Arjan Dev Majboor

Table of Contents

   Kashmiri Poets

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



Kashyap Bandhu - Through My Eyes

by Arjan Dev Majboor

Kashyap Bandhu

Kashyap Bandhu

Kashmiri Pandits have produced a galaxy of saints, writers, leaders and administrators, Sh.  Bandhu ji is one of these luminaries.  I have written about his early life and social reform movement in an Article in the Hindi section of the special issue of 'VITASTA', Calcutta brought out in his memory.

I would like to deal with his attainments in the field of journalism and his success and drawbacks in the field of politics in this piece.

In one of the issues of the famous Urdu Newspaper 'RANBIR'  Sh.  Mulk Rai Saraf, the fore-runner of journalism in J&K State says :-

"The pen of Kashyap Bandhu has shown its might I hope that he will achieve heights in the field of journalism in future".

Sh. Bandhu started writing when he was at Lahore.  Lahore shaped him as a journalist and he remained connected with the Editorial Boards of the AKHBARI-AM", "AKHBARI KASHMIRI"  and "BAHARI-KASHMIR", all Urdu papers.  In the thirties of 20th century Sh.  Bandhu was called to Kashmir by youth leaders of 'Yuvak Sabha' which later was named as-'Sanatan Dharma Yuvak Sabha'.  Martand, the Urdu daily was started on lst Feb.1931. Professor Abdul Qadir Sarwari, well known Urdu writer and author says in his book 'KASHMIR MAIN URDU.'-

"Martand" is among the oldest newspapers of the valley.  It was published from 1931 to 1969 regularly, Kashyap Bandhu was the first Editor of "Martand'.  At Srinagar I have seen that this paper used to reach its subscribers early in the morning and was read with interest.  "Martand", name was suggested by Sh. Gwasha Lal Koul.  This paper published a weekly Adabi (Literary) edition also.  According to famous Kashmiri poet Abdul Ahad Azad's Book -'KASHMIRI ZABAAN AUR SHAYIRI", Professor Devender Sateyarthi, a prominent folklorist wrote about famous Kashmiri Poet MAHJOOR, in the issue of 20th Magha 1991 (Bikrami) of the Martand.  "Mahjoor's Persian poem - "Guli Veerana"-was published on 27th of Magh 1991 (1931 C.A.) in this paper.  It is note-worthy that Professor Sarwari while writing his book- "Kashmir Main Urdu" - went for several months to Sheetalnath to study the old files of the daily Martand.  While writing another book "Tareekhi Adbiyati-Kashmir", which remained incomplete, Professor Sarwari says that he has been benefitted by the files of "Martand" while collecting material for his book.  Professor Sarwari further says :- "The contribution of the Martand is much more than other papers of the valley".  According to Dr. Brij Premi, Sarwari met Sh.  Kashyap Bandhu also in connection with his research work on literary history of Kashmir.  This shows the capability of Bandhu Ji in establishing journalism in Kashmir.  The editorials written by him were humourous as well as striking.  Besides editorials, Bandhu Ji wrote "Chalant" and "Paagal Ki Diary" for a long period.  Both these columns created waves among the readers.  "Chalant" was a serious column and "Paagal Ki Diary", a humourous one.  One of the topics of Chalant, for example was - "Banami Shukur Devta Northern District" - In this column Sh. Bandhu in a humourous way flays the Waziri Wazarat of Northern Division of the valley of Kashmir.  He demands explanation from the official for not solving the common problems of the people.

After establishing "Martand" as a newspaper of importance Sh.  Bandhu left it.  This was due to his resignation from "Yuvak Sabha".  The headline of the editorial of that day when he left Martand was "Tabdeeliay Qalb" (Change of heart).

Sh. Bandhu continued his journalistic pursuits and started the weekly "KESRI".  Now he was quite free to show his forceful pen.  He wrote freely against the establishment.  Under the orders of Maharaja Hari Singh the publication of this famous paper was stopped in 1938.  Sh.  Bandhu did not stop, he started another weekly The "DESH" (Urdu).  This weekly became popular throughout the State.  The paper while highlighting the problems of common Kashmiris, wrote forceful editorials against the feudal rulers and the bureaucracy without any fear.  I have personally seen Sh.  Bandhu Ji on his desk in the office of the "Desh" at Aga Hamam in Srinagar.  He would attend his office in a Khadi Kurta and Dhoti.  He wore big black rimmed spectacles and looked like a leader.  Some of the Editorials of the prestigious weekly 'DESH' are as follows

1. Mohtarimoon Ki conference' (The conference of the respected)
2. The Land to the Tiller (Zameen Kisan Di)
3. K. C. S. Umedwaroon Kay Liay guess paper (A guess paper for the candidates of the K. C. S. candidates)
4. What is socialism?

Sh Bandhu joined National Conference after some time.He remained Editor of the daily "Khidmat" for a short period also.

While heralding various movements Sh.  Bandu was jailed many times by the then Government.  The account of his being put behind bars is as follows

1. At Lahore he was jailed in connection with the "Sanders case".
2. In Roti agitation, which started at Jammu and Srinagar simultaneously, Bandhu was kept in jail from 1933 to 1934.
3. In 1946 he was arrested for taking active part in "Quit Kashmir Movement" but was released in 1947.  The total period of his being in prison comes to 10 years.

Famous journalist Shri G. M. Sofi writes in an issue of "Srinagar Times" (Urdu Daily):

"Sh.  Bandhu remained in jail for eight years durings the period from 1931 to 1961.  He remained in jail with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in Bhadarwah, Riyasi and Udhampur too.'

Bandhu had a typical character.  He was against feudal autocracy.  He enjoyed simple life.  His ideas were secular and he did not tolerate corrupt officers.  When he became the Director General of "Dehat Sudhar Department"of J & K Govt, he introduced "Hal Sheeri", (Self help movement in the villages.)

As Director General of  Dehat Sudhar Department he got built many roads like "Shopian Ahrabal Road, Nowpora Baba Rishi Road" and the roads leading to "Deb-Aakoora", "Toolamula" and 'Ganderbal".  He also established some horticulture nurseries.

In 1964 Sh.  Kashyp Bandhu was appointed as Project Officer Sonawari in North Kashmir by the Sadiq Government.  He completed the project in due course of time and this low land area which was prone to floods was made flood free and the yield of this area was doubled.

Bandhu ji could not spend a peaceful marital life.  He remained generally away from his family.  I have never seen his wife or his son with him.  They rarely came to their home at Geeru.

His wife was posted at Jammu.  I don't know the reasons behind their separation and , who was responsible for this between the couple.

Kashyap Bandhu could not do much in-the field of politics when he took to Government service.  He was a leader and a journalist and ought to have contributed in these areas -only.  Loyalties changed in the National Conference.  This Organisation could not fulfil the promises made in the document of 'Naya Kashmir".  There was no change in the working of  bureaucratic set-up, which hampered the pace of the development of the state.  The gangs created by some leaders made people angry and they remained off the movement.  Corruption was high, especially during the period when Sheikh Abdullah took the reins of the state for the second time.

According to 10th February 1999 issue of  'Srinagar Times' when Bandhu Ji was asked about the power tussle of 1953, he said :-

"Upto 1948 all leaders of National Conference remained united; when power came into the hands of this organisation, the groupism started, which weakened the Movement.  According to Bandhu Ji the Centre too was responsible for breaking the unity of the National Conference.

When Bandhu Ji retired from the post of the Project Officer, he never wished to come in power again.  Whenever I met him he would complain about the functioning of the political system in the state.  He hated officials who fleeced the poor people.  At a later stage he was disillusioned.  He would talk to a Congressman in one tone and to a National Conference man in a different manner.

During his last years of life he devoted his whole time to reading and writing.  He remembered hundreds of Urdu couplets, which he would use at proper occasion.  His memory was sharp.  He was proud of Indian culture especially of the Vedic Age.

I have seen him brooding and thinking on his bed in front of a table.  He would hardly move out except for basking in the sun.  He was pained to see communal clashes raising their ugly head in various parts of the country.  Common people came to him; anyone who approached him for a recommendation was given a letter addressed to the concerned person.  He took his meals at 8 p.m. in the evening.  He was not fond of taking much tea.  He relished milk, cheese and some sweets.  Sh.  Jagar Nath of Geeru used to get a thali of rice and vegetables for him, cooked from his own kitchen or from the kitchen adjacent to his sitting room.  Sh.  M. L. Bhat, Asstt.  Registrar Co-operative Society Pulwama attended on Bandhu Ji for the last three years but at the time of Bandhu ji's death, he too was away.

Bandhu Ji had a couple of cows.  He had engaged a villager to feed them.  Milk and curds were always available at his place.  He hardly attended feasts and parties.  He reportedly wrote a history of his times which could unveil the ugly face of some politicians, if published.  God knows as to who took the book after Bandhu Ji passed away.  It is being said that the book was taken by his son and he was advised not to publish the book as it would give rise to controversies.  I can't say whether it was true.

The tiger brand leader and journlist was now jailed in his own house.  He was not in a happy mood always.  Whenever I put him some questions, he would open his heart and talk without reservation for hours together.  He even talked about one or two of his love affairs to me.  He was beaten up by his own community people when he took an egg at a shop in his boyhood in their presence.  These were the times in which he was brought up.

In his last years of life I have sometimes seen him living alone in his huge house.  I even wrote to him as to how he lived lonely, while he had always a busy life during his earlier age.  Like a freedom fighter he fought loneliness and tension.  He was happy to receive any person who called upon him.  His brother-in-law Sh.  Gobind joo Razdan once told me that Bandhu Ji has written his autobiography and has kept a good sum for its publication.  This could reveal many hidden comers of his life and the times he lived in.  But the book did not come out.  Nobody knows what happened to this book.

I sometimes wrote to him from my home in Kashmir and he would positively respond.  On 23rd of March, 1979 he wrote a letter to me.  The letter is important as it sheds light on his correct date of birth.  The letter runs as follows Geeru 23rd of March, 1979.

Dear Brother, May God bless  you.

Tomorrow is my birthday.  This is to say that I shall
complete eighty years of my life and shall step up in eighty first year.


'O life I danced for you a lot, now I want to see you dancing for sometime.'

Your letter in which you had written about the sad demise of your mother, reached me in time.  While reading the letter, I thought for long.  I felt that 100 to 110 years back two families were tied in a chain.  I still remember my childhood when this chain was quite strong.  The chain would jingle with a small push, thus there was some restlessness in the atmosphere.  The jingling of the chain would effect the atmosphere for a long time.  Then a time came when only the chain would jingle but the push was so weak that it lost its sound.

At last the chain did not appear.  Your mother was the last link of this chain, which was tied to our home : See that chain too has broken.  I have heard my mother saying :-

'I was the daughter from that very home (Zainapora) I was the sister from that very home.  I was some one of this very home."

My brother and his wife had been out of the state in December, when I read out your letter to them, they saw towards me with an empty mind and empty eyes.  This has happened with the times.  A forgotten story!  A tasteless old book!  Perhaps, some-time my mother would have said:-


"The times will be remembered by those who see towards it keenly, like the useless books for the young." I could'nt write to you in time.  Cold weakness, old age; all have crippled me.  There is some warmth for the past two days.  I am sitting in the Sun.  I have to reply a bundle of twenty letters.  The bundle is open and I am replying.  What about your health?  May God bless you.

Yours etc.
(Kashyap Bandhu)

In a letter in reply to one of my letters which reached him after a long time though the distance between Geeru and Zainapora is twenty Kilometers only.  He wrote further that:

"The letter was delivered late to me, as every work is done at ease in this country after independence.  So the letters are also received late.

In another letter he advised me to come to him alon with my poems so that he could listen to these, for some time.  He had also written to get my longer poem with me, which I had written in 1985.

On 18th December, 1985 when he was working as usual, his servant came and told him that his cows were not taking grass.  He replied, "Now they won't eat it"; perhaps he wanted to say that their master was leaving the world this very day.  In the evening at 8 p.m. this renowned journalist and leader of repute breathed his last at Geeru.

In the annals of Kashmir journalism and political history, Bandhu ji will be remembered for years to come.  The coming generations will also remember him with reverence.

Source: Vitasta




Facebook Account Follow us and get Koshur Updates Video clips Image Gallery
Kashmiri Overseas Association, Inc. (KOA) is a 501c(3) non-profit, tax-exempt socio-cultural organization registered in Maryland, USA. Its purpose is to protect, preserve, and promote Kashmiri ethnic and socio-cultural heritage, to promote and celebrate festivals, and to provide financial assistance to the needy and deserving.

 | Home | Culture & Heritage | Copyrights Policy | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement | Credits | Contact Us |

Any content available on this site should NOT be copied or reproduced

in any form or context without the written permission of KOA.