By Avinash Aima
go back to the days, when my father used to go every morning for a walk in the
company of my mother in Naseem Bagh, an area surrounded by lofty Chinars. He not
only enjoyed the fragrance of cool air, but also turned these beautiful mornings
into occasions of literary interactions. Such luminaries - Prof. Rais Ahmed, Mrs.
Shakhti Rais, Prof. Shakeel-ur-Rehman, Prof. Manzoor-ul-Islam, Mrs. Manzoor,
Prof. Ayub Khan and others, who lived in the Campus quarters at Hazratbal would
also be on their morning walk jaunts. On return, Dr Premi would enlighten his
family members about the discussions he had with these people.
recall how our house at Ali Kadal used to host literary meets. These meetings
were attended by scholars - Hakim Manzoor, Moti Lal Saqi, Makhmoor Badakhshi, JL
Raina, Pushkar Nath, Rehman Rahi, Arun Kaul, Ghulam Nabi Baba, Wajhi Ahmed
Andrabi etc. The meetings continued well past
midnight. I too happened to sit in these
gatherings but without any interest. My father, after day's business, would meet
scores of friends at Habbakadal, conversations would drag on for hours together.
My father would also make me attend many poetic symposia and 'shows' in the
Chander and his wife Salma Siddique visited Srinagar. My father, an admirer of
Krishan Chander met him and discussions on literary aspects continued for many
days. Saadat Hassan Manto also came up during the discussions. My father was
those days engaged in research work on Manto. The meetings which my father had
with Krishan Chander later flowered into a companionship. My father wrote down a
memoir based on these interactions. It hasn't been published as yet.
Shakeel-ur-Rehman had close association with Dr. Brij Premi. He seemed impressed
with my father's talent and literary interests. I can still recollect the
discussions he held on the cultural heritage of India with my father Prof.
Shakeel was that time engaged in writing a book titled 'Ghalib Aur Hind
Mughal Jamaliyat' Dr. Shakeel's scholarship left deep impact on my
father, it helped him to identify other areas of literature and pursue these
with vigour. On my father's death, Prof. Shakeel said, “I have lost an intimate
companion of my life and feel weaker in his absence”.
father was deeply fascinated by Urdu and considered it as the real vehicle of
his expression, yet he did write few stories in Kashmiri and some articles in
Kashmiri short stories, he projected psychological and social dimensions of the
society. For example, in the story 'Vudav', the protagonist, a
female character, while being caught in the whirlpool of disturbed environment,
gets obsessed with certain spiritual urges which need to be filled. In
'Pas Az Gadai Chakri', he paints the picture of an employee, burdened by
economic misery. The character is exasperated with the situation he lives in. He
has to spend his meagre earnings to fend off the debts, which leaves him little
to tide over his existence for the month. He gets visual hallucinations - seeing
his creditors waiting for money with tilted noses on the currency notes. The
writings portray the psychological trauma of these econmically marginalised
people. Dr. Premi presents artistically the difficulties poor employees
underwent in supporting large families. 'Chaye Geit' is a stream
of thoughts, which have been woven in the warp and woof of realism.
'Kashmiriyaat', the social, literary and historical
Kashmir, was very dear to him. Mr. Suraj Saraf,
has acknowledged this in an essay on him. Mr. Mohd. Yusuf Teng, in his forward
to 'Jalwa-i-Sadrang' says that Brij Premi, after ploughing through
thousands of pages of available material, has presented various aspects of
Literary, Historical and Social heritage of
Kashmir in a
capsule form, in an unbiased way. About the same book Prof. Hamidi Kashmiri
observes that it would add new dimensions to research.
Cultural Academy (1991) is dedicated to
Kashmir. He says, "I dedicate this book to my
native land. If through these writings, if somebody feels my presence I would
feel delighted and pleased. The essays have the fragrance of the soil of my
Born in a
tradition-bound Kashmiri Pandit family, Brij Premi (1935-1990) loved to read in
his early years the adventure novels in the late hours. His father, Pt. Sham Lal
Aima, a writer of repute, wrote short stories, which were published regularly in
the Daily Martand. My grandfather had given an impressive performance,
when Pt. Nehru visited the Basic Model School, Srinagar. He rubbed shoulders
with such eminent personalities - Kashyap Bandhu, Prem Nath Pardesi, Master Zind
Kaul, Fazil Kashmiri, Nand Lal Talib, Dina Nath Warikoo, Dina Nath Mast, Aftab
Koul Wanchoo etc. This provided a good ambience for my father to become a
writer. Pt. Sham Lal Aima also excelled in writing allegories and pen-sketches.
in his early years, wrote under the pseudonym 'Yugdeep', to voice
his protest against the social evils. His articles appeared in 'Martand', 'Navjeevan',
was deeply mourned by writers and artists. They sympathised with us in our hour
Ahmed Nadeem Qasimi
Pakistan) puts it as:
of Dr. Brij Premi has left me deeply shocked. Brij Premi was young, but some
health problem has removed him from us".
Upender Nath Ashk
"I knew he
was diabetic, but this disease is quite common these days and people can live
with it for 80/85 years in many cases. But it is also true that death keeps no
calender and who can avoid what has to happen. He had still many projects to
Prof. Ale Ahmed Saroor
"The service rendered by Dr. Brij Premi in
the teaching and criticism of Urdu language and literature has a specific place.
His book on Manto goes a long way in understanding and analysing this great
Prof. Jagan Nath Azad
"When I was in
came to know about the sad demise of my dear friend. I was deeply shocked at his
Prof. Qamar Rais
"I cannot express the feelings of
dejection my mind is filled with at the sudden passing away of my dear friend,
Brij Premi. He had a passion for Urdu literature".
Prof. Shamim Hanfi
"I felt very sad at the tragedy of passing
away of Brij Premi. Whenever I would visit
would meet him. He was a cultured and polite person. I would always get pleasure
in meeting him".
*The author is son of Dr. Brij Premi. At
present he is working as Principal of
Secondary School at Muthi, Jammu.