After month-long delay, Ahad Zargar day celebrated at Narwara

Writers, intellectuals fume as ‘ill-designed’ mausoleum left ‘midway’ by Tourism department

HAROON MIRANI
Srinagar, Publish Date: Sep 13 2017 12:59AM | Updated Date: Sep 13 2017 12:59AM
After month-long delay, Ahad Zargar day celebrated at NarwaraGK Photo

34th Ahad Zargar Day was today celebrated at Narwara in Downtown with traditional fervour to commemorate the great Sufi poet of 20th century even as intellectuals, writers and poets expressed concern at the status of memorial project undertaken by Tourism Department.

The participants heaped praise on the departed poet and musicians enthralled the audience with deep meaning songs of Ahad Zarger. Veteran poet Farooq Nazki chaired the function and deliberated the aura of Zargar in Kashmir literature and art. He said that Ahad Zargar’s will be remembered for ages to come for his unique style that “propagated oneness of God and Oneness of Humanity.” “You don't find such a Sufi poet of calibre in Kashmir or for the matter anywhere else. He used extensive from Islam, Shaivism and mysticism,” said Nazki. “His lines have multiple meanings and it will take time to decipher it.”

Nazki reminded the day when he along with his father had conducted interview of the poet. “His simplicity, clarity in thoughts and thorough knowledge of a subject which we can only scratch from outside was immense,” said Nazki.

Principal secretary Higher Education, Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon expressed his views saying that “Ahad Zargar and his poetry comprises of rich heritage and culture of Kashmir which we have to preserve and propagate at any cost.”

“During my tenure as divisional commissioner I conceived the plan to develop the place so that the lovers of Sufi poet from all over the state would come and be benefited. We are committed to further develop it,” said Samoon. “Our differences can be huge but it is the Kashmiri language which we have to irrigate. We already started recruitment of Kashmiri teachers and music in colleges. They will make our new generation aware of poetic gems like Ahad Zarger, Mehjoor, Rasool Mir.”

On the occasion annual Ahad Zargar Memorial award was presented to renowned ophthalmologist Dr Haroon Rashid and joint commissioner SMC Syed Abdul Qasim for their service to the society in their official and personal capacity. The awards were presented by Justice Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain, retired Judge of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir.

The latest issue of literary magazine Rang Maar was also released on the occasion.

Meanwhile the commemoration day saw heated discussion and accusation by panelists on some quarters in government who according to them have “unleashed an onslaught on Sufism to destroy it.” “This is for the first time in 34 years that the day has been delayed by a month,” said writer and poet Zareef Ahmad Zareef. “We have been embarrassed before the lovers of Sufism. It all happened as the Tourism Department left the construction of Ahad Zargar memorial midway.”

The audience which saw presence large number of officials, doctors, engineers and others were dismayed at the way project has been handled. “They destroyed the grave with cement and modern things which simple Ahad Sahab had resented in his lifetime,” said Khurshid Zargar son of late poet. “We had to close the grave so that people don't see its condition and a situation is created due to their anger.”

The members of Ahad Zargar Memorial Research Foundation demanded that the mausoleum type structure be dismantled at once and old position be restored. “It is an irony that Tourism Department didn't consult us or any expert so as to create a heritage structure. They don't know the difference between a saint and a Fakir. Current structure is like a shrine which is not needed for a Sufi Poet,” said Zareef who is also chairman of Ahad Zargar Memorial Research Foundation.

The Tourism department meanwhile said that the delay has happened due to paucity of funds. “We have hundred of projects going on and sometimes delay happened due to multiple reasons. But we are hopeful that the work will be completed by the end of current financial year,” said Mahmood Shah director Tourism. 

Regarding the criticism on the design of structure, Shah said, “it was designed by expert team and all sensitivities were taken care of by our engineering team in the project costing around Rs 40-50 lakh.”