Saturday, February 22, 2020



ARJUN  DEV  MAJBOOR (1924-2010)
( Poet Arjun Dev Majboor with his wife)

He was a Kashmiri poet who translated Kalidasa' s Meghdootam into Kashmiri apart from translating Nilamata Purana into Urdu . Arjun Dev was born at Zainapora in Pulwama .He was influenced by Kalidas, Ghalib and modern Kashmiri poet Dina Nath Nadim.
 In his youth, he went to Lahore to study where he got influenced by Arya Samaj. Later , he was influenced by Marxism . 
   ( Majboor's House )
              ( Majboor's Jammu House ) 
             ( Arjun Dev Majboor)

     ( Desh Rattan Kaul Majboor  and Shyam ji..Son and daughter in law of poet Majboor)

Majboor did a pioneering job in compiling Kuliyaat of poet Lala Lakshman. Lala's poems were in circulation through oral medium. Lala had never written anything on paper. He would recite and people remembered his verses which were always full of comic satire.
‘Waves’ , a collection of Arjun Dev’s 30 poems, selected and translated into English by Prof. Arvind Gigoo, made him known all over the country as a respected poet of Kashmiri language.
I add two samples of Arjun Dev Majboor's verses:
"Dil saen boodaan vuth saen assan
Aeki baala khasaan beyi baala vasaan
Aeis lookh chha pakavaen rail patter
Pai kyaa aeissi peithi Kean kya kya pokh"
In English ,I would say:
"Our hearts may have aged ,
but our lips have not abandoned smiling.
Like rails we are spread on paths,
We don't know how many trains moved over us."
"Dishaayan aath bhaarav raechh paannai
Vasaan devta yeiti aeis aasmaanai
Yeti Gautam Buddhas saet shiv Shankar
Viharan mandran ganzraan baraabar."
In English ,I would say:
" Eight brothers guarded us in eight directions, 
And gods also descended from skies over here.
Along with Lord Shiva ,
Buddha ensured harmony between
 the temples and Viharas over here."
I add some wonderful anecdotes of Prof Arvind Gigoo about Majboor...
"Majboor recited long passages from Obra Shech, his translation of Meghdootam of Kalidas. It was brilliant. Enthralling! The room resonated. Majboor’s voice was marvellous. I was all attention. I was breathless. I am a good listener. Lyrical quality and imagery were splendid. (I am sorry for having used literary terms). Recitation of Obra Shech gave me immense joy."
" Majboor talked about his involvement in Democratic National Conference. He talked about his determination in youth to create a classless society in Kashmir. He talked about his association with politicians. I said: ‘You have wasted your time in politics.’ He readily agreed but said, ‘I have not wasted even a single minute so far as my writing goes.’ He talked about his poverty, life in his village, schooling in Srinagar, his ambitions, his restlessness, his education in Lahore, his association with writers and scholars, his hard life, years of unemployment and his passion to change society."
" I translated forty Kashmiri poems of Majboor into English. I went on polishing and polishing them. It took months. He lost patience. He wanted me to work quickly. One day I handed over twenty-six poems to him.
‘Where are the remaining poems?’
‘I rejected them. But I will not give you the rejected ones because I know that you will publish them. And I will not translate any more.’
Majboor became sad.
After a couple of months Waves was published. The second edition (containing thirty translations) is better than the first. The drawings of Vijay Zutshi are breathtaking. Waves got an award in Kolkata. Majboor came back an excited man."
"Majboor throws a party. There are about twenty persons. We have drinks. Vijay Zutshi and P K Goja sing songs. Others recite verses. I laugh and make others laugh. Humour is my weapon to fight my shyness and to conceal the real ‘i’ in me. I love my foolishness. We have more drinks. And then an excellent dinner is served. Majboor and I are talking. Moti Lal Saqi comes. He recites a poem on migration, loss and home. He goes on weeping. ‘My soul is wounded’, Saqi says sobbing.
My illiterate old mother calls Majboor ‘ Mehjoor Sahib’. She refuses to be corrected.."
" Sudhir, an actor, dramatizes Kshama Kaul’s Hindi translation of Majboor’s Thuk Thuk. The last portion of the poem creates an atmosphere of terror—terror of militancy. There is not even a whisper in the hall. Such is the effect of art. I find tears in the eyes of some. There is applause. Majboor is watching his success."
" Abhinav Theatre. Jammu. A CD of Majboor’s songs is released. The songs are sung by Shamima Dev Azad and Rashid Farash. Pandit Bhajan Sopori has composed the music. When the CD is played there is a sad silence in the hall. Nostalgia is evoked especially when Majboor’s 'Yeli Yād pyvān sonhäry vatan' is played. Majboor feels triumphant."
" Majboor was a lover of good food, spicy mutton and tasty dishes. He was a man of strong likes and dislikes. He never indulged in backbiting. I never found him discussing persons critically. One evening he got tipsy at ‘my place’. He spent the night with me. Nobody had the guts to question him.
Next day.
‘Listen to this poem. It is titled thukthuk.’ I listen. One of his best poems. Depicts the cultural history of Kashmir. The last stanza is superb. Shows the horror of militancy.
‘How did the idea of writing Thu Thuk come to you?’
‘I was watching an advertisement on TV: ‘Knock Knock’.’
‘It reminds me of ‘knock knoock’ in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.’ "

Majboor was a postgraduate  in Hindi. He has more than 21 publications to his credit which include his poetic collections .
   (Majboor with his mother and family)
 (L to R Prof Arvind Gigoo, GR Hasrat Gada, Vijay Zutshi, M Y Taing, Maharaj Santoshi and Majboor)

                ( A portrait of Majboor) 

More on Arjun Dev Majboor shortly...
( Avtar Mota)

Source Material
(1) Interview of Desh Rattan Kaul son of the poet
(2) Sheeraza J&K Academy of Art Culture and Languages ,Arjun Dev Majboor Number.
(3) Interview of Prof Arvind Gigoo 

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