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|| Kashmiri Litterateurs & Poets||


The earliest use of Kashmiri in literature is found in Kalhana’s Rajatarangini (12th century A.D.) in which a three-word phrase of Kashmiri Apabhramsa is used. However, the earliest composition in Kashmiri appears to be the Mahanayaprakasa of Sitikantha Acharya, which belong to the period 1200-1500 A.D. Another work of unknown date called Chumma-sampradaya also provides the oldest specimen of Kashmiri literature. The 14th century Saiva woman-saint Lal Ded has written many compositions in Kashmiri which are still very popular, both among Hindus and Muslims.  The sayings or shruks of another mystic poet Sheikh Nuruddin (1377-1440 A.D.) have been collected in the book Nurnama or Rshinama.  Utthasoma, Yodhabhatta and Bhatta Avatara were the important Kashmiri poets in the court of Zainul Abidin (1420-1470 A.D.).  Utthasoma’s treatise on music called Manaka, Yodhabhatta’s Jainacharita and Jainaprakasa and Avatara’s Jainavilasa were important works of this period.  Banasuravadha is considered as the earliest epic poem in Kashmiri.


The period 1500-1800 A.D. witnessed the continuous development of Kashmiri literature.  Hubba Khatun (1551-1606 A.D.) was a very remarkable poetess, whose lyrics on love and romance called lol still captivate the Kashmiri people. Rupabhavani and Aranimal were other great poetesses of Kashmir. Sahib Kaul, a Hindu poet who lived during the time of Jehangir, wrote Krishnaavatara and Jananmcharita.  The Ramayana was adapted into Kashmiri by Prakasarama (or Divakaraprakasa Bhatta) in his Ramavataracharita in the late 18th century. He later wrote its sequel the Lavakusacharita.  Mir Abdullah Baihaqi’s Koshir-Aqaid and Mukhtasar Waqayah also belong to this period, which saw many Persian works like Laila-Majnu and Shirin-Khusro being adapted in Kashmiri.


In the period after 1800 A.D., Kashmiri literature came under the influence of Urdu and English, apart from Sanskrit and Persian giving rise to new ideas and styles.  Mahmud Gami, Maqbul Shah, Paramanand and Wahhab Pare were some of the early poets of this period. Mahmud Gami produced note-worthy works like Yusuf-Zulaikha, Laila-Majnu and Shirin-Khusro. He also wrote a large number of ghazals. Paramanand wrote many narrative poems like Radhaswaymvara, Sudamacharita and Sivalagan based on Sanskrit Puranas. Abdul Wahab Pare (1845-1913) adapted Firdausi’s Shahnama into Kashmiri and also translated the Akbarnama. Another competent poet of the same period was Lakshman Ju who authored Nala-Damayati and a number of ghazals and short poems in Kashmiri. The Sikandarnama of the 12th century poet Nizami was translated into Kashmiri by Maulavi Siddiqullah.  K.F.Burkhard and G.A.Grierson were the two European scholars who promoted Kashmiri literature during this period. The other important works of this period include Krishna Razdan’s Sivaparinaya; Dinanath’s Krishnavataralila; Waliullah Mattu’s Himal Ta Nagaraya, Azizullah Haqqani’s Gazliyat-i-Haqqani and Ramzan Bath’s Akhnandana. Pirzada Ghulam Ahmad Mahjur (1885-1952) was one of the earliest nationalistic poets of Kashmir who wrote several lyrical and patriotic poems with political themes.  Nandalal Kaul was a famous poet and dramatist of Kashmiri.  He wrote noteworthy dramas like Satach Kahwath, Ramun Raj, Dayalal and Prahlada Bhagat. The Bhagwad Gita was rendered into Kashmiri by Pandit Narayan Khar.


Important Kashmiri poets of the post-Independence period include Abdul Ahmad Azad, Dinanath Nadim, Amin Kamil, Ghulam Rasul Nazki, Rahman Rahi, Abdul Haqq Barq and Nur Mohammed Roshan.  Dinanath Nadim’s poems like Yirada, Ba Gyavna Az and Zindabad Shyamji brought new vigour into Kashmiri verse.  He also wrote an opera called Bambur Yambarzal in 1953, for which he won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1967.  Nadim joined hands with Roshan and produced another opera, Himal ta Nagaraya in 1956. Rahman Rahi is also a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award (1962) for his Nauroz-i-Saba.  Another writer, Akthar Mahiuddin also won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1958 for his collection of short stories Sathsangar.  He also has to his credit two novels, Dod Dag and Zuv ta Zolana, and another collection of poems called Swanzal.  Motilal Kemmu is a renowned dramatist who wrote powerful plays like Trunov, Mangay and Manjuli Nika.



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