Tuesday, January 10, 2023




Prof Rahman Rahi,  Jnanpith awardee Kashmiri poet is no more . He was the last surviving pillar  amongst the progressives of the previous century. After Nadim, he was the  second tall poet who brought  modern sensibilities while retaining the basic rootedness of Kashmiri poetry. He was well educated, well informed and an excellent  communicator . His education and general awareness helped him   to bring new imagery, new metaphor and a variety of  subjects  into Kashmiri poetry.  Apart from romance,  existential dilemma   , loneliness,   Intense communication remained his  poetic skill and  style. His poetry found immediate connect with a  common Kashmiri .

I saw him quite often in Mushairas. He would be seen in the  college and at many places in Srinagar. I met him twice , once  in Srinagar and thereafter when came to Jammu  for  public viewing of the film  on his life and work  by M K Raina . It was an excellent job done by M K Raina for  Sahitya Akademi.  In his address at Abhinav Theatre , Jammu, he said this:-

" This bad time created two halves of the Kashmiri soul. One half lives in the valley and the other half in the heat and dust of the  plains of our country  ."

 After the  function was over, I met him and  touched the issue of halving of the Kashmiri  soul . In his reply ,he added this:-

" There is a greater tragedy. We have acute scarcity of men who shall stand up and fix these halves." 

The turmoil of Kashmir got reflected in his work more as helplessness of the common man trapped in something like  'Catch 22' situation and also as loss of culture and  ethological changes brought in by widespread violence  .

"Hochha-mietch kolli phaett luuk vanav Kass
Bochhi bochhi tsop assi gaar vanav kyaah"

( We  drowned in a river that had since dried up,
Should we tell that we ate grass to satiate  our  hunger.)

There will be none like Rahi . His metaphor, his style and his vocabulary will be missed in Kashmiri poetry. I love his songs especially ,' Su Gulaab royi deuthum, Bael titi -chha meti mokh haavakh, Kaethi myaani maashoqa mataa Dita dol ,  Rang tseti an myaan jawaani, Shroin yeli kor taem roni damaanas,Zinda rozaana baapat chhi maraan luuk ,Dil chhu praanein kathan sanaan bazay  and some more.  He wrote  ( Hee Maej Kasheeri )the official anthem of Kashmir University, called the KU Tarana.
The  painful sight of crumbling and ghost like vacant houses belonging to Kashmiri Pandits who were forced to leave Kashmir valley  can't be better described except through Rahman Rahi's poetic lines. I quote him :-

" Na chhu daa'ri   alaa'n  pardh'a   na chhu braandh'a   dazaan Tso'ng,
Vaavus  Chhu dapaan kaaw  tse  moloom karakh na....."

(Neither is there any movement in the window curtain,
Nor does any lamp burn in the courtyard.
Puzzled, the crow requests the wind to move in and enquire..)

He received Sahitya Akademi Award in 1961 for his poetry collection" Nawroz-i-Saba"  and got the Padma-Shri in 2000.He received the  Jnanpith award -- in 2007 for his collection ‘Siyah Rood Jaeren Manz’ (In  the Black Drizzle).

Peace be to your soul Rahi Sahib. Your admirers in the length and breadth of the country will miss you. 

( Avtar Mota )

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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