The Poet of Kashmir 9th April – MEHJOOR DAY

Mahjoor, the poet of Kashmir (Shair-e-Kashmir) one of the greatest poets of Kashmir represents the glory of the Romantic movement of the Kashmiri literature. He is a twentieth century poet of Kashmir and like the nineteenth century Romantic poets of English literature, he certainly created a world of his own which was not absurd or merely fanciful but was a world in which he felt closer to the earth and the common man than the other poets of the valley. And he also believed that the imagination stands in the same relation to the truth and reality. Moreover, like them, he is centrally a political and social poet and has a commitment towards his society and country. His heart and imagination is obsessed with the emotions of the realities of his era in Kashmir. A close look at the expanded collections of his poems reveals that he is undoubtedly a committed writer who does not restrict himself to the limited boundaries of commitment and that his poetic contribution is a confluence of various impacts and aspects. He in his poetry exhibits such elements which surface in the literary contributions of the greatest poets of English as well as Urdu literature. He in the style of William Wordsworth depicts Nature in his poems and puts deep and hidden meanings in the objects of Nature and also at times gives spiritual interpretations to Nature. He in the manner of P.B.Shelley wants to liberate his society from the chains of slavery and wishes to bring forth a revolution in every field of their life. Like Coleridge, he feels delighted in everything beautiful and puts the best words in the best order. He follows John Keats and presents scenes which are not vague or merely suggestive but are definite with the wealth of detail and in language are rich and colorful and convey such meanings which resemble those of the realities of life and reflect the human problem. He at times talks William Blake’s mystic language with a hope to sustain and deep faith in the power and presence of God in the smallest objects of Nature. He symbolizes the tradition of  Lord Byron to give rarely glimpse of his own self of which he is conscious and which no doubt existed in him who could inspire love and friendship. He in his poems has a message and anxiety of Iqbal (RA) for his nation and society which he wishes to see as the greatest and glorified nation. He imbibes the Universal appeal and sobriety of Ghalib in his universal verses. He really posses the sentiment of Dard to feel and represent pain of humans and inherits openness and clarity of the thought of Mir.
    Mahjoor was the pen name (takhallus) of Peerzada Ghulam Ahmad who was born on 11TH OF August in 1887, at a scenic and naturally beautiful village called Mitrigam in the district of Pulwama. His father’s name was Peer Abdullah Shah, a Persian and Arabic scholar and a religious preacher by profession. Peer Ghulam Ahmad Mahjoor’s mothers name was Akhtar Syeeda who died at the time Mahjoor was only two years old and later on was brought up and nourished by his Grandmother who fortunately also happened to have knowledge of Arabic and Persian. Mahjoor at an his early age was sent to a Maktab (School) in town of Tral where he lived in the company of a noted Kashmiri poet and Persian scholar and with the literary and educated environment at home and in the Religious School, his creative talent got exposed and burnished and he from his early  age developed a passion and spirit to express his treasure of emotions and sentiments. Falling in discord with his father for not agreeing to follow his profession, Mahjoor wanted to experience his life in his own way and desired to escape from the forced and traditional responsibilities and do something honorable for his nation and society, which truly he did. In 1905, he secretly left Srinagar where at that time he was pursuing his middle course and reached Amritsar in Punjab to breath and feel freely and accumulate new experiences of the new world of literature  and life. Since Mahjoor had inherited the art of calligraphy and in order to learn it fully ,he joined  the  company of a renowned calligrapher, Ghulam Ali who taught him this art for six months to enable him to earn wages. The Punjab was a center of literary activities those days and Mahjoor who was now an able calligrapher and got appointed as a copyist in a newspaper called “Al-Badar”, with the help of Moualna Bismil with whom he had got intimated due to his creative talent and by participating in various literary symposiums and conferences which were organized in Punjab those days. It was during these days that he had an opportunity to give vent to his ideas through his Urdu written verses and this endeavor led him to assume his poetic name or (Takhallus) as Mahjoor. He left Punjab for Srinagar after he had been criticized for reciting a Urdu poem in dialect unsuitable to Urdu language during a symposium which had been organized by the famous poet Afat Ludhianvi. After coming back from Punjab to Kashmir, he was able to get a job in the Revenue Department as Patwari and was posted in Ladakh where in the leisure time he studied the socio- philosophical and romantic poems of Rasool Mir, Lal Dad. Mahmood Ghami , Wali Ullah Mattu,Pir Maqbool Shah Kralwari, Wahab Khar and Aziz Darwesh. It was in Ladakh that he was able to compile his work Safarnama-e-Baltistan in which he writes about and picturizes the wasteland of Ladakh with its nude and desolate beauty. After having spent two years in Ladakh, domestic problems compelled Mahjoor to return to the Valley and having no respite from the domestic compulsions, he bade good bye to his job. In 1912, Mahjoor again visited Punjab and perhaps it was during this sojourn that he went to Lahore and spend some time with Munshi Muhammad Din, who was publishing a journal called “Kashmir Magazine” those days. After coming back Mahjoor gave attention towards Kashmir language and tried to learn it passionately with the intention of contributing to his literary world through this language and in the course of time his creations in Kashmir became instrumental in awakening the consciousness of the people and for representing their concerns and voicing their feelings earned him the title of the Poet of Kashmir.  
   Mahjoor had a deep interest in the bounty of nature in Kashmir and he invariably depicts the scenic gardens, moors, forests, waterfalls, rivers, lush green fields and mountains as a source and means of conveying his heartfelt emotions and messages to awaken his countrymen to raise their voice against all kinds of injustices and ills perpetuated against them. He expresses his emotions like this,
                      “Bulbulan Dup Gulls Hussan Chui Pur
                       Keyha wanai ,zew chai ne ,su chui kasur”         
       Through his verses in Kashmiri, Mahjoor contributed a lot of fire and ignition to the freedom struggle during the barbarous Dogra regime. His poems gave impetus to the struggle and served as a clarion call to the masses to free their nation from the chains of slavery. He express his patriotic fervor in the poem “Walo Ho Bage-e-Wano” (Arise, O Gardener) and stresses upon his fellow countrymen to decorate their nation and land with flowers which symbolizing their apt traditions based on honesty ,truthfulness and dignity. He say’s,
                  “Wala Ho Bage-wano Baharukh Shan Paida kar
                Pholan Gull Gat Karan Bulbul Tututhi  Shamane Paida Kar”
  In other beautiful poem, “Gulshan Watan Chu Souni” Mahjoor expresses his love for his nation and breathes out the idea symbolically and that too with sincerity and pride that there is nothing dear to him than his nation and he wishes fervently it to prosper and become a dignified nation. This spirit of Mahjoor was appreciated and liked by Iqbal even and he had due regards for him for representing the sentiments of Kashmiris. Mahjoor pays glowing tributes to his nation in these lines,
              “Bulbul Wanan chu poshan Gulshan watan chu souni         
                Andi Andi Safaid Sangar Deware Sange Mar Mar”     
    Mahjoor also appeals to the nation to maintain communal harmony and not get divided on the basis of religion and community. He asks his nation to shun the path of strife with each other and give up jealousy, hatred, animosity and remain united against the enemy and share love and affection with each other. He says,
                             “Nai Traiu Mai Thaiu Panween
                             Puz Mohabat Bagruew paneween,
                             Dudh chu muslim hund chu shaker saf saf
                             Dudh te bea shaker ralaew pane waeween”      
    Mahjoor conveys his message through these famous verses in Mathew Arnold’s fashion who in his masterpiece poem “Dover Beach” also advises his contemporary nineteenth century society and people to come out of the melancholic situation which had entwined them and made them to suffer from bewilderment, contradictions and  had disturbed their minds with confusion and chaos resulting in the bickering and squabbling among them. He suggests them that only love and affection with each other could provide them salvation and relief from the glum situation. He says,
                              “ Ah Love let us be true
                               To one another! for the world, which seems
                              ____     ______   _____ ______ _________
                              Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight
                               Where ignorant armies clash by night”
      Mahjoor has deep faith in the power and supremacy of God and he also has firm belief in the blessings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). He believes that salvation of a man from all kinds of woes and difficulties is possible only when one would devote himself to God and Prophet (SAW). He shows this spirit and devotion in these verses:
                  “Sahibo sath chum me cheeni wath me aslich hawtem
                    Kut kala roze be zan, zan hund mas chawtem”
   Mahjoor through his immortal verses teaches lessons about nature, love, peace, unity, faith in God, upholding of human values, uselessness of strife’s, jealousy, hatred, and he also touches the psyche of the people by awakening their conscience and advocates the concern of the poor, downtrodden, and suppressed workers. He invariably teaches his nation to learn to live with honor and dignity and fight for their lost identity and freedom. He tries to rejuvenate and strengthen the sentiments of the people to fight against injustice cruelty and anarchy. He due to his unique style of writing has earned an immortal place in the Kashmiri literature. His poems reveal that he is a poet with lofty ideals and aspirations and bring home to one’s mind that his poetry derives power from the intensity and sincerity of his experiences and establish the fact that what comes from the heart goes to the heart and then take the form of solid and appealing artistic creations. He feels deeply but his emotions are calm and serene and it is not a turbulent passion. He is simple and writes with great variety and it is this distinct artistic quality that he has been able to write lyrics, songs, odes, elegies, prose, biography, novel, translations, and criticism. The literary contributions of Mahjoor clearly prove that as a writer he is so powerful and imaginative that he has been able to inspire his readers not only aesthetically, spiritually, morally and socially but also intellectually. The gamut and cosmos of Mahjoor’s creative art is so vast and infinite that there can be no end of research and any exploration in this direction shall be assumed as the greatest service to this nation.    
   
(Farooq_peer@yahoo.com and  drfarooqpeer@gmail.com)