Arjan Dev Majboor
The period 1946-1955 was one of great turbulence, in which an air
of political uncertainty loomed large over
Kashmir. The Pakistani sponsored Raiders' invasion
was followed by Imperialist intervention, which
sought to weaken
hold over J&K. The local left group, which
operated from within National Conference,
marshalled all its resources to beat back the
Pakistani and Imperialist conspiracies and hold
aloft the banner of national unity. It reached out
to the common people to enroll them in the battle
against the forces of disruption.
To play this vanguard role the left group relied on 'Literature as
a weapon to awaken the people'. Its manifesto
declared: 'Literature is both a representative and
an architect of people's culture, an interpreter
of their struggles and aspirations. It shall
expose imperialist, capitalist and feudal designs
on the people's freedom and give leadership and
direction to their struggle and fight for World
Peace'. Cultural Congress and Kwong-Posh
were the offsprings of this resolve.
The mantle of leadership of the movement to raise social and
political awareness of Kashmiris through
literature fell on Pt. Dina Nath Koul Nadim, a
great name in 20th century Kashmiri literature. To
quote Shri Mohd. Yusuf Taing 'In his hands
Kashmiri language and literature experienced a new
birth and he fostered this renaissance with loving
care, introducing new forms and patterns'. 'A
'magician of words', Nadim was a pioneer in
introducing political themes in Kashmiri poetry.
He has been rightly called Mayakovsky and Pablo
Kashmir. It was he who introduced short story,
Sonnet, free and blank verse, Opera, haiku in
Kashmiri. Nadim rescued Kashmiri poetry from worn
out themes of mysticism and love and gul-o-bulbul
imagery. He established the fact that literature,
heavily-laden with political message, need not
necessarily be second rate. Nadim was father of
cultural renaissance of
the like of which we haven't seen for many
centuries. Every poet of Kashmir since 1947 has
not only borrowed his ideas but also his images.
No wonder, the era 1947-1988 has come to be called
the Age of Nadim.
Arjan Dev Majboor was a product of this Cultural Renaissance, a
poet of the Age of Nadim. He performed the job of
Sub-Editor of Kwong-Posh, the monthly journal of
Cultural Congress, with distinction. In a tribute
to the leader of the movement Majboor says', Not
only me but every modern poet of
Kashmir owes form of his poetry to the great Nadim'.
Majboor is a versatile poet, with five volumes of
poetry to his credit. Even at this age when his
health troubles him quite a lot he continues to
experiment with new forms and themes in poetry.
Urvashi, his recent poem, is based on a theme
of Mahabharata. A poet who remains strongly
conscious of the beauty of his art Majboor has
evolved a distinct idiom of his own. The success
of his album 'Sangarmal' establishes the
lyrical beauty of his muse, revealing its
capability of getting rendered into music as well
with quite ease.
Majboor is essentially a nazam and a nature poet, who retains
passionate attachment to the land of his birth and
also to its mythology, legend and lore. His poems
are rich in imagery, with vocabulary quite
sensuous. At times while hoping for a new dawn his
romanticism takes over realism.
In exile Majboor has experimented with Longer Poems to communicate
his feelings, which he claims he could not do
otherwise through Short Poems. Tyol and
Padi Samayhik are his Longer Poems. Nostalgia
remains the main theme of his exile poetry.
Nostalgia is all right. But nostalgic memories
cannot substitute for the struggle to retrieve
what has been lost and reverse the situation of
exile? Nadim, Faiz, Neruda made literature a
powerful vehicle to raise awareness among their
people to fight the perceived social and political
injustices. Politics did not impoverish, rather it
enriched their poetry. In the process they emerged
as great poets with their art linked to the
destiny of their people. Exile also finds an echo
in Majboor's few short stories and unfinished
novel 'Vanvas' (Exile).
Majboor has excelled in many other genres of literature as well. He
rescued for posterity the Kalam of Lala Lakhyman,
the great poet of social protest in first half of
20th Century. He also collected 12 new ghazals of
Rasul Mir, the romantic poet. Majboor remains a
versatile translator, who can translate all forms
of literature with ease from one language to the
other in Sanskrit, Persian, Urdu, Hindi, Dogri,
Kashmiri and English. He was the first to
translate Kalidasa's classic Meghadutam in
Kashmiri, titling it as Obreh Schechh.
In the field of historiography Majboor displays sound
professionalism. His research work on Kashyap
Bandhu, Krishan Joo Razdan, Arnimal, Lal Ded, Dina
Nath Nadim, Iqbal Nath Wanpoh and many others
attest to it. Majboor's work in literary criticism
bears the imprint of a competent litterateur, with
vast knowledge of history and literature.
has been his special love. This is reflected
through his essays on the subject, photography of
archeological finds and the beautiful poem
commemorating HD Sankalia's excavations in
Pahalgam area - 'Pyav Ledri Bathis Peth
Incidently, he had the opportunity to read this
poem to the great archeologist at Pune. A man of
many parts, Arjun Dev Majboor is one of the most
outstanding litterateurs living amongst us today.