Renowned writer, poet and former vice-chancellor of the University of Kashmir professor Hamidi Kashmiri passed away at his residence here late last night, a family source said Thursday. He was 86.
Known for his thought-provoking and deep writings in both Urdu and Kashmiri, Hamidi Kashmiri was a recipient of the Ghalib Award and Sahitya Akademi Award (2005).
He was also honoured by the government of India with its third highest civilian award—Padma Shri—in 2010.
Regarded as one of the tallest names in Kashmiri and Urdu language and literature, his first novel in Urdu was Waadi Ke Phool, which revolved around the freedom struggle of Kashmir. The novel highlighted the Kashmir struggle in the aftermath of 1931, the oppression of Dogra rulers and the sufferings of the people.
"He came to limelight with his Urdu book 'Urdu Nazam par Europy Asraat'. This book took him from margins and placed him in the centre of the Urdu world," said Prof Gulshan Majeed, a noted writer, who worked with Hamidi Kashmiri in the University of Kashmir.
"He had MA in English and extensively studied English literature. He could easily trace the influence of best European poets on the progressive and modernist Urdu poets. Urdu world started to take notice of him after the book," Majeed said.
Hamidi Kashmiri also wrote books on Ghalib, Mir Taqi Mir and Allama Iqbal.
After 1970, he also started writing extensively on Kashmiri literature.
In his literary career spanning over many decades, Hamidi Kashmiri wrote 50 books including Iqtishafi Tanqeed Ki Sheryat; Ainame Ibraaq; Mahasir Tanqeed; Riyasati Jammu Aur Kashmir Urdu Adab; Jadeed Kashir Shayeri and Shiekh-ul-Aalam Aur Shayeri.
He became the vice-chancellor of University of Kashmir in the aftermath of killing of Mushir-ul-Haq when nobody from outside wanted to join the University, an academic said.
"It was a lawless period when copying was rampant and everything seemed lost. He reined in deterioration in education. He never compromised on his principles and kept a check on the menace of copying as well as corruption," said Majeed. "The result was that government even started conducting college exams in KU as they trusted Hamidi Kashmiri, knowing fully that he would ensure fair practice."
Hamidi's demise has been mourned by a cross-section of the civil society, with people in literary circles terming it a void difficult to fill, especially in the subcontinent.