(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer)
WHEN Nighat Sahiba released her poetry collection“Zarred Panneki Daer” (Piles of Pallid Leaves), it put speculations about the decay of Kashmiri literature to rest. The book heralded, as critics and readers observed, a new era in Kashmiri poetry; its feminine adding to its thematic nuance. The book went on to earn Sahitya Academy Yuva Puruskar in 2017 and is still being discussed, scrutinised, evaluated and critically appreciated. It is not the book which concerns us here, but the active participation of the younger generation in the production of quality literature in Kashmiri language, meaningful engagement with the mother tongue and wearing Kashmiri language on sleeve. It is not only in the domain of poetry that quality creations are brought forth, but the genre of prose, literary criticism, aesthetics and other allied branches of literature have seen similar sprouting and blossom in terms of the quality and quantity of works being produced. On the whole, the horizon is promising and what is more interesting is that the production of these quality works is coming through the younger generation of writers and scholars. This state of affairs is at variance and polar opposition to the apprehensions being expressed now and then that Kashmiri literature is on the decline and the younger generation of writers has shunned away their mother tongue. What is seen on the contrary is that there is a situation of hope and optimism and an entire cadre of writers has emerged who are not only taking pains to preserve the literary legacy of Kashmiri language, but also enriching it and adding to its treasure.
In the contemporary global village of closely knit world, translations have come to play an important role both in enriching any language with the translations of classics and rendering the literary works from the native language into other global languages for the wider readership – and so consoling and promising it is to see exchange taking place both the ways. Mufti Muddasir's rendition of Mahmud Ghami into English recently, published under Penguin Classics is a glaring illustration of the scope and appeal of Kashmiri literature and the kind of interest people are cultivating towards the same. Rehman Rahi, the poet laureate of Kashmir, of whom we had complained elsewhere that he was lost without translation has been translated into English and an anthology of his translated poems is set for a release.
On the other hand, a massive work and a world classic like War and Peace by Tolstoy has been rendered into Kashmiri, not to speak of Wuthering Heights, King Lear, Qaseeda Burda, Payam E Mashriq etc. Likewise Lal Ded has been translated more than once and exhaustive works on her life and times, her poetry and mysticism has been produced world over. This process is important to the fact that Kashmiri language is not decaying but flourishing in its literary episteme. There may be lacunae here and there and they call for the necessary remedial measureS but these can't be equated with the downfall and decay of language and literature.
In our previous article , we made a point that we do not remember our literary ancestors and now we are pleading the bright future of Kashmiri literature. Something important is to be noted here if we want to avoid the apparent conflict between these two statements.
The production of literature is the task specific to the literary elite, who either specialise in language and literature or have an innate propensity for literature which manifests in their literary outpour. But the consumption of literature, reading books written by authors and to give any work of prose or poetry an ascent to acceptability is usually the function of masses, not en masse, but a larger section thereof. It was in reference to this general distancing of masses from their language and literature that a caution was raised in the last article. But let it be stated with a stamp of confidence and evidence that the men of literature are doing wonderful in their respective domains and are bringing laurels, not only to themselves, but the Kashmiri language and literature in general. With that caveat in place, those having little hope for the future of Kashmiri Literature can only be invited to the works of younger writers like Adil Mohiuddin, Masroor Muzaffar, Sagar Sarfaraz, Showkat Sufi, Dheeba Nazir, Rafia Wali and countless others to discover for himself that the future of Kashmiri literature is bright indeed.
Views expressed in the article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer
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