Peer Asim of Malarata—Star in Galaxy of ‘K’ Persian poets

Misdemeanors of the youthful spring-real or relative lead to a supplicated state in the autumn of life, as Peer Asim prays for salvation in a touching couplet:
Peer Asim of Malarata—Star in Galaxy of ‘K’ Persian poets
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In Shahr-e-Khas—down town Srinagar is an enclave encircling Malarata, Pandan and Qutub Din Pora. In this area around Nowhatta Chowk lived in yesteryears, scholars of repute, poets of high caliber, and prose writers of significance. We could have made our cultural hub a Stanford upon Avon and taken pride in it.  Kashmir's centuries old state of servility has taken away that pride. Allama Iqbal rues the loss:

Ah, yah Quam-e-Najib Churb'dast VA Tur Dimag

Ha Kah'n Roz-e-Muqafat Aye Khuda-a-Dir'geer

Oh! This gentle nation of dexterous hands & fertile minds

Where are you, O Lord, in dark days that have befallen us?

Asim's poetic treatise called 'Aramgan-e-Asim [Aramgan: Gift], exhibits shades of Khawaja Hafiz of Shiraz, in poetic theme 'Tarh' in vernacular. Persian, Urdu, Kashmiri or Punjabi, follow 'Tarh' Hafiz of Shiraz, who is called, 'Shahanshah-e-Ghazal' [King of Sonnet]. Asim did, what even Iqbal could not escape doing. "On a sonnet" says Iqbal, "the soul of Hafiz creeps into me". Asim's poetic description of his birth is touching, and in line with Islamic lore:  

Dhaum Bhood Roz-e-Chahr Shambah [Date was tenth, day being Wednesday]

 Rabia Daumeen Mah-e-Saadat [Rabia-ul-Tani/Sani—the sacred month] 

Tawalud Yafat Az Aqedat [I was born in allegiance] 

Ba Shah-e-Geelish Amad Iradat [to Shah-e-Geelan, to whom I remain bonded] 

Ba Miladish Sarusham Khanud Dhur Ghoosh [on my birth it was whispered into my ear] 

Dou Tarikh Ya Dou Gowhar Wiladat [Two dates or two pearls of birth] 

Yeki Paidah Az Khak-e-Dastagir Ast [one is related to Khak-e-Dastagir]

 Daum Zahir Shud Az Sham-e-Rishadat [another in relation to illuminant candle of guidance]

Illuminant candle of guidance alludes to Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)].  On his birth on 10th of Rabi-u-Sani, 1315 A.H, Asim had his work cut-out to take guidance from illuminant candle of guidance, and pursue the scholarship associated with Sheikh Sayyid Abdul Qadir Geelani [RA] the saint born in Rabi-ul-Sani.  The month follows Rabi-ul-Awal, the sacred month of birth of Prophet Mohammad [pbuh].  Named Abdul Qadir, he became namesake of Sheikh Sayyid Abdul Qadir Geelani.  Barely 19 years of age, he lost his father.  He was guided in linguistics–Arabic and Persian by eminent teachers of the time–Moulvi Ghulam Mohammad Zahgeer, Mir Abdul Ali Kamli Pandani and Sayyid Mirak Shah Indrabi.  

In the spring of his life Peer Asim of Malarata had gaiety of spirit a la Khawaja Hafiz of Shiraz. However, in assessing the poetic stream alluding to Khawaja Hafiz of Shiraz, Allama Iqbal's word of caution needs to be borne in mind. "Khawaja Hafiz" related Iqbal, "may not be studied without maturity of thought". Khawaja Hafiz's poetry being 'Zomni' [twin meaning] makes it difficult to comprehend, what does rose of the cheek, the red of the lip, the arch of the brow, the almond of the eye, and the marble of the limb allude to—Ishq-e-Haqiqi [love of the eternal being] or Ishq-e-Majazi [love of the earthly beloved]? Asim tracking the path of Hafiz of Shiraz is as difficult to decipher?

Ma'bundh Dil Ki Khazan Az Paye Bahar Rasad

Dhur Inn Chaman Dou Seh Roz Qayam Kahad Kard

Restrict ye not your heart, fearing the autumn following spring 

In garden marking spring make most of two three days in offing 

Peer Asim in spring of life wants to make the most of it a la Khawaja Hafiz of Shiraz, of the lip Khawaja Hafiz relates:

Aab Va Aatish Baham A'mekh'tay Lab-e-Lal

Chasm-e-budh Dhoor Ki Bus Shub'dy Baz Aamad

Water & fire sprouts forth from red of her lip;

God save her the evil eye, trickery hath arrived

Khawaja means to say that red of her lip burns as well as cools, the object of his love, says Khawaja has a bagful of tricks, as is evident in the contrasting feel of her kiss, and:

Doush Guftum Ba'kunad Lab-e-Lalish Charay Mun

Hatf Ghaib Nida Dadh Arey Ba'Kunad

Loud and clear, I said, the red of her lip shall heal me; 

 Unknown sound resounded, yah that will heal you

Peer Asim of Malarata Says:

Gah Zulf Mee'ka'shidum Va Gah Boseh Mee'zadam

LAL Labish Ba Rasm-e-Wafa Dil'nawaz Boodh

Be it the play of hair lock or kiss of the lip;

Heart stayed fairly tuned to red of her lip

Yet another couplet of Asim touches the height of Hafiz:

Ki Basham Taa Bi'bosum Kand-e-Lal Noosh Kandish Ra

Agar Dastum Dahud Boseh Zanam Nal-e-Saman'desh Ra

If I remain to kiss the pearl of her lip and suck the sweet of it;

Hand given in hand, shall prompt a kiss of steed of her horse

Steed of horse relates to the galloping object of love.

 As Allama Iqbal relates, for the uninitiated the poetic essence is difficult to comprehend, the object of love difficult to place. Having had a period of unbounded sway of craving heart, Peer Asim awakes to the reality of parting youth and advancing age:

Shub Aaish Jawani Ruft Va Subh-e-Peeri Aamad

Sabuk Az Bar'e Asyan Saaz Pusht Na'tawanam Ra

Mirth of youthful night is over, cometh the dawn of stage last;

Lighten the weakened back laden with misdemeanors of past 

Misdemeanors of the youthful spring–real or relative lead to a supplicated state in the autumn of life, as Peer Asim prays for salvation in a touching couplet:

Bi'gardan Az Siyah'e Dhur Sa'pe'dee Chahr-e-Khatir  

Bahar Rou-e-Sa'pe'dee Siyah Kar-e-Khazanam Ra

Take the blackness off the white sparkle of my face

As also the black of my deed in the autumn of my life

Forgiveness is the keynote, with a prayer for retaining the white sparkle of face, prayer for a decent parting. Biographical note of Peer Asim relates a spell of ill health in last years of his life. The couplets in supplicated state perhaps relate to later stages of his life. He departed barely forty nine of age on the dawn of Tuesday, Shawl, the 25th of the year 1364 A.H. Peer Asim lies buried in Mir Mohalla Malarata, the graveyard in close proximity of 'Khanqah-e-Indrabiya'.  His grave bears the inscription of Khawaja Mohammad Amin Darab: 

Zaad Shama-e-Rashadat unkey Goo'yay

Mard Shama-e-Sukhan Be'Sal-e-Wafat

On birth the one who alighted the illuminant candle

On death the man turned into candle of sweet tunes 

It is exactly that imprint of yore on collective conscience of Kashmir that is missing. Shiraz of Persia had its match in the literary hub of Shahr-e-Khas, we have lost track of it.

Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]

iqbal.javid46@gmail.com  

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