Photo - Habba Khatun Information
||Lal Ded contributed the vaks of devotion and wisdom to the Kashmiri language. Habba Khatun, on the other hand, sang songs of love and romance.
Habba Khatun was born in the village of Chandrahar in the sixteenth century. In her earlier days, she was called Zoon (the Moon). She grew up in the midst of the saffron fields and in the shade of the chinar trees. She was not raised as a typical peasant girl. She had learnt how to read and write from the village moulvi. At an early age her father married her to a peasant boy. But this illiterate peasant boy could not keep Zoon happy. He could not understand the longings of her heart. Just like Lal Ded, Zoon also was sad. Lalla became desperate and left her home. Zoon divorced her husband and started singing songs in Kashmiri.
Zoon used to sing in the shade of a chinar tree. One day Yusuph Shah Chak was out hunting that way on horseback. He happened to pass the place where Zoon was singing under the chinar tree. He heard her melancholic melodies, and went to look at her. He was stunned by her beauty. As soon as their eyes met, they fell in love. Later, Zoon and Yusuph Shah were married. She changed her name and became Habba Khatun.
Habba Khatun introduced lol to Kashmiri poetry, lol is more or less equivalent to the English 'lyric'. It conveys one brief thought. It is full of melody and love.
Habba Khatun kept Yusuph Shah under her control. The couple was very contented, and Yusuph Shah became the ruler of Kashmir.
Their happiness did not last long. Akbar came into prominence in Delhi, and he called Yusuph Shah there. In 1579, Yusuph Shah was compelled to go to Delhi. In Delhi, Akbar arrested him. He was kept in prison in Bihar. Poor Habba Khatun was separated from Yusuph Shah. The songs of Habba Khatun are full of the sorrow of separation. It is claimed that Habba Khatun introduced the 1ol into tho Kashmiri (language) After her came Arnimal who also sang mournful lyrics.
An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri
by Braj B. Kachru
Department of Linguistics, University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois 61801 U.S.A.