Tuesday, May 20, 2014


PANDIT GOPI NATH BHAT (1920-2001 ) ,


The youngsters do not know him. And the Number of elders who knew him and adored him passionately is diminishing day by day . He was a stalwart and a trend setter in an area that did not find favour in orthodox kashmiri Pandit Society as it existed prior to 1947 . Yes I mean singing and dancing which he started possibly when he was in his school .He was Pandit Gopi Nath Bhat ( 1920-2001 ) a resident of Achhabal Adda Ananatnag in Kashmir valley . A Folk singer ,a Dancer , a Composer and an adept instrumentalist who could play the Harmonium , Tumbaknaari , Rabaab , Tabla , Banjo , Noet ( Matka ) , Ghaagar , Chimtaa , Khasu and Thaali . He sang Leelas , Naats , Chhakri and sufiana kalaam . He also sang urdu Qawalis and Gazals in his own style .

Apart from singing and playing musical instruments , Gopi Nath ji was a Master in BACHA NAGMA dance form of kashmir valley . He had profound knowledge of HAFIZ NAGMA form as well. Quite often , he would himself Perform Bacha Nagma after wearing the traditional Jaama ( Dress for Dancing ) and enthrall any gathering with his superb dancing talent especially the footwork and facial gestures . Connoisseurs of his art still remember his “ Thaali ( Plate ) Spinning ” that he used to hold in one hand . Possibly the first Kashmiri Pandit who ventured in this field in an Orthodox Kashmiri Pandit society.

Gopi Nath Ji sang Ahad Zargar , Shams Faqir , Rasool Mir , Master Zinda kaul , Parmnand , Sochha Kraal , Assad Ullah Mir , Wahab Khaar and many more Sufi and Bhakti poets of Kashmir. It was amazing to see him singing all these poets from his own memory . He also sang Mehjoor, Azad and Naadim songs for select gatherings . His singing was restricted to Private gatherings, Marriage Parties, Janam Ashtami Celeberations ,IDD celebrations, Mal Maas Bhan Maas at Martand and Jyeshta Ashtami Mela at kheer Bhawani shrine Tulamula . He would also sing Naat and Munajaat during Urs Gatherings at various Dargaahs in Kashmir .

For his dancing talent , Pandit Gopi Nath Ji was known as Gupa Bacha in Kashmir . He has the distinction of singing before many saints and sages of Kashmir that included Swami Lakshman Joo, Nand Lal Mastana (Nand Mot ) Faqir Assad Ullah Sahib, Lassa Sahib , Salaam Sahib and Bhagwan Gopi Nath Ji.

Though he sang for Radio, TV , Song and Drama Division and Field Publicity Division , Gopi Nath ji had some aversion for singing at these centres and institutions. Late Mohan lal Aima brought him to Radio kashmir and Recorded three compositions But Gopi Nath ji did not show any inclination for Radio singing .

Another trait of his personality was contentment . Never did he seek any personal favour from Any person though he was well known to every one in Bureaucracy and Government . And not even from Bakshi Ghulam Mohd who himself was a lover of his singing style. He was also somewhat averse towards getting his singing recorded . .

His team included Prem Nath , Sudershan ji , Balji , Mohd Ismail Dar , Abdul Aziz , Ghulam Rasool , Muhammed Ramzan and Abdul samad ,

A Devout Hindu who believed in Sadhna and Bhakti , Pandit Gopi Nath Ji was also a follower of Dervish Rahim Sahib of Kashmir. He was known for singing Lal Vaakh and Shrukh of Nund Reshi in such a passionate style that turned eyes of most of the listeners moist.

After displacement from Kashmir valley ,this Great son of Kashmir died unknown and unsung in Nagrota jammu …..
I end this brief post with two lines of Noted Kashmiri Poet Ghulam Nabi Firaq .. The lines are Touching and painful.

Yettie Chhaenaa Saayil Khaalie Neraan
Aaeish Pheiir Kenh Chhiyee Hargaa Lagaa-Naai
( Ghulam Nabi Firaq )

Petitioners do not leave this place empty handed ,
I do possess some tear drops ,
Take them should they find any use with you?
( Autar Mota 19.05.2014 )

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