Arjan Dev Majboor

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   Kashmiri Poets

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



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 India's 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 Neruda of 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 Kashmir, 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.

Pre-history of Kashmir 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 Thana Adam'. 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.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel




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