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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri





It is a pleasure as well as a privilege for me to commend this collection of reviews, notices and citations of the WAVES. As reviewer after reviewer says, and their number attests to, Arjan Dev Majboor needs no introduction to the world of literature especially in the northern parts of India. Apart from his mastery over his native tongue Majboor is a litterateur writing in three languages current in the north of India, has an in-depth grip over Sanskrit and Persian literature, especially poetics, and has done research work in other major languages of Jammu and Kashmir, viz. Dogri with an enviable insight. As a senior poet he commands instant respect from the litterateurs in these languages, as a master of the craft of wielding the pen, he easily has a stature of eminence, and as a perceptible human being he is liked by all. With his exquisite background his work is bound to attract attention and notice.
His work in fact has commanded note and commendation in Kashmiri from his very first volume published in early fifties of the last century. Translation into English has opened a wide window on his work for the rest of the country to look at and peep into. The record of WAVES testifies to that. In the past four years since its publication the book of Majboor's verse has gone through two editions, been reviewed in most of the journals, dailies and periodicals devoted to literature, especially related to Kashmir. The book and its author have been conferred awards and accolades that all fine penmen and productions deserve. Yet Majboor is much greater than WAVES. His span and depth, his vision and versatility, his command over the language and literature of not only Kashmir but that of the adjoining areas and the mother-languages is bewildering. He writes of history and art, culture and civilization, men and matters. One of the most recent pieces of his that this author read is his exposition of Dogri in a commemorative volume on the well-known linguist Professor Devi Shankar Devedi of Kurkhetra University.
Accordingly, one cannot but agree with Toshkhani's contention ' whether a slender volume like this of just 58 pages and containing 24 poems only - can provide an adequate insight into the dimensions of creativity of a poet who has been writing for the last 50 years and has produced five volumes of poetry is rather doubtful'. That slender volume has grown by 14 pages and 6 poems, and another scholarly introduction by the acclaimed translator and critic of Kashmiri in subsequent edition. Nevertheless, that contention is still valid. WAVES is too small to adequately represent this multidimensional personality, this multifaceted writer. Yet it is a porthole that has shown Majboor not only all over the north India but in the far reaches of Kolkata and Bangalore. Like Tagore's Gitanjali WAVES has taken Majboor from confines of the Kashmiri knowing public and cast his uttering all over the land of India. Probably, Hindi would have been as good a vehicle; English has served this purpose better. Had WAVES not appeared non-Kashmiri people in Tagore's land might never have tasted the rich flavors Majboor has been brewing! There the contribution of its able translator Arvind Gigoo is undeniable. Indeed Gigoo has clothed Majboor's impressions in the lingua franca not only of India but the whole world. His craft is good and great and as significant to the success and access of WAVES as Majboor's. The style and craft of Gigoo is noticeable in the whole book. A translation may be proffering a chewed morsel as T N Dhar points out with the anecdote from one of the famed sons of Kashmiri soil Kumarjiva, but this morsel has not only been chewed well but has been presented in an appealing, appetizing manner. That comparison would only be better with the Japanese with whom every act, from eating to lovemaking is a fine art -seeable, savor able, enjoyable. if he has broken the consistent regularity of the Kashmiri lines in original Kashmiri he has also given reconstruction that invests it with the modern flavors and forms. Many a time he is transcreating more than translating and that is as good as it can get.
This volume has articles by almost all the known litterateurs around us. There are eminent critics, poets. writers, journalists, dramatists, professors and lay readers. The wide spectrum of penmen that has thus been forced to stand up and note WAVES and comment upon it is the best gauge of its impact. It is also a wholesome comment in itself on the work. Some have penned poems on the book and its author: others have been provoked to probe into life and times of Majboor. It would not be correct to say that Majboor has been brought into limelight with WAVES; he has written and published much more than this slim volume whether with 24 or 30 poems. But this volume has given Majboor's persona a new dimension and taken him to the language of the world. The write-ups presented here clearly bring this fact.
They have served as an apt occasion to look deep into the work of this major contemporary poet of Kashmir. The reviewers have accordingly brought out hidden facets of the poet to fore. They have highlighted his contributions, pointed to different genres Majboor has tried his hand at, looked into his variegated interests, and made valuable comments on his work, appreciative as well as critical. There may be areas of' disagreement, points where the authors have differed but the undercurrent of appreciation of Majboor's art is noticeable. Commanding appreciation. of critics as wide and as removed in perception and space as the contributors here are is an uphill task for any litterateur. But Majboor does it effortlessly because he is a visionary to the core. a preceptor with a heart, a penman with mastery over his medium and art. And above all and everything he is poet, as fine as they come. These essays bring all that to our focus and attention. Come let us sit back and savor the fare Majboor has been serving us for more than half a century. May the Lord enable him to pile our plate still higher!

Jammu, May 1, 2002


Arjan Dev Majboor



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