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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri




Majboor as a Kashmiri poet

Prof. R.N. Kaul

R.N. KaulWaves is a collection of twenty four poems - some short and some long - originally written in Kashmiri by Arjan Dev Majboor and translated into English by Arvind Gigoo. The short number represents a broad spectrum across whose prismic surface Majboor's imagination soars catching in its sweep many impressions from his inner and outer life. These reflect not only his subjective reactions but also reflect, as if in a mirror. the feelings and thoughts of an exiled community.
The present reviewer has no pretensions to be well-versed in Kashmiri literature and its rich and noble language yet Majboor' s poems have impressed him to the extent of provoking him to at­tempt their review. It is like fools rushing in where angels fear to tread. Yet the attempt is worthwhile.
After reading the translations and some of the originals I cannot help feeling that they do not lack a genuine poetic genius. I n fact it is the intelligent translations done by Arvind Gigoo and their artificial patterns that give these poems a true poetic garb.
These thoughts apart, as generally happens in poems com­posed for Mashairas, the milieu is provided by what is taking place at present socially and politically around the poet. Hence it is that brought up a leftist and an idealist in search of a utopia, Majboor mourns the loss of values and makes his poetic outbursts as vehicles of his deep felt sympathy for the suffering humanity especially those uprooted from their homes by fanatics who have resorted to murders, arson and rape and what is generally known as militancy in the J&K state. The poem The Topsy - Turvy Tree poignantly brings out what a distorted and barren picture the earth will be due to the irrational behaviour of the homo sapiens. The tree has chosen to have its roots in the sky.
The earth will turn into a blazing inferno
the eagles will not fly
it will rain acid.
Urban civilization will go amok. Such is the theme of the poem The City. Freedom has only brought ‘frantic blindness'. The poem The Hungry Man gives a pathetic picture of a starving man:
A lean man
with a sack
was searching his fate
hunger was his lone companion.
The poem Prison presents, in sustained but restrained rhythm of irony, the state of affairs in temporary tent shelters improvised for Kashmiri migrants at a stone's throw from the state jail where militants are luxuriously housed, fed and entertained. Victims to the scorching sun and flooding rains, saving their lives with the skin of their teeth from scorpions and snakes to the Kashmiri Pandits verily the camp is a jail whereas the real jail is a heaven:
There is a crematorium by the prison
The prisoners smile.
In most of Majboor's poems the style and technique are impressionistic. A feeling. a thought floats across the canvas of his imagination and he makes an attempt to clothe it in ‘chiseled words'. Though there are flashes of genius, the technique of Mushaira dia­logue form changes good poetry into what becomes banal and even prosaic. For example, the dialogue between the poet and the tree recalls at once the echoes of a typical Kashmiri poetic sympo­sium. Writes Majboor in the poem The Fowl:
One said
‘Wonderful, the fowl has two legs
Another said:
‘No, the fowl has four legs
Some poems in the selection are inspired by imagination, nostalgia though to a slight extent maudlin. To the Swan is a case in point. This poem should touch the sensitive chords of each migrant's heart. Adam and Eve were thrown out of Eden for eating the forbidden fruit. Kashmiri Pandits became tar­gets for their religious creed. Driven out by fanatical hordes called militants they have been living miserable lives for over a decade now. Majboor though a leftist cannot help responding to the suf­ferings of his brethren. He asks his soul to seek the beautiful spots in the valley and report back his findings. This may give him a vicarious relief. He addresses the swan:
If you get tired
rest on the golden hay
on a hill top
dye yourself in the jungle light
the ripples will play
among the boulders.
The collection has poems rich in imagery and a vocabulary which is rich in sensuousness. No poet can escape being impressed by the appeal Nature's beauty in Kashmir makes to the senses. The valley's musical brooks, fragrant blossoms and flowers, warm and cool sensations, and juicy fruitage and landscapes, cloudscapes, treescapes and waterscapes are in lavish abandon everywhere. Hence Majboor will talk of bubbling brooks, of pastures breathing out scents (as Kahlil Gibran records in The Prophet), of snow­flakes coming down like silver coins, of mountains sleeping under covers of chaste snow. Though some poems fail to evoke interest because of their obscurity, yet it is poet's rich sensuous appeal that makes amends.
The book is a worthwhile possession and, as such, an ad­dition to the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir.

Arjan Dev Majboor



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And the world remained silent

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