Kashmiri literature

Kashmiri language is one of the oldest languages of the world, having emerged from 5th to 6th century from ancient linguistic group of Dardi. Soon Dardi was taken over by Sanskrit and Kashmiri language was influenced not only by Sanskrit but a number of other languages like Chinese, Tibetan, Russian, Persian, Arabic , Punjabi and English through different periods. These languages as thoroughly analyzed by Pandit Ram Chand Koul helped in building up Kashmiri language and in support of his analysis a wider list of words stands published in a popular news paper of the valley,”Hamdard” on 31 July 1938. Estimated by one European linguist G. T. Venn, this language carries 50% words from Sanskrit,33% Tibetan or Dardi, 10% Persian, 5% Hindi and 2% Dogri.

This enriched language locally referred as “Koshur” could not have its own permanent script till late 20th century. Koshur was either written in Sharda script or in Devnagri. Koshur remained predominantly a spoken language among the masses and that made a serious setback in its development. Though a voluntary organization of young writers of the valley took up a mission to popularize Kashmiri script among the masses but it could have no fruitful results. In 1980 government finally included the language in academics and Kashmiri Department was established in Kashmir University but these efforts seem to be too late. At present, Kashmiri language is predominantly spoken by older people in rural areas while young generation in the valley does not feel comfortable in communicating in Kashmiri language. Besides, the last decade of 20th century brought about certain socio- cultural changes in the valley which shook very roots of this language culture and Mr. Braj B. Kachru, Professor of linguistics, University of Illinois, Urbana, USA has included this language among dying heritages of the world.

Kashmiri language literature

The use of the Kashmiri language began with the work Mahanayakaprakash (Light of the supreme lord) by Shitikantha (c.1250),[1] and was followed by the poet Lalleshvari or Lal Ded (14th century), who wrote mystical verses in the vakh or four-line couplet style.[2] Another mystic of her time equally revered in Kashmir and popularly known as Nunda Reshi wrote powerful poetry like his senior Lal Ded. Later came Habba Khatun (16th century) with her own style. Other major names are Rupa Bhavani (1621–1721), Arnimal (d. 1800), Mahmud Gami (1765–1855), Rasul Mir (d. 1870), Paramananda (1791–1864), Maqbool Shah Kralawari (1820–1876). Also, the Sufi poets like Shamas Fakir, Wahab Khar, Soch Kral, Samad Mir, and Ahad Zargar. Among modern poets are Ghulam Ahmad Mahjur (1885–1952), Abdul Ahad Azad (1903–1948), and Zinda Kaul (1884–1965).

During the 1950s, a number of well educated youth turned to Kashmiri writing, both poetry and prose, and enriched modern Kashmiri writing by leaps and bounds. Among these writers are Dinanath Nadim (1916–1988), Rahman Rahi, Ghulam Nabi Firaq Amin Kamil (1923-2014),[3] Ali Mohd Lone,Autar Krishen Rahbar ( 1933- ), Akhtar Mohiuddin, {Sajood Sailani(1933- )Poet/Playwright}, Som Nath Zutshi, Muzaffar Aazim,[4] and Sarvanand Kaul 'Premi'. Some later day writers are Hari Krishan Kaul, Majrooh Rashid, Rattanlal Shant, Hirdhey Kaul Bharti, Omkar N Koul, Roop Krishen Bhat, Rafiq Raaz, Tariq Shehraz, Shafi Shauq,Showkat Shehri , M H Zaffar, Shenaz Rashid,Shabir Ahmad Shabir, Shabir Magami ,[5] Moti Lal Kemmu (playwright).

Contemporary Kashmiri literature appears in Sheeraza published by the Jammu & Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, Anhar published by the Kashmirri Department of the Kashmir University, and an independent magazine Neab International Kashmiri Magazine[6] published from Boston, Vaakh (published by All India Kashmiri Samaj, Delhi) and Koshur Samachar( published by Kashmiri Sahayak Sammiti, Delhi).

Ancient writers in Sanskrit

Writers in Persian

After Sanskrit and before the coming Urdu, because of the adoration and patronising policy of foreign culture by the Mughals, Persian became the literary language also of the region. Kashmir was very richly represented in that tradition, as already before the end of the 18th century "Muhammad Aslah's tazkira of the Persian-writing poets of Kashmir, written during the reign of the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah (1131-61/1719-48), alone lists 303 poets".[40] Late scholar from Pakistan, Pir Hassam-ud-Din Rashidi, edited, translated, and enlarged this work later, and had it published by the Iqbal Academy.

The most famous of them was Muhammad Tahir Ghani (d. 1669), better known as Ghani Kashmiri, whose poetry was recently translated into English, for the first time, by Mufti Mudasir Farooqi and Nusrat Bazaz as 'The Captured Gazelle' in the world-renowned Penguin Classics list. Ghani influenced many generations of Persian-and Urdu writing poets in South Asia including Mir Taqi Mir, Ghalib and most importantly, Iqbal. Ghani's "forte" lies in creating delightful poetic images, usually by stating an abstract idea in the first hemistich and following it up with a concrete exemplification in the other.He also stands out for his multi-layered poems, which exploit the double meaning of words.

Another name is the Sheikh Yaqub Sarfi (1521-1595), a 16th-century Sufi poet-philosopher who was internationally acknowledged and who had for students, amongst others, well-known religious scholar Ahmad Sirhindi (more particularly, he taught him hadith)[41][42] and Persian-language poet Mohsin Fani Kashmiri (d. 1671 or 1672) (himself the teacher of Ghani Kashmiri and author of the pivotal work of comparative religion, the Dabestan-e Mazaheb).

Other of the well-known and influential Persian-language poets of Kashmir would include Habibullah Ghanai (1556-1617), Mirza Dirab Big Juya (d. 1707), Mirza Beg Akmal Kamil (1645-1719), Muhammad Aslam Salim (d. 1718), Mulla Muhammad Taufiq (1765), Muhammed Azam Didamari (d. 1765), Mulla Muhammad Hamid (1848) or Birbal Kachru Varasta (d. 1865), amongst a myriad. Of course, Kashmiri Pandits too played a role in that school, and one exceptional case was Pandit Taba Ram Turki (1776–1847), who was a celebrity as far as Central Asia.

Writers in Urdu

Despite being a numerically reduced community (less than one million), the Kashmiri Pandits are over-represented in their contribution to Urdu literature. One important early example is Daya Shankar Kaul Nasim (1811–1845), a renowned Urdu poet of the 19th century, and hundreds of others followed his path.[43]

Some eminent Urdu literary personalities of Kashmiri origins (from both the Valley and the diaspora) include (in chronological order):

Writers in Hindi

Writers in English

See also


  1. Sisir Kumar Das (2006). A history of Indian literature, AD.500-1399: from courtly to the popular. Sahitya Akademi. p. 193. Scholars consider _Mahanayakaprakash_ (Light of the supreme lord) by Shitikantha (c.1250) as the earliest work in Kashmiri language.
  2. Lal Ded; Ranjit Hoskote (tr.);. I, Lalla : Poems of Lal Ded. Penguin 2011.
  3. "Amin Kamil - Kashmiri literature, Kashmiri poetry". Kamil.neabinternational.org. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  4. http://kashmirilanguage.com. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. "Welcome To the Homepage of LALDED". Lalded.8k.com. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  6. Neab International Kashmiri Magazine
  7. Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya, History of Science and Technology in Ancient India, Firma K.L Mukhopadhyaya (1986), pp. 486-494
  8. Satya Prakash, Founders of Sciences in Ancient India (part II), Vijay Kumar (1989), p.471
  9. B.S. Yadav & Man Mohan, Ancient Indian Leaps into Mathematics, Birkhäuser (2011), p. 78
  10. M. I. Mikhailov & N. S. Mikhailov, Key to the Vedas, Minsk-Vilnius (2005), p. 105
  11. Sures Chandra Banerji, A Companion to Sanskrit Literature, Motilal Banarsidass (1989), p. 59
  12. Helaine Selin, Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures, Kluwer Academic Publishers (1997), p. 977
  13. Martin Levey, Early Arabic Pharmacology: An Introduction Based on Ancient and Medieval Sources, Brill Archive (1973), p. 10
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  15. S.K. Sopory, Glimpses Of Kashmir, APH Publishing Corporation (2004), p. 62
  16. Krishan Lal Kalla, The Literary Heritage of Kashmir, Mittal Publications (1985), p.65
  17. Guang Xing, The Concept of the Buddha, RoutledgeCurzon (2005), p. 26
  18. Phyllis G. Jestice, Holy People of the World: A Cross-cultural Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO Ltd (2004), p. 621
  19. Encyclopaedia of Indian Medicine: Historical perspective, Popular Prakashan (1985), p. 100
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  24. Claus Vogel, Vāgbhaṭa Aṣṭāṅgahṛdayasaṃhitā. The First Five Chapters of Its Tibetan Version, Franz Steiner (1965), p.13
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  31. R.N. Rai, Karanasara Of Vatesvara, Indian National Science Academy (1970), vol. 6, n. I, p. 34
  32. Vaṭeśvara, Vaṭeśvara-siddhānta and Gola of Vaṭeśvara: English translation and commentary, National Commission for the Compilation of History of Sciences in India (1985), p. xxvii
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  35. Bina Chatterjee (introduction by), The Khandakhadyaka of Brahmagupta, Motilal Banarsidass (1970), p. 13
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  39. P. N. K. Bamzai, Culture and Political History of Kashmir - Volume 1, M D Publications (1994), p.269
  40. Collective, The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 6, p. 980
  41. Anna Zelkina, In Quest for God and Freedom: The Sufi Response to the Russian Advance in the North Caucasus, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers (200), p. 88
  42. Irshad Alam, Faith Practice and Piety: An Excerpt from the Maktūbāt, Sufi Peace Mission (2006), p. 20
  43. Shri Ram Bakshi, Kashmir: Valley and Its Culture, Sarun & Son (1997), p. 165
  44. Hamid Afaq Qureshi, The Mughals, the English & the rulers of Awadh, from 1722 A.D. to 1856 A.D., New Royal Book Co (2003), p.79
  45. Amaresh Misra, Lucknow, fire of grace: the story of its revolution, renaissance and the aftermath, HarperCollins Publishers India (1998), p. 57
  46. Purnendu Basu, Oudh and the East India Company, 1785-1801, Maxwell Company (1943), p. 22
  47. Simon Schaffer, The Brokered World: Go-Betweens and Global Intelligence, 1770-1820, Science History Publications (2009), p. 53
  48. Surendra Mohan, Awadh Under the Nawabs: Politics, Culture, and Communal Relations, 1722-1856, Manohar Publishers & Distributors (1997), p.80
  49. Edited by Bernard Lightman, The Circulation of Knowledge Between Britain, India and China, BRILL (2013), p.67
  50. Abida Samiuddin, Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Urdu Literature, Global Vision Publishing House (2008), p. 94
  51. Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, Persian poetry of Mirza Ghalib, Pen Productions (2000), p. 7
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  53. K.C. Kanda, Masterpieces of Urdu Ghazal from the 17th to the 20th Century, Sterling (1992), p. 182
  54. Ali Jawad Zaidi, A History of Urdu literature, Sahitya Akademi (1993), p. 181
  55. D.J. Matthews, Urdu Literature, South Asia Books (1985), p. 86
  56. A website on Dr Khalifa Abdul Hakim maintained by a relative and with a lot of bibliographical resources
  57. Punjab’s Kashmir connection
  58. A Scholar-Intellectual
  59. "Taufiq Rafat - the Ezra Pound of Pakistan". The Nation. 2009-11-09. Retrieved 2014-04-18.

External links

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