By Prof. Jagan Nath Azad
I had Cong
been convinced about Dr. Brij Premi’s educational and literary skills. But after
going through his book "Kashmir
I discovered one more facet of his personality. I found that
Brij Premi was not only a writer, but a historian too, and as a historian he
never lost sight of research.
have not contributed much in the fields of poetry, short story, novel, drama,
literary criticism, and other subjects. Dr. Brij Premi's book "Kashmir
carries details about Martand (architecture) and Surya Mandir
Bernier Aur Kashmir (history)
this important aspect of his multifaceted personality. I would, moreover, regard
his fourth article on Govind Kaul as a blend of history and literature.
culture and history the book, on the subject of personalities, includes four
articles and five articles on literature and what is common among these topics
is beautiful prose-writing, what we call Readability, which is becoming rare by
four essays on the subject of personalities, first is about Govind Kaul, as
already mentioned above. Besides this, there are articles on Prem Nath Pardesi,
Prem Nath Dhar and Hamidi Kashmiri.
these writers are, no doubt, connected with their personalities. It is natural
that one can't read and understand the literary works of a writer by separating
these from his personality. To write about a person in such a way that the
personality of the writer and his literary work may be well mixed is a difficult
job. Brij Premi has easily overcome this difficulty. The credit for this goes to
his effusive style of writing.
four articles in this book under the title of literature. These are Lal
Ded Ki Shairi (poetry of Lal Ded), Mantoo Aur Shair Kashmir
Mehjoor (Mantoo and the poet Mehjoor of Kashmir), progressive literary
Kashmir and Urdu in
last article of the book is related to journalism in J&K State.
knowing people, have certainly heard Lal Ded's name, but are not conversant with
her work. Brij Premi in his article has not only made the readers aware about
Lal Ded's excellent poetry, but has also included the Urdu translation of her
Kashmiri poetry in his article, thereby removing the lack of communication
between Lal Ded's works and the readers who do not know Kashmiri language. This
way such readers will not only get at the quintessence of her poetry, but will
also taste and enjoy the sweetness of her language and the poetic gift.
"Mantoo Aur Shair Kashmir, Mehjoor"
is a very
distinct and peculiar subject. Apparently there seems to be no connection
between these two great writers. There is no link or contact between the two.
But Brij Premi has revealed the truth in this article that the biggest link
between the two is provided by 'Rooh-e-Kashmir' (the soul of
Kashmir), the soul which informs both. And then Mantoo himself remarks:
"I have not seen
Kashmiris, I have seen
But alas! I have not seen Mehjoor..."
knowing people like us it is such a reality of which we knew nothing. I knew
that Mantoo loved
excessively, but that he yearned to see Mehjoor was something I had no knowledge
In the same
way, his article on Hamidi Kashmiri-whom people like me know closely and are his
friends--provides us such information about which we had absolutely no
I have been
Kashmir since 1948, and between 1948 and
1977 I resided in
I often had the occasion of meeting Hamidi Sahib in literary gatherings, poetic
symposia, and at the University in his department at the Iqbal Institute. He
might have paid a visit to my residence or met me in my office at the Press
Information Bureau. But I met him a number of times at his residence. But the
following fact became known to me through Brij Premi's book.
As a result
of his being formally associated with the progressive movement a subtle impact
of the movement on him is discernible in his stories.
It was my
ignorance that right from the beginning I had supposed him to be against the
literary progressive movement.
Main Taraki Pasand Adbi Tehrik"
(Progressive literary movement in
a very important article in the book. No historian who writes the history of the
Progressive Literary Movement, can ignore this article. If he does so, he can't
do justice with his subject. This article is a mirror through which we can see
the literary activities of people like Prem Nath Pardesi, Peer Abdul Ahad, Gulam
Rasool Renzu, Peer Giyas-ud-Din, Noor Mohammed Asi, Moti Lal Misri, Pran Nath
Jalali, Badri Nath Nishat, Madhusudan Kausar, Shair-i-Kashmir Mehjoor, Arjan Dev
Majboor, Soom Nath Zutshi, Master Zinda Kaul, Amin Kamil, Ali Mohammad Lone,
Qaisar Qalandar, Mohinder Raina, Aziz Haroon, Habib Kamran, Bansi Nirdosh, Nand
Lal Ambardar, Prem Nath Premi, Dina Nath Almast, Deepak Kaul, Tej Bahadur Bhan,
Firaq and other Urdu and Kashmiri writers; their literary activities were
directly associated with the progressive movement in the field of literature.
This topic is such a significant chapter in the Literary Progressive Movement in
without which the literary progressive movement in India can't be said to be
There is a
critical review of late Professor Abdul Qadir Sarwari’s book "Kashmir
Kashmir) which has appeared before us in the shape of a detailed piece of
scholarly research. Brij Premi has presented himself before us in this article
as an authoritative research scholar.
regards late Abdul Qadir Sarwari as one of the great and responsible critics and
research scholars of the subcontinent whose every moment of life was spent in
the service of Urdu knowledge and literature. But instead of his great reverence
for Sarwari Sahib, he has not overlooked the factual inaccuracies of the latter,
but has fulfilled his duty as an impartial researcher. In this context, a few
examples may be cited here as under.
place Sarwari Sahib describes the pseudonym of Prem Nath Pardesi as Allama
Sidiqui Sanbawi and at other places the same false name is given to Dina Nath
Dilgir. The novel 'Taziana Abrat' written by Nand Lal Begaraz,
while toeing the line of Rattan Nath Sarshar, has been called a collection of
articles. He has written a lot on Sahibzada Mohd. Umar Noor Illahi's "Natak
Sagar" and other dramas, but does not make any mention of his commendable work
Amanat's Indersabha' which the editors have, for the first time,
divided into scenes and acts and given it a superior shape. While talking about
the Urdu Short Story in Kashmir, he gives prominence to Prem Nath Pardesi and
forgets Charag Hassan Hasrat, whose collection of short stories--"Kele Ka
Chilka" and other short stories had been published long ago in 1927.
While talking of short story writers, he writes about only a few short story
writers of that period whose material he had taken from the files of Martand. He
ignores Jammu completely. He also does not make mention of the upcoming short
story writer of that time, Prem Nath Dhar. There is also no mention of the short
story writers of the same period, namely, Gulzar Ahmed Fida, Kausar Seemabi,
Akhgar Askari, Kaif Asraili, Abdul Aziz Alai, etc. who were showing
extraordinary skills in the art of short story writing in the forties of
previous century. When we come to novel writing, we find mention of only
Narsinghdas Nargis's 'Parbati'. There is absolutely no reference to
Pardesi's novel "Poti". He does not make any mention anywhere of the
famous expert on linguistics, Dr. Sidheshwar Verma's book "Aariyayi
Zabine" (Aryan languages). There is also no reference to Quadrat Ullah
Shahab and Abu Syeed Qureshi. Who rendered service to Urdu from outside Kashmir
around this period. Instead he makes a mention of Mathradevi, Radha Rani and
some leaders of the state in respect of the publication and popularization of
Urdu prose, when we know that these persons had nothing to do with Urdu prose
writing. It appears that whatever he got from the columns of newspapers, he went
on including it in his book, without any specialization in research. We don't
find any reference to any period in this volume of Sarwari Sahib's book. It
can't be said with certainty as to which the beginning of the period he is
referring to, nor do we get any idea as to the limit of its expansion. From
chronological point of view, those writers and poets whose mention should have
been made first, have been placed towards the end of the book. He includes in
the third volume of his book the works of writers and poets till the end of the
sixties of the year of Independence and of those who spent their time in serving
Urdu as writers or poets. Sarwari Sahib brings to light, as a diligent
researcher, a number of memorable works. But here again he has misrepresented
things at several places. He has given pre-eminence to a write-up which he has
found in a paper or a journal, which is the speech of a leader whose report is
published in a local newspaper, or some official report got published by some
Kashmir Ki Sahafat"
in J&K) is likewise criticism and research-oriented. It is the misfortune of
Urdu literature that when Brij Premi's scholarly work was on its way to touch
the peak, he left us for good. Had he not gone so soon, he could have been
bracketed as a researcher, after sometime, with Dr. Gyan Chand, Malik Ram, Mohd.
Yusuf Teng. Dr. Aslam Farukhi, and Tanveer Ahmed Alvi. But God willed otherwise.
It is the irony of fate that Premi, who has given us the following beautiful
piece of prose, as a writer of promise is not with us :-
Kashmir is my birth place, Kashmir is my
I am in love with every atom of its soil,
Under its blue sky,
In its rustling ambience of nature
How many hues there are!
How much of fragrance!
And how much of light
one wonders at this bewitching beauty.
“I have just tried to gather a handful of such splendour
fragrance and colour and give myself up to it, and describe it.
But my words have melted away, as it were, before this
terrible intensity of this beauty, splendour or fragrance.”
Kashmiri writes, in glowing terms, about Brij Premi’s deep attachment with his
land of birth.
Premi's association with Kashmiriyat clearly points to his love and attachment
revealed many concealed aspects of this peculiar subject and as true son of the
soil, he has been, for a long time, bringing before the world the greatness of
his motherland. He is, according to Khaleel-ur-Rahman Azmi intimating the people
Kashmir that he is one among their own. After
Kashmir, Brij Premi is in the process of a
result-oriented survey about his own self.
The way he
unravels the hidden aspects of the pre-eminence of the Kashmiri culture and
literature, with diligence and dedication, makes evident his own liberal
mindedness, open personality, patriotism and humaneness. That very Brij Premi
left Kashmir for Jammu as an oppressed migrant and in
itself lived nearly as a helpless person and in helplessness left this world may
be, he had this line of Ghalib on his lips-
Mara Dyare Gaer, Main Mujko Watan Se Dhoor
(I got killed in a strange land
Away from my motherland'.
from original by Prof. M.L. Raina)
*The author was an Internationally
recognised authority on Iqbaliyaat