But the famous poet-playwright of last century who is known as
Kashmiri inspite of
his Takhalus as 'Hashar' is Aga Mahmood, better known as Agha
Kashmir is famous all around the world for its Shawls. Even
the reign of Kanishka Shawl merchants used to participate in the
trade melas at Sialkote and sell shawls. They were known as 'Dausika'
for selling Dussas of Pashmina.
Parents of Agha Hashar had migrated to Benaras in connection
with shawl business. Aga Hashar was son of Aga Mahmad Ghani
Shah who had migrated to Benaras and was married there in the
year 1868 A.D. 'Hashar' was born and brought up at Banaras in
Nariyal Bazar Mohalla Govind Kalan. His date of birth is 3rd
1879. He passed away at Lahore on 28th April, 1945. Most of the
education was given to him at home and was taught Arabic,
and Urdu, mainly religious as his father was opposed to English
European style of education. However, on the insistance of his
and customers Aga Hashar was admitted in Jai Narayan Mission
High School. He could not get through in the tests and therefore
read at home.
At the initial stage Mahmood Hashar helped his father in
but gave it up shortly. Those days Parsi Theatre Companies were
shows of their plays at different cities in the country. Hashar
developed taste for
acting and writing plays for the companies during the days of
his education. He had
talent for writing poetry. Those days Parsi Theatre was real
patron of poets who
could write both poetry and plays. The atmosphere at home was
not conducive for
this activity and therefore, Agha Mahmood Hashar left for Bombay
to try his luck in
the field of playwrighting. At Banaras he had written a play in
seven days entitled
'Aaftab-e-Mohabbat' which was not liked by the the
master of the Alfred Company
but was purchased for Rs 60/- by one Abdul Karim Khan owner of
the Urdu paper
Aksser-e-Banaras who published the same. In Bombay he met the
proprietor of Alfred
Co. Shri Kowas Ji Palan Ji Khataow and recited his poems to him.
He liked the talent
of recitation and presentation of poems by Hashar and he was
appointed on Rs 15 per
month for writing plays for the company. Thus started his
relation with the company
and he got proper atmosphere to write plays. He wrote Murid-e-Shak,
his first play
for the company. The play was an adaptation of Shakespeare's Winter Tale.
successfully produced and presented by the Company and His wages
to Rs 40/- per month.
Thus started the career of a professional Playwright. His plays
could be divided
into four phases as per his stay in Bombay, Calcutta and other
cities. We could enumerate
his plays written from 1899 to 1901 for Alfred Company as under:
1. Mureed-i-Shak (1899). Hashar called it translation but some
others consider it
an adaptation of Shakespear's Winter Tale. The company presented
it more than 50
2. Nare Aasteen (1899-1900)
3. Asser--e-Hiras (1901). The play was based on B.R. Sheridan's
4. Meethi Churi or Durangi Duniya (1901)
Dame-Husun/Thandi Aagh (1901).
All the above plays became popular and Agha Hashar began to gain
Now other companies had also viewed the progress of Agha Hashar
his talent. Within a period of half decade Hashar had
experienced writing shorter
songs, crisp situations, witty, sharp and pointed dialogues full
of idoms and poetic
virtues. Scenes were well-planned with dramatic atmosphere,
romantic situations and
During the second phase of playwrighting from 1902 to 1910,
Hashar wrote the
following plays which were presented by different companies
besides Alfred Company:-
Shahide Nan., for Alfred Company. Its some scenes were presented
other companies of the time and later Hashar re-wrote the play
after 2 years.
Saide Hawas, written in 1905-06 was based on Shakespeare’s "King
Hashar exploited Shakespear's dramatic acumen imaginatively. It
was produced by
Parsi Theatrical Company in 1906.
Safaid Khoon. Based on the plot of Shakespear’s famous tragedy "King Lear",
this play was written in the year 1907 for 7 months for Bombay
Natak Mandali for
monthly salary of Rs 250/-
Khwabe Hasti. Though written in 1908 the play derives main
from Shakespear’s Macbeth particularly 'Dream Scene'. It was
produced by New
Alfred Theatrical Company.
Khoobsurat Bala. This 4 act play was written in 1909. This play is
to be influenced and adapted from Macbeth. Vice and virtue being
theme it was a very popular play.
By now Hashar was so popular through his plays that he achieved
reputation and some called him Indian Shakespeare. There were
about a hundred
playwrights from Hindi-Urdu belt, Gujarat, Hyderabad, Bombay,
Delhi and even
Lahore and Calcutta who were writing for different Parsi
Theatrical Companies and
must have influenced each other as is evident from similarity of
titles of some other
plays. But those who were contemporaries of Hashar and may have
influenced him or
got influenced in one way or other were Munshi Mahmood Ali Miyan
Narayan Prasad 'Betab', Mir Ghulam Abbas, Qazi Sayaad Hussain 'Nashtar',
Abdul Lateef, and Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Naja. During his third
phase of playwrighting
Hashar wrote some of the significant plays and also moved to
Calcutta from Bombay
where he found atmosphere more congenial for his
Silver King (1910) based on the play of Henry Arthur Jones of
the same title. It was known under another title of Naik Parveen.
Pehla Pyar (1911), a social play on Indian society was his
Van Devi (1913) This was written in pure Hindi.
Bharat Ramani (1914) was again an imaginative and original
play. It focussed on Love and social problems. Hashar had acted
Tantrik in the play.
Yahudi Ki Larki (1915). This play was perhaps based on W.T.
Mancrift's play 'Jews'. A film of the same title was made in
which was very popular.
Sher Ki Gharaz was another imaginative play. Conflict of
Thought Content, philosophy and atmosphere was the theme.
7. In 1920 Hashar wrote one of his famous plays 'Bilwa-Mangal'
on Sur Dass. It was a very popular play of the last century.
Madhur Murli in Hindi was another imaginative play by Hashar
related with Lord Krishna and the music of his Flute.
Bhagirath Ganga, based on Puranic story. It was later published
from Lahore and was titled Bhagirathi alias Ghanga Avtaran.
During the fourth and last phase of his playwrighting Hashar was
in Calcutta from
1920 to 1932 and wrote about dozen plays of significance, most
of them in Hindi and
experimenting and improvising his styles.
Rustum Soharab, (1920) based on Firdausi's Shahnama.
(1921) in three parts, based on Indian History and Ramayan story.
Aurat Ka Pyar (1921). A film was also made on the plot of the play
shows the popularity of this play.
Mashriki Hoor, very popular play from Hashar written in 1922. A
Aankh Ka Nasha written in 1923-24. Anti-prostitution and social
Sita Vanvas in 1927-28, based on Ramayana. By now Hashar had
own Drama company which was later sold to Nawab of Charkhari.
Bhisham Partighya written in 1928 and was based on Mahabharata
Bharati Bala written in 1929.
Exposure of social evils was the main theme.
Dharmi Balak Gharib Ki Duniya was written in 1929.
10. Dil Ki Pyas
written in 1930-32 is perhaps the last play penned by Hashar.
Some of the plays written by Hashar are not available as he used
to sell his plays to
the Companies or was paid Munshi of some companies. During his
last days he moved
to Lahore where he formed his own film company. The films made
on Hashar's plays
or plots of the plays are, Yahudi Ki Larki,
Bhisham Pratighya, Shirin Farhad,
Aurat Ka Pyar, Chandi Dass, Kismat Ka Shikar and Dil Ki Aag.
Though Hashar was not highly educated, yet he had studied
European and oriental
classics particularly, Shakespeare and Sheridan, Firdausi,
Ramyana and Mahabharata.
Whatever and whichever scene from European plays he liked, he
would either directly
translate it or translate and adapt the same in his own style
and language befitting
Indian atmosphere. The style of rendering dialogues in Parsi
style was known as
'Blood and Thunder' style because of the poetic rendering of
dialogues, which were
written stylishly. For about one century Parsi Theatre had
survived in the country
when theatre halls were constructed in the cities and towns and
were presenting shows. Aga Hashar Kashmiri's plays were seen
with keenness, and
were highly appreciated. He is the first Muslim playwright who
has been awarded
Gold Medal by Benaras Hindu University in recognition of his
playwriting and Indian Theatre.
Later on Indian cinema broke the backbone of this theatre
movement and Parsi
Theatre Halls were turned into cinema houses and people were
attracted to see films.
Almost all the famed actors, directors, musicians, scenic
designers and writers connected
with Parsi Theatre joined cinema world and films on Parsi drama
made into films. For more than half a century the Indian cinema
was influenced by
the conventions of Parsi theatre.
In our state a man of literature is known as ADEEB. Only poets,
short story writers
and critics come into this category but playwright is not termed
as "Adeeb". That is
why Agha Hashar Kashmiri has been neglected and no chair in any
been created on his name. Writing drama is perhaps considered