasaay are evergreen. Leela is basically a devotional song which got attention of many poets. These include Nila Kanth, Vasudev, Anand Ram and Bhaskar Ji. The Leela’s of Nila Kanth are adorations of Lord Krishna and are very popular .However the greatest poets of Leela in 19th century are Parmanand (1791-1885) and Krishna Razdan (1850-1925).Parmanand lived at Mattan which is not only a sacred place but also an important transit camp during Amarnath pilgrimage. The place was resplendent with spiritual light. So the atmosphere was suitable for Parmanand. He had a vast study, which is reflected, in his poetic works along with his spiritual experiences. Among his writings Radha Swayamvara is most interesting and musical. His Leelas have been rightly called lyrical narratives and are in Vatsun form. His devotional songs are artistic expressions of his inward experiences in most suitable idiom. Parmanand has depths of meaning and passionate intensity. The allegorical character of his poems is remarkable.
Gokal hridai myon tati chon goory vaan Tset vyamarsha deptimaana Bhagvaano. Vrats myaani goopiyi tsey pata laaraan Bansari naad vaad mataano 'Gokul is my heart where you tend your cows. O Lord, radiant with the light of pure consciousness My senses are the gopis whom the magic of your Flute wafts to a higher plane' (Translation T.N Raina: A History of Kashmiri Literature)
Sometimes Leela’s of Parmanand are didactic yet their excellent allegorical character, matured wisdom and imagery makes such Leelas very communicative. His Karma Bhomika is an example of such Leelas. It is said that his disciple Lakshman Bulbul wrote some of the Leelas for Parmanand.
Krishna Raazdaan had a firm faith in Shaivism. His Shiv Puran and Shiv Lagan show his mastery over poetic art. His observation was minute and it provided raw material for his poetry .His usage of ordinary expressions conveys more than what the words mean. The inner music of his mystic experience is well conveyed by his words. He generally used Vatsun form and sometimes he experimented with other forms with equal success. No poet could surpass him in style, depth and diction.
Govind Kaul, a saint of Radha Swami order was also a Leela poet. But the most important Leela poet of the mid 20th century is Jiya Lal Saraf. His Leelas are in Vatsun form and were published in two parts entitled Bhajan Maalaa. He has the credit of translating Panchastavi, Gauri Stutti , Bhaja Govindam , Mahimna Sotraa in verse in Kashmiri. All his Kashmiri translations are sweet and linguistically flawless with their original music well preserved. These translations are being sung like Leelas. Saraf made Leela very popular. Prem Nath Arpan’s verse translation of Bhagwatgita has been very popular like popular Leelas sung all over the valley. Pushkar Nath kaul author of Poshe Daale is another living Leela poet whose Bhajans are very popular.
After the exodus of 1990, many new Leela composers like A. N. Dhar, N. N. Suman, K.N. Bhagwan, P.N. Shad, J. L. Juroo and N.K. Yarbash have emerged.
Marsia is an elegy, a mourning song for someone the poet loves. Marsia describes the qualities of the deceased. A Poet can write Marsia on any body, but it is generally associated with the martyrs and events of Karbalaa. Hence, Marsia is a form of poetry in which the character of the people, especially of those who were with Imam Hussein during his martyrdom, is sung. Hussain is the epic hero in the Marsia genre.
The classical Marsia of Kashmiri is different in technique form the modern Marsia which bears the influence of Urdu Marsia .The classical Marsia consists of five parts viz, Barkhast, Dunbaale,Gath , Krakh and Nishast. The Marsias sung during the mourning meetings in the month of Muharram are of this nature. Some important Marsia writers of the classical Marrsia were Hussain Mir, Hakkem Azim, Mohd. Baqir ,Mirza Abhu Qasim and Munshi Ahmed Ali .
The Marsia-writing in Kashmiri started in early period. Shyam Bibi wrote the first marsia in Vatsun form. It was written on the death of Nunda Ryosh. Then comes the name of Mahmood Gaami who wrote an elegy on the death of his son. Nazim also wrote Marsias. Wahab Khaar also wrote a Marsia expressing his shock over the death of his son. Maqbool Kraalawaari wrote Marsia and his Marsias contributed a lot in the technical growth of the genre .He wrote in Mussadas form i.e. six lined stanzas. Pir Haqani translated some Persian Marsias into Kashmiri. Ghulam Mohmaod Hanfi wrote many Marsias of merit. Marsias have been written in abundance by some modern poets belonging to Hindu as well as Muslim communities.
Marsia writing has enriched Kashmiri language with new words, phrases, allusions, expressions, thoughts, forms and styles .The greater portion of Marsia literature is unpublished as yet.
The Ghazal and the Nazam are two genres of Kashmiri poetry that developed in the modern period. Ghazal had taken its birth much earlier.
The word Ghazal means ‘talking romantically’. Romantic approach of the poet determines the temperament of his Ghazal. However, the genre has not remained limited to romantic experiences and expressions. It has been a vehicle of expression for all sort of thoughts – mystical, philosophical, psychological and has become gradually richer with varying dictions and styles. A Ghazal couplet has the rhyme scheme ab ab – ab. Every couplet is complete in meaning. The bravity of words that can enfold the various dimensions of experience is the main beauty of the Ghazal.
Ghazal was adopted in Kashmiri due to the increasing Persian influence. In the early period some poets like Fakhir experimented with this genre, but Vatsun remained a dominating force. Mahmood Gaami was the first poet who used Ghazal form with liberal Persian words. Maqbool Amritsari wrote Ghazals but it was Rasul Mir who under the influence of Gaami gave Ghazal the rear lift. His Ghazal is the product of imagination, feeling and musicality. Rasul Mir was the greatest among Ghazal writers till his times .He was greatly interested in Ghazal but did not have any pretensions of mysticism or narration. He limited himself to the expression of his experiences of human love. He even discarded the platonic notions and only sang of human love. He is sensuous and passionate in his expressions. He has his own stature as a romantic poet and he moulded the Ghazal form to suit his intensity of experience.
Maqbool Kraalawaari also wrote Ghazals. But it was Wahab Pare of Hajin who developed Ghazal by writing 781 Ghazals which exist in his Deewan .In most of his couplets he just seems to be a rhymester but many couplets contain poetic experiences and beauty of expression. Samad Mir and Ahad Zargar have contributed to Ghazal in a manner as to suit their mystical experiences. However the pioneers of Ghazal in the first half of 20th century were Ghulam Ahmad Mahjoor (1885- 1952) and Abdual Ahad Azad (1909- 1948).
Mahjoor was a lover of beauty and the adoration of beauty in any form is the chief quality of his Ghazals. He made his songs reflective of his feelings in a conventional style. He had capacity to understand the pulse of the time. He inspired the Kashmiri people for political & social change. He wanted to protect the tradition of love and tolerance.
He loved various colours of life and depicted the hues of nature in his Ghazals. This attracted the attention of Tagore and he called Mahjoor ‘the Wordsworth of Kashmiri poetry’.
Mahjoor is a link between old and new poetry .He enlarged the canvas of Ghazal, decorated it with new and fresh imagery, widely referred to local flora and fauna and made his Ghazal the chief vehicle of his thought.
Abdul Ahad Azad’s creed was humanism, scientific temperament and revolution. He was moved by the subjugation, suffering and poverty of the people of Kashmir. His advocacy of the universal brotherhood was not liked by some sections of the conservative society but he continued with his ideology. Like Majhoor he gave a new direction to Kashmiri poetry with his simple diction. His Ghazals are better known for his radical humanism in a language that was perfectly understood by the people.
Mirza Arif, Ghulam Rasool Nazki, Fazil Kashmiri are some other poets who developed Kashmiri Ghazal. However, it is after 1947 that Kashmiri Ghazal achieved its literal and creative heights through the works of Nadim, Rahi, Kamil, Firaq and others.
Dina Nath Nadim is a very significant poet. He contributed to Ghazal also. He was associated with the cultural renaissance of Kashmir and was a progressive poet. His Ghazals have the beauty of language and unique of tradition. His images are mostly taken from rustic life and are captivating.
Abdul Rahmaan Rahi was associated with Nadim and in his early poetry he bears Nadim’s influence. His poetry collection Nowrozi Saba contains conventional and musical Ghazals. After 1960, Rahi’s poetry does not evince an objective approach to life and subjectivity becomes main tool of his creative ability. He tries the quest of truth through his own experience. That may have made his creative effort, ambiguous at times. This whole phenomenon is reflected in his Ghazals which are included in his Siyah Rooda Jaryan Manz .
Mohammad Amin Kamil is one of the makers of modern Kashmiri Ghazal. He has infused realism in the genre and his Ghazals are a mirror of his sensibilities, human feelings and psychological depths. Kamil is a master of Ghazal writing. He understands the basic temperament and tenderness of the genre. His use of Kashmiri words and craftsmanship is very remarkable. In every couplet he has conveyed some experience. The observation and imagination with a touch of satire gives elegance to his Ghazal. He has his own style and he has the credit of bringing the Ghazal out of the clutches of feudal values.
Ghulam Nabi Firaq’s Ghazals have emotion, flow and depth. He bears the influence of the English lyric.
Moti Lal Saqi, Ghulam Rasool Santosh, Muzaffar Azim, Mishal Sultanpuri , Ghulam Nabi Khayal ,Margoob Banihaali, Chaman Lal Chaman , Moti Lal Naaz, Makhan Lal Kanwal , Rasool Pompur, Radhey Nath Masarrat ,Manzoor Hashmi, Arjun Dev Majboor , Nishat Ansari , Farooq Nazki are some important names in the history of the development of Ghazal.
Naseem Shifai’s Darichi Mutsrith makes the presence of the poetess felt in Ghazals with intensity of feeling and soft language.
Rafiq Raaz has given a new direction to Kashmiri Ghazal by the freshness of his style. Many younger poets are influenced by him. Suneeta Raina Pandit with her Rihij Yaad and Sonzal came up as a very prominent Ghazal writer.
Ghazal in Kashmiri language has developed rapidly during the last 50 years. It is rich both in content and language. Sometimes it has continued with conventional forms of expression and sometimes modified itself with new experiments in style. But in every case it has come out of its traditional mechanical frame and has taken many steps towards sophistication. There are new tools of communication, new perceptions and new metaphors. These have added to the aesthetics of the Kashmiri Ghazal.
Nazam is a form of poetry in which a single thought is expressed without any digressions. Nazam is an organic whole that indicates a single creative attitude of the poet. There is no restricted form for this genre. Many experiments have been made in its structure. Sometimes a poem is written without any rhythm and sometimes blank verse form is used for it. Inner rhyme is the most important element of the modern Nazam. The development of Kashmiri Nazam has the following stages :-
a. Till 1947: Some scholars believe that Nunda Ryosh wrote first Kashmiri Nazam Gongal Naama. After him Parmanand wrote some beautiful Nazams. No doubt, these are allegories but they cannot be termed as Nazam in modern context. Modern Nazam starts with Mahjoor and Azad. However, none of the two had complete notion of this genre. Basically the genre with its modern characteristics came from Europe. It came through Urdu into Kashmiri. After 1857, need for a new form was felt by the people connected with the Aligrah movement. A similar development took place from 1938 in Kashmiri due to the spread of education and political struggle. Mahjoor, Azad and Zinda Kaul (1884-1965) wrote some beautiful poems such as, Dariyaav, Shikwa-I-Iblees, Inqilaab of Azad and Yamberzal and Azadi of Mahjoor. Zinda Kaul popularly known as Master Ji wrote poems. His Sumaran(The Rosary) was the first book in Kashmiri which was awarded Sahitya Akademi Award in 1956. His poems are devotional and philosophical in content and are rich in structure and style.
b. 1948-1960: The Progressive Movement affected Kashmiri literature with the same intensity as Sir Syed Movement had given new directions to Urdu Nazam after 1857. Certain political, economic and social changes also helped in the growth of the Nazam. Well-educated youths of that period were influenced by Karl Marx .The social change and economic revolution became their creed. The young poets gave up all the previous models of adoration and adopted a new form of expression called Nazam to suit the changing times. Realism was their watchword and the working class was the center of their attention. Most of the modern poets of repute were the torchbearers of social change, which in spite of good humanitarian motives became sloganism in literature. Though the poets never bothered for literary refinement and originality yet it can be safely said that poems of this period are a milestone in the growth of the Nazam. It was the only period when common people took great interest in Mushairas and literary functions. They found a mirror of their lives in Nazam. Poets of this period were greatly influenced by Nadim. The new forms that were born as a result of the change are free verse, sonnet, blank verse, the opera and the Tukh(Quatrain). Ornamental language and other traditional conventions were discarded and every effort was made to meet the demands of change. Some good poems like Nadim’s Me chamm aash paguhch, Kamil’s Yaarabaluk Sahar were written in this period.
Nadim was a born poet and even the poems written with socialistic motivation by him bear certain degrees of literal beauty . Wothi baaguch kukilee (Arise the cuckoo of garden), Dal haanzni hond Vatsun(The song of the boat woman) are some of the instances.Nadim introduced new rhythms superbly. His original imagery and use of blank verse (as in Bu gyavana az) speak of the many creative capabilities of Nadim.
Rahi was a progressive poet in essence but at the same time his poems impress the reader by his craftsmanship. He introduced the monologue-technique in his Gata-ta-Gaash (Darkness and Light) Nowroze Saba shows his maturity and promise of creativity. Some of his important poems of this period are Zindagee(Life), Path agar yiyi the motas vaary (Then if death were to come) and Azich kath(Today’s tale).
Mirza Arif also played his role in the development of Nazam, with the same progressive notions. Dusa, Zanaanan hund ehtejaaaj(the protest of women) are some of his important Nazams. Kamils Mas malir (1955) contains many poems depicting progressive trends and growth of Nazam. He experimented with the form of Nazam and he himself claims that his style and craftsmanship are different. This difference is amply brought forward in his second collection Lava ta Prava(Dew Drops and Sunbeams).His other two poetic collections are Beyi sui paan and Padis Pud Tshaayi. His craftsmanship is commendable. Kamil successfully uses references from Hindu mythology in his poetry to communicate effectively. He has freshness of language and beauty of metaphor. The poet seems conscious of the changing values of the modern life.
Ghulam Nabi Firaq shows influence of the progressive Urdu poem and romantic English poetry. He has written some good poems and his subjects are conventional like agonies of life and love. Almost all those poets who have contributed to Ghazal have also contributed to the development of Nazam in their own way. However, most of the poets are not having any new experimentation in structure of the poem and some of them write in traditional style.
c. 1960 onwards: Nadim, Rahi, Kamil. Moti Lal Saqi, Muzafar Azim , Ghulam Nabi Khyaal , Arjun Dev Majboor, Vaasdev Reh, Mishal Sultanpuri, Margoob Banihaali, Moti Lal Naaz , Nishat Ansari, Naji Munavar, Santosh, Rasul Pompur and Farooq Nazki are some of the poets who contributed to the development of Nazam. These poets have explored new horizons. The same poets who had discarded the tradition under the influence of progressivism are trying to recreate at present. Poets like Rahi are finding new meanings in Lal Ded and other classic poets. Old idioms are being used to communicate the new meanings. Poet’s creativity has displayed their special use of images and symbols. Modernity was a trend upto 1980 but it could not become a movement like the Progressive movement. It had its influence upon the poets like Rahi. But the circumstances prevailing in Kashmir after 1990 have affected their creativity to a great extent and poetry has become much more topical.
Nadim was the first poet who affected structural changes. He took up abstract themes in his Nazam after 1960. His Naabad Tyathavyan is a milestone not only in the development of Kashmiri Nazam but also in the evolution of Nadim. This poem set a new trend of style, structure and thought in Nazam. Some important poems of Nadim in this context are Kaathi Darwaazaa Pathi Gara Tani, Lakhchi chuu Lakhchun. However his best contribution in this regard are his small poems which have a chain of metaphors, symbols and unlimited scope of meaning. Such poems of his are called Haarisath.
Rahi exhibited many elements of modernism through his poems. His poetry bears the influence of existentialism. The poet seems lost in his agony of loneliness and has no solace and feels bereft of all those things which man had taken for granted as his conventions and support. One of his poems Badbeen (The Cynical) expresses the tragedy of man who has nothing to depend upon. The poetic collection of Rahi viz. Sihya rooda jareen manz is a masterpiece work that shows the changing attitudes and creative evolution of the poet.
Moti Lal Saqi’s three poetry collections( Modury Khaab, Mansar,Neery nagma) show the changing trends of Nazam. His poem Mandore is a fine example of artistic use of symbol and his Vaaraag uses symbol of smoke to express his sensibilities. Majboor’s Tyol presents the trauma of the migration of a large section of Kashmiri pandits following militancy in Kashmir. Almost all such poets communicate the agonies of exodus and it has almost become a trend in literature. It is replete with emotion and is topical to a greater extent. Moti Lal Naaz’s Poshe Kuj presents some fine poems, which are the mirror of his feelings expressed in a suitable style. Rasool Pompur’s Safed Sangar and KhandI contain nice poems.
Some very recent trends can be found in the Nazam of Shafi Shouq, Ghulshan Majeed , M.H. Zafar and even in Rahmaan Rahi . Shouq and Ghulshan’s poems are better understood at an abstract level and they represent to some extent the postmodern trend in Kashmiri poetry. Naseem Shafai sees the bleeding society through the eyes of a woman with wounded sensibilities.
It is not known what type of prose existed till 19th century, as no prose work has been found. In 1821 the first effort was made by Serampore Missionaries who got New Testament translated into Kashmiri in Sharda script. The same was reprinted in 1884 in Persian script. In 1879 the first book in Kashmiri was printed and the subject matter of this book was geometry. This book was authored by Pandit Mahadev Gigoo who wrote under pseudonym of Ram Joo Dhar . The book was printed on hand made Kashmiri paper in Kashmir. In 1898 Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal published Ishwarakaul’s Shabda-amrita, a work on Kashmiri grammar in Sanskrit. Moulvi Yahaya’s Tafseer-I-Quraan and Kaashar Kitaab by Agha Sayyad Mohammad with heavy Persian diction were also published.
The Persian script of Kashmiri was not suitable for reading and writing, as it had no diacritical marks. It can be one of the main reasons for the lack of prose till 1947. Kashmiri prose writing did not develop till it got the attention of Mahjoor and Mirza Arif who persuaded writers to write in Kashmiri prose.
The greatest contribution of Progressive Movement in Kashmir is the development of Kashmiri prose. The Cultural Congress stressed on the development of fiction, drama and criticism. It was in the meetings of cultural congress that modern prose really evolved. Since July 1948, Radio Kashmir and since 1958, Jammu and Kashmir Cultural Academy have been doing their best to develop Kashmiri literature and language. The development of Kashmiri prose is actually the development of various prose genres like drama, short story, novel etc.
Kashmir has a rich tradition of folk drama which is entertaining the people over centuries. However, interest was shown by some people in stage and literal drama. Nand Lal Kaul, Tara Chand Bismil and Ghulam Nabi Dilsoz were the first to take steps in this direction. Kaul’s Satuch Kahwat was written in 1929 and staged in Raghu Nath Mandir, Srinagar for four years. Its language is heavily Sanskritsed, yet people took it very eagerly. Dilsoz wrote a play titled Lailaa Majnoon and Shirin Farhaad for a gramophone company. The recordings entertained the people. Bismil wrote Satuch Vath. A big step towards the drama writing was taken by Mohi-ud-din Hajni by his Grees Sund Gara, most probably under the literal influence of Gowdaan of Munshi Prem Chand. In 1944, various drama clubs came into being. The Sudhar Samiti Club wanted to affect social reformation of Kashmiri Pandits through the medium of drama. Due to the efforts of Balraj Sahni, Indian Peoples Theatre Association (IPTA) was established and this had its impact on the development of theatre in the State. The Cultural Front took theatre to rural Kashmir. Its purpose was not to develop drama but rather the theatre was used as a medium, to awaken people politically and socially. Due to the political considerations Bata Har play of Prem Nath Pardesi could not be staged. His second play Shaheed Sheerwaani whose songs were written by Mahjoor was not successful due to the lack of its stage ability. Some plays like Ali Mohammad Lone’s Viz chhi saany, Roshan’s Son Sansaar and Amin Kamil’s Pagaah Chhu Gaashdaar were staged. All the three dramas were published and titled as Kuni Kath in 1955. The impact of Progressive Movement was felt through the medium of drama. Nadim contributed, as usual in this field also .His plays include Zameen chhi Greesy Sonz (The land is the tillers), Nekee ta Badee(Good and Evil),Vaavan Vonnum and the famous opera Bombur ta Yemburzal. Nadim liberated Kashmiri drama from the shackles of other languages by using the diction of the common people with aesthetic effects. The opera was shown to Khrushchev and Bulganin in 1956 when they visited the state. Hemaal-ta-Naagiray was his next opera. Shihil Kul is a drama of bigger canvas and some of its parts were presented through light and sound medium in an open theatre. The Vitasta is an opera with fine musical language. It was a great stage success and the Times of India considered it “ a glorious feast of Colour, dance & drama”. It was staged in many cities of India. Vitasta is the first Kashmiri opera to win international fame.
The writers who followed Nadim include Amin Kamil (Raav Roopee), Muzaffar Azim (Sony Kisur), Ghulam Rasool Santosh(Gulrez), Pushkar Bhan(Dodi Majnoon), Jagar Nath Wali (Zoon) Noor Mohmood Roshan(Choor Bazar)Som Nath Zutshi(Potsh)Aziz Haroon (Soda),Akhtar Mohi-ud-din(Nasti hund Sawal).
Kashmir Theatre Federation formed in 1962 consisted of 17 drama clubs. It helped in the promotion of drama. In 1960, Tagore Hall was constructed and the State Cultural Academy has been organising drama festivals since then. Many new dramatists came to forefront. They include Moti Lal Kemmu, Avtaar Krishen Rahbar , Sjood Sailani , Bansi Nirdosh, Hari Krishen Kaul , Mohammad Subhan Bhagat.
Ali Mohammad Lone wrote Taqdeer Saaz. Kemmu has many plays to his credit. Some of them are Tshaay, Haram Khaanuk Aana and Manzil Nika. Natak Truch is collection of his three plays. Kemmu enriched drama by his stagecraft and creative production. Sajood Sailani wrote Zalur, Rwopaya Rood, Tanate Ku, Shihul Naar, Kajy Raath, Gaashi Taarukh. Other plays in Kashmiri include Hari Krishan Kaul’s Dastaar, Lone’s Chaary Paathir and Suya. Pushkar Bhan’s Rangan handy Rang, Farooq Masoodi’s College Paathir, Rattan Lal Shant’s Shahrag, Kemmu’s Lal bu draayas lolare, Dakh yeli Tsalan, Nagar Woodaasy,RadhaKrishen Braroo’s Reshy Vaar.
Many European dramas have been translated into Kashmiri and some of them have been staged. Radio drama is a very popular genre in Kashmiri. Mention may be made of Pushkar Bhan’s Machama –a social satire, which was a great success. Som Nath Zutshi, Akhtar Mohi-ud-din, Ali Mohammad Lone, Avatar Krishan Rahbar, Soom Nath Sadhu, Bansi Nirdosh, Shankar Raina, Hriday Kaul Bharati, Rattan Lal Shant, Amar Malmohi, Bashir Dada and Sajood Sailani are some of the successful radio drama writers in Kashmiri.
Dina Nath Nadim and Soom Nath Zutshi are the first ones whose short stories Jawaabee Card and Yeli phol Gaash were published in Kwong Posh in March 1950. Arjun Dev Majboor followed with his Kwolivaan. The other writers who started short story writing are Aziz Haroon and Noor Mohammad. Some more writers who came to forefront include Amin Kamil, Umesh Kaul, Ghulam Ahmad Sofi, Akhtar Mohi-ud-din and Deepak Kaul. Short stories of these writers are motivated by the Progressive Movement in form and content. However, these writers introduced the genre in Kashmiri and paved the way for new writers who were not bound by any political convention or some particular social philosophy. They started to think for themselves and this affected their writings. Akhtar felt the change and tried to develop short story according to the demands of creativity. He created realistic situations with moving characters .His short story collection Sath Sangar was published in 1955. His second collection Sonzal shows better growth of his creativity. Amin Kamil’s collection Kathi Manz Kath shows his understanding of character and deep observation of society. Kokar Jung is the most famous story of his. Generally Kamil uses a light satire and tries to tear off the curtains of hypocrisy. Sofi Ghulam Mohammad has two collections Sheesha ta Sangistaan and Loosymuty Taarkh to his credit. He writes fine prose but has less art of characterization. Bansi Nirdosh has three short story collections to his name viz Baal Maraayo, Adam Chhu Yithai Badnaam and Girdaab. Nirdosh has mastered the art of story telling. Avatar Krishna Rahbar’s Tobruk, a short story collection, has fine technique, suitable language and art of characterization.
Short story writers continued with new experiments and more stress was given on character development than plot. Writers like Ali Mohammad lone, Santosh, Bharti, Hari Krishen Kaul and Shant made inroads into new trends. Akhtar continued to develop his short stories with new patterns. Gahe Taaph Gahe Shihul, Rotul, Mayate Kath, Irtqa, Hatak are some of the short stories that show his experiments with structure and the changed attitudes for creating a tense atmosphere with inner conflicts of the character at subjective level.
Hari Krishan Kaul Taaph (Sunshine) written in 1967 is his first short story. His other short story includes Pati laaraan parbat , Haalas chu Rotul, Yeth Razdaanaya and Zool Apaaraum. Kaul’s diction is a mirror of his art. Kaul has his own style and does not bother for experimentation. He has always something to convey and his stories are multidimensional. A tender satire is a pleasant factor in his fiction. The ordinary events of common day life within the frame of a particular culture and a political setup provide the basic substance to his short stories. His colloquial is a beauty.
Rattan Lal Shant has three collections of short stories namely Achhar Waalan Pyath Koh, Trikoonjal andRaevimut Maane to his credit. Shant knows the art of short story and that is why his short stories are well streamlined. He knows the use of words and is never extravagant in his use of language. He presents characters with all sorts of tensions and deals with them with perfect psychological understanding. The short stories in Trikoonjal present a three dimensional social picture where characters act and react with their own motives. Shant writes with perfect understanding of the cultural patterns involved.
Hriday Kaul Bharati’s short stories present abundance of experimentation. His short stories are subjective and are much more abstract. He uses symbols freely and does not follow the traditional plot, character or social setting. His Humzaad, tsakarvyuh, Mili hund Deh are his representative short stories.
Some other short story writers include Bashir Akthar, Amar Malmohi, Ghulam Nabi Baba, Abbas Taabash, Ghulam Nabi Shakir, Farooq Massudi, Gulshan Majid, Shamas-ud-din Shameem, Chaman Lal Hakku, Shafi Shooq, Majrooh Rashid, Nazir Jahaghir, Iqbaal Fahim, Rattan Johar and Makhanlal Pandita.
After the exodus of 1990 some writers have influenced short story writing with their creative activity .One of them is Roop Krishen Bhat. His short story collection Harda Vaav shows that the writer is very conscious about the rapidly occurring changes, their impact upon the individual and society. Roop Krishen’s stories present tensions, conflicts and the helplessness of man who is alienated under the force of unpredictable circumstances.
Novel in Kashmiri language has not developed like in other Indian languages. The main reason for this is the multilingual character of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. There is not much readership for novel. Kashmiri people prefer to read novels in Urdu, Hindi and English. In such circumstances very few novels as listed below can be termed as commendable though none of the novels possesses perfection.
1. Dod Dag Akthar Mohi-ud-din 1958 2. Gati Manz Gaash Mohd. Amin Kamil 1959 3. Asyti Chhi Insaan Ali Mohd. Lone 4. Mujriam Ghulam Nabi Gauhar 1972 5. Myul Ghulam Nabi Gauhar 1973 6. Akh Door Bansi Nirdoosh 1975 7. Tresh ta Tarpan Amar Malmohi 1976 8. Pyon ta Paap Ghulam Nabi Gauhar 1986 9. Sheen ta Vatapod Pran Kishore 1989 10. Dastan-e-Amir Jaan Bashar Bashir 1994
Abdul Ahad Azad has the honor of being the first literary research scholar and critic in Kashmiri. He wrote three volumes of Kashmiri Zabaan aur Shayiraa with deep research and critical insight.
Mohi-ud-din Hajni contributed to criticism and research with his Muqalaat and other works.
State Cultural Academy Publications: The Academy published many research works regarding the poets and writers of various Ages. Such Collections include critical assessments by scholars like Mohd. Yusuf Taing, Moti Lal Saqi, Mohd. Amin Kamil and Rasheed Nazki. The Academy also published some collections of folk songs and folk stories. Most of the critical essays written by the individual authors were published in the journals of Academy – Sheeraza and Son Ada.
Mohd. Yusaf Taing is a leading critic with colourfulness of language not quite suited for criticism. However, Taing has a high degree of critical insight, vast study and clear perceptions. Talash is a collection of his critical essays.
Anhaar, journal of Kashmir University helped greatly in evolving literary criticism and expanding the cipher of literary research. Rahmaan Rahi is a very important modern critic with clear perceptions and remarkable understanding. He is well versed in the European trends of criticism. Kahwat is considered the threshold of modern trends in the art of criticism.
Ratan Lal Shant is a well-versed literary critic. He has written many thought provoking articles about practical criticism. His work Kaashur Afsana 'Az-ta-Pagah' is a critical analysis of the merits and demerits of the modern short story. It shows the depth of understanding Kashmiri, English and Hindi literature.
Amar Malmohi’s interest is on contemporary criticism. His Vakshnay ta Vatshnay is a collection of articles presenting objective criticism.
Naji Munawar interest is on research rather than on criticism and Pursaan is his well known criticism.
Ghlushan Majid and Shafi Shouq are critics with modern sensibilities. They have contributed much to the development of criticism and research. Shouq has written Kaashiri Adabuk Tawaareekh.
Trilokinath Raina writes in English and has rendered valuable services to Kashmiri language by his translations, critical appreciations and research. His latest work A History of Kashmiri Literature is a commendable work.
Basic experiments of essay writing were made in the Pratap magazine of S.P College Srinagar. But no serious efforts were made to develop essay for a long time. Some essays were written by Somnath Sadhu and Sofi Ghulam Mohammad. But the pioneer in Kashmiri essay writing is Mohammad Zamaan Azurdah. He made essay a distinct literary form in Kashmiri. He has added colourfulnes to Kashmiri prose by the variety of his essays. Fikar ta Tikar (1980) and Nuna Posh (1986) are his two essay collections. His essays bear the impact of Pitras Bukhari and some other Urdu writers. Humor and satire makes his essays very interesting. He creates humorous situations.
Rasool Pampur and Manzoor Hashmi have also contributed to essay writing. Zaifraan Zaar is a collection of Hashmi’s humorous essays. Zareef Ahmad Zareef makes his essays very interesting by the use of natural Kashmiri idiom. Ghulam Ali Majboor writes fine essays, which seem spontaneous and colourful. Pushkar Nath Dhari’s Cheti Naav is a fine collection of literary and social critical essays.
Prof. J.L Kaul has the credit of using Kashmiri for the first time in print word (1936) in the magazine of S. P. College. It was followed by Lalla Rukh magazine of Amar Singh college. However it was Mahjoor who published Gaash newspaper but could not continue it. In 1949 Pamposh a journal was brought out at Delhi. In 1952 Mirza Arif brought out Gulreez. Information department of J&K Government devoted a part to Kashmiri in Urdu Tameer in 1960. Presently the same institution publishes a bi-monthly literary journal Aalov. This journal has achieved good reputation within a short period of time. The publication of many journals continued for some time but none of them could go on for some considerable period of time. These Journals include:
Journal Editor Year Desh S.N Sadhu 1957 Wattan G.N Khayaal 1962 Chaman G.R Nazki 1965 Neb Amin Kamil 1968 Kaashur Adab G.R Santosh 19? Aash Shouq & Gulshan 1970 Kaashur Akhbaar Cultural Organisation 1974
The above-mentioned journals could not continue their publication for a considerable period of time due to many reasons. The State Cultural Academy has been publishing Son Adab and Sheeraaza regularly.
Kaashur Samachar continues regular publication. Now its under the editorship of S.N.Bhat Haleem. Kshir Bhawani Times (Jammu), Vitasta (Kolkatta), Naad (Delhi), Patrikaa (Delhi) are some of the journals which have a considerable Kashmiri portion in Devnagri.
Samprati is a centre for preserving culture and language of the Kashmiri exiled batch at Jammu. It publishes Satisar, a literary journal in Persian script.
Below is the list of Kashmiri translations worth mentioning:
Author Work Translator Aristotle Poetics Ghulam Nabi Khayyal Arabian Nights Mohi-ud-din Hajini Agha Shahid Ali Country without Post Office Shafi Shauq Arthur Miller Death Of a Salesman Mohan Nirash Abdul Kalam Azad Tarjaman al Quarn M A Shaida Bhabani Bhattacharya Shadow from Ladakh Shaqi Shauq Cervantes Don Quixote Shyam Lal Sadhu Chekov The Three Sisters Rattan Lal Shant Franz Kakka The Trial Soom Nath Zutshi Goethe Faust Ghulam Nabi Firaq Goldsmith She Stoops to Conquer Autar Krishen Rahbar Galsworthy Justice Akbar Ali Ansari M.K. Gandhi My Experiments with Truth Akther Mohi-ud-din Talib Gurbachen Singh Sheikh Baba Farid-ud-din Rahman Rahi Guru Gobind Singh Jappaji Sahib Fazil Kashmiri Baha Ullah Ta Mohd. Amin Kamil Asar-I- Jadeed Henrik Ibsen The Wild Duck Soom Nath Zutshi Ghosts Akhtar Mohi-ud-din Khayyam Rubaiyat Ghulam Hassan Big Arif Khayyam Rubaiyat Ghulam Nabi Khayyal Keats, Tennyson Selected Poems Khizir Magribi and Ghulam Nabi Firaq Kalidas Malvikagnimitra Bansi Nirdosh Maxim Gorky Mother Ali Mohammad Lone Man is Born Rahman Rahi Mohammad Abdulla Hadees-I-Sharif Margoob Banihali and Taaree Nicoloi Gogol The Inspector General Soom Nath Zutshi Rajinder Sing Bedi Ek Chaadar Maili Si Rasul Pampur Som Dev Katha Sarit Sagar Amar Malmohi Saidi Gulistan G.H.Taskeen William Shakespeare Othello Ghulam Nabi Nazir King Lear Naji Munawar Julius Caesar Naji Munawar Sophocles Dedipusees Naji munawar Sumitra Nandan Pant Vyor Prithvi Nath Pushp Sudha Murti Wise and otherwise Shafi Shauq Leo Tolstoy War and Peace Muzaffar Azim Rabindranath Tagore The Post Office Mohd. Amin Kamil Raja O Rani Mohd. Amin Kamil Red Oleanders Noor Mod. Roshan Chandalika Noor Mohd. Roshan Mukut Dhara Ali Mohammad Lone Cycle of Spring Gh. Hassan Beg Arif Reeta Gh. Hassan Beg Arif Chitra Autar Krishen Rahbar Gitanjali Moti Lal Naaz James Maurier Haji Baba of Isphahan Shamas-ud-din Unknown Panchastavi Jia Lal Saraf Vishnu Sharma Panchtantra (Persian) Margoob Banihali __________ World short Stories (1) S L Sadhu __________ World short Stories (2) Naji Munawar Vijay Tendulkar Kanya Daan Shafi Shouq Rawapad Chowdhury Ghar Badhi Rattanlal Shant Oscar Wilde Salome Rattanlal Shant Albermin India Rattanlal Shant Omkar Koul Mulaqgat Pyare Hatash
Copyright CIIL-India Mysore