Blending Times

A tribute to my friend: Ghulam Hassan (Shaheen)
Blending Times
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Years pass by, decades glide over one another, and there is a reflective mind to ponder over the precedent times at the closing years of life. Our generation, the men and women in their late 60s and early 70s have narratives to say about many epochs, they lived in one life.

In 1960s, first time higher secondary school system was introduced in Bandipur, perhaps first time in the state as well. It was a school up to 11th standard. An Engineering aspirant student would go to the professional engineering college right after schooling, while, the Medical student had to go to college for one additional year, preferably to Degree College Sopore, because of its nearness. We had one such school known, as Nadim Memorial Higher Secondary School Bandipur, situated on the right side of the serene sweet Madhumati flowing in its zigzag singing mode, framing a little curve to touch the threshold of the school and then merge into the tranquil splendid Wular Lake. It produces incessant soaring vibes pouring freshness of snow clad peaks of Harmukh into the school premises. Nadim memorial higher secondary of Bandipur was a cradle for grooming in the holistic traditions of our ancient civilization. The credit goes to its two dynamic visionary principals and professionally profound competent teachers. Mir Mohmmad Kazmi and Mohmad Usman Fazli were transforming principals of this school and so were erudite, efficient and professionally honest teachers, most of them Pandits. The canvas of social sciences presented and taught by Pt Som Nath Koul, the spectrum of science by Naranjan Nath Pandita and latter on Mr. Shaban, while literature and its standard was set up by PT Ved Lal Kaul Raz along with Kh. Shamasudain Wani, Pir Ghulam Mohmmad ‘Imam High’, and the sports realm by Afandi Sahib and Nizam Din Saheb. The other capable dedicated teachers, like Sh Raghu Nath ji, Naranjan Nath Kaul and Bhaskar Nath ji, Gulam Ahmad Zargar saheb, Latif Sahib, Sh A.K Misri, Mr Mohiuddin Gani and Girdari Lal ji would bring discipline and fill up the schism in teaching and grooming.

During these years, ranks in the professional courses and entitlements in Humanities and Literature would astonish the capacities of our students. Perhaps, the merger of nature with the human endeavor produced spiritual affinity with material affirmation. It was experimented on the banks of Madhumati in this school. The Ilam, Adab and Aab associated with it had its oozing springs around.

I was in class 6th in 1964. My father had to examine Urdu paper of Middle class examination in our school. He would do it secretly in a closed door room. We would have no inkling about it. He was so impressed with the essays of two students on ‘Chandni rat mai Madhmati ki sair’. He would speak about it to us, normally unusual impressions. Those days, generally, the Pandit boys who despite being negligible in number would do better in the ranks. He talked about it to the principal Kazmi sahab. And Kazmi sahab,on Friday morning prayers, prized both the students in the assembly of students and teachers. They were late Ghulam Hassan of Watapora and Gulam Qadir Wani of Arin, Bandipur. Both of them were from poor but dignified families. Both were eldest sons in their families and would wait to finish schooling for employment. Both had sisters and brothers to look after them in view of their old ailing parents. I developed instant liking for them. Ghulam Hassan became my closest friend since then.

Until his last breath, we remained in touch with each other. We had literary environment in our home, but all my brothers and cousins were students of science. The science students needed complete sitting and one dimensional mind set for scoring in the examinations. My friendship with Gulam Hassan grew; I would listen to the verses of Ghalib and Mir from him in the recess times in the school, whereas, at home my father would often talk about Iqbal and other literary giants in the evening hours, after our collective evening home prayers. My interest in literature grew day by day, but as per the tradition, I had to be either in medical or non medical stream. In the school, my interest in science subjects was confined to class room teaching. With Gulam Hassan, I came out of this cage of boundaries. I would share poetry and exchange literature with him.

It so happened that after school hours, I hardly would give time to my studies. I learnt to like the language of romance, gawk round the beautiful girls and talk about them with Gulam Hassan. Gulam Hassan was the most handsome boy of the school, two years senior to me. He had a magnetic attraction and then decency of class. He did not have many clothes, but clean and well kept, unlike me. It was pleasure to listen to the stories of pictures that he would see in cinema hall at Sopore. He would talk about achievers in the school or outside the school. He was a bright boy but did not opt for science subjects. He did well to get good second class in higher secondary; whereas Gulam Qadir against his wish was given science subjects. He failed in it. Gh Hassan could not continue his career. He had no resources to go to Sopore for bachelors’ degree. He was just lost in the wilderness of unemployment. Gh Qadir changed his subjects and was taken by Jamati Islamia to teach in their Darasgah. When I came to testing time to do well in examination for my medical subjects, I too failed. My luck was that I belonged to the family, who would not leave me in between, even if, they had to borrow for my studies. Understanding my limitations of vagrant mind, I changed my discipline to the nag of my home people to Arts subjects. Prof Baccha sahib had extraordinary trait to identify students. He encouraged me to read philosophy and desired that I should move out of the state for higher education. He was teacher to preach many things about life. When he knew about Gulam Hassan, he brought him to the Muslim Educational Trust and then he took Gulam Qadir out from Darasagah and admitted him in Sopore College for his graduation. 

Ghulam Hassan could not continue his education and after serving in Muslim Educational Trust for many years, he got employed in the state education system. Gulam Qadir went to JNU for his M. Phil and doctorate in Urdu, rest was history of 1990s. Had not they been poor and from resourceless peasantry class, both of them would have been erudite scholars in any university of the world.

It was a pleasure to discuss poetry of Iqbal with them. My father had mastery over Iqbaliyat. My understanding about Iqbal grew, when I got abreast with Kashmiri Saivism. I could find metaphors and essences in his verses, as if pouring out from the contents of Kashmiri Saivism. Parallels with Saivism and Persian Sufism in Allama’s poetry in recognizing the potential of self, the soaring identity of ‘Shaheen’. I wish I could have noted or recorded the informal and literary interactions with Gulam Hassan and of my father. Allama Iqbal’s quest is exploration of boundaries; it is what Saivism speaks about. His rebel is intermitted in ishq, not in its chase. Whether in Spain or in Palestine or in Kashmir, his expressions are truly overarching with Kashmiri Saivism:

Dukhtrane brahminazada….


‘Kis se kahon ke zehar hai mere liye mayay Hayat

Kuhna Hai Bazm-e-Kainat, Taza Hain Mere Waridaat’

‘Zoaqe huzoor dar jahan rasme sanum gari nihad

Isq fareeb mai dihad roye dil aram ra’

Khol aankh, zameen dekh, falak dekh, faza dekh

Mashriq say Ubahratai huye Suraj ko Zara deakh’

“Jub say chaman chutta hai yeh haal ho gaya hai

Dil gum ko kha raha hai gum dil ko kha raha hai”

Last time, when I had visited Ram Mandir in Safa Kadal, it wore a deserted look, instead of any mantar or bhajan, I was beset at once with the verses from Masjide Qurtaba:


Silsalah-E-Roz-O-Shab, Asal-E-Hayat-O-Mamaat…

It was that rich tradition, where in the company of friends like, Gulam Hassan, we never could imagine, the religious dissimilarity is a difference to separate. But, for us it was a vibration to compliment. For, our cultural blending with transcendence of literature would make our identity. Our prose poetry and literature of class, when deconstructed, would reveal human nature, its potential and quest to go beyond human constructions. Whether, it is Shankracharya’s ‘Shivihum Shivihum’ or Allama Iqbal’s Masjide Qurtaba or Abhinav Gupta’s Tanterlok, you find only transcendence of human potential across the boundaries. Love, its absolute essence. It was lovely and lively to discuss all these philosophical subtleties and delicate essences of literature with you Gulam Hassan. A safe company, trustworthy friend, you were profound in conversation without vulnerability and fear. It has vanished. Perhaps, that dialogic space has come to close. I miss you my friend with all our blending traditions!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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