By Dr. Premi Romani
SHAM LAL AIMA was a well-known short story writer, a poet of good merit and a good social worker of his time. His name, like many others—Vishwanath Dhar Mah. Jummuvi, Dina Nath Dilgir, Tara Chand Saliq, Zanardan Teng Sagar, Sham Lal Wali Tirath Kashmiri, Dina Nath Shahid, Nand Lal Kaul Begarz, Ganga Dhar Dehati, Jia Lal Bhan Barq Kashmiri etc. remain buried in the debris of time.
He was born in 1899. The family originally lived at Drabiyar, but shifted before 1947 to Rangteng, Ali Kadal. The family atmosphere was well disposed to the pursuit of literature. Eminent litterateurs of the time and others who dabbled in literature would often meet at his house and deliberate on literary themes. Quite early in his life he developed taste for Urdu and Persian literature and passed many examinations in these.
Sham Lal Aima served in the State Education Department. He was a gifted teacher, knew the basics of scouting and took great interest in teaching his students. He served for many years in the Model School, Srinagar. In the company of such luminaries-Prem Nath Bazaz, Prem Nath Pardesi, Dina Nath Warikoo 'Shahid', Ghulam Hyder Chisti, he designed and prepared books for school children. For this work he was applauded by Khwaja Ghulam Saydeen, a great educationist. Sham Lal Aima called students a great treasure and worked hard for them. He evolved and implemented new techniques to make teaching effective. His playway methods created eagerness and curiosity among the learners. During one of his visits to the Valley, Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru was highly pleased with Aima when he watched his performance in the programme and classroom. His consensual approach endeared him to others, he was looked as a good friend and a guide.
Dr. Brij Premi, son of Pt. Sham Lal Aima writes in this book Zauq-e-Nazar in'Zauk-e-Nazar', says that Sham Lal and Pt. Nand Lal Kaul Talib, a famous Urdu poet were classmates. It was Pt. Nand Lal Talib who encouraged and helped him to compose poetry.
Some excerpts from Aima's poetry.
Drowned in grief and sorrow how I am
Exchange a glance, lonely I feel
Pangs of sorrow, how these pierce,
My sorrows increase, lonely I feel,
Part the ways, your choice has been,
That warmth of love, it has gone,
Come to me, see how sad I am.
Crying hoarse I have been cruel you are,
Everything drowned in sorrow I ache,
Why so? No mercy you can show?
This is, what one calls, the feelings are frozen.
Pt. Sham Lal was a gifted writer. He wrote short stories and essays. He enjoyed participation in literary meets.
This is what he writes:
The lustful eyes of the bank clerk could not resist the appealing charms of beautiful Lalita who was contented with the poverty she was destined for. She had learnt to live amidst pang of poverty. She never murmured or complained to anyone. She had a belief that the rich protect the poor. She had a faith that the rich are pure in heart with no evil designs on the poor. The devil had entered into the clerk's ambition of being a tormentor, he sent his own wife away only to fulfill his dirty intentions...but...."
Though his short stories appeared mostly in The Martand, he also wrote essays for Vitasta, Ranbir and Rattan (Jammu), Bahar Kashmir andPhool (Lahore). When his short story 'Gurbat' appeared in the Daily Martand,it was highly appreciated. The story revolves round a beautiful young woman, who on account of poverty is pushed to do menial job at the house of a bank employee. The latter looks at her with lustful eyes but she disregards his advances. She accepts the poverty as the reality of life and counters all the challenges boldly. The dialogues while conveying pathos look realistic and crisp. They leave behind a profound effect, the woman though engulfed by the situation comes out of the trap laid for her. She does not feel disillusioned. Instead she displays bravery.
Aima wrote many short stories, which include Navratra, Bhagwan Rama. The theme of his stories mostly centered around religious discourses and community festivals. Triumphs and sorrows of life, its dejections and sweetness, and other subjects connected with life were the might of his pen. His strength in art as a short story writer lay in his flow of sequences in stories, plot and sub-plot construction, flow of thought and brevity accompanied by crisp descriptions. He did not resort to jargon. His stories depict social realism, where the characters emerge as live and full of life. Pt. Pitamber Nath Dhar Fani, a poet himself comments: "Sham Lal Aima contributed richly and regularly to the Martand. In editions of "Nura" and"Shivratri" Sham Lal's compositions reveal him to be a gifted writer. Aima Sahib was a great short story writer..."
"Nura Se Khatab" reflects healthy prose. Certain excellence in prose writing was achieved by him. In this people are called upon to be dutiful and not to deviate from wrong paths. In his other compositions Aima praises Lord Rama who came to fight evil and injustice. About Navratra, he writes that it elevates, ennobles and reminds us of our duties. On Janam Ashtami, he used to organise programmes and advocated that the people should not deviate from the path of duty. His themes were always impregnated with thought. Prof. Sarwari says, "Aima's compositions reflect his inner feelings. In Nura Se Khatab-he runs close to the style of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan..." Aima had written an account of his travels in Gilgat but the manuscript was lost somewhere. Sham Lal Aima was a sensitive individual, who responded to human suffering with urgency.
His contributions to social work was appreciated by members of his biradari. Pt. Dina Nath Warikoo while paying him a moving tribute in his obituary in Martand (1-7-1949) recalled these great qualities. Sham Lal Aima died of a paralytic stroke and lived for just 44 years. Had he lived longer, he would have attained great heights in the field of Urdu literature.
*The author was born at Rang Teng Ali Kadal Srinagar. Dr Romani started his literary career in 1968. He has authored a number of books on different aspects of Urdu and Kashmiri language and Literature. He received inspiration in the field of literature from his illustrious father Late Dr. Brij Premi-a noted Urdu Scholar, Critic & Researcher.
Dr. Romani has received a number of literary awards for his contribution to Urdu literature. He is associated with many literary organisations and has written features and serials for Radio & Doordarshan.
Source: Kashmir Sentinel
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