A man of versatile talents
A creatcreative genius
When Muhammad Amin, popularly known as Ibn-e-Mehjoor, passed away on 9 Feb, 1980, people who knew him, realized instantaneously that Kashmir had lost a scholar of eminence, a multifaceted genius and a very good and amiable human being. Parvaize Ahmad Naqash profiles the legendary poet of Kashmir.
Known to the learned class of our society as Ibn-e-Mehjoor, Muhammad Amin was a man driven by an intense urge for analyzing, understanding and going to the very root of a fact or a detail. And his passion was simply insatiable if the fact or a detail was related to any aspect or affair of Kashmir, its people, history, culture and social life. Born in 1911 AD, Ibn-e-Mehjoor was the only child of Shair-e-Kashmir, Peerzada Ghulam Ahmad Mehjoor. Obviously, besides being pampered by his parents, he was also groomed by his father as a heir to the literary milieu and legacy of their family, right from his early years. And, Ibn-e-Mehjoor, had not only inherited and absorbed the requisite traits for accomplishment of the task, but by his consistent and well co-ordinated efforts also, Ibn-e-Mehjoor, appears to have been the force in bringing about and establishing a rapport and an equation between his father -- as a very popular poet of Kashmir - and the masses. For some undefinable and intangible reasons -- it appears so -- Ibn-e-Mehjoor was not himself inclined to record and convey his invaluable and immense experiences and learning in the form of writing, but many scholars and historians of repute would come to him to seek his suggestions and guidance on vital and very important points and issues, while being engaged in research work and in writing books. Inb-e-Mehjoor would feel satisfied and happy, when they benefited by his experiences, learning and guidance.
I remember with a certain degree of nostalgia, the engrossing atmosphere generated by these meetings, interactions and discussions that would take place between Ibn-e-Mehjoor and these scholars and men of letters, at his Tanki Pora, Srinagar residence, (though I would hardly understand any thing substantial of what they were talking about, at that time). We had very congenial family relations with Mehjoor house hold. The two families lived very close to each other in the same locality of Tanki Pora. When I was a student of 10th class, and hearing frequently about Muhammad Amin "Ibn-e-Mehjoor" I had formed some strange rather mystifying image of his person, known to be almost always amidst heaps of books around him. I was very curious, to see him.
As his father was a Patwari besides being the poet, Ibn-e-Mehjoor got ample opportunities to go along with him and travel across the valley, and there by coming into an intimate contact with the essential reality and life of Kashmir. And in due course of time, Ibn-e-Mehjoor got involved intensely and extensively with every thing that was in any way related to Kashmir. His exhaustive study and experience, stretching over six decades about history, archaeology, geography, chronology, numismatics and linguistics, made him known among his peers and admirers with affection and respect as a living encyclopedia about Kashmir. As an ardent scholar of Budhist research and studies Ibn-e-Mehjoor was very keen and put in great efforts for tracing and discovering the probable location where the 600 copper plates engraved with Budhist doctrine were preserved and kept deep inside the ground, at the conclusion of 4th Budhist council held in Ist century AD, by king Kamshika. After years of arduous, relentless and meticulous research, during which, he had to study through many ancient and long - forgotten Bhudhist texts, and labour through the length and breadth of Kashmir Valley, Ibn-e-Mehjoor was able to come up with a probable location. The location has been supported by archaeological evidence collected at the site and also by linguistic evidence.
As an outstanding scholar and researcher of ancient and medieval history of Kashmir, Ibn-e-Mehjoor had the distinction of having studied and explored the various aspects and areas of "Kashmerology". It is evident by more than 800 rare collections of manuscripts in Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit, which he had assorted and studied. He had also written by himself, the introductory caption on every manuscript.
As a numismatist, Ibn-e-Mehjoor had an appetite and an eye for and possessed a unique and a rare coin collection, related to the period from Parthian Greek rule in Kashmir upto the last Dogra ruler. But more than the rarity of this coin collection, the indepth study and knowledge of the numismatic, political and social context of each coin bore the testimony to Ibn-e-Mehjoor's genius and also his inalienable involvement and affinity with everything Kashmiri.
In his quest for knowing and unraveling more and more, he communicated and came in association with Sir Aurel Stien. He was also in very intimate communication and association with veteron Kashmiri historian Munshi Muhammad Din Fouq, Dr. G.M.D Sofi, Pandit Anand Koul Bamzai and Triloki Nath Koul. Given below is an extract from a letter written to Ibn-e-Mehjoor by Munshi Muhammad Din Fouq, on 19th April, 1933. The letter reveals the interaction and discourse taking place quite often between Ibn-e-Mehjoor and Muhammad Din Fouq regarding historical and social issues of Kashmir.
Ibn-e-Mehjoor's stay in State Cultural Academy proved inspirational and pioneering for undertaking projects like Encyclopedia Kasmiriana and other research works. He also provided historical and social perspective to the researchers of the Academy working on different subjects. Ibn-e-Mehjoor had a remarkable capacity of reading and understanding the inscriptions in all their details and implication, available on stones and other archeological sites of Kashmir. He had detailed knowledge of inscriptions available at Mazar-e-Salatin (Zaina Kadal) Malkhah and also at Hindu shrines of the valley.
Ibn-e-Mehjoor worked in the department of Archives Archaeology and Museums, also, which was then known as Research and Publications Department, for two decades. This provided him tremendous opportunity to study and become knowledgeable about a variety of subjects. Combined with it, his association here, with scholars and personalities like Prof. Shri Kanth Koul, Pandit Deena Nath Yaksh, Prof. Moulvi Muhammad Ibrahim, Ghulam Rasool Bhat and Pandit Ramji Dhar, enhanced his capabilities and gave him a broad based orientation in his chosen field of activities, which in turn stimulated, motivated and was greatly beneficial for many scholars and researchers of Kashmir history and various other aspects related to Kashmir and its people. Those days the department was headed by Sahibzada Hassan Shah, a renowned scholar of history and oriental studies. While writing this article, I got an opportunity to talk to Dr. Abdul Ahad, well known historian and archaelogist and one of the close associates of Ibn-e-Mehjoor. Dr. Ahad was instant and spontaneous in recalling with affection and appreciation, his and other scholars' association with Ibn-e-Mehjoor.
When Muhammad Amin, popularly known as Ibn-e-Mehjoor, passed away on 9 Feb, 1980, people who knew him, realized instantaneously that Kashmir had lost a scholar of eminence, a multifaceted genius and a very good and amiable human being.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 11 Mar 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 11 Mar 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Mar 2010 00:00:00 IST
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