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ZOON: Reviving Habba Khatoon’s Poetry

ZOON Reviving Habba Khatoon’s Poetry

Ground Report | New Delhi: Soliha Shabir, 23, from Dalgate is a renowned figure in promoting Kashmir’s culture through her writings and became India’s first writer to recreate the poetry of Habba Khatoon. ZOON is one of her greatest accomplishments as it has achieved wonders by touching the sky of success in such a short span of time. Soliha started writing from 9th class with the aim to share her feelings with a piece of paper as she also believes that: “Paper has more patience than people.” Having no companion to share her feelings with; she thought of giving her concealed emotions a look in the form of words. Talking about her educational qualification, she mentioned:

“I did my schooling from Minto Circle and completed my graduation from Islamia College Of Science and Commerce. Currently, I’m pursuing my Masters in English Literature from IGNOU. I switched from science to arts in order to improve my writings and eradicate the errors in my write-ups.”

“Laale gati manz tsong zaajaanai
Baale roodus na hosh
Tsu chhaham shama, bu chhas parvaana
Chhaav myaany daanai posh
Lost in her world of dreams, Leila
Lit her lamp in the dark!
I am the moth and you, my lamp!
Enjoy my pomegranate blossoms."

Having medical stream as her professional background, Soliha bid a farewell to her writings after being pressurized by her parents. As she was a diligent student, they didn’t want her to get distracted towards writing and leave medical in between. Despite that, destiny created pathways for her to join writing again and re-live the legendary words of Habba Khatoon – Kashmir’s one of the most influential poets.

Soliha Shabir
On leaving her passion she said :

“ I got selected in a college outside Kashmir but my parents didn’t allow me and this disturbed me mentally as well as emotionally. I got disheartened and depressed because of leaving my passion for my professional career. It was very intricate for me to handle myself.”

Since she didn’t find any contentment and motivation in her professional field, she decided to take off from where she left her passion behind. Soliha was back in her elements, wrote again and compiled her two books: “ In the Lawn Of Dark ” and “ Obsolete” by adding her old writings in them. As a writer, she always laid emphasis on how to contribute towards the development of Kashmir’s culture that has buried its roots in the past. With a vision of uplifting her culture, she came up with the concept of ZOON.

“ I have studied about Habba Khatoon, did many skits and plays on the same and could easily relate to her life as I strongly believe that we were cast in the same mould. For me, her poetry was so resembling and captivating, that I made up my mind to put extra effort into uplifting her poetry through my words. Many situations that prevailed in my life were relevant to the agony that Habba Khatoon shared”, she expressed.

Soliha is an ardent lover of Habba Khatoon and she considers ZOON as her biggest achievement. Though ZOON is a small book, with 200 pages, none could deny that it took her a great deal of effort to reach its completion. She struggled a lot while gathering the content of Habba Khatoon and translating them into English. The major two reasons that she mentioned was the non-availability of sources related to Habba Khatoon and no guidance from professors, except Zareef Ahmad Zareef, who himself is an adept Kashmiri poet, none of the personnel came forward for her guidance while revising ZOON. Soliha brought to light the saddest yet miserable part of teachers that she approached by saying :

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“ I went to almost majority of the professors working in Kashmir University for proofreading of my ZOON. I mentioned to them about its completion and all of them gave a cold shoulder to my words and none of them helped me. To complete ZOON was like biting the bullet with much less material and no guidance.”

Soliha recalls how she worked hard to decode her poetry by listening again and again to her folk songs and consulting many art academics. It was at this point that she got an acquaintance with Shah Mohsin, admin of Adorable Faces Of Kashmir – one of the top-notch platforms on social media, promoting youth talents by providing them support. The same person introduced her to Saba Bhat, CEO of guide professionals, who launched her book ZOON and provided immense support and help to her.

“ I am jammy that I got to meet three most important people in my life who always were supportive and encouraging throughout my journey. I would like to express my gratitude to my dear friend, Davar, Mohsin and Saba for always being there for me. ”, she said.
Soliha Shabir

Soliha received a lot of appreciation for her ZOON while very few also criticised her writings. She feels blessed to receive such admiration from people around her. Appreciation and Criticism have been core factors in keeping her motivated and going ahead. Her perception of life is different. She said :

“ Life is always full of hurdles and we can’t avoid them. Everything is already destined. And nothing goes smooth. I have a strong notion that in order to shine like gold, we have to pass the test of fire. ”

Soliha pointed out that she wants people to remember her as one of the contributors in promoting her culture through her words.

Presenting  one of the couplets from Soliha’s ZOON

“ I am resting in grave, counting breaths,

searching and seeking you, every path closed,

Like an unbaked clay, I melt with tears,

Ablaze my nights with your shadows.

Bid me bye before your forever,

quench my heart, you satisfied never.

Come, O companion, let’s smell the dandelions,

Let’s write once again the messages of love.

See, how restless I’m in the oppressed world,

take me like you have touched a child.

Because I’m no girl of the homes here,

all I had was your heart to live. ”

The author is an engineering student and she can be reached at (kkhaz0007@gmail.com)

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