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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Premi - My Friend and Comrade

By C.L. Chrangoo

Dr. Brij Premi was an Urdu scholar par excellence. Cruel hands of death snatched him soon after his displacement from Srinagar in 1990. This came as a shock to his family, comrades, friends and above all the literary world of Urdu.

He held Marxist views, yet at the same time he was liberal in his outlook and demeanour. The cultural movement of fifties stimulated him to experiment with poetry writing. Soon he left it to take up prose. His grasp of the language turned him into a brilliant writer. His writings began to be published in reputed Urdu journals of northern India. This brought him closer to leading lumanaries of Urdu language in the country.

Brij Kishen Aima used to write under the penname of ‘Premi’. The style of his writing was bewitching. His elegant prose, marked by short sentences and rich themes, impressed his friends.

He rose up the ladder in his career the hard way. He had lost his father at an early age and had to shoulder the responsiblity of the family. Dr. Premi worked very hard and displayed determination in facing up to the situation.

Dr. Premi submitted an excellent work on Saadat Hasan Manto to earn his Ph.D degree. This brought fame to Premi Ji and opened new vistas in his career. He left behind career in school teaching to join Kashmir University as a Postgraduate teacher. It was here that he made his great contribution to Urdu language and emerged as a scholar of repute.

I was lucky enough to have enjoyed his companionship at many levels - as a collegue, as a friend and also as a comrade. My memories go back to the times when we were comrades in the Teachers Trade Union Movement. I would just recall one instance.

We happened to sit on a dharna at Badiyar during teachers’ strike in 1969. The call had been given by Teachers Association of J&K, then affiliated to Democratic Conference, a leftist outfit. As active comrades we had to listen to the long speech of Ram Pyara Saraf the preceding night. Messers Krishan Dev Sethi and Ghulam Mohd Malik were also there. We were issued directions by them. Myself and Dr. Premi had to sit on hunger strike at Badiyar under a shamiana, pitched just on the roadside. As the hunger strike was in progress, one of the Srinagar-based leaders of Democratic Conference came and called me in a manner which invited suspicion. He told me that Srinagar wing of Democratic Conference did not contribute to the decision to sit on hunger strike. He argued, “We are not with it. It is like asking alms from a government which we do not recognise at all. Our objective is to achieve the brotherhood of people all over the world from Soviet Union to China.” He went on to give me a long lecture on the dangerous goal that he and his likeminded collegues had embarked upon. This came to be called, Peking via Pindi” thesis. I returned to the tent and conveyed in hushed tones to Dr. Premi what the Democratic Conference leader had said. Though shocked on learning this, Dr. Premi just laughed it away saying he expected this response. He, however, stressed that one should remain firm in conviction. I was highly impressed by Dr. Premi’s response and the strength of his conviction.

We sat through the day for hunger strike. For rejecting the Peking via Pindi thesis’, we were dubbed as ‘Pandit communists’. Dr. Premi had clear mind and displayed boldness in day to day life.

*The author is an eminent educationist and was actively associated with Kashmir's Theatre Movement

Source: Kashmir Sentinel

  

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