The Shina poet



“.........Jamaaie chaak thae toos, Toomei Jeelat Daak the........
Moh nei aasaam Mou Mazarej Arśhh wale toos na choriya”.

(You will tear apart your clothes, and will destroy your life....
I will be no more, and you will weep silently besides my grave)

“Arśhh nai baini ha daar wo myou yaar paarakh baieth,
Umerik hous bemaar wo myou yaar paarakh baieth”

“My tears flow uninterrupted, O My friend, be along with me for some time,,,,
I am patient since ages, O My friend, be along with me for some time,,,,”


Late Ghulam Rasool Mushtaq, who became the household name in Gurez valley for his superb poetry in Shina and Kashmiri Language, left for heavenly abode on 24th November 2010 thereby creating a deep void that can’t be full filled.
He has contributed a lot to improve Shina literature through his writings, especially with his marvellous poetry. He was a great poet and a genius. Most notably, he wrote several poignant ghazals in three different languages during his lifetime, which include Shina, Kashmiri, and Urdu language; these have been sung on different occasions especially during marriages and Gurez festival. He wrote in Kashmiri, Urdu and Shina Language. But it was in the latter language that he was able to protect and project the vanishing Shina culture and traditions. He is considered, in Gurez, to be one of the most popular and influential poets. Mushtaq today remains popular amongst Shina speakers not only in Gurez and Bandipora but also amongst Diaspora communities across Kashmir.  It is pertinent to mention here that MLA Gurez while condoling with the bereaved family and taking into account the popularity of Late Ghulam Rasool Mushtaq has announced to name the Auditorium of Higher secondary School Dawar after him.
Ghulam Rasool Mushtaq was born in Dawar from a poor but respectable family on 12-07-1947. He passed matriculation from Govt. High School Dawar Gurez. As it was difficult to afford higher education in those days so like many of his colleagues he couldn’t pursue higher studies. So he started working at a very young age to support his family. He was appointed forester in the state forest department in 1966. But he left the service after working for six years due to unknown reasons.  He has a large collection of Shina songs which include nearly 400 ghazals and Shina folk songs. Unfortunately he was not able to publish his work during his lifetime due to poverty, so it went unnoticed for a long time. It was only the efforts Habba khatoon drama club that prompted him to get his poetry on surface, which resulted in his popularity. He was interested in Urdu poetry since childhood but he ventured in Shina poetry after he joined Habba Khatoon Drama club. He remained secretary of Habba Khatoon Drama Club for a pretty long time and till his last breath wrote many Drama’s and songs for it. He has also written some poems in Kashmiri and Urdu language, but his contribution in Shina poetry is marvellous and tremendous.
Habba Khatoon Drama club was founded in 1976 By Hajji Abdul Aziz Samoon. This club played a pivotal role in safeguarding the Cultural ethos and traditions of Dard-Shin tribe. Although the Founder of Habba Khatoon Drama club, Hajji Abdul Aziz Samoon has contributed a lot to Shina Poetry and is still writing but due to his professional engagements, he couldn’t devote much time towards the club. Still the foundation laid by him in 1976 has paid results and today we are proud to say that artists and poets of par excellence are getting a platform to exhibit their talent. During the Gurez Festival conducted since past few years by tourism department, Habba Khatoon Drama club has performed excellently and Tourism department even declared one lakh rupees price to this club for its splendid performance.
But the Irony remains that, Jammu and Kashmir Cultural Academy has never encouraged the Shina Writers. Shina Language has a very rich literature, but our poets, writers and artists need a platform to prove their talent. So much of Shina Literature in Gurez has remained unpublished that I fear that if not published at its earliest it will be lost forever. Previously Vice Chancellor Kashmir University, Prof.  Riyaz Punjabi on his maiden visit to Gurez Valley had announced that KU University will take up research on Shina language. We are eagerly waiting for the day when it will really happen. . We are still looking towards Kashmir University to contribute towards its promise made to the people of Gurez Valley.  I hope Jammu and Kashmir Cultural Academy will come forward and help the local writers to publish their work. Habba Khatoon Drama club will soon be publishing the poetry of Late Ghulam Rasool Mushtaq in the form of a book and for that we need the help of Cultural Academy. Our Artists need a national level platform to display their talent, for that State Government should provide proper avenues and exposure to our artists and writers so that we too will be able to safeguard our vanishing rich cultural heritage.
In Linguistic Survey of India, George Garrison depicts that Kashmiri belongs to Dard group of Dardic Languages and it is most nearly related to Shina Language. I wonder how the State can ignore such a rich and treasured language. Apathy on the part of State Government has deprived Shina language it due position. Previously Late Ashraf Sahil, Ex Director Doordarshan (who happens to be the cousin of Late Ghulam Rasool Mushtaq) had launched many regional language programmes on DD kashir. Shina was given half an hour space on weekly basis. But this was soon stopped and we don’t see any new recordings going on. Radio Kashmir has also remained unfriendly to this vanishing language. My request to Director Radio Kashmir is to provide at least half an hour programme on daily basis for Shina language.
Shina Language is spoken by majority in Gilgit Baltistan area on Pakistani side, while as it is spoken in Gurez, Drass, some parts of Kargil (Da hanu), Bandipora and Kangan. It is mostly spoken by the Dard Shin Tribe on both sides of Kashmir, but the Government has never bothered to take steps to safeguard it. It is duty of the Government and Cultural academy to provide us proper avenues and safeguards so that we can save our language and culture. I will also like to call upon our Dard Shin Brothers from Drass and Kargil to come forward and join hands with us so that we can be able to save our language and culture.
We lost one of the best Poets in Shina language, but he still lives on with his poetry in our hearts.  We pray to Almighty Allah to give him place in Heaven. Ameen

Sang Baari you na kar Mushtaq pe,
Dar pae tere gir pade aur so gaye,

( Zahid Samoon is Publicity Secretary and Fareed Ahmad Kaloo President Habba Khatoon Drama club Feedback at

Lastupdate on : Wed, 15 Dec 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 15 Dec 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Dec 2010 00:00:00 IST

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