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
Sitikantha Acharya, which belong to the period 1200-1500 A.D.
Another work of unknown date called
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
Utthasoma, Yodhabhatta and Bhatta Avatara were the
important Kashmiri poets in the court of Zainul Abidin
Utthasoma’s treatise on music called
Jainaprakasa and Avatara’s
Jainavilasa were important works of this period.
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
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
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
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
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
Krishnavataralila; Waliullah Mattu’s
Himal Ta Nagaraya,
Gazliyat-i-Haqqani and Ramzan Bath’s
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
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
Another writer, Akthar Mahiuddin also won the Sahitya Akademi
Award in 1958 for his collection of short stories
He also has to his credit two novels,
Dod Dag and
Zuv ta Zolana, and another collection of poems called
Motilal Kemmu is a renowned dramatist who wrote powerful
plays like Trunov, Mangay
and Manjuli Nika.