In the enchanting valley of Kashmir, where nature weaves a tapestry of mesmerizing landscapes, cultural richness, and historic legacy, the name of Professor Mohammad Ramzan Shah popularly known by his literary name Shad Ramzan, stands as a beacon of literary brilliance.
Born in the picturesque village called Arehpora in Kulgam district of South Kashmir, on April 12, 1956 to an educated family, this literary icon’s contribution to Kashmiri language and literature continues to resonate with the hearts and minds of generations, offering a glimpse into the soul of Kashmir and its people.
The recipient of Sahitya Akademi award for his collection of Kashmiri poetry, “Kore Kakud Pushrith Gome”, Shad Ramzan has authored number of books and his research articles have been published in prestigious literary journals of Kashmiri language and literature.
Professor Shad Ramzan’s journey into literary horizon of Kashmir began like a delicate bud, gradually unfolding to reveal a plethora of emotions, thoughts, and reflections. His early life was deeply influenced by the social and cultural mosaic of Kashmir, a region renowned for its mysticism and artistic heritage.
Kashmir, often referred to as “Paradise on Earth,” has a long history of poetic tradition. The region’s breathtaking beauty, interwoven with its tumultuous history, has been a recurring theme in its literature.
Professor Shad Ramzan’s verses, however, go beyond the conventional portrayal of scenic beauty. His poetry delves into the complexities of life, love, brotherhood, peace, pain, spirituality, and the socio-cultural milieu of his era.
One of the remarkable aspects of Professor Shad Ramzan’s poetry is his ability to evoke a deep sense of nostalgia. His verses painted vivid pictures of the changing seasons, the blooming gardens, and the serene lakes of Kashmir. His words carried the fragrance of saffron fields and the melody of traditional music.
Through his poetry, he takes his readers on a journey through the narrow lanes of Srinagar, the bustling markets, and the tranquil houseboats that adorn the Dal. That is why, his work has been recognized widely in Kashmir and has earned titles like Shayer i Maraz, Fakhre i Maraz,S han i Gazal from different literary and cultural forums of Kashmir.
At the core of Professor Shad Ramzan’s poetry has a deep spirituality that is synonymous with Kashmir’s ethos. Influenced by the rich Sufi tradition that had flourished in the region, his verses often explore the spiritual journey, the search for meaning, and the quest for divine love.
If one looks at “Choonth Kulis Tal “ ( Under the apple tree ), a long poem in free verse by Professor Shad Ramzan written in the usual context of the larger theme, fall of man, Professor Shad Ramzan beautifully creates an atmosphere for confluence of eternity and non eternity;
“Baar Khudaya Taeth Bagus Manz Choont Kolus tal Ker ghachi azlus abdus moel” (oh God !when will be the confluence of eternity and non eternity beneath the apple tree in the garden)
He skillfully employs metaphors and allegorical imagery, infusing his poetry with layers of meaning that resonate with readers of all ages.
His ability to blend traditional poetic forms with contemporary ideas adds a fresh perspective to Kashmiri literature.
His words reflect the teachings of the sages and saints who had walked the valleys of Kashmir, imparting wisdom that transcends time and religious boundaries.
Professor Shad Ramzan’s poetry is characterized by its profound themes, lyrical expressions, and deep connection to the social, religious and cultural ethos of Kashmir. His verses often explore themes of love, nature, spirituality, and the complexities of human emotions.
In addition to his poetry, Shad Ramzan made significant contributions to Kashmiri prose. He ventured into essay writing and even literary criticism. His master pieces “Ath zulmatas lal kiyah chhi tay”and “Sahal cha maine bozun”; Shad Ramzan showcases his versatility as a writer. Through his prose works, he addressed contemporary issues, advocated for social reform, and provided insightful commentary on the changing dynamics of Kashmiri society. His writings often reflect his concern for preserving the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir while embracing modernity. Professor Shad Ramzan’s dedication to linguistic research greatly impacted the Kashmiri language. He delves into the origins of Kashmiri, its evolution, and its intricate linguistic features. His research helps in documenting and standardizing the language, which was crucial for its preservation in a rapidly changing world. He also championed efforts to develop a modern Kashmiri lexicon, bridging the gap between the language’s rich literary history and its relevance in the contemporary context.
One of Professor Shad Ramzan’s notable achievements was his role in reviving the traditional Kashmiri “vaakh”. Vaakh, a form of folk poetry, had been fading from public consciousness, but Professor Shad Ramzan’s efforts helped rekindle interest in this oral tradition. He collected, compiled, and disseminated vaakhs, ensuring that the wisdom and cultural expressions contained within them were passed on to future generations. This endeavor not only preserved the linguistic and cultural heritage of Kashmir but also instilled a sense of pride and identity among the people.
Bessides poetry and prose, Professor Shad Ramzan’s monographs, on “Kabir”,
“Waza Mahmood”,”Wahab Khar” and “Khazir Malik Safayee” stand as profound pillars of knowledge, illuminating intricate subjects with meticulous research and eloquent prose. Through these monographs, Shad Ramzan sparks intellectual curiosity, leaving an indelible mark on the pursuit of wisdom.
Professor Shad Ramzan is also recipient of national translation award for Anhaar Te Aks, 2009 (Kashmiri rendering of seventeen short stories written in different Indian languages) by Sahitiya Academy New Delhi. The work, a lucid and honest rendering, reflects the translator’s clear understanding of the content and spirit of the original writing. Besides these, his work has been recognized widely in his own state and he has received prestigious awards like Khilati Harmuk, Khilat Shabaz, Fhakri Maraz, Khilatai Noor, Khilati Moti Lal and Khilati Fazil Kashmiri.
As the sun sets behind the Himalayan peaks, casting a golden glow over the valley, the words of Professor Shad Ramzan continue to echo through the corridors of time. His poetry, prose and monographs are not just words; they are a living legacy that immortalize the spirit of Kashmir and its eternal connection to the world of poetry.
The author is a teacher and regular columnist