A new breed of bards

Dr. Shahida Shabnum has established herself as one of the most inspiring and impactful poetess
Image for representational purpose only.
Image for representational purpose only.Pixabay

Kashmir Valley’s rich literacy landscape has over the years witnessed the emergence of a new breed of bards — who use poetry as a matter of faith and a creative expression to capture the prevailing times plagued with protracted problems.

There are countless volumes of poetry written by women in Kashmir  who deserve our praise and adoration, but Dr. Shahida Shabnum has established herself as one of the most inspiring and impactful poetess

From the late eighties all the way to the modern digital age, with a different message that will inspire you to take action in your own life, to ignite social and political change, to reach out to a friend, or to take a stand for the environment we all share. Her poetic style is one that combines honesty with nostalgia, and always manages to leave an impression on those who read it.

The main characteristic of Dr. Shahida Shabnam's writings is her interesting story-telling and use of simple language. Her writings describe the problems of the contemporary period.

She is a seeker, a mystic, naturalist and much more, and her poetry is one of the most useful expressions of her inner experiences. She has a skilful way of evoking life’s mysteries and most complex philosophies in just a few short lines. And if falling upon the right ears, those lines can change lives.

She is one of the first authors to write about social issues  and the plights of women and the downtrodden. She is one of the most celebrated writers of the Kashmiri region and is regarded as one of the foremost Kashmiri writers of the contemporary period.

She is a passionate poet, dedicated to confronting the social injustices of racism, sexism, and homophobia through her work. Her poetry is powerfully rooted in her experiences as a woman, a daughter, a mother, and a lifelong warrior for equality.

She is a celebrated poetess and stunning illustrator, and her concise, impactful words on womanhood and relationships will cut straight to your deepest emotions.

Born to a family of progressive minded parents in North Kashmir's Handwara area of Kupwara district, Dr. Shahida pursued her studies in Srinagar. She went to Govt. Degree College Nawakadal for graduation and it is here that she got chose Kashmiri as a subject because of her role model teacher Prof. Naseem Shafaie, who is an institution in herself.

Dr ShahidaShe is presently working as Asstt. Professor in Kashmiri at Dangiwacha Degree College Baramulla where apart from teaching she is doing marvellous job for promoting Kashmiri language. Dr Shahida Shabnam showed the traits of becoming a poetess at a very early age when she was just in 4th standard and uttered her first couplet;

"kargisu ki bheed main  hara huwa Shaheen hu,

Apni hi parwaz ka maara huwa Shaheen hu,"

After that she did not stop. She seriously started writing  and when she was in just 10th  standard she started writing in Urdu. After her graduation she did her M.Phil and Ph.D degree from the University of Kashmir. She was awarded doctorate degree on "Footprints and influences on Hazrat Sheikh ul Alam (R.A).

She has authored twenty three books which range from prose, poetry to translation works. She wrote her first book in Urdu titled, Insaniyat ke Jawhar, when she was in 12th class. After that she wrote Nabid Baar, Wachuk Wat followed by the book on domestic violence, "Zeyn panin Mandchayus"..The latest released book, Kashir phurus andei andi, is an extensive research work on Shaikhul Alam (R.A), where the author has unfurled many unknown aspects of the pious soul. It was released last year among the galaxy of intellectuals at Aligarh Muslim University.

Apart from writing books, she has also presented papers on different themes across India. She holds membership of Adbi Markaz Kamraz Kashmir, Shaitya Academy Puraskar Delhi and is a member of CAUSE.

She has been felicitated with many awards in recognition of her contributions as a prolific writer of Kashmiri prose and poetry. She has received the Sher e Kashmir gold medal from the university of Kashmir, Prof. Hajni gold medal from Adbi Markaz Kamraz, outstanding merit certificate from the Deptt. of Kashmir. Besides that she has also been associated with weekly Maras published from Srinagar.

She has earned by her own right a prominent place in the galaxy of such thinkers who develop their intellect and groom it to explain the ideal spurning the actual.

Dr Shahida's unambiguous attitude to mysticism is of synthesis in which intuition and intellect form the woof and the wrap. The didactic content is subdued in her poetry.

She does not claim to be a preacher, She only unravels the conclusions that she has arrived in life. She does not even analyse these but only clothes these in most pulsating words as they ooze forth. Her approach is suggestive and not direct.

Her innate introspection rejects the dross and assimilates the pure ...the yard stick for it being her unerring intellect, so "syr bhowum narus " is a codified version of her feelings and not a treatise in morality or ethics.

Her annotation and translation of the poems of world known poet Khusbir Singh Shaad's, Jahan Tak Zindagi Hai - "Shah khasnus taam' - is gem of a work. This shows her hold on the Kashmiri language.

She is a noble specimen of Kashmiri culture. A Muslim to the core of her being, she is neither dogmatic not fanatic. Nothing raises her ire more fiercely than the practice of hypocrisy and sanctimoniousness. She finds virtue in living a simple, unostentatious and upright life. Truth and justice are her ideals and when the either is violated, she feels deeply pained.

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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