It is said that the evolution of Kashmiri literature began more than 600 years ago. When in West the concept of poetry had just begun, in Kashmir Lalla Ded had already started the revolution and she was rising as the first philosophical poetess from Kashmir. But maybe it can be termed as the “Irony of Times” that besides being contemporaries, English is a globally dominant and universal language while Kashmiri language was left confined to Kashmir only. Kashmiri language is rich in its local literature which no other language possesses. Kashmiri language and literature has seen a rise of some great poets.
Here are some of the greatest Kashmiri poets that have graced the lands of Kashmir and given new heights to the Kashmiri poetry:
- Lalla Ded also known as Lalla Aarifa, was born in a village called Sempura, which is located a few miles away from the capital city Srinagar, in 1335 AD. And she was married off in Pampore area of Kashmir. She is known as the first poetess of Kashmir and her poetry is highly influenced by spirituality. Her poetry is known as lalle waakh. It is said that she passed away outside Jamia Masjid Bijbehara area of South Kashmir in the year 1400 AD. Since during Lal Ded’s time Shivasim was prevalent, hence in her writings Sanskrit words can be seen in abundance.
- Rasool Mir:- Often regarded as “Mir Taqi Mir” of Kashmiri poetry, Mir was born in 1825 in South Kashmir’s Dooru Shahbad area. He has learnt under another celebrated poet of Kashmir Mahmood Gami, who called him “God gifted”. He is also known as “badshah of Kashmiri gazal” . It is believed that he has written more than hundred Kashmiri Gazals.
- Shamas Faqeer:- Shamas Faqeer was born in Chinkral Mohalla of Srinagar district in 1843. His real name was Muhammad Sidiq Bhat. Belonging to a poor household, Shamas Faqeer was around 24 or 25 years old when he decided to learn about spirituality. His work was published in two parts, which is based on 60 gazals. He passed away in 1904.
- Samad Mir:- He was born in Narwara Mohalla of Eidgah area of Downtown Srinagar in 1901. He was bestowed with the art of writing through his father Khaliq Mir who was a poet as well. According to several texts Samad Mir wrote his first poetry when he was working as a construction labourer in Gupkar for Maharaja Hari Singh, which is called, “Daastnaan e Dard o Jaan”. He was a spiritual poet. His work is based on six parts known as “Kalaam e Samad Mir”. He also wrote Akkenandun a Kashmiri fable in the shape of a poetry. He passed away in year 1959 in Nambalhaar in city outskirts.
- Habba Khatoon:- Habba Khatoon was born in 1551 AD in house of Abdi Rather in Chandhaar village of Kashmir. Her parents named her ‘Zoon’. Her beauty attracted alot of attention. She studied Arabic and Persian from an Imam e Masjid. After hearing people talking about her, Abdi Rather married her off. She started writing and reciting poetry since a young age. It was a Sufi saint Khwaja Masood who named her Habba Khatoon after listening to her kalaam. Her voice and beauty attracted the attention of King Sultan Yousuf Shah Chak, who got her divorced and later married her. In 1585 AD Mughal Emperor Akbar captured Yousuf Shah Chak and hence Kashmir. Habba Khatoon left the palace and decided to reside in a small cottage on the banks of River Jhelum. Where later she passed away in year 1606 AD. Her poetry was highly influenced by spirituality and romanticism. Her poetry holds a special pedestal when in comes to Kashmiri poetry.
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