Literature of Kashmir

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Literature of Kashmir has a long history, the oldest texts having been composed in the Sanskrit language. Early names include Patanjali, the author of the Mahabhashya commentary on Pāṇini's grammar, suggested by some to have been the same to write the Hindu treatise known as the Yogasutra, and Dridhbala, who revised the Charaka Samhita of Ayurveda.

In medieval times, philosophers of Kashmir Shaivism include Vasugupta (c. 800), Utpala (c. 925), Abhinavagupta, and Kshemaraja as well as Anandavardhana.

Kashmiri language literature[edit]

The use of the Kashmiri language began with the work Mahānaya-Prakāsha[1] by Rājānaka Shiti Kantha (c.1250),[2] and was followed by the poet Lalleshvari or Lal Ded (14th century), who wrote mystical verses in the vakh or four-line couplet style.[3] Another mystic of her time equally revered in Kashmir and popularly known as Nund Reshi wrote powerful poetry. 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 (1820–1877). 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),[4] Ali Mohd Lone, Autar Krishen Rahbar (born 1933), Akhtar Mohiuddin, Sajood Sailani (brn 1933), Som Nath Zutshi, Muzaffar Aazim,[5] and Sarwanand Kaol 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,Tariq Ahmad Tariq, [6] and Moti Lal Kemmu.

Contemporary Kashmiri literature appears in such magazines as 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[7] published from Boston, Vaakh (published by All India Kashmiri Samaj, Delhi) and Koshur Samachar (published by Kashmiri Sahayak Sammiti, Delhi).

Ancient writers in Sanskrit[edit]

Writers in Persian[edit]

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".[41] 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)[42][43] 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[edit]

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.[44]

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

Writers in Hindi[edit]

Writers in English[edit]

A srinagar based poet and writer belongs to bandipora dachigam. Well known for blank verse and Urdu nazm.His collections are yet to be published.

He is writer poet and social activist. Hailing from srinagar.

See also[edit]


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  3. ^ Lal Ded; Ranjit Hoskote (tr.). I, Lalla : Poems of Lal Ded. Penguin 2011.
  4. ^ "Amin Kamil - Kashmiri literature, Kashmiri poetry". Retrieved 2013-03-03.
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  6. ^ "Welcome To the Homepage of LALDED". Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  7. ^ Neab International Kashmiri Magazine
  8. ^ Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya, History of Science and Technology in Ancient India, Firma K.L Mukhopadhyaya (1986), pp. 486-494
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  11. ^ M. I. Mikhailov & N. S. Mikhailov, Key to the Vedas, Minsk-Vilnius (2005), p. 105
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  13. ^ Helaine Selin, Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures, Kluwer Academic Publishers (1997), p. 977
  14. ^ Martin Levey, Early Arabic Pharmacology: An Introduction Based on Ancient and Medieval Sources, Brill Archive (1973), p. 10
  15. ^ P. N. K. Bamzai, Culture and Political History of Kashmir - Volume 1, M D Publications (1994), p.268
  16. ^ S.K. Sopory, Glimpses Of Kashmir, APH Publishing Corporation (2004), p. 62
  17. ^ Krishan Lal Kalla, The Literary Heritage of Kashmir, Mittal Publications (1985), p.65
  18. ^ Guang Xing, The Concept of the Buddha, RoutledgeCurzon (2005), p. 26
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  29. ^ Kamaleswar Bhattacharya, India & Beyond, Routledge (2009), p. 2
  30. ^ John E. Cort, Open Boundaries: Jain Communities and Cultures in Indian History, State University of New York Press (1998), p.57
  31. ^ Kolar Sesha Iyer Nagarajan, Contribution of Kashmir to Sanskrit literature, V.B. Soobbiah (1970), p. 426
  32. ^ R.N. Rai, Karanasara Of Vatesvara, Indian National Science Academy (1970), vol. 6, n. I, p. 34 Archived 2015-06-09 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ 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
  34. ^ P. N. K. Bamzai, Culture and Political History of Kashmir - Volume 1, M D Publications (1994), p.269
  35. ^ Sheldon Pollock, Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia, University of California Press (2003), p. 112
  36. ^ Bina Chatterjee (introduction by), The Khandakhadyaka of Brahmagupta, Motilal Banarsidass (1970), p. 13
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  40. ^ P. N. K. Bamzai, Culture and Political History of Kashmir - Volume 1, M D Publications (1994), p.269
  41. ^ Collective, The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 6, p. 980
  42. ^ 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
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