Srinagar- An event commemorating Life and Times of Kashmir’s last Persian poet Mohammad Amin Darab kicked off at Amar Singh Club on Monday.
The weeklong event organized by INTACH in collaboration with HELP foundation seeks to bring forth the contribution of Mohammad Amin Darab in Persian poetry and literature before the Kashmiri people.
In addition to Darab’s poetic works, rare Persian manuscripts have been put on display for the visitors.
Speakers described Darab as the last Persianate poet and an individual grounded in the spiritualism linked with various Sufi orders of Kashmir
Speaking to Kashmir Observer, Saleem Beigh Convenor, INTACH, said that it is for the first time that personal archives have been bought in an exhibition.
“Persian language has been an intangible part of Kashmir history and Mohammad Amin Darab being the last Kashmiri poet enjoys a special place, Persian language has been Kashmir’s court language for 500 years. Trade and other happenings used to take place in this language” Saleem said.
Saleem said the event is the result of a long search with families having personal archives.
“In Kashmir there are several families who had an association with Persian. We were in search of these families and we reached the Drabu family. We came to know about the manuscripts of the late poet, rest is history” he said.
Saleem further described Amin’s personality as a versatile one.
“Darab Sahab was not only a poet, he was a versatile person, and he has compiled a bayaaz (a manuscript containing Persian poetry of different poets)”
“He was a master in writing “Maadaye Taarekh”. An old Kashmiri art wherein a poet would write poetry on a particular event or thing and numerical value of the last verse denoted to the date of the event”
Saleem says he is hopeful to display the personal archives of other families in the future as well. Exhibitions like these help us to relive those times and the families get the chance to project their ancestors’ works. It is an aspect of cultural preservation.
Nighat Shafi Pandit, Chairman, NGO HELP Foundation, said that the event was being held for the first time and it is being held to familiarize the new Kashmiri generation of our legacy.
“Our ancestors were very competent and their contribution in the field of literature is immense. So, it is very important to familiarize the new generation with our history” Nighat, granddaughter of the late poet, said.
Nighat further said that Khwaja Amin Darab was a very educated and religious person. His works have been recognized in Iran and Afghanistan. During his lifetime, he was invited to these countries, however, he did not go.
“Darab sahib would connect with ordinary people and would write on contemporary issues and religion. We have displayed his works in Persian in order to familiarize people with his works”
Hakim Sameer Hamdani, Design Director at INTACH said that Persian has been Kashmir’s Court language for 500 years but unfortunately we are not familiar with it.
“Persian has been an integral part of culture. Darab Sahab has contributed a lot to Persian language and literature. The event has been held to get connected to our roots and popularize him among the new generation”.
“In this world of steady decline, Khwaja Muhammad Amin with the takhalus (penname) Darab emerges as one of the last transmitters of traditional Muslim learning, grounded in Persian adab (literature) Sameer said.
Aside from his poetry, Darab was a great calligrapher and some of his handwritten rukas in the Nastaliq script showcases the calligraphic talent of the late poet.
It is pertinent to mention, Mohammad Amin Darab, was born in 1890/91. He belonged to a family of merchants and land grantees of the Maharaja. He died in 1979 and is buried in Khewan, Narwara.
The first half of the twentieth century marks a steady eclipse of Persian in Kashmir, after its prominence as the language of the court, religion, literature, historiography and elite culture for more than five centuries.
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