Wednesday, October 14, 2020




A Caravan of Sufi poets from Kashmir kept the flame of humanism alive through what they called Sufi poetry by blending Islamic Tassvuf with Vedanta and Shaivism. I would put Ahad Zargar , Shamas Faquir, Wahab Khar, Shah Gafoor , Nyam Saeb, Rahim Saeb Sopore, Samad Mir, Sochha Kral, Waza Mehmood, Rehman Dar, Assad Parray and many more in this category. Study them and you find most of them illiterate; a carpenter, a blacksmith, a labourer, a band saw help, yet profoundly humanistic in approach. They jumped over their fences and not only peeped into other arenas but went far ahead. They owned and propagated Shaiv-Darshna, Bhakti -Vaad and Islamic Tassavuf thereby strengthening the concept of 'Sarve Bhavantu Sukhina'. The Shunyata or nothingness that they talk about is Rig Vedic in its thought and content. One is surprised to know that Samad Mir writes about Turiya( Pure consciousness of the fourth state ) in his poetry. Let me talk about Samad Mir.


Samad Mir's father, Khaliq Mir, was a native of the village 'Nambalhar', nine kilometres from Budgam, on Srinagar-Raithan road. Khaliq Mir was a farmer who had very little agricultural land. Accordingly, he used to supplement his family income by working as Aari Kash or sawing timber. The search for livelihood brought him to Srinagar city where he worked as a labourer. He married a girl from downtown Sekidafar where he took up a temporary residence. After some time, his wife died and he married a woman named Noora of Narwara. He brought her to Sekidafar. Samad Mir was born at Sakidafar to Noora in 1894. Noora had some parental property at Narwara. One finds three places linked to Samad Mir. These are Namabalhaar, Sekidafar and Narwara .



At the age of 20, Samad Mir was married to the daughter of Shaban Mir of Nambalhar. Once Khaliq Mir's children started earning an independent livelihood, he returned to his native village, Nambalhar leaving his wife and family in Srinagar. Instead of residing at Nambalhar, he built a small hut on the outskirts of Nambalhar, at a place called 'Agar'. There he led an independent life that meant cooking his food, writing Sufianan poetry and praying to God. Samad Mir used to visit his father regularly. Khaliq Mir died around ten years after returning to his village and is buried in Agar on the outskirts of the village Namabalhaar . ' achha posho lo lo' is a popular song composed by Khaliq Mir.



In Srinagar, Samad Mir used to work as a daily wage labourer with carpenters and masons apart fro working as Aari-Kash( sawing timber). After his father's death, Samad Mir decided to return to his native village Nambalhar. He was twenty-four years old at that time. At Namabalhaar, he did odd jobs to supplement his agricultural income. He worked with masons, carpenters and as an independent Aari Kash ( timber sawing ). 


He would get up during the night and recite his poems but there was no one to record this creative outpouring. Accordingly, a large portion of his work was initially lost. Later a neighbour started recording his poetry and finally, his sons started writing and recording his poetic outpourings.


In his poems, he makes frequent use of Sanskrit words . It appears that he also knew Shivsutras, Shaiv Darshana and Vedanta. He made use of this knowledge liberally in his Shastra poetry wherein we find words like  Shunya , Soham, Tyaga , Samadhi , Nishkaam Karma , Sanyasa , Maaya , Mithya , Bhavsaagar Maaya Zaal, Sheshkal ,Pamposh Paad, Nirakaar , Punya ,Paap, and Bhagwati . A sample of his Shastra poem reads this :-


“Raah e badh nish kar traahi Bhagwaan

Punya paap traavith boz yaksaan

Von samad Miran Shastra hue

Paru Om Su Om Soham Su.”


Soham has been used by him at many places.  This Soham is linked to Pranayaama Kriya or breathing technique . Prana enters the body through the breath and is sent to every cell through the circulatory system. Prana creates life by allowing the heart to beat. Pranayama is Ajapa Japa or Soham ( sooo for inhaling the breath and hummm for exhaling it ). It is a Kriya Yoga which is primarily aimed at the realization of existing identity with universal consciousness.  According to Isha Upnishad, Soham means He am I. So 'ham -


Soham when reversed becomes Hamsa or Hamso which means ‘I am that ’. Hamsa or Hamso also refers to the swan. Kashmiri poets have used word Razhans for the word Hamsa or Hamso. And in Kashmir’s Shaivism, Hamsa or Hamso is nothing but Atman. 


He is the only poet to use word Turya ( fourth state ) in his poems. This fourth state is experienced by highly realized souls. Turiya is the fourth state of consciousness. Awakening, sleep with dreams, deep sleep without dreams and Turiya. Turiya is an awakened state with a total detachment to the outside world. Yogis call it a state of bliss.   


After Mahatama Krishen Joo Razdan, Samad Mir also spoke about the awakening of the mind as enunciated in Shaivsutras. For this, he used the word “Sahib e Hosh’ or the awakened individual. The Shiv Sutras say “Only awakening is knowledge”. I found a sprinkling of Shiv sutras in the Kashmiri Sufi poetry of Samad Mir. According to Shiv Sutras , a Sadhaka only desires awareness. Mahatma Krishen Joo Razdan says:-"Hosh dim lagayo Pamposh Paadan" " O Lord! Grant me awareness. This life at your lotus feet".The Sadhaka needs nothing beyond awareness as the mind is capable of doing the rest.


Kashmiris had a profound reverence for goddess Tara . Tara in its Rudra form was worshipped in Kashmir. She was affiliated to Parvati or Kashmira goddess also known as Shivashakti. There were many shrines dedicated to goddess Tara in Kashmir prominent being at Tarigam in Kulgam. In Kashmir, the goddess was associated with Tantra , Shaiv Sadhana and Shakti. The Kashmiri Savants who went to Tibet and Central Asia to spread Buddhism , probably introduced this goddess in those places. Presently, Tara is an adored goddess in Mahayana Buddhism. It is surprising to find Samad Mir writing a poem on Tara describing her attributes or what is known as Nakh Shikh Varnan in Hindi. In a couplet of the poem Samad Mir also links the goddess with Bengal. In Bengal, there is a famous temple dedicated to goddess Tara known as Tarapeeth temple. Samad Mir says this :-


“Praaraan praraan Tarawati aeti nazar traav

Kharaan poozaai jaafir Ffaeti aeti nazar traav

Durdaan lub lal yim chheyi vathiye khanda saet mai vesraav

Tim chheyi chamkaan naagin ratiye aetiye nazar traav”

(I  have been waiting and waiting for you.

O Tara goddess, L

Lookaround ,  

I am before you.F

Foryour worship,I

Ihave been coming with b

basketsof marigold flowers,L

Lookaround , 

I am before you.)



Samad Mir wrote Naats as well. His intense love for the prophet is visible in his Naats. One popular naat that comes to my mind is ‘Kadh chon wuchh meh bala, ya Muhammad Mustafa -Had-o-lahad arsh-e-aala, ya Muhammad Mustafa’. In many poems, he spoke about Tassavuf and mysticism .



Samad Mir’s Akanandun is unique and impressive though Aknanadun has been composed by some more poets including Ahad Zargar . It dwells on the concept of Supreme sacrifice even killing one’s only son. The characters in this Hindu story are a Sadhu , a queen , Aknanadun his sisters.This is similar to Abrham issac story in the bible


 Samad Mir had two sons Ghulam Rasool and Ghulam Mohammad, and two daughters Azi and Rehti. His one son died in youth.Samad Mir had three Musrhids ; Khwaja Habib Najar of Agar Namabalhaar , Khaliq Najar of Batmaloo and Ramzaan Dar of Anchidoora Ananatnag. Samad Mir, along with his Murshid Khaliq Najar, worked as a labourer during the construction of Maharaj`s palace (Hari Niwas) at Gupkar Road Srinagar. .


Samad mir has written about 200 poems out of which many are in Vatchun Style. Some immortal poems that come to my mind at the moment are ' tan naaar daz aarwali , gaah gaah me trovuyi khyon ta chonuyi , agar chashman bani gosh , mo tchhyi rozum maah e nov ke hilaal hasa, dooran lajiye graayi, ha vaada saryo, ha kan dooro , Van kass tor chhunna vataa and Paru om su om soham su'.


 In his monograph on Samad Mir, published by the Sahitya Academy, New Delhi in 1988, Moti Lal Saqi writes: 


“In 1956, as a part of Jashn-i-Kashmir celebrations, a poetry session was organized in Shalimar Garden, Srinagar. I was also invited as a participant. Usually, the Jashn-i-Kashmir function used to start with the arrival of the then Prime Minister, Bakshi Sahib, but that day, although Bakshi Sahib had arrived, he kept waiting for someone before inaugurating the function. All the invited poets were also waiting . I could not understand as to who was the person for whom even Bakshi Sahib was waiting. After some minutes, a man, who looked like a typical Kashmiri farmer arrived and Bakshi Sahib went to receive him. He ushered him to the stage that was arranged on one of the Mughal Baradaris inside the garden. At that moment, all the poets stood up while Bakshi Sahib sat next to him and started talking to him. I recognized him almost immediately. He was Samad Mir. I had already seen him many times. That day he read an old Vatchun poem He received great applause for this vatchun which had once been declared as Kuffar or unbelief.”

Once Samad Mir was invited to be the part of a multilingual Mushaira held in the auditorium of Radio Kashmir, Srinagar. Every participant was surprised to see Samad Mir looking like a typical farmer in his Pheran and cap sitting on the stage. That day, Samad Mir made everyone speechless when he presented a new style of writing Kashmiri poetry . He recited his new poem that had a mixture of Urdu and Kashmiri lines. The poem became quite popular in Kashmir and it was sung by many leading singers of that period. The opening lines of the poem are as under :-.

‘Pad pad ke gaya pather, likh likh ke gaya chor

Jis padney se sahib miley vo padna hai aur’

(By reading texts 

one becomes a stone and by writing one may get crushed   

  A different learning is needed to reach the abode of that beloved lord or master )



In his monograph on Samad Mir published by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, Padamshri Moti Lal Saqi writes this:-


“ My Matamaal or my mother’s parental home was in village Kremshore, Budgam. As a child and young boy, I used to spend lot of time at my mother’s parental home. In that village, a Kashmiri Pandit named Madho Ram was well known to my maternal uncles. I used to see Samad Mir visiting Madho Ram's home quite frequently. Samad Mir’s daughter, Rehati was married in Sheikh family of Kremshore. My maternal uncles lived close to both the houses. I mean the sheikh family and Madho Ram’ s family. As children, we would play in the common compound and many times I would see Samad Mir coming to his daughter’s house and then going to Madho Ram’s house. Both used to chat for hours together. I have seen Mir and Madho Ram chatting close doors and this would sometimes continue till late hours. Madho Ram`swife, Tulsi Devi, popularly called Tulsi Ded, would serve tea and food during the chat sessions .She was a pious lady . Madho Ram was also a pious person. Even after Madho Ram`s death, Samad Mir maintained ties with the family of Madho Ram ”.

Moti Lal Saqi writes that as Aari-kash ( timber sawing ) he stayed at Handwara also where he came in contact with some elderly Pandits. He stayed with some Pandit families over there and learnt many things about Hinduism and Shastras.


Moti Lal Saqi writes that Samad Mir liked Satvik food . He had a distaste for non-vegetarian food and would be happy to see vegetables cooked for him. Karela , Torela ( Toraiya ) and green vegetables were his favourites. He ate very less. He drank salt tea with maize Satoo. In a way, he had controlled his NAFAS. He would avoid feasts and functions. Very rarely he would join marriage feasts. He slept very less. Samad Mir had a very simple lifestyle. He would make blankets of sheep wool and sold them to earn some money. He actively participated in farming activities during other seasons.


 There used to be a musical gatherings every Thursday at his residence, and he mostly listened to the poetry of Rahim Sahib, Nyam Sahib, and Shamas Fakir.


Kashmiri poet Prem Nath Shad , who happens to be from a village near Namabalhaar told me this :-


“ Samad Mir’s son , Ghulam Rasool was my class fellow and a friend. Samad Mir has blessed me. I visited his house in 1947 as a school friend of his son Ghulam Rasool. I have vivid memories of that meeting. Samad Mir was a friend of my father Sudarshan Ji. This he told me in person when I narrated to him about my family. I went to show him my poems that I had scribbled as a young boy. He appreciated my poems and advised me to continue both; my studies and my poetry .”  

 Moti Lal Saqi had to put great efforts to collect his poetry from different sources and compile it as 'Kulyat-e-Samad Mir'. 

Samad Mir died on 9th of January 1959, at his home in Nambalhar. He was buried near his father's grave, at Agar, Nambalhar.


To conclude I would like to thank some people for their inputs enabling me to compile this post. I am indebted to Dr Shakeel Ahmed Mir grandson of the poet, Poet Prem Nath Shad and late Moti Lal Saqi. I conclude this post with two lines in Punjabi.


“ Taajdaaran de na ameeran de

Deeve baldhe sadha Faqeeraan dhe “


“ Not for those who wear the crown,

 And never for those who 

possess wealth and riches .

The lamps burn only for those

Who have abandoned these things

to become real Faqeers .”



( Avtar Mota )



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