Gamzadan Dil Pholin: May the gloom make way to joy

In 1994 when Gamgeen wrote Gamzadan Dil Folin Khuda Boozin, he never knew that it would become so popular, and arguably one of the most widely recited Na''at in Kashmir.
Gamzadan Dil Pholin: May the gloom make way to joy
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In early 70s when present Congress leader, Prof Saifuddin Soz was working as principal SP College, he once asked his students whether anybody has quality voice so that he can be recommended for the Radio Kashmir Station. Suddenly all heads turned towards a frail boy – Ghulam Hassan Bhat. Struggling to overcoming shyness Bhat recited a poem. This impressed the principal as well as others present.

It became a turning point for the college student as from now onwards he was a must-to-have-participant in every college function. Be it poetry recitation or cultural programme, Bhat had to necessarily participate. He was already into writing too and now he began to seriously give shape to his thoughts in the form of poems. He mainly wrote in Kashmiri as it is the language he felt most comfortable with.

Given to his skills he was made editor of the Kashmiri section of Pratap magazine at the college. It was during this rush of talent, that Ghulam Hassan Bhat became Ghulam Hassan Gamgeen and the name contrary to its meaning brought him happiness all along. Acting on the already given advice Gamgeen applied for broadcaster post in Radio Kashmir and was selected after a stiff competition from among 1200 candidates.

"My job happened when I was selected for law degree at the freshly opened law department at Kashmir University. I was in the quandary but it was then that my HOD advised me to first join Radio and then either take a leave or complete the degree during evening classes or during holidays," said Gamgeen. "I followed the advice and with extra hard work, leaves and other arrangements, I not only managed to complete BA LLB but also did PG in Urdu, Kashmiri and Hindi."

The Radio changed the life of Gamgeen forever. Here he had the chance to experience the life of artists, poets and writers and everyday became a learning experience. The genre in which Gamgeen was to become famous was gently helped by the Radio. At Radio he did number of features on religion. His Muharram and Ramadan features were a big hit so was his Payam Subah programme with his signature farewell Fir milenge gar Khuda laya. Gamgeen was one of the team members who started Yuwavani service at Radio Kashmir.

Right from his early days, Gamgeen was the avid follower of Naatiya Mushairas. He would regularly participate in these recitations and competitions, and most of the time emerge as a winner.  Though he doesn't remember the exact figure but till date Gamgeen has participated in around 300 Naatiya Competitions and in most of the cases garnered the top positions. His biggest achievement was when he was adjudged as the beet Naat Khawan during a Naatiya competition held as part of the grand celebrations on the eve 15th century of Islam corresponding to 1979 at TRC Srinagar. The judges were none other than grandmaster musician Ustaad Muhammad Abdullah Tibetbaqal and Principal Institute of Music and fine arts T K Jalali. Each win was a boost for Gamgeen and he achieved milestone after milestone in the religious poetry.

As he continued to mesmerise people with his voice, his pen also started producing some of the finest works.  After publishing his first booklet Faryad-e-Quran, Gamgeen went a step further and published Nooran, a collection of Hamud and Naats. The book clicked with people and thousands of copies were sold among the people.    

In 1994 when Gamgeen wrote Gamzadan Dil Folin Khuda Boozin, he never knew that it would become so popular, and arguably one of the most widely recited Na'at in Kashmir. At that time he recorded it for Sehri programme on Radio Kashmir and it became an instant hit. He first published it it on a card and later included it in Nooran book. For the last more than two decades, the Naat has been recited in almost every shrine and mosque of Kashmir and even in Kashmiri speaking belt in Chenab Valley and Pir Panchal area. 

"Once I was in Madina Shareef and there was a group of Kashmiri Hajis reciting  Gamzadan Naat Shareef. My joy knew no bound and even today I usually get video messages, showing many more occasions of my Naat Shareefs being recited in Madina Shareef," said Gamgeen.

His other famous Naats include Roye Nazneen Haave, Nooruk Partav Traave and others.

Gamgeen has also written five more books that include Noor-e-Irfan, Sana-e-Nabi (PBUH), Noor-e-Faaran, Partav e Anwar and Mushq-e-Ambar. The last one is published but yet to hit the stands.

However his latest magnum opus work on Quran is bigger in volume than all of his previous work combined. Though completed but it will take a while to come to market. He started the work on the project in 1983 and since then he has been tirelessly work on compiling first exhaustive Seerat-e-Nabi (PBUH) in Kashmiri.  The book, 35 years in making, comprises 8000 pages and 1200 rare photographs collected from various libraries in Middle East. 

"I always dreamed that people should read Quran in its true form. To help in it, I wrote a book on Tajweed, the correct form of reading Quran. But when I realised that it is not enough to do justice with the subject, I turned to Seerat, but after a while I again felt it is incomplete as I am leaving many aspects and I should include Ummahatul Moominen in it because they were important part of Prophet's (PBUH) life. The subject went on expanding and I couldn't stop. I included Char Yaar, history of Makkah and Madina, old mosques of Madina, Gazwats of Islam, letters of Prophet (PBUH), Hajj of Ibrahim (AS), concept of Hajj, miracle of Zam Zam and much more," said Gamgeen. "For such a work I had to do tremendous research in various libraries. I was lucky to visit Saudi Arabia regularly since 1988 and that helped a lot."

Gamgeen had the privilege of experiencing Madina when it was full of old historical buildings. All of them were later demolished to pave way for inclusion in the compound of Masjid Nabvi. But the experience has lived on and is reflected in the book. The book will be the first ever exhaustive Seerat in  Kashmiri. It is currently going through proof reading and typing.

The work was not without challenges. On completion when Gamgeen approached Jammu Kashmir Academy of Art Culture and Languages, they refused to publish it, giving various excuses. "First the Academy's advisory committee dropped it. Then they told me it should be recommended for subsidy. I submitted it again and now they said it should be typed. Even typing the manuscript costs Rs 3 lakh, then what was the point." said Gamgeen. "It was at this time I decided I will not knock government doors again. I said enough of government excuses and sought refuge in prayers."

The book needs almost Rs 15-16 lakh for publishing which Gamgeen alone cannot arrange. When hope was lost, Gamgeen turned to Madina. "I had the privilege to go there and at Masjid Nabvi I pleaded for help. I was heart broken and it was then that something happened and inside the holy place I was granted a bundle of bag with fresh riyals," said Gamgeen. "Certain things can't be explained and it needs to be seen to be believed. This is what happened. I took it as a sign to start."

The money was not enough but it was enough to kick start the project. Back home, his friends who knew about the project suddenly started asking about its status and after learning about it, pledged Rs 5000 and Rs 10000 respectively. Another friend who overheard them also gave equal amount. It was a chain reaction. A prominent school gave Rs 50000 and even a student came up with Rs 10000.

Gamgeen opened a separate bank account for the project and started the work. "Alhamdulillah the work got started and today we have managed to type 1500 pages," said Gamgeen. "We have not hit the target, but I am sure that Allah will will open ways, and people will help in this work."  Just a passing line that those who wish to to contribute towards publication of this major book should contact the author. The book is titled Seerat e Nabi e Rehmat (PBUH) and given its size will be published in a minimum of 16 volumes. 

The book has been praised by the likes of Prof Rehman Rahi, who has penned a two page forward to it. Prof Nasir Mirza of Mass Communication Department also played a key role in guiding Gamgeen with suggestions and recommendations for the book. 

Whatever Gamgeen has achieved in his life, he attributes it to his association with Prophet (PBUH). "It is the love of Prophet (PBUH) that I have become something, otherwise there are so many people like me and I am nobody in comparison," he said.

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