Mehjoor: Kashmir's own poet

Mahjoor captured Kashmir in his poetry, and he was the poet whom people of Kashmir venerated in his lifetime.  He, through his immortal verses teaches lessons about nature, love, peace, unity, faith in God, upholding of human values, uselessness of strife, jealousy, and hatred. He also touches upon the psyche of the people by awakening their conscience and advocates the concern of the poor, downtrodden, and suppressed workers. He teaches his nation to learn to live with honor and dignity and fight for their lost identity and liberty. He tries to rejuvenate and strengthen the sentiments of the people to fight against injustice, cruelty, and anarchy. He, due to his unique style of poetry earned an immortal place in the Kashmiri literature. His poems reveal that he is a poet with lofty ideals and aspirations and bring home to one’s mind that his poetry derives power from the intensity and sincerity of his experiences, and establish the fact that what comes from the spirit becomes the feeling and takes the form of appealing artistic creations. He feels deeply while his emotions are calm and serene, and it is not a tumultuous passion. He is simple and writes with great variety and it is this distinct artistic quality that he has been able to write lyrics, songs, odes, elegies, prose, biography, novel, translations, and criticism. The literary contributions of Mahjoor clearly prove that as a writer he is so powerful and imaginative and has been able to inspire his readers not only aesthetically, spiritually, morally and socially but also intellectually. He earned the title of Shair-e-Kashmir for his inspiring writings.

Reading Mahjoor makes it patently clear that he has extreme interest in the bounty of nature as he depicts the scenic gardens, moors, forests, waterfalls, rivers, lush green fields and mountains as a source and means of conveying his heartfelt emotions and messages to awaken his countrymen to raise their voice against all kinds of injustices and ills. He expresses his emotions as follows,

“Bulbulan dup gulls hussan chui pur

Keyha wanai zew chai ne su chui kasur”

Through his verses in Kashmiri, Mahjoor inspires spirit of courage in the hearts of the people. His poems give impetus to the struggle and serve as a clarion call to the masses to express their sentiments. He express his patriotic fervor in the poem “Walo Ho Bage-e-Wano” (Arise, O Gardener) and stresses upon his fellow countrymen to decorate their nation and land with flowers symbolizing their apt traditions based on honesty, truthfulness and dignity.

In the beautiful poem, “Gulshan Watan Chu Souni”, Mahjoor expresses his love for his nation and breathes out the idea symbolically, with sincerity and pride, that there is nothing dear to him than his nation and he wishes fervently it to prosper and become a dignified nation. Mahjoor, in his verses also appeals to the nation to maintain communal harmony and not get divided on the basis of religion and community. He asks his nation to shun the path of strife, jealousy, hatred, animosity and remain united against the enemy and share love and affection with each other.

All agree that Mahjoor is an imaginative and natural poet.  His poetry elevated him to very high standing in his times.  He had a bold heart, and with bravery he raised the voice of his suffering people.  His experiments in Kashmiri poetry, at the level of thoughtfulness and form, graduated him into a poet of resistance.   He was sentient of the historical milieu which was offered to the writers through Urdu, Persian and Kashmiri language during the time. He had studied the writings of Indian and Iranian scholars. He was well aware of Kashmir history and had looked at it.

P.N.Pushup writes that Mehjoor was influenced by the uprisings and other movements around the globe, particularly in the sub continent, like the one by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan who wanted the down trodden Muslim community to take a plunge in education sector and adopt the English language. Mehjoor’s efforts had become known to the likes of  Dr.Iqbal and  Tagore.  It is believed that someone had translated few Ghazals of Mehjoor into English and Tagore was captivated after reading the same. He asked Davendra Satharthi to visit Kashmir who collected Mehjoor’s poetry and presented in Shanti Neketan to Tagore who is believed to have been very much impressed. Balraj Sahni, the famous film maker, also wrote about Tagore’s  impression about Mehjoor in Vishwa Bharti magazine between Nov 1938 and January 1939. During the period Mehjoor, in reference to his poem Greesi Koor (The Peasant’s Daughter), was called as Wordworth of Kashmir.

He was born on 11th August, 1887 and passed away on 9th of April, 1952.  The legacy of Mehjoor needs to be looked after by all of us, particularly by his family.