The Popular Poets of Kashmir banner

The Popular Poets of Kashmir

Poetry is the quality of expression of emotions and ideas. Thankfully, it has always been an important part of the culture of Kashmir and forms an eminent part of the Literature of Kashmir.
These poets have portrayed the culture, tradition and essence of life in Kashmir beautifully in their poetry.

Let us take you on a tour and introduce you to some of the most loved Kashmiri Poets of the valley.

Lal Ded of Kashmir
Beginning the list from one of the earliest poets of Kashmir, Lalleshwari, popularly known as Lal Ded and most revered by the people of Kashmir. She was a mystic poet of the 14th century Kashmir and wrote poems in the form of “Vakhs”. While the world knows Lal Ded for her magnificent literary figures and spiritual poetry; she has been venerated both by Muslims and Hindus for centuries in Kashmir due to her poetry that reminded people of the strength of unity. For many centuries, she successfully dodged the possessive claims of religious monopoly in the valley.
Here is an extract from her poetry-
“atshyan aay ta gatushun gatshe
pakun gatshe then kyho raath
yor aya turiy gatshun gatshe
khenata khenata kheneta kyha”
Translation:
The vision of eyes keeps on coming and going and the night keeps on passing. We will return where from we came in daylight. Something is there which is not visible.

Nund Reshi of Kashmir
Another popular poet praised and loved by the valley is Nund Reshi, also known as Sheikh ul-Alam, Sheikh Noor ud-Din Wali, Sheikh Noor ud-Din Noorani. He was a Sufi mystic poet who lived during 1378 to 1438 AD and used his poetry as a medium to spread the “knowledge of absolute”, an expression of reality, in the form of “Shrukhs”. For his benevolent poetry and remarkable lessons, The University of Kashmir has honored his memory by creating and staging the Sheikh-ul-Alam Chair.
Here is an extract from his poetry-
“An poshi teli,
Yeli van poshi”
Translation:
“Food will thrive only
Till the woods survive”

Habba Khatoon of Kashmir
The next poet from Kashmir worth mentioning is Habba Khatoon, popularly known as the Nightingale of Kashmir. Her poetry is the representation of her jilted love in the memory of her dead husband, Yusuf Shah Chak, (the ruler (one of them) of Kashmir in the 16th century) written in the form called “Lol”. Most of her poetry has evolved from the beauty of Kashmir in the form of description of hills, streams, flowers and fruits that stand tall truly with the paradisiacal quality of Kashmir.
Here is an extract from her poetry-
“Ratshi ratshi retakol chhum soraanai,
bara maa gatshan acchi posh
Kuni hita bulbulo yita aki aanai,
chhaav myaany daanai posh”
Translation:
Slow and steadily the summer is going away. Maybe flowers will loosen its bloom. You (Bulbul) come for a reason and enjoy this bloom.

Mahjoor of Kashmir
Apart from the above mentioned classic poets of their times, one of Kashmir’s most loved and popularly known poet is Peerzada Ghulam Ahmad (Mahjoor). A poet of the 20th century, he reflects the ground realities of the valley and uses nature as a metaphor to expand of those realities. He uses patriotism as the guiding theme of his poetry that inspire many Kashmiris towards nationalism.
Recognizing his poetic genius, a film named Shayar-e-Kashmir Mahjoor was released in 1972. There is also a square in Srinagar named after him. As one of his greatest achievements, he is buried near the great poet Habba Khatoon, at a site on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, where two legends lie together.
Here is an extract from her poetry-
“Walov ha bagvanov, navbaharuk shaan paida kar
Phalan gul gath karan bulbul,
Tuthey samaan paida kar
Dazaan tche gar ye basti wale gulan hund trav zear-o-bam
Benul kar vaav kar gagraye
Bey toofan paida kar”
Translation:
O Gardner decorate this new season that has come, the flowers will bloom and birds will chirp, make such a place for us. Leave all differences and come to develop an abode of flowers, create earthquakes, wind, lightning and thunder.

These are some of the most recognized and loved poets of the valley. If we had to talk about all of them, it would have almost been impossible to compress all that beauty into one article.

At Kashmiri Life, our team will continue to add to the list of these great literary figures of Kashmir and bring it to you. Stay tuned!