Saturday, December 5, 2009




"You know there was a poet in our Kashmir, Ghani by name, who was well known as “Ghani Kashmiri.” A poet from Iran came to visit him. The doors of his house were open. He used to say, “What’s there in my house that I should keep the doors locked? Well, I keep the doors closed when I’m inside the house because I am its only asset.” The poet from Iran left his poetry note book in the vacant house. One couplet in that notebook was incomplete. He had composed the second line but could not do the first one. The second line ran thus: “The smell of kebab is wafting from your clothes.” When the Iranian poet returned and looked in his note book, he found the first line written there: “Has the hand of ablighted soul touched your fore-cloth?”Pundit-ji, I am also a blighted soul. I’ve taken issue with you because I am dedicating this book to you."

Sa‘adat Hassan Manto

This is how Saadat Hassan Manto Made mention of Poet Ghani Kashmiri in his famous letter addressed to Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru sent just before his death in Lahore Pakistan.


Like the potter's thread,
your tresses made me dazed and senseless,
severing the head (pot)
from the body (lump of clay).

This verse, contained in "Dewan-e-Ghani", had a kashmiri word KRAALPAN meaning Potter's Thread .Saib Tabrizi ( 1601-1677 ) ,well known Persian poet from Isfahan Iran, unable to understand the meaning of a famous verse - in which Ghani had intermingled both Persian and Kashmiri words - travelled all the way from IRAN to Kashmir to meet him. When the Iranian poet arrived ,Ghani Kashmiri was not at his residence but out some where yet the doors of his house were open. Allama Iqbal refers to this incident thus:

That nightingale of poetry, Ghani,
Who sang in Kashmir’s paradisal land,
Used, while at home, to shut up all the doors,
But leave them open while away from home.
Somebody questioned him concerning this.
"O charming bard," he said, "Why do you do
This strange thing, which nobody understands
The meaning of ?" Ghani, who had no wealth
Except his gift of poetry, replied:
"What people see me doing is quite right.
There is nothing of any value in my house
Except myself. When I am in, the house
Is to be guarded like a treasure-house.
When I am out, it is an empty place,
Which nobody would care to walk into."

Mulla Mohd Tahir Ashai or Ghani kashmiri was the most famous persian poet of the subcontinent who was widely read in Iran .He was a student of another unsung persian poet of kasmir known as mulla Hassan Fani. Ghani belonged to the highly respected Ashai family of Kashmir.He never attended any Darbar or wrote any Qasida ( poetry of Praise ) for any ruler of his time.He even refused to visit Aurangzeb's Court when summoned repeatedly by the Mughal King. 

This 17th century poet lived during the reign of Aurangzeb and till this day he is considered one of the great masters of Persian poetry. This Kashmiri poet exerted a great influence on the development of persian and urdu poetry in India . He is considered a great master of SABAK E HINDI or THE INDIAN STYLE OF PERSIAN POETRY patronized by Mughals ..Mirza Ghalib translated more than 40 of his couplets into urdu. Kashmir Poet Ghulam Ahmed Mahjoor refers to him in his famous poem ‘Arise, O’ Gardener’:

Litterateurs of Iran will bow
To you in reverence
if you create a poet with powers of
magical narration like Ghani.

Ghani also wrote in urdu . I quote one of his couplets as under

"Dil yun khayale zulf mein phirta hai n'ara zan

Taarik shab mein jaise koi pasban phire"

I have always said that kashmiris have neglected their icons . It applies truly to Ghani Kashmiri .Ironically his writings are prescribed as study material for scholars in Iran , but just outside  in Rajouri kadal area ( Downtown kashmir ) lies his dilapidated house and neglected grave .I end this post with a Persian couplet of Ghani kashmiri..

Husn e Sabz e Bakhat e Sabz Maara kard Aseer
Daam Hamrang e Zamin Bud Giriftaar Shudam

Splendid Down 
set against a splendid face had me trapped .
the snare matched the ground 
And i was trapped .

( Autar Mota )


  1. Mota sahib,
    You have very rightly said that Kashmiris have neglected their icons. the future generations will not forgive us . something needs to be done to protect our rich heritage. we all are in a deep slumber and I dont know when will we wake up.
    Ghani Kashmiri has no parallels, that goes without any doubt. Since I used to reside in close vicinity I used to hear from my ancestors about the great poet . Alas! Where are we heading to

  2. For whosoever has posted this about Ghani Kashmiri sahab, I am thankful, I am very thankful. This is for you:

    "Azeen tehreer mara kardi mast tu,
    Een sabab bosa kunam bar dast-e tu"

    Could you please post the names of his works.

    ~Irtiza Hakak~

  3. Can anyone say which poet said that if there is paradise on earth, it is in KAshmir?

    1. Dear Anonymous "Agar Firdous Bar Roye Zameen Ast..." is the Kalam of Emperor Jehangir

  4. Respected Autar Mota You have put a valuable information about Gani kashmiri. Thanks. Hee is Couplet of Gani Kashmiri for You... " Dur Mehfiley Khud Ra Hum Chomaney Ra, Afsurda Dil Afsurda Kunand Unjumaney Ra". Thank you once again for this information... Regards

  5. Thanks for comments dated 17th july from a well wisher .

  6. Dear Mota sahib,thanks for your efforts to excavate the greatest Ghalib Of Kashmir,I mean Ghani Kashmiri.I lived at Makhdoom Sahib and also visited Ghanis house at Rajori Kadal.Yes I know one of my friend who showed me some Poetry of Ghani when I visited Persian Department of University of Kashmir,but we have already lost people like Prof Shams u Din.Alas we are loosing our Glorious Past.


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