Friday, April 10, 2015



NASEEM SHAFAI ( Born 1952 )

A teacher and a poet who created fresh space for women writers in Modern kashmiri literature . She is a mother , a mother in law , a sister and a wife ; All in one but more specifically a compassionate and sensitive Human being who essentially remains a poet at heart .
Her poetic subjects are feminine that revolve round the pain , suffering and trauma that kashmir and kashmiri women suffered post 1990 . Her sensibilities are sharp. Her observations and  presentation leaves you touched  .Though she has not focused on Romance , yet, for the graceful presentation of  issues of women in pain and suffering  ,  i am tempted to call her Parveen Shakir of Kashmiri poetry  She is Naseem Shafai .

Naseem Shafai has captured has the post 1990 pain and suffering of Kashmir from a woman’s point of view . Women who have been at the receiving end, both inside the family and outside it. Through native metaphors used in her poems, she gives a poise  to their grief and sorrow   .May be her perspective often happens to be feminine but Never does one come across sentimentalism in her style.

Krishna sobti, the well known Hindi writer had once suggested to her to carry forward writing and never bother for awards . She was already on that path. Awards came much later as recognition of what she had written while conveying the plight of women living in turmoil and conflict.
Her Book of poetic collection “Na Tchaai Na Aks “ ( Neither shadow nor reflection ) Won her well deserved Sahitya Academy award in 2011. Her another book Daricha Mutchrith ( Open Windows ) is equally fascinating . I learn that her poems have been translated into English , Urdu and some south Indian languages as well. 
Naseem ji is a Post Graduate in kashmiri . She is possibly from the first batch ( 1979-1980 ) of students who did MA in kashmiri from University of kashmir. She studied at Kashyapa Girls school and graduated from women’s college Srinagar in 1976.

The family too faced the fury of armed militants when her Journalist husband Zafar meraj was shot at while shooting a documentary. Resultantly , he had to remain confined to bed for a long period. And at this critical juncture , help came from a kashmiri Pandit family friend in Delhi that ensured the education of their son .Commenting on those dark days in Kashmir ,she adds..
Yi ti Assmaanitch tchoii chhaa na chhu kunni,
Gaash na taaf na waqtuk zoann.
Raathh chha khotchaan Gaashuss Andhaerii,
Doah chhu trehraan votum shaam.
( Is this an intrigue of the skies above us?
Neither light nor sunshine
And lost are we to time sense.
The night dreads even these lights within
While the day is scared
Of the approaching evening.)

Naseem ji has an abiding faith in kashmiriyat . She believes that the inherent strength of kashmiri culture and traditions are sufficient to dispel the present clouds of hatred and suspicion on Kashmir’s Horizon.

Through her work, the rich tradition of Lal Ded , Haba Khatoon and Arinmaal stands revived in kashmiri literature . More women poets have started following her footsteps.
I quote one small poem VASVAAS (addressed to a girl child ) from her book Daricha Mutchrith ( Open Windows ). I have also rendered the poem to simple English for my Non kashmiri readers .

(Vasvaas )
Vuznaavun Russ Russ Aaluv dithh
Yinaa Bhaanbir Yina Kenh Badi Vanahuss 
Muss Nendrii Magar Achhi Adda Vatchha Buss 
Athh Mossum Hussnus Khotchaan Chhuss

Ye Chha Myaani faerryuk Shehjaar Billah 
Ye chha chaanie Vekaaritch Haejj Toopyaah 
Ye Chha koor Yi Jannatietch Hoor chhanaa 
Garrie nerri Ta Vaapus Ma Iyaa Zaanh

Yelli Vaatie Yi Kunnie Doahh Pardeeshan 
Tattie Luuk Khabar Keithh Kyaah Aassan
Vuznaavan saa Rass Aaluv Dithh 
Tim Amiss Yi NendriI Thhappi Neiytan 
( Naseem Shafai )

( Trepidation )
Call her in soft and softer tone 
And rouse her .
Be not in alacrity
Speak not loud to her ,
Her eyes partly open 
Even in this deep slumber ,
And this guiltless loveliness of hers ,
Frightens me .

I swear , she is the coolness of my bosom ,
A reputation that your lilted cap carries with it ,
A girl child she is.
Isn’t she a Houri of the Paradise ?
Never shall she return once she leaves this home.

And whence she arrives in those unfamiliar lands ,
Who knows how 
And of what nature the folks over there shall be ?
Shall they too awaken her caringly , 
Or shall they rob her of this sleep even.

( Autar Mota )

In the present context , kashmiri word VASVAAS comes more closer to Trepidation than  Fear  or Nervousness . It is practically very  difficult to arrive at exact equivalent  the word in English language .

Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\\.

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