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Dina Nath Nadim

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Description: The death of Mahjoor and Masterji closed one phase of Kashmiri poetry. With Nadim's poetry, a new phase was introduced. Some people claim that Kashmiri poetry is currently passing through an era which may be termed "the Nadim era".

Nadim was born in Srinagar in 1918. He grew up in poverty. His father died when he was a child, and his mother raised him by herself. His mother had a great influence on him. She was illiterate, but very wise. While working at the spinning wheel, she would recite Lal Ded's sayings to Nadim.

Nadim pursued his studies in great poverty and hardship. He received his B.A. degree in 1943 and obtained his B.T. degree in 1947.

From his childhood, he was interested in politics, freedom and progressivism. He was deeply influenced by the ideas of Bhagat Singh. His poetry is full of these ideas. The following is illustrative:

Burn and burn like a colorful field of la:liza:r!
Roar and roar like a waterfall!
You are fire
A furious fire of burning youth
Come out
And cross the hills and dales
Raise a storm!
Be a storm!

Another specimen is:

Why should the share of a laborer
be taken by a capitalist?
Why should a honey bee
circle the flowers and take away their honey?

Nadim introduced various poetic styles into Kashmiri. He was the first Kashmiri poet to write in blank verse, bi g'avini az, "I Shall Not Sing Today", is a good example of it.

In the beginning, Nadim composed poetry in English, Hindi, and Urdu. But then he wrote only in Kashmiri. Nadim used the Kashmiri language in his poetry with great grace and craftsmanship. He depicted the beauty and the poverty of Kashmir in all of his poetry. The following is an example:

A lost stray cloud
Floating aimlessly with the moon
As if a beggar woman holds a leftover lump of watery rice
In the corner of her headcover.

Nadim has also composed poetry in the folkstyle. In these folk poems, he has portrayed the dreams and longings of Kashmiris. The following is illustrative:

ya: sa:hi hamda:n,
ya: sa:hi hamda:n.
Are we human?
Who says human!
The winter is ahead of us
The pocket is moneyless
The hovel is roofless
And the law is chasing us
Do you care?
I don't care!
ya sa:hi hamda:n,
ya: sa:hi hamda:n.

For several years Nadim taught at the Hindu High School. After independence, he was appointed the Assistant Director of Social Education. In 1971, the Russian government gave him the Nehru award. He has also been a member of the Sahitya Academy. He has travelled to Russia, China, and some other countries as well, Nadim has been greatly influenced by communism and by progressive writers.

His poetry has contributed to Kashmir's struggle for freedom. Nadim also wrote the first opera in the Kashmiri language, entitled, bombir ti yembirzal "The Bumblebee and the Narcissus".

Nadim has greatly influenced the young Kashmiri poets of today. Kashmiri poetry is still going through the Nadim era.

Reproduced from:
An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri
by Braj B. Kachru
Department of Linguistics, University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois 61801 U.S.A.
June, 1973
Date: 26.04.2004 20:13
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