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An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



Kashmir Ke Mazameen

By Prof. Jagan Nath Azad

I had Cong been convinced about Dr. Brij Premi’s educational and literary skills. But after going through his book "Kashmir Ke Mazameen", I discovered one more facet of his personality. I found that Brij Premi was not only a writer, but a historian too, and as a historian he never lost sight of research.

Our writers have not contributed much in the fields of poetry, short story, novel, drama, literary criticism, and other subjects. Dr. Brij Premi's book "Kashmir Ke Mazameen", carries details about Martand (architecture) and Surya Mandir (culture).

Bernier Aur Kashmir (history) points to this important aspect of his multifaceted personality. I would, moreover, regard his fourth article on Govind Kaul as a blend of history and literature.

Besides culture and history the book, on the subject of personalities, includes four articles and five articles on literature and what is common among these topics is beautiful prose-writing, what we call Readability, which is becoming rare by the day.

There are four essays on the subject of personalities, first is about Govind Kaul, as already mentioned above. Besides this, there are articles on Prem Nath Pardesi, Prem Nath Dhar and Hamidi Kashmiri.

Articles of these writers are, no doubt, connected  with their personalities. It is natural that one can't read and understand the literary works of a writer by separating these from his personality. To write about a person in such a way that the personality of the writer and his literary work may be well mixed is a difficult job. Brij Premi has easily overcome this difficulty. The credit for this goes to his effusive style of writing.

There are four articles in this book under the title of literature. These are Lal Ded Ki Shairi (poetry of Lal Ded), Mantoo Aur Shair Kashmir Mehjoor (Mantoo and the poet Mehjoor of Kashmir), progressive literary movement in Kashmir and Urdu in Kashmir. The last article of the book is related to journalism in J&K State.

We, Urdu knowing people, have certainly heard Lal Ded's name, but are not conversant with her work. Brij Premi in his article has not only made the readers aware about Lal Ded's excellent poetry, but has also included the Urdu translation of her Kashmiri poetry in his article, thereby removing the lack of communication between Lal Ded's works and the readers who do not know Kashmiri language. This way such readers will not only get at the quintessence of her poetry, but will also taste and enjoy the sweetness of her language and the poetic gift.

"Mantoo Aur Shair Kashmir, Mehjoor" is a very distinct and peculiar subject. Apparently there seems to be no connection between these two great writers. There is no link or contact between the two. But Brij Premi has revealed the truth in this article that the biggest link between the two is provided by 'Rooh-e-Kashmir' (the soul of Kashmir), the soul which informs both. And then Mantoo himself remarks:

"I have not seen Kashmir, but Kashmiris, I have seen

But alas! I have not seen Mehjoor..."

For Urdu knowing people like us it is such a reality of which we knew nothing. I knew that Mantoo loved Kashmir excessively, but that he yearned to see Mehjoor was something I had no knowledge of.

In the same way, his article on Hamidi Kashmiri-whom people like me know closely and are his friends--provides us such information about which we had absolutely no knowledge.

I have been living in Kashmir since 1948, and between 1948 and 1977 I resided in Srinagar. I often had the occasion of meeting Hamidi Sahib in literary gatherings, poetic symposia, and at the University in his department at the Iqbal Institute. He might have paid a visit to my residence or met me in my office at the Press Information Bureau. But I met him a number of times at his residence. But the following fact became known to me through Brij Premi's book.

As a result of his being formally associated with the progressive movement a subtle impact of the movement on him is discernible in his stories.

It was my ignorance that right from the beginning I had supposed him to be against the literary progressive movement.

"Kashmir Main Taraki Pasand Adbi Tehrik" (Progressive literary movement in Kashmir) is a very important article in the book. No historian who writes the history of the Progressive Literary Movement, can ignore this article. If he does so, he can't do justice with his subject. This article is a mirror through which we can see the literary activities of people like Prem Nath Pardesi, Peer Abdul Ahad, Gulam Rasool Renzu, Peer Giyas-ud-Din, Noor Mohammed Asi, Moti Lal Misri, Pran Nath Jalali, Badri Nath Nishat, Madhusudan Kausar, Shair-i-Kashmir Mehjoor, Arjan Dev Majboor, Soom Nath Zutshi, Master Zinda Kaul, Amin Kamil, Ali Mohammad Lone, Qaisar Qalandar, Mohinder Raina, Aziz Haroon, Habib Kamran, Bansi Nirdosh, Nand Lal Ambardar, Prem Nath Premi, Dina Nath Almast, Deepak Kaul, Tej Bahadur Bhan, Firaq and other Urdu and Kashmiri writers; their literary activities were directly associated with the progressive movement in the field of literature. This topic is such a significant chapter in the Literary Progressive Movement in Kashmir, without which the literary progressive movement in India can't be said to be complete.

There is a critical review of late Professor Abdul Qadir Sarwari’s book "Kashmir Main Urdu" (Urdu in Kashmir) which has appeared before us in the shape of a detailed piece of scholarly research. Brij Premi has presented himself before us in this article as an authoritative research scholar.

Brij Premi regards late Abdul Qadir Sarwari as one of the great and responsible critics and research scholars of the subcontinent whose every moment of life was spent in the service of Urdu knowledge and literature. But instead of his great reverence for Sarwari Sahib, he has not overlooked the factual inaccuracies of the latter, but has fulfilled his duty as an impartial researcher. In this context, a few examples may be cited here as under.

"At one place Sarwari Sahib describes the pseudonym of Prem Nath Pardesi as Allama Sidiqui Sanbawi and at other places the same false name is given to Dina Nath Dilgir. The novel 'Taziana Abrat' written by Nand Lal Begaraz, while toeing the line of Rattan Nath Sarshar, has been called a collection of articles. He has written a lot on Sahibzada Mohd. Umar Noor Illahi's "Natak Sagar" and other dramas, but does not make any mention of his commendable work Amanat's Indersabha' which the editors have, for the first time, divided into scenes and acts and given it a superior shape. While talking about the Urdu Short Story in Kashmir, he gives prominence to Prem Nath Pardesi and forgets Charag Hassan Hasrat, whose collection of short stories--"Kele Ka Chilka" and other short stories had been published long ago in 1927. While talking of short story writers, he writes about only a few short story writers of that period whose material he had taken from the files of Martand. He ignores Jammu completely. He also does not make mention of the upcoming short story writer of that time, Prem Nath Dhar. There is also no mention of the short story writers of the same period, namely, Gulzar Ahmed Fida, Kausar Seemabi, Akhgar Askari, Kaif Asraili, Abdul Aziz Alai, etc. who were showing extraordinary skills in the art of short story writing in the forties of previous century. When we come to novel writing, we find mention of only Narsinghdas Nargis's 'Parbati'. There is absolutely no reference to Pardesi's novel "Poti". He does not make any mention anywhere of the famous expert on linguistics, Dr. Sidheshwar Verma's book "Aariyayi Zabine" (Aryan languages). There is also no reference to Quadrat Ullah Shahab and Abu Syeed Qureshi. Who rendered service to Urdu from outside Kashmir around this period. Instead  he makes a mention of Mathradevi, Radha Rani and some leaders of the state in respect of the publication and popularization of Urdu prose, when we know that these persons had nothing to do with Urdu prose writing. It appears that whatever he got from the columns of newspapers, he went on including it in his book, without any specialization in research. We don't find any reference to any period in this volume of Sarwari Sahib's book. It can't be said with certainty as to which the beginning of the period he is referring to, nor do we get any idea as to the limit of its expansion. From chronological point of view, those writers and poets whose mention should have been made first, have been placed towards the end of the book. He includes in the third volume of his book the works of writers and poets till the end of the sixties of the year of Independence and of those who spent their time in serving Urdu as writers or poets. Sarwari Sahib brings to light, as a diligent researcher, a number of memorable works. But here again he has misrepresented things at several places. He has given pre-eminence to a write-up which he has found in a paper or a journal, which is the speech of a leader whose report is published in a local newspaper, or some official report got published by some government officer".

The article on "Jammu Kashmir Ki Sahafat" (Journalism  in J&K) is likewise criticism and research-oriented. It is the misfortune of Urdu literature that when Brij Premi's scholarly work was on its way to touch the peak, he left us for good. Had he not gone so soon, he could have been bracketed as a researcher, after sometime, with Dr. Gyan Chand, Malik Ram, Mohd. Yusuf Teng. Dr. Aslam Farukhi, and Tanveer Ahmed Alvi. But God willed otherwise. It is the irony of fate that Premi, who has given us the following beautiful piece of prose, as a writer of promise is not with us :-

Kashmir is my birth place, Kashmir is my mother,

I am in love with every atom of its soil,

Under its blue sky,

In its rustling ambience of nature

How many hues there are!

How much of fragrance!

And how much of light

one wonders at this bewitching beauty.

“I have just tried to gather a handful of such splendour fragrance and colour and give myself up to it, and describe it.

But my words have melted away, as it were, before this terrible intensity of this beauty, splendour or fragrance.”

Hamidi Kashmiri writes, in glowing terms, about Brij Premi’s deep attachment with his land of birth.

"Brij Premi's association with Kashmiriyat clearly points to his love and attachment to Kashmir.

He has revealed many concealed aspects of this peculiar subject and as true son of the soil, he has been, for a long time, bringing before the world the greatness of his motherland. He is, according to Khaleel-ur-Rahman Azmi intimating the people of Kashmir that he is one among their own. After exploring Kashmir, Brij Premi is in the process of a result-oriented survey about his own self.

The way he unravels the hidden aspects of the pre-eminence of the Kashmiri culture and literature, with diligence and dedication, makes  evident his own liberal mindedness, open personality, patriotism and humaneness. That very Brij Premi left Kashmir for Jammu as an oppressed migrant and in Jammu itself lived nearly as a helpless person and in helplessness left this world may be, he had this line of Ghalib on his lips-

Mara Dyare Gaer, Main Mujko Watan Se Dhoor

(I got killed in a strange land

Away from my motherland'.

*(Translated from original by Prof. M.L. Raina)

*The author was an Internationally recognised authority on Iqbaliyaat

Source: Kashmir Sentinel



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