Thursday, December 27, 2007
Or M.F. Husain. He is a kindly man, and a prodigiously productive artist. There is no warrant at all for disrupting all his exhibitions. I am on the point of sensibilities. His depictions of Hindu goddesses have been in the news: he has painted them in less than skimpy attire. I particularly remember one in which Sita is riding Hanuman’s stiffened tail — of course, she is scarcely clad, but that is the least of it: you need no imagination at all to see what she is rubbing up against that stiffened tail. Well, in the case of an artist, that is just inspiration, say the secularists. OK. The question that arises then is: How come in the seventy-five years Husain has been painting, he has not once felt inspired, not once, to paint the face of the Prophet? It doesn’t have to be in the style in which he has painted the Hindu goddesses. Why not the most beautiful, the most radiant and luminous face that he can imagine? How come he has never felt inspired to paint women revered in Islam, or in his own family, in the same style as the one that propelled his inspiration in regard to Hindu goddesses?
‘In painting the goddesses, he was just honouring them,’ a secular intellectual remarked at a discussion the other day. ‘It was his way of honouring them.’ Fine. It is indeed the case that one of the best ways we can honour someone is to put the one skill we have at the service of the person or deity. But how come that Husain never but never thought of honouring the Prophet by using the same priceless skill, that one ‘talent which is death to hide’?
‘Has Mr Shourie ever visited Khajuraho?,’ a member of the audience asked, the implication being that, as Hindu sculptors had depicted personages naked, what was wrong with Husain depicting the goddesses in the same style. Fine again. But surely, it is no one’s case that the ‘Khajuraho style’ must be confined to Hindu icons. Why has the artist, so skilled in deploying the Khajuraho motifs, never used them for icons of Islam? The reason why an artist desists from depicting the Prophet’s face is none of these convoluted disquisitions on style.
The reason is simplicity itself: he knows he will be thrashed, and his hands smashed.
Exactly the same holds for politics. How come no one objects when for years a Muslim politician keeps publishing maps of constituencies in which Muslims as Muslims can determine the outcome, and exhorting them to do so? When, not just an individual politician but entire political parties — from the Congress to the Left parties — stir Muslims up as a vote bank. When Muslims start behaving like a vote bank, you can be certain that someone will get the idea that Hindus too should be welded into a vote bank, and eventually they will get welded into one. Why is stoking Muslims ‘secular’ and stoking Hindus ‘communal’?
And yet perverted discourse, even the stratagems of political parties, are but preparation: they prepare the ground for capitulation by the state to groups that are aggressive. And in this the real lunacy is about to be launched, and, with that, the real reaction.
read complete article here
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Read complete article here
Monday, December 10, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
read the full text here
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
jo taaq-e-haram meN roshan hai, vo shamaa yahaaN bhii jaltii hai
is bazm meN teGheN khenchiiN haiN, is bazm meN saGhar toRe haiN
jo abr yahaaN se uThThega, vo saare jahaaN par barsegaa
Monday, October 8, 2007
This Sunday on October 6, the occasion was to commemorate the 1st anniversary of Roots In Kashmir, a Kashmiri Hindu organization formed with the long-term aim of returning home. The under-running sentiment of returning is unfathomable to an outsider after hearing their stories, of giving up house and hearth and escaping Kashmir by the night, not daring to raise their heads until after crossing the Jawahar tunnel, of the humiliation of living in camps with bare minimum of supplies. But return they will, even if their properties are no longer theirs, as one of them puts it, ‘Even if I couldn’t live there, I would prefer to die there’. The pleasure of pain and pining maybe.
The meeting starts with prayers in the Temple of Goddess Shaarika, believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. It is followed by deliberations of the organization’s role so far and future plans. The group is not very large and is pretty informal, but the underlying feeling of camaraderie is hard to miss as they talk among themselves in rapid Kashmiri or sing ‘Leela’, a music form of Kashmiris.
The Kashmiri Hindus, often known as Kashmiri Pandits due to their culture of learning under their presiding deity Sharda, are a proud lot willing to fight for their place in the rich Kashmiri history. In fact, there is much outrage at the notion that the Kashmiri script was always in Urdu. The original Kashmiri script was in the Sharda script, named after the Goddess of intellect, Sharda, they assert, quoting the Rajtarangini, an ancient treatise on Kashmiri history.
The temple complex is built on land donated by the villagers of Anangpur, where it is built. The temple was funded by JN Kaul, head of SOS India, and built with the help of the villagers. Remaining true to the original structure, this temple too has a total of 258 stairs, which take one high up to the place where there is a single statue of Goddess, surrounded by paintings of the other deities, all of them goddesses. The view of the village and open spaces below is perhaps fitting to the pastoral way of life the Kashmiris are used to.
As the conversation veers to those still languishing in camps, it is surprising to hear that many who have been brought up in those camps are MA’s or MBA ’s. Apparently the culture of learning manifests itself with parents staying up at nights fending off snakes during long power cuts so that their children’s studies go unhindered. However, problems still galore as these young graduates are in need of counselling and guidance. Sunil Ji Bhat, a student of post-graduation in mass communication, recounts his experiences, “the camp school functioned through tents in senior secondary it shifted to a rented house. My school never had a library, let alone a computer.”
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Tinke phaelen mansevaem vaens(Moti Lal Saqi)
The English calendar hade a note of caution for me this morning. It wanted to say ” you have stepped into senility” but what it instead said was it was 13th of September 2007.
35 years I have existed on this earth. What use I thought was my being here but since I was bundled off by God almighty from wherever to here I had no option but to exist till God bundles me off elsewhere. I know he/she/it whatever God Almighty stands for, can be cruel, unfair and biased but what power do I have but to accept his/her/its will with flinching faith and disobedience.
I have swung between faith and infidelity. There have been times when I have had profound faith, but at times, with equal zeal would negate the very existence of God and sometimes go a step further. I would say “God Exists” but is an evil manifestation, enjoys bloodshed and anarchy. I would substantiate it by quoting how world history has few moments of peace and calm, but is replete with violence despite our belief that God keeps sending his messengers of peace or sometimes appearing himself to set things right.
Yesterday I went to buy a book as a present for my 35th year of existence. I had gone with an intention of buying Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra”. The bookseller who is a Nietzsche and a Picasso rolled into one, is one the most well read people who I have ever met. He sells old and used books at a footpath in Nehru Place, while he keeps sketching, people have a hard time finding a book. He seldom tries to sell any book. He intrigues me and interests me a lot. He doesn’t wear his religion up his sleeve but sports a beard which looks Islamic. I couldn’t find the book I wanted, exasperated, I asked him if he had short stories of Kafka. His question stupefied me. He said, what are you scared of !I said nothing. He replied we would read Kafka, if he lived in Gujarat and I lived in Pakistan. An argument I disagreed with but I did say I needed Kafka then. I am in exile, I am a Kashmiri.I ended up buying a small book on Greek Philosophers and Dostovesky’s Crime and Punishment. I had to leave Dostovesky in the company of Abhinavagupt when I fled my land, my reason for reading Kafka.
My birthdays in Kashmir would often coincide with a festival of Pan (a fertility cult goddess festival) which Kashmiri Pandits celebrate. Kashmir at this time would be looking all dressed up to welcome winter, the chinars with their golden leaves would resemble the last embers of a Yogi’s sacred fireplace and people would be earnestly shopping for Kangris.Weather would be pleasant and the chill of the night would add to the flavour of grandmas rendering of Saen-kaeser. On this day I would generally miss school and run around rice fields where people would be harvesting paddy. The pastoral lifestyle, which I miss everyday makes me curse God,while cursing I fear the reprisal when I will stand on the day of judgement.
In bated breath I recite Ghalib’s following verse
“Ibn Mariam hua kare koi,mere dukh ki dawa kare koi
Bak raha hoon junoon main kya kya kuch,kuch ne samjhe khuda kare koi”
Monday, September 10, 2007
Mon, 10 Sep 2007 14:01:05 +0100 (BST)
Subject:Re: People take to streets against a dreaded terrorist
bitta karate is freedom fighter,everyone's freedom fighter is someone's terrorists,for kashmiries indians and their army and agencies are terrorists, who are terrorizing innocent people in kashmir.bitta karate has killed those terrorists who had links with these terrorist agencies of a terrorist country, i am proud of him for his job.long live bitta"
My memory took me many years back, well to be precise 18 years, when Bitta Karate's name was synonymous with terror. When he killed Dolly, a Muslim girl, she was yet to see her 16th spring. I was later told she had refused his overtures for an amour. There were many more who were killed by this personification of everything that comprises evil.
But that’s not the point that I am trying to make. While most of our Muslim brethren have condemned in private what Bitta Karate did, they have abstained from making their views on this issue public and understandably so. They don’t want to add to his tally of murders but adding their name to it.What disturbs me is people like Zia,who I am sure are a minority in Kashmir, but a vociferous,vitureptive and vicious minority who may never want peace to return to our motherland.
So what is Zia proud of,I asked myself.Bitta Karate isn't known to killed anyone who carried a weapon.He is primarily responsible for killing unarmed people,even when he killed Indian Air officials they were simply waiting to board a bus,thus unarmed.
I can understand this entire romanticisation around rebels and daciots or even criminals since most of the humans have an intrinsic evil in us,but then most of us weave images of evil in Robin Hood frames rather than "Jack the Ripper"frames.So in that sense I can imagine Osama bin Laden being someone's (even after whatever he stands for) pride,I fail to understand whats there in being proud of someone who has killed because of a sickness of compulsion to kill unarmed and innocent people.
I hope the new"Zia" is not an re-incarnation of Gen.Zia-ul-Haque and Yahya Khan .If that be the case Allah be with us.A Nero is born.
Monday, September 3, 2007
I am celebrating today the 17th anniversary of my home being burnt by “Warriors of God”. A friend told me they looted my home before they burnt it down.
It was a house by the brook.
It was a house in the courtyard of which me,Yasin,Shafiq,Pintoo,Mushtaq and my brother played cricket.
There were Khan’s who lived right across the brook.
Mohd Yusuf lived one house away.
Kahej Taet further up the Gaas Chareey(gazing ground),infront of her house were people we called Tine-wael(they lived in a house made of asbestos, for some odd reason)
There were orchards all around and some rice fields too.
Kaul’s lived some 500 meters away.
I still can’t write it well…it is hard to write it well, as I rue the loss of my home, my identity and my existence, I miss all my childhood friends and neighbours.
This is my pain..someone help please...
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
What appeared in Greater Kashmir some days back under the title, 'celebrating too much of freedom', could easily have been ignored had it not appeared in this newspaper. The newspaper has been needlessly accommodative. Criticism, difference of opinion, interpretations and perceptions being at variance; all this is understandable. But vilifying an entire people in no less than an abusive language and casting slur on the film maker; all this is an indication of a sick mind.
This is how they reply......judge for yourself
Friday, August 17, 2007
Of the tree felled,
Of the forest burned,
Or living root
Under ash and cinders?
From woven bud
What last leaf strives
Into life, last Shrivelled flower?
Is fruit of our harvest,
Our long labourDust to the core?
To what far, fair land
Borne on the wind
What winged seed
Or spark of fire
To kindle a star?
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Another landmark in our history of 5000 years…shouldn’t this day be a reason for celebration and joy. Ideally yes, but that’s if you are free. For a half a million souls in exile freedom means just another remembrance of the day when they were forcibly thrown out their homes. It also leaves them with a lingering feeling of deceit that the state has played against them.
It was this that moved hundred odd homeless and uprooted Pandits to tie their mouths with black clothes, a sign that they have lost voice, carrying Indian flags as if they carry the cross,a cross because of which they were forced out of their homes. As someone in the crowd said”We are paying a price for being Indians”.
We are Indians,is that too much of a sin…I wondered as I sat among the protestors. How could one reconcile to the truth that Pandits were suffering because they are not “CRY BABIES” like their Muslim brethren or the fact they are not politically significant because of their numbers.
Maybe Indian democracy has come of age.
Friday, August 10, 2007
read complete article here
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen was today roughed up by MIM activists who stormed into a book release function here, injuring a Telugu writer and a press photographer.
Nasreen, here to release the Telugu translation of her latest book "Shodh", escaped unhurt as organisers and journalists shielded her and escorted her to safety.
A group of over 40 MIM workers, led by party MLAs Afsar Khan, Ahmed Pasha and Mouzam Khan, barged into the press club at Somajiguda when the function was about to end.
Hurling abuse and shouting slogans, the MIM workers surged menacingly towards the dais as a stunned Nasreen looked on.
They threw papers and books at Nasreen. In the melee, Telugu writer N Innaiah, the organiser of the function and president of the rationalist organisation Centre for Inquiry, was injured along with a press photographer.
Alert organisers and journalists covering the event threw a protective ring around Nasreen and took her to an adjoining room.
The MIM activists, who demanded that Nasreen should leave immediately, broke windows and damaged furniture at the venue.
Police then reached the spot and dispersed them.
The three MLAs from the city and their supporters were taken to Banjara Hills police station, Deputy Commissioner of Police M Madhusudhan Reddy said.
The manager of the Press Club filed a complaint with police against the attackers.
The MIM, which has considerable influence in the old city area, is represented in the Lok Sabha by Asaduddin Owaisi and has five members in the assembly.
(did someone call RIK activists hooligans)
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
The first images that flashed in front of my eyes when these numbers were shown on the screen were of Brijlal (my father’s best friend) and Choti. Brijlal (a driver in Dept. of Agriculture) and his wife Choti were tied to a jeep in their native village and then dragged till dead. When we received their bodies they were chopped into small pieces as if someone had just brought meat from a butcher. Blood still was fresh in some of their veins as it had reddened the body bag in which we received them. What a way to celebrate Azadi??? Kudos to the Robin Hoods who did this, kudos to the director for endorsing their way of celebration, sickness and creativity comes in such mental frames, I never knew. Beware… a lot of modern day Neros are around the corner. Read the full column here....
Some comments on the review on my Yahoo mail....
I feel we are on the same wave length on Sanjay Kak.Please accept my compliments for the brilliant reviewin GK. Keep it up.Orzu.Kamal
Yes -It is very well written!!!!
Rashneek Ji ,
Hats off to you.
The article was well written and you deserve all the kudos.
Pl. keep it up.
--- "rajesh.pandit" wrote:">email@example.com>wrote:
Dear Rashneek Ji> > I had read this article on your blog previously, but> that could not stop me from reading it again (> twice) today. A wonderful piece of rebuttal to lies,> lies and more lies.> > > > Rgds > Rajesh Pandit
cashmeeri wrote:> > > > RASHNEEK - Gyaani bhi, Gunee bhi">firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:> > > > RASHNEEK - Gyaani bhi, Gunee bhi
from someone who wanted to be anonymous..
Dear Rashneek ji,
We communicated earlier; and, I have a reason not to write to you; but after I read your review, I couldn't resist myself from writing; your words animated memories of my personal losses in Kashmir; I relived the horror of those months when members of our extended family were kidnapped, tortured and killed by terrorists;much less to talk of loss of other friends totheir bullets; as I write this, I've tears in my eyes; your words wrenched my heart, and left me speechless for a while; but, this response had to come; even if you chose not to reply to my mail on an earlier occasion (something you may not even remember now), I write; just to thank you for writing this so well.
YET SOMEHOW SANJAY KAK GOT GOOD REVIEWS FROM PANDITS.....
Monday, August 6, 2007
Since my comments/rebuttals to Sanjay Kak’s post about Jash-e-Azadi couldn’t pass the filters of moderation, I am posting my note/open letter and five questions to Sanjay Kak here. Hope Sanjay would oblige with some words of wisdom?
Read complete post here...http://soulinexile.blogspot.com/
From Vivek Raina
Aug 5th, 2007 at 7:49 pm
hi man……just went through ur blog… remember the Delhi screening… remember the first floor… and remember the guy standing there… the first voice that came… calling yasin a murderer… the guy in the blue shirt who started all ruckus… after which all those kashmiri pandit “I AM YOUR BIG BROTHERS” found their voice… and were a lil more vociferous… and a little more assertive… Well that was me…”was” is the key word…the group of people who you didnt mention is your blog is called RIK (Roots in Kashmir)… well i dont really know if they wanna gain mileage outta it like you said… and trust me i don’t care.HEY MAN “SORRY” TO HAVE SPOILED YOUR SHOWAbout the documentary… It was well made… which proves you are a director of caliber… congrats.also the content was well selected..and you had done your home work well… another congrats for that.A little about my anger ventilation… and a little about explaining why i did what i did that night that must have pissed you off… and so many people there
1. I dont care if you just showed the one side of the story… as a director thats your creative right. My problem with the movie is you in your movie tried to justify things that we all know are wrong. IF Indian army is killing kashmiri folks there. That is wrong… and if a people want to get freedom that is genuine… but you were justifying the gun culture in the movie. As a human being you know how much have the common kashmiris suffered because of this.
2. You got people in the screening… (Mr yasin malik) and quoted people… and interviewed people… who have advocated gun culture in the valley. That shouldn’t have been done. I mean cmon u r a good director.. And good director always judges the sensitivity of the issue. You know killing is wrong. U know two wrongs don’t make one right.Yasin malik knows hes killed people… so please .. i humbly bed thee… to enlighten me as to why did you have to do something like that.
3. What angered me more was that you are a kashmiri pandit. A kashmiri pandit would never ever… even if he was killed… ever take to violence… or justify violence… and some gentle man in in your movie said “META PHYSICAL WAR”… with what????/ with guns??????????
4.You didn’t address the basic problems of the valley… is it just that people want freedom and they are not getting it that they are pissed off…????? isnt it the economic disparity, the unemployment rate… the mass PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), the fear of gun, poor institutions, corruption… thats hurting the valley more… than the para military forces. WHY FREEDOM? who do people want to be free form a govt… because their needs (emotional, personal, psychological, economic, spiritual) are not somehow fulfilled under a given regime… u not even once mentioned that. It was a masala film under the pretext of a documentary.
5. where did you elucidate on the true nature of kashmiris… are kashmiris just about… freedom struggles… and wars… and getting killed… when u study a revolution… there has to be some reference to the mind set of the man thats running the revolution. that key elementary factor was missing.
LOOK DUDE I AM LIBERAL.. if Kashmir one day is a separate country… ill be happy to be there.. if with India ill still be happy… When that lady… again in the balcony asked you about the fate of kashmiri pandits u said.. u feel for them.. and u would like to treat the topic independently… because of its sensitivity…but dude… i think the topic u were dealing with in your movie was even more sensitive than kashmiri pandit topic… cuz those folks have been living there and facing hell… we just left… and started fresh…do u think i would ever want you to( seeing ur level of sensitivity) ever want to see ur movie on kashmiri pandits…theres a lot more to say… but a mail sounds so much like a soliloquy.. i prefer listening…I hope u wont mind chatting it over a cuppa coffee… after all the frenzy (all the screenings, and when u have time) settles down…VIVEK RAINA
P.S “ITS HARD TO KEEP YOUR SANITY WHEN THE WORLD IS LOSING IT, BUT IT AIN’T HARD”
from Nishant Dudha(not sure whether he will allow it on his blog...Sanjay Kak talks of freedom,yet his blog is moderated...irony....or joke)......
There was a mail invitation doing the rounds of the "E-mail Fwd Circuit", which spoke of a Documentary made by this young Indian filmmaker with many accolades and awards for his past portfolio of work in the "Festival Circuit".
Read full reply here...http://shala-thokyi-pyath-rikyin.blogspot.com/
from Aditya Raj Kaul...his blog alone has equal hits to your entire team's(Jashn-e-Azadi's)hits
Sanjay Kak obviously irritated because of the amount of criticism his masala movie is receiving and also lately the Police has also stopped his screenings and confiscated his DVD's in Mumbai. In mere frustration he blasted off writing an article targeting a young group of Kashmiri Pandits and some others for this mess up, not realising what he was bouncing his fingers on.Obviously, his masters wouldn't be so happy with him because of the negative success he is getting lately because of this youth group called ROOTS IN KASHMIR.
read full reply here http://kauladityaraj.blogspot.com/
So Sanjay Kak...we arent such a small bunch of hooligans,but a group of educated non-violent,people ..far different from how you would want people to believe.Of course we dont fit into the profile of your idols because we dont..KILL,RAPE,BURN HOUSES,TORCH TEMPLES,
Keep watching this space for more....
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Now,who is this small group of people and are they really following the movie as much as the film maker belives.The Film maker is only and I use the word only a FILM MAKER.Roots in Kashmir activists are not a small group,one...they are more than 700 young Kashmiri Pandits across the globe(where there Mujahideen tormentors threw them),two they are executives,teachers,art historians and of course students...who have much more to do to earn their livelihood than to simply follow this biased documentary.
Now the film maker belives we are net detectives,net bullies etc etc....is he so much in awe of us that he has even lost what is called the dignified way of argument.When I wrote a review on his movie recently,he had a volley of invectives in his mail written to me...Clearly a case where he is finding it hard to argue...
Now now,we are speading lies,because we are bringing to fore truths which the film maker obviously wants to hide...they make him uncomfortable.When we sometimes bring up the issue of Kashmiri Pandits killed,he belives we are keeping the pot boiling yet when he shows graveyards and asks an old man to find his son's grave,it is sacred..
I really wonder which Pandits has the movie maker spoken to...I know thousands and none but me he has spoken to...He must have spoken to his alter egos ..there are a couple like him...but someone says..One sparrow does not make a spring...he surely has met one of those sparrows.
At no point in time,did we try to stop the movie from circulating...we are not like those terrorists(whom he calls Saheb)who kill because someone doesnt fall in line with their way of thinking.He showed it in places like Pune and Nashik where there are sizeable Pandit populations,yet he went on showing his Band-Pather.
Whatever he shows in his magnum opus is his problem...we will continue to take him on...in non violent and peace loving ways...unlike his Sahebs...who can silence you with a bullet
Since he is so awe-struck he should be allowed to say anything,write anything....after all he is terrorised..isnt he....
All I can say is
Buth humko kahen kaafir
Allah ki marzi hai
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
read full article here...http://artconcerns.com/html/readersPage.htm
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
I left without answering Vivek.I was far too buried in thoughts of Jashn. I took the road back to my house, not my home dear, that’s already burnt, oh, way back in 1990, the Jashn of Azadi was being celebrated by torching my home in Bagat-i-Kanipora, in the night when we were all supposed to be celebrating Janam-Ashtami in the cool climes of our homes. The morning newspaper brought news of this celebration to the refugee camp which has been my existence since. I am sure a lot of people will say Jagmohan asked Pandits to leave, even for arguments sake taking that to be true, did it give a license to Sanjay Kak’s protagonists to burn my house and desecrate my religious places. I wondered, was that the way of celebrating freedom. Maybe the director believed it was. That’s why although he sat somber on the banks of Rembyaar in Shopian (while shooting for the movie), seeing the pathetic condition of a 5th Century shrine (of Kapalmochana which was now a broken Shivling, a desecrated spring and razed Dharamshalas) he did not deem it fit to be a part of the movie.
A woman whose goat was killed by the fire that engulfed her house and cowshed was shown grieving for her goat. I wondered what would have happened to Mather and Chander, my two cows, did the spirit of celebration (Jashn-e-Azadi) consume them too, wonder whether they were Hindu or Muslim, my father bought them from one Mohd Yusuf in my village.
My wandering thoughts much like the beard of my dear friend Masood often gives me sleepless nights in exile. This was destined to be one such night. I was instantaneously reminded of the curse of Lakshmi on us, Kashmiris
“Nilamata Purana 294-96. O lord, then angry Visoka cursed Kas'mira, "O wicked one, as I have been absorbed by you today by means of falsehood and you have informed Sati about my activities, so your people will be mostly liars, possessed of impurities, hired servants and dishonoured in the worlds.”
What else explains so many gaveyards when we could have a thousand flowers blooming on the same land, I thought. What else explains Kashmiris being slaves for last 800 years? Sanjay Kak does mention our slavery of 800 years in his movie , what he however chooses not to mention is, who were the masters? Who enslaved us..he wouldn’t say? Half truths as they say can be more dangerous than complete lies. Pyare Hatash’s verses have been shown in a manner where an ordinary non Kashmiri viewer is made to believe as if he is also a protagonist of the Azadi. The translation of the couplet from Rajatarangni was wrong and again misappropriated. Calling Kalhana the chronicler of Hindu Kings was a mischief played in a subtle manner Therein lies the game of the movie maker, his adeptness at appropriating the content.
The magnum opus (sorry for my description, but I am yet to see a longer documentary, probably verbosity is a virtue with Kak) has its own figures for dead and exiled. The movie says two hundred Kashmiri Pandits killed and one lakh sixty thousand exiled. The first images that flashed in front of my eyes when these numbers were shown on the screen were of Brijlal(my father’s best friend) and Choti. Brijlal (a driver in Dept. of Agriculture) and his wife Choti were tied to a jeep in their native village and then dragged till dead. When we received their bodies they were chopped into small pieces as if someone had just brought meat from a butcher. Blood still was fresh in some of their veins as it had reddened the body bag in which we received them. What way to celebrate Azadi??? Kudos to the Robin Hoods who did this, kudos to the director for endorsing their way of celebration, sickness and creativity comes in such mental frames, I never knew. Beware… a lot of modern day Neros are around the corner.
When I asked Sanjay Kak the source of these figures he said he had obtained these from some Joint Secretary in MHA, New Delhi. The movie director being a respected man, I had no doubts that he had got them from GoI. When I asked him what’s the source of his figures, one hundred thousand killed in Kashmir since 1990, he strangely had no GoI statistics to support his figures. Who believes GoI anyway? I have received a reply to an RTI saying only 16455 civilians have been killed in Kashmir since 1990.Now who would believe that. If GoI would have been sacred as Kak wants us to selectively believe, we wouldn’t have the movie in the first place.
We have Yasin Malik as a lead character in the movie, someone around whom the movie revolves,(a savior, a Gandhian ,an ex-terrorist in new attire all rolled into one),giving us sermons, telling us how he treads the path of non-violence. There are flashes of Azam Inquilabi and Syed Ali Shah Geelani (as patriarchs) but it conveniently skirts other separatist leaders, leading anyone to speculate whether the self styled Che Guvera’s of today (based in Delhi) are keen to project Yasin Malik alone as a leader of the masses or is there more to it. His presence at the first screening raised a lot of eye-brows and the discussions revolved more around Yasin Malik than the movie itself, with heckled audience putting him in a fix over his past but then as they say ” Every saint has a past, every thief a future”. The lead character says India wants to impose Brahmanical Imperialism in Kashmir. Does our lead character even know the meaning of the term ”Brahman” or was that a borrowed metaphor from Arundhati Roy, which he did not understand but knew how to use.
One of the flashes in the movie says ”Kashmir is the most militarized region in the valley” Maybe it is. I remember as a kid once we saw a Policeman in our village. We literally walked around him to see what he looks like. For all of us he was an alien who had somehow fallen off his spaceship and landed at our village. It was a quite a sight for all of us and some fun too. What then explains the presence of army and para-military forces in the same village when till 1989 it hadn’t even seen a proper policeman. The movie does not mention why the army had to be placed there after 1989.Isnt it imperative for a film maker to show a complete picture and not half truths.
While I was almost sobbing at the images of graveyards, I was reminded of Abdul Sattar Ranjoor who was not allowed to be buried in the village graveyard by Sanjay Kak’s Robin Hoods’. The movie once again fails to present a balanced point of view and seems more like a mouth piece or propaganda machinery at work. It simply fails to take into account any divergent view from the agenda that the director (or whoever influences him) had set to. How else does one explain that no other point of view is reflected in the movie. Who can argue against the fact that a large section of the masses want Aazadi but it would be equally foolish to believe that no other point of view exists. Again half truths come to fore with consummate ease.
This wasn’t a movie on Pandits that’s what Sanjay Kak wrote to me. We can understand that, knowing well what and whom it is about. Wouldn’t it have been better if Pandits were simply not mentioned in the movie than have a falsified and intentionally biased version of Pandits’ pain and sufferings through a minute and a half screen appearance of their abandoned houses.It seemed like intentionally rubbing salt to their wounds. What also comes to fore is the lack of knowledge about the issue on which he has made the movie. His self hatred is clearly visible in the movie, he believes that Pandits have been unfair to Muslims during the Dogra rule. Maybe it is not entirely incorrect, but when I confronted him on his knowledge of Medieval Kashmir (when Hindus were persecuted), the same was found wanting. I cannot imagine writing a column without delving deep into the subject, but then Sanjay Kak is a different person, he can make a movie on Kashmir without even reading basic texts. A good documentary does not take sides, it simply documents and presents facts as they are, the director is never seen to be either endorsing or negating what he shows. When Sanjay Kak explains the meaning and essence of the term Shahadat, the swell of adrenalin is clearly audible in his voice, that’s when he moves from being a film director to an invisible but strong spokesperson of his concept of what constitutes the celebration of Azadi. To prove his point of view he has even borrowed footages which make it look exactly like the sexed up Power Point presentation that USA made to UN as their premise for attacking Iraq.
History is replete with neo converts going that extra mile to prove which side of their bread is buttered but I believe the Director wants to walk all through the Safar-e-Azadi(similar sounding names….wonder who directs whom)to prove his loyalty to the only leader of Kashmir, Yasin Malik.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
The teacher would often say
This pandit boy will be a poet one day
My pen drew images
Meadows and pines
Springs and brooks
Snow and shine
Alas, I forgot….I was a Pandit too,
Soon they will come
To take me away
To the cold street
And shoot me down
My blood will freeze
Before it oozes
My verse go numb
My voice, dumb
The azan would rise
And the warriors of God
Will soon find another
Voice to quell
Another pandit to kill
The morning news would read
A KAFIR dead on a cold street
The poem was originally posted here
Thursday, July 12, 2007
THE TRULY GREAT DO NOT SING PAEANS TO THE ESTABLISHMENT. RASHNEEK KHER PROFILES ARJUN DEV MAJBOOR
Yeh Majboor kya naam hai? was almost a curt remark from my would be wife when her father showed her an article titled ‘The Forgotten Tirtha of Bheda Devi’ by Arjun Dev Majboor. Years rolled by, after her inquiry on Arjun Dev’s pen name, there was little that we heard of Majboor but his verses in Koshur Samachar. His verses reflected sorrow, anguish and uncertainty, but unlike many other poems in the kashmiri section, there was a fragrance of an unlikely dream and effervescence of an unlikely trait that one would call hope. We read more about him and his works, whilst we were in Ahmedabad. One day as I was sifting through the Internet Edition of Greater Kashmir(an English daily published from Kashmir)I came to know about a book written on Arinmal by Majboor. The newspaper carried a story on his remarkable zest (despite his ill health )for unmasking the cloud of doubt that Arinmal (a seventeenth century Kashmiri poet) had intentionally been clothed with by some scholars based in Kashmir. After almost two years of this newspaper report we got a chance to go to Jammu to attend a marriage, what else! The search for Arinmal took us (me and my wife) to various places some boring and some not so boring. Eventually somebody told us to get in touch with one Mr.Sagar who might have a copy of the book. I called Mr.Sagar and asked him if he had a copy of the book, which thankfully he did not have but he had something I would thank him ever after for. To my amazement he had Majboor’s phone number and he told me Majboor had shifted to Jammu from Udhampur. It took me some persuasion from my own soul to conceal my joy of finally getting the book, but destiny had more in store for me than just that. I called the number that Mr.Sagar had given me. Soon I was talking to someone I had known through his poems. After exchanging pleasantries I requested Majboor for a copy of the book. I was pleasantly surprised when he invited us (me and my wife) over for lunch and to get a copy of the book. I instantaneously accepted the invitation, actually jumped for it. The prospect of meeting him set butterflies in my stomach. It was a pleasant winter afternoon when we reached Majboor’s non-descript house in Bohri.We were led into the inner room of the house where we first saw Majboor in person. He looked very much like the picture I had seen of him in Koshur Samachar, except for the pale face and frail physique. Probably all had not been well with his health. He was glad to see us and it showed on his face, but to say the same for us would be an understatement. We were extremely excited. Soon we got talking over hot cups of kehwa. We traveled back in time to see a young boy and his quest for knowledge taking him to the most unlikely places where our mundane lives seldom take us to.He got nostalgic about his childhood and his years of adolsence.His art of story telling transported us to the springs of Zainapora where Majboor spent his childhood and the aura which bore its first imprints on his nubile mind. My wife wanted to know about his book on Lala Lachman (a 19th century bard and poet). She was particularly interested in knowing about “Gade Dhogul” one of the relatively unknown poet’s reflections on the society of the day he lived in. Majboor’s humility was at its full display when he took time and pains to narrate to us the story and the pun involved in it. We moved on to his interactions with Rahul Sankrityan (one of the greatest scholars of the last century)and thus came to fore, what really had transformed Majboor from a simple village boy with a quest, to a man who had come of age. Majboor told us about the time he spent with Rahul Sankrityan at Lahore and how he started to look at things differently and how his interactions with Sankritian evolved him. After meeting Rahul Sankrityan, Majboor was a different man. He was someone who had the legacy of Kashmiri scholarship and tutelage under one of the most balanced icons of communist philosophy. Soon we had lunch in his room which was served on wooden chowki(the low kashmiri table,where one can sit on the floor and have food on).There was a story to them also. These chowkis were one of the very few things that Majboor had managed to carry with him, when he had to leave his motherland, his Zainapora (his land of thousand imaginations).We were equally impressed by his desire to unravel the glorious past of Kashmir.I had read an article by Majboor in Vistasta(an annual magazine published by Kashmiri Pandit Sabha, Kolkatta)about his visits to Kapteshwara, Ganghobeda and Narastan. Painful as it is to know about the places of pilgrimage that people of our generation might never get to see, the vicarious pleasure of someone having seen them is the only refugee for souls like us. Majboor went into great details to tell us about his experience on visting these ancient temples and pilgrimage sites. Bewildered, I thought Maslow should have visited India before revealing his pyramid of needs to the students of psychology. How despite his limited means of income Majboor listened to his heart and traveled on the path which many would not dare to venture on. In the course of our discussions with Majboor we discovered he was an agnostic, a trait not uncommon to the emancipated. The sun was setting on the parapet of Majboor’s rented accommodation probably indicating the ephemeral nature of the houses that we live in and also the metaphysical sense of how time was about to end on the once great Kashmiri scholarship. Or maybe it was time for poetry. Majboor recited to us one of best pieces of work –Raaz Hamsas Kun. It was his longing for his motherland on the wings of wax, probably a flight of fancy which was not to happen but in the realm of imagination. The recitation was immaculate and poetry profound and haunting. By the time he finished reciting the sun had set and the firmament bore the look of a day that passed by both literally as well as metaphorically. Our eyes were moist and taste of the poem lingered in our subconscious for months. With heavy hearts we sought his permission to leave though our feet would not follow our heads. Majboor wanted us to stay over so did we, but we mere mortals had some mundane duties to attend to and bread to earn for our bodies, surely our souls had their meal. On the flight back to Delhi, me and my wife wondered how many youngsters know about Majboor. It was a moment of contemplation that we soon forgot when we got entangled in the web of our lives. We remained in touch with Majboor over phone and soon he expressed a desire to have some of his poems put to music. It was indeed a great thought to take his poems to the masses. The choice of the composer was unanimous, who else but the great maestro himself. Pandit Bhajan Sopori was really forthcoming and helpful in this endeavour. Shamima Azad and Abdul Rashid Farash lent their voices to the poems. The album called Alaav has already hit music stores across the nation. There is very little for me comment on the lyrical content and musical excellence of the album. My favourite however remains “Gayam Vaensa Vanan yath dastanas,dazeth khoth varake varkay aasmanas”. The poem is based on the legendary Gunadi, the author of Brihstkatha.When he recited his verses to the king, the king because of his ignorance ,simply dismissed the verses as ordinary. Gunadi enraged by the kings behaviour went to a jungle and recited his poems. All the birds and animals of the jungle came to listen to him. Even trees bowed their branches to listen to the beautiful verses which the king dismissed as ordinary. Then Gunadi burnt all his verses and the pages went up in the air. Majboor’s despondency is reflected in the verses as is Gunadi’s while burning his verses. The truly great do not sing paeans to the establishment. This was as true of Gunadi or Mirza Ghalib as is of Majboor.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
I am old sorrow and past predicament.
Now, without identity in a streetnameless to me,
I am a stranger:
I am longings, I am fears.
The past is years dissolving into memory.
The past is emigration, flight;
the present: yearning and homesickness
dissolving into years.
I am the wandering childlonging to belong
to his lostchildhood
and not be outside the present,
always withdrawn, apart.
I am the homeless child
who grew up in displacement
living in homesickness
and sickness of the heart.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
I grew up early
Barely six, I lit his pyre..
A hole where his vermillion was..
The hole of my being…a Brahman
A hated soul…a hated existence
Had Sharda changed sides..
She stood mute..i wouldn’t know
Mute stood everyone else…
A deafening silence…
Was the answer to everything I asked
I searched for my answers
And I grew
Diffident ,dalit….and a brahman
Everyone loved hating me..
I loved it too…
My food for thought
My existence in exile…..
I grew up early
And I drowned the pyre and the river
And the tears…
I cut the thread
And the tuft….
I wailed and rejoiced….
Sang and cried…
I wallowed in the sand…
Abused Nadim ..his Kashmir
I hated my self
I cooked it on the wet pyre
Ate it up..
And woke up
No more a brahman…
Monday, June 4, 2007
In the sweepings among other things
was the pony tail of a young child
who was last playing in her mother's lap
The boatman was happy
he netted a big fish
a fish with human shape
with a sacred thread around it
The lonely priest walked into the temple
with a tumbler full of pious water and flowers
to wash Shiva...
all he had to wash was human excreta.
the twice born was dead
and pasted on the books of history
and the world remained silent
The poem with its comments is here
Monday, May 28, 2007
This night death looms large on every road
Laying a siege for someone in his room
Putting a trap for someone at his abode
This night has broken all my fallacies
This night darkness has dawned over light
I hold in support my blood soaked Phiran
As the night shall move again
To some safe heaven,Crying in pain.
Bandaging the blood oozing wounds
This night shall now flee away,
Far away, far far away and far away,
Tomorrow of course when the morning breeze
Shall come to enquire about us
Scattered we shall be
Representing a chopped off body.
In the deserts
Devastated as we shall be
Holding our back
To the support of huge stones
Under the blistering heat in the open,
This city of our ancestors
Shall look like a town of ghosts.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
he beckons me….and I flee
Strange are his ways…
of remembrance and parting
He fills in the noise
I stare… gaze…
at the flame of his unbecoming love
He is wide awake
when the day sleeps…
In the mystic trance
of my subjugation to him
He is but he…
craving in desire
For me to burn
to eulogize his becoming
Isn’t the time
Of going back in womb
with disconnected umblicals
I fear… the desire..in him
And my desire …
to annihilate myself
The flame of love burns
Sacred as it maybe
the flame craves
The charmer in mystic tunes
drives me away…
into oblivion of being
And the shame of nothingness…derides my existence
Friday, March 23, 2007
A void that my death left
She was alone…
It was a forlorn path
From one exile to another
Void as is …but a void
Fill it ….my land
With the cherries of spring
And almond flowers
A folklore …from past
To carry me through
The forlorn path
And maybe Rasul Daar
Know stories of past
Whilst the hole was
Still my youth
The youth I lost
In sands of time
And the hole
My friend remained on…
death did us apart….
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Stuck as I am to roots ,I haven’t grown beyond them
Mohammed lies waste as does Nietzsche
Papers are spotless
or they carry the yellow imprints of my daughters freeness from constipation
the exact carefulness of the arranged books..signals my death
for the movement of my roots ..has stuck me in them…
Alas!my self pity…
Will I ever grow beyond thee..
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Not aware who cried how much….
With the onset of 14th century the cultural renaissance in Kashmir had almost come to an abrupt end. The era of new ideas and fertile philosophical thoughts had died down owing to hostile historical and cultural incursions in the otherwise enlightened house of Sharda*.The great mystical poet and genius, Lal-Ded was probably the last new philosophical thought to have dawned in Kashmir till the time Dina Nath Nadim arose on the poetic firmament. Eminent Kashmiri scholar Dr.S.S.Toshkhani says and I quote “If you took out themes related to mysticism and love from Kashmiri poetry, there would remain nothing else at all”. The literary stagnation or death of ideas can be attributed to the fanatic and intolerant rulers who ruled Kashmir 14th century onwards till the arrival of British rule in Kashmir.
Dina Nath Nadim was born in an era when Kashmiri nationalism was searching for its roots. It was a time when young educated Kashmiris were beginning to feel that their mother tongue had suffered utter neglect for many centuries and thus had avowed to bring glory to Kashmiri language. The pioneers of this movement were Mahjoor and Abdul Ahad Azad. It goes to their credit that they liberated the language from the Persian influence. The arrival of these two young poets on the scene and the collapse of feudal system gave Kashmiris a renewed sense of confidence and freedom from the mental bondage, six hundred years of slavery had set them in. A new idiom in Kashmiri poetry had thus arrived, the idiom which was largely influenced by Marxist thought and progressive Indian writers.
Dina Nath Nadim’s father passed away when Nadim was just seven. Thus he saw days of abject poverty and it was his mother’s courage and resilience that made two ends meet. It was his mother who set the first seeds of poetry into the young boy. She would often sit by her spinning wheel and sing verses of Parmanand and Krishanjoo Razdan.The song she had written on the death of her husband was to haunt and influence Nadim for his life
The flower of my heart stole away
And did not return to bloom in spring
Where does he now lie concealed ?
Who knows who stole his heart!
(Translation by T.N.Raina)
In his initial years as a poet Nadim wrote in English and it is believed that he was greatly influenced by T.S.Eliot. He also wrote in Urdu which was then the main language of poetic expression. There again he was greatly influenced by Iqbal,Chakbast,Josh and Bismil. His Urdu poems were however localized and Kashmir was the main theme in almost all his poems. He wrote poems in Hindi too but it was Kashmiri where he eventually found his style, images, forms, syllables and voice to his emotions.He made his presence felt on the Kashmiri poetics when he first read his poem Nov Sonth(New Spring) at a poetry recitation session at the famed Nishat Bagh.
Welcome the air with open doors!
The spring is here…(Translation By Rashneek Kher)
Nadim’s literary career had three definite phases. The first being the phase when India had just attained its independence and there was an air of hope and utopian Marxist ideas ruled the roost in literary circles. The environment was surcharged with sloganeering and rhetoric, which eventually found its way into the literary and cultural mainstream too.It was then that he wrote on almost all social and political issues. He spoke of the worker and tore off the capitalist in his rather peculiar poem,Sonth ti Harud(Spring and Fall).He supported the land to the tiller and wrote Aise Kaashirayav Tul Nov Rut Kadam(We,Kashmirs have taken the right step).There were other poems which hailed socialism and communist thought. It was however his path breaking experiment in free verse in the form of a poem, Bu Gavene Az (I will not sing today) which is considered as a milestone in the evolution of Kashmiri poetry. This was for the first time that free verse was written in Kashmiri and to this effect that anyone who read or heard the poem was mesmerized by the blending sound of the words and rhyme. Even though the essence of the poem seemed like a communist party manifesto yet the use of native collocations made it dear to every Kashmiri. Common Kashmiri phrases which poets of yesteryears had deemed unfit as poetic expression lend aesthetic expression and beauty to this poem. During the first phase of his career communism and Marxist ideas had great influence on him and it showed in almost all his poems but, Me Sham Aaash Pagehech(My Hope,Tomorrow)clearly stands out from the rest in terms of its content. There is no sloganeering, no Marxist ideas, it reflects layers of insecurity of a common Kashmiri in the times of uncertainty. It has three monologues, three persons having a tryst with their destinies howsoever small, nonetheless important for them. How they pray in vain for the war not to break tomorrow for tomorrow is their day of hope.
They say war is breaking out
But surely not tomorrow
When I have a rendezvous
It can’t break out tomorrow!
(Translation by T.N.Raina)
It is in this period that Nadim wrote Son Watan(Our motherland),Sar-Subhai(The break of Dawn) and the first sonnets in Kashmiri language. One must not fail to mention his poem Dal Heanzni Hond Vatsun(Song of the Boatwoman) where the poet easily submerses into the role of a spokesperson for the poor and downtrodden Kashmiri. Everyday imagery has been used and intrinsically woven around the theme of a poor woman trying to sell vegetables and fish. The pathos of the poor woman arouses intense emotions and pain, the reader is almost drawn towards a state of empathy with the boatwoman. It was for the first time in Kashmiri poetry that a poet had identified so strongly with the masses.
I hear a baby crying
Someone is whimpering at my breast
O my good woman, my heart is not here
Come buy!Come buy!Come buy!
(Translation by T.N.Raina)
Another great poem of this era which merits mention is the obituary Nadim wrote on the passing away of the secular nationalist poet Mahjoor.In his tribute in Gwonmatas motuk shar kari kyah(Artist is but immortral)he has immortalized Mahjoor with the assertion that an artist like Mahjoor will never die. He hasn’t rued on the loss of Mahjoor’s life but emphasized the fact that the latter has left behind a legacy of ideas which will keep him alive amongst the people of Kashmir.
Thus we move to the next era of his literary career which saw the fall of ideals and the icons that Nadim held close to his heart and reflected in his poetry. The erstwhile progressives and supposed Marxists were now in seats of power and their social, ethical and moral values stood exposed while running governments. It was but obvious that calls of equality, socialistic values and Marxist ideas were used as means to get to the seats of power. The mask had come off. The revolution was betrayed by the ones who were once its supposed torch bearers. Nadim wrote sarcastic, almost poems of black satire in the period following 1954.In his poem Kagaz Vaalesunz Hakh (Paper Vendors’ Cry) he emphasizes the new materialistic thought had consumed morals and dreams and how everything including conscience is up for sale. It was however his poem which he recited in the presence of the then Chief Minister as a dig at him that made his fearlessness evident.
Khwaja Mohammad is now a Nawab
But Moma remains Moma
Can you solve this puzzle?
Fill me a cup of wine!
(Translation by Rashneek Kher)
His poems Huti Nazran Dolaan Dyaar Matyo (Money Bags dangling before your eyes),Zindabad Me Haz Chu az chony Shreh(Today,You are the one I love) were in the same league and were full of sardonic humour and satire.The poem that is distinctively different from the poems Nadim wrote in this era is,Lakhchi chu Lakchun (Identification,Thy Mole)The poem is a literary marvel since Nadim has brought in symbols and images from different historical, mythical and geographical contexts and juxtaposed them in the native language. The poem in my opinion is Nadims first brush with feminine beauty albeit in a metaphysical context. The object of the entire feminine aspect of beauty centers on an otherwise inconsequential mole of the face of the lady. This is really the first poem where Nadim has attempted to stay clear of any social message but his ideology has had better of him as can be seen in the last two lines of the poem.
She has a mole
Above her artery
As if a mother
Nursed in her heart
The jewel of her eyes,
Whom she rears with love alone;
Joy of the poor woman who has gleaned from husk
Grain by grain, a handful of rice
(Translation by T.N.Raina)
With this we come to the third phase of Nadim’s literary career where his style had seen a change from sloganeering to suggesting. This is evident from his poem Naabad ti Tyathyvan(The Bitter and the Sweet)wherein the underlying theme of revolution is stated in hushed tones almost to the point of internalizing the philosophy of communism. The poet has borrowed heavily from mythology and woven what might seem like disparate and divergent elements into upsurge of love and its orgasmic climaxes with the shame and the guilt of the clandestine love post the coital. Although Nadim wrote various poems in this era with differing styles, rhyme and content but two poems without which the piece would be incomplete are Zalar Zaej(Cob webs) and Shihul Kul(The Tree of Shade).In Zalar Zaej the poet tries to present a picture of the society where entropy is the rule and disarray over rides every facet of life. The poet ends on a positive note hoping the arrival of dawn would usher in fresh ideas.In Shihul Kul the poet has attempted to paint the glorious traditions of Kashmir, of which the Chinar is the most potent symbol. The Chinar has welcomed everyone irrespective of colour, religion and race and nourished them under its benign shade.It is in this era that Nadim wrote a lot of short poems of which the prominent ones are Shah-i-Hamadan,Gaasa Tul,Tsoor,Taav Taav and Yapary Traviv Tsopary Nazarah.He wrote Haary’Saath(Happenings)as a group pf poems over a period of time.In these poems he has tried to revive the Vaakh, a form of poetry which Lal Ded started and wasn’t frequently used except for by Krishanjoo Razdan.
While his contribution to poetry is widely recognized his contributions to other fields of art like drama and short story needs to be equally appreciated and recorded. Nadim wrote the first opera in Kashmir and most of his operas were showcased in India as well as abroad.He brought new styles of presentation to drama in Kashmir and also revived the Band-Pather form of art in its new avatara on the stage.Some of his prominent operas were Heemal ta Naagraey and Bombur Yamberzal.Nadim wrote the first short story in Kashmiri and was thus a trendsetter in this field too. Nadim was a wordsmith who had this unique way of presenting his wares in a manner that rhyme and tinkle followed them. He brought out words which had probably gone into oblivion for no one used them. He wrote in the same language as the one spoken on the road. His imagery was drawn from the ordinary Kashmiri on the street. He was the first Kashmiri poet to write a free verse, blank verse, sonnet, haiku and short story .He broke the worn out and much used mould of poetry and replaced it with new images drawn from ordinary people. He was thus a people’s poet for he spoke their language and drew their inspiration from their everyday life.Nadim was an inspiration for poets in his generation and many more to follow. The present day great poets like Rahi,Kamil ,Firaq and Majboor wrote in styles which were similar to that of Nadim’s. Some of the poems written by his illustrious contemporaries like Santosh and Saqi were so similar in diction to Nadim’s poems that it was hard to tell one from another. Such was the influence Nadim wield over his contemporaries and the aspiring poets.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Kashmir Saivism is a monistic, non dual philosophy, the essence of which is merging of individual (limited consciousness) to the universal consciousness(unlimited and eternal consciousness).Its essential focus is on recognition(Pratibhjna) and freedom(Swantarya) is the outcome of the recognition, since it frees us from bondage of ignorance. According to Vedanta philosophy, refined soul is God. All divine power according to the Vedanta philosophy resides in this physical body. All the grandeur and magnificence of divine potentialities of the Almighty are present in its entirety in dormant centers of human soul. He can be seen only in one's own inner- self. Our entire life is God's direct manifestation. The ascetic asks, “For whom should we worship (kasmai devaya havisha vidhema". The emphatic answer is, we should worship for the God within us (Atma-Dev). The central doctrine of Sufism, sometimes called Wahdat or Unity, is the understanding of Tawhid: all phenomena are manifestations of a single reality, or Wujud (being), or al-Haq (Truth, God). It is often understood to imply that every phenomenon is an aspect of Truth and at the same time attribution of existence to it is false. The chief aim of all Sufis then is to let go of all notions of duality, therefore the individual self also), and realize the divine unity.It is therefore abundantly clear that all three philosophies have some similarities and differnces though it is believed that Sufism post Mansur-bin-Hallaj had Vedantic influence.
What I fail to understand is who among the Saivites has said that Kashmir Savism or Saivism has sown the seeds of Islam or Saivism is a proto form of Liberal Islam or Sufism.Atleast I don’t know of any.If there are any they should be asked to explain the same except for Congressmen(including Nehru) who have license to lie.It should also be borne in mind that the scholars of Vedant philosphy were mostly brahmins(the brahmins of central India still have surnames like Trivedi,Dwivedi or Chaturvedi)but had contradictory philosphies to that of scholars of Saivism.This is no way meant they were at war with each other. The Tandav Nach(Nritya,it should be,for nach means a simple dance which does not essentially have a purpose while as Nritya is a dance which is associated with a certain socio-cultural event and has a purpose and its own unique style) which pupotedly the learned scholar has quoted out of context is a celestial dance the purpose of which is killing of ignorance.When Shiva dances the Apasmar Pursh(personification of the ignorant one)is under his feet.The celestial dance signifies the death of ignorance, that’s what explainsShiva Sutra (2) of Vasugupta.-Jnanam Badanah(Limited Knowledge/Ignorance is bondage) .
I have no shame in accepting that Kashmir Saivism wasn’t understood by many in Kashmir although people worshipped Shiva as their primary diety.May I please know how many Muslims in Kashmir today understand(not read or pray) the Holy Quran or al Hadith for that matter.The reason for this is simple,very few of us are philosophers and people at general have faith and religion is a matter of faith and not essentially philosophy.Nonetheless the following verses written many hundred years after monistic Saivism was propounded will prove beyond doubt the influence of Saivism on Kashmiri thought and sesnsitivity.I am selectively quoting Muslim poets only to prove the point.
Shams faqir:”Zaanwale kar zaen yaar harmukh vichu deedar,parde zal az darde naar harmukh vichu deedar”.
Shah Gafoor:Yyoth yith zanamas kaenh chune larun,darinay darun soham soo;Brahma,Vishnu,Maheshwar gharun,darinay darun soham soo.
Azad Zargar:Harmukh bozmay chon keel Kalo,Ha valo baal chas praraeney
Ahmed Shah Batwari:”Vishnas ti Krishnas Raesh Maidanas,Mahaganesh tate kas kare namaskar;Gange-raaz byuthum Gange-bal thanas,jan chum mileth jahaanas seet”.
Ayub Betab:”Dyanas manz mas shankar chunho parvati mozaan,kamdevas van baan chalevaeth yokun karehaes dhyaan.”
Leave alone Kashmiri poets,Ali Mardan Khan the Afghan general wrote “Huma aasli maheshawar boodh ki shab shahe ki man deedam.Ajab sansayase deedam namo narayane guftam.”
We have countless verses to support this.Swoch Kral,Mahmud Gami,Wahab Khar,Samad Mir,Nyam Saeb,Rahim Saeb,Ahmed Dar and many others have been ifluenced by saivism abd the clear reflection is shown in their pieces of work.
Does one have to say more?So much so for philosophy.
Kashyap Bandhu is deeply revered by Pandit community for his yeoman’s contribution to curtail ceratin wasteful rituals and dresses.His contribution to the Pandit community as an educationist and social reformer is also hailed.So is Jialal Kilam’s contribution.Mr.Bazaz seems to be the flavour around which Shahnaz has cooked his pudding.Mr.Bazaz holds the same reputation among pandits as does Mr.Salman Rushdie among Muslims.I think it would be improper for me to qoute anything from the Satanic Verses for it will hurt the sensibilties of my Muslim brethern..As regards availabilty of Shavite material and knowledge,Mr.Bazaz was deeply mis-informed.For almost all major universities from Germany to Spain to United States teach Kashmir Saivism as a subject.New York State University even celebrates all major festivals and birthdays of Shaivate scholars right from Acharya Abhinavgupt to Swami Laksman joo.It has been written that Avantivarman was a brahmin and he massacared Buddhists.Kalhan who has been dispassionate and objective while writing Rajatarangni(read IV 715 to 19 and V 1-144) has made no such mention of Avantivarman killing Buddhists.It is obligatory on the scholar to mention the source of his/her research unless he/she himself travels back in time to see everything.
As for people welcoming Islam with open arms and converting of free will please read the following.The source of the texts is Bahiristan-i-Shahi.I am quoting without even changing a line.
“Sultan Shihabu'd-Din addressed himself to such works as would help him get peace in the world hereafter. He arranged a tomb and a burial place for himself to be used after his death. Towards the fag end of his life, he was infused with a zeal for demolishing idol-houses and destroying the temples and idols of the infidels. He destroyed the massive temple at Beejeh Belareh  (Bijbehara). He had designs to destroy all the temples and put an end to the entire community of the infidels. “
“Again it needs to be recorded that for some of the time which the holy Amir spent in Kashmir he lived in a sarai at 'Alau'd-Din Pora. At the site where his khanqah was built, there existed a small temple which was demolished and converted into an estrade on which he offered namaz (prayer) five times a day and recited portions of the Qur'an morning and evening. Sultan Qutbu'd-Din occasionally attended these congregational prayers.”
“ [It may be recorded] that the temples of idol-worshippers, which had been destroyed and razed to the ground by the religious-minded and justice-loving Sultan Sikandar- God bless his grave and bless him-had been rebuilt and rehabilitated by Zainu'l 'Abidin. He had permitted idolators and polytheists to revive the practices of infidelity and they had propagated heresy (kufr) and false religion (din-i batil). With the support of some more kings, the infidels had flourished day after day. But with the support and authority of Malik Musa Raina, Amir Shamsu'd-Din Muhammad undertook a wholesale destruction of all those idol-houses  as well as the total ruination of the very foundation of infidelity and disbelief. On the site of every idol-house he destroyed, he ordered the construction of a mosque for offering prayers after the Islamic manner.”
For details of forcible conversion of Hindus to Islam and their massacre in case they refused to be converted, see Tarikh-i-Hasan Khuihami; pp. 178-80. One significant detail is that three kharwars (one kharwar is approximately equal to eighty kilograms) of Hindu ceremonial thread (zunnar) were burnt by Sultan Sikandar. (Tarikh-i-Hasan Khuihami, Pir Ghulam Hasan, Vol II, RPD,* Srinagar 1954.)
Regarding aborigines of Kashmir, Nilamatapurana and Buddhist texts are the main source of infornation. According to Nilmatapurana and various Buddhist texts it is Vishnu who after killing Jalodbhava(the water demon) crowned Nila Naag as the king of Kashmir.It is Nila,who invited the Brahmin Chandradev to Kashmir. As for Pischasas,Buhler says’They were a tribe living in what can be called present day Kafirstan. They ate raw human flesh and drink blood.They constantly attacked various habitations and Kashmir was one of them”That we still called a blood sucking insect as pisch in Kashmir proves that this tribe drank human blood”.If someone wants to be quoted as their descendant it is for him or her to decide. It is preposterous, almost laughable to say that Aryans were Brahmins when we clearly know of the varna (caste) system from various texts of the Aryans. In Kashmiri I would say” Mae chu aeme kathe seet kit kit gachaan”.The very basis of Aryan theory is contested now. Excavations have shown worship of ring stones(mother goddess cult)lingas(erect phallus) and the seal of pashupat(the protector of livestock)are traits common to vedic people and people of Indus valley civilization. Indologists like Max Muller have propounded the Aryan myth to divide people of the sub-continent.If Aryans would have killed or forced Dravidians to flee I wonder if they would have worshipped same god-Shiva.
It is my earnest request that we must look at history objectively and not quote what suits us. Half baked understanding of complex philosophies and intentional distortion of history will get us nowhere. Kashmir stands at cross-roads. Let us not add to the misery of Kashmir desa. It is for the readers to decide who are the illegal citizens, the people who were born here or the ones who came from Arabia or Persia or Panjab.The earth has never been anyones’. It has always changed hands. Who would have one day imagined the world without the great Roman Civilizations or Greeks or the Phahroaos!!!
Gov Mansur fana,vyodun huvey hyond musalmano;
Ann Paranas chune manah,chune gudrun chaye rozaano(Ahmed Shah Batwari)
“Mahsoos”(First published In Greater Kashmir-Kashmir's largest circulated daily)