A Researcher With a Vision
DR. A. WAHID COMMENTS ON THE LITERARY CONTRIBUTION OF MUHAMMAD YOUSUF TENG
Muhammad Yousuf Teng is a great lover of Kashmir and Kashmiri language. He belives that though there is tremendous literature on our ancient history in Persian, Urdu, and Kashmiri, yet very few people seem interested in the rich heritage of their motherland. Kashmiri writers of standing like Prof Mohideen Hajini, late Ghulam Rasool Nazki, Rahman Rahi, Ghulam Nabi Firaq, Fida Hasnain, Farooq Nazki, Akhtar Mohedeen, Ghulam Nabi Khayaal, Amin Kamil and scores of others have written a lot on Kashmir but the disinterest of Kashmiris in their rich heritage is disappointing. Mr Teng says that ignoring a mother-tongue reflects a slavish mentality and quotes Mao-se-tung of China, “If you want to enslave a nation wean it away from its mother tongue.” His friend from Shopian, Muhammad Shafi Khan in a commentary on Mr. Teng's book rightly says that all creativity of a child gets curbed if in the early years of learning, the child is exposed to foreign languages.
I came to know Muhammad Yousuf Teng through late Shamim Ahmad Shamim, the veteran parliamentarian and journalist. Though my association with Mr. Teng is spread over a period of 35 years, we have been meeting very infrequently. Still he has been sending his every new publication to me regularly.
Many of Teng's friends turned into his foes for personal, professional, and political reasons. Shamim and Teng were intimate friends and looked inseparable. But they did separate very painfully the way Sheikh Abdullah separated from Mirza Beigh after a life-long association. But the fact remains that everybody recognizes Mr. Teng as a father of Kashmiri prose whose contribution in discovering the rich traditions of Kashmiri literature is unparalleled.
I have over the past few years read some of his latest books which include, “Jasta Jasta”, “Shash Rang”, “Rang Diway” and “Kashmir Qulam”. The last one being his latest release in 2009
Reading Mr. Teng is thought churning. Most of his essays are Kashmir centric which tell us about Kashmir's relation with central Asian states, our literary and civilizations interactions with Iran, Tibet, and China, and out trade through the famous silk route during ancient times. His essays reveal numerous interesting facts of history hitherto unknown.
Mr. Teng after conducting a hard research tells us with authority that the great poetess of Kashmir, Habba Khatoon is not buried in Pandarethan (Srinagar) but alongside the great last independent king of Kashmir, Yousuf Shah Chak in Bisok, a sleepy village in Bihar state. We know through his essays that it were Kashmiri scholars who went to China and spread Buddhism in that country.
China in turn taught us horticulture and cultivation of rice. He holds an opinion that history written by Khwaja Hassan Shah Khoihami is more factual, historical, and convincing than that of Kalhana's Rajtarangni. He believes that great mystic Sheikh Mansoor Halaj too has visited Kashmir. Though he proves that first Persian translation of the Quran in world was done by one Kashmiri scholar Mr. Fathullah but does not either disprove that it must have been done by Hafiz Shirazi of Iran. He has compared the two and feels that the time gap between the two translations is very narrow but the qualitative difference in the translation is wide. Fathullah translated Quran in 1238 A.D. And Mr. Teng feels that his translation is more attractive than that of Sadi Shirazi's. Mr. Teng has written research articles on mystic poets from Sheikh Nurudin Wali to Lala arifa to Shams Fakir, and has critically analyzed the works of poets like Rasul Mir, Mahjoor, Abdul Ahad Azad, Rahman Rahi, Gh. Nabi Firaq, and so on. His essays on Maulana Rumi, Jammal-u-din Afgani, Hafiz Shirazi, Allama Iqbal, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, to name a few are great and marvelous. These articles reflect his depth in research and scholarship.
He explains with certainty that Sir Syed Ahmad khan the legendary Muslim reformer of the subcontinent was of Kashmiri origin. Aziz-u-nisa the mother of Sir Syed was a granddaughter of a Kashmiri shawl merchant, Aziz-u-din, who had settled in Jahanabad during Aurengzeb's time (Jasta Jasta, page 127-143). My lawyer friend, Majid Jahangir has been trying hard to get a Sir Syed chair established in Kashmir University, but has not succeed so far.
Similarly, Tipu Sultan, the first martyr of freedom struggle against British rule in India is also stated to be of Kashmiri origin. He is mentioned as the grand-grand-son of Kashmiri Naiku, who having been tortured by Moghuls (when they invaded Kashmir) had migrated to Delhi. This Kashmiri migrant had given birth to Hyder Ali who had settled in Mysore where Tipu Sultan was born to him. It may not be out of place to mention that the real name of Tipu Sultan is Fateh Ali Naiku, which is a Kashmiri caste and Chucks and Naikus have been valiant fighters of Kashmir (Rang Diwai, pages 215-221).
He gives a brief reference to Syed Abul Ala Madudi's visit to Kashmir in 1942, where he interacted with stalwarts like Ghulam ahmad Ahrar, Pir Saad-u-din Tarbali, Hakim Ghulam Nabi and Qari Saif-u-din, who were later destined to lay the foundation of Jamat-e-Islami in Kashmir. He mentions that Syed Madudi stayed in Shopian for more than 8 days in a beautiful house of one Aziz Shah and delivered a number of speeches (Khutbat), and offered prayers in the Jama Masjid of the town. He also mentions very briefly about a meeting between late Pir Saad-u-din Tarbali and the then military dictator of Pakistan, Zia-ul-Haq (Kashmir Qalam, pages 218-219). Though the account of this meeting is very brief and in a foot-note but the information is big and interesting.
An essay on Jamaal-u-din Afgani, the founder of pan-Islamist movement in the world is both extensive and interesting. Historians have mentioned about his visit to Kashmir in 1989. Mr Teng's account of the visit carries interesting and extensive details. For example, he says that he stayed in Amira Kadal for two days and in Islamabad he stayed in Kotwal Mohalla of Lal-Chowk and so on. He mentions that some Mukhtar Ashaii, a rich trader of Srinagar would take care of his food and other needs (could this man be related to my friend Anwar Ashaii, the son of Ghulam Ahmad Ashaii, an eminent personality of our freedom struggle?) The other facets of Afgani's personality as described by Mr. Teng are thought provoking (Kashmir Kalam pages 215-234)
“Kashmir Kalam” mentions about Jawahar Lal's obsession with the beauty of Kashmir and informs us about one of his unreported visits to the valley, the details of which Nehru had however written in his personal paper, “National Herald”, which was then a less known journal, whose circulation was limited.
Mr. Teng had to collect the details of his visit from the archives of National Herald, and this according to him was a very tough and tiring job. It is interesting to note that Nehru's first visit to Kashmir was in 1917, when our leaders of freedom struggle were either in pediatric age group, or were not born at all. Nehru had brought his bride, Kamla on a honeymoon and this was his longest stay in Kashmir; according to Mr. Teng he stayed for months together. It is amazing that Nehru, whose father Moti-Lal Nehru was busy in the freedom struggle of India could stay for such a long time remaining away from his people.
How proud will a Kashmiri feel about his motherland and how pleasantly will he react if he is told that a Kashmiri shawl woven in Kashmir was one of the belongings of Hazrat Khadija-tul-kubra (RA), the revered wife of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.). Actually this very information gave me an impetus to write this article on Mr. Teng. He quotes in “Kashmir Kalam” (pages 65-68) that a great Iranian scholar, Zain-ul-Abidin Rahnuma has long back written a biography on Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), which stands translated from Persian to Kashmiri by state cultural academy. Zain-ul-Abidin mentions in the book that Hazrat Khadija (RA) had one Kashmiri shawl in her household belongings and Mr. Teng has written a very beautiful commentary on this revelation. He has tried to pick up a thread to find a link between Kashmir, Kashmiri Shawl and Prophet's house. He says the facts about the shawl may never get established but the mere mention of our motherland Kashmir in a holy book on Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and that too by a non-Kashmiri author is definitely a matter of pleasant pride for us all. I don't relate relics to faith but I do believe that relics reflect the history and highness of a nation.
(Dr. A. Wahid is Ex. HoD Medicine, SKIMS, Srinagar)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 6 Oct 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 6 Oct 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 7 Oct 2010 00:00:00 IST
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