Shad Ramzan’s literary brilliance transcends generations, offering a timeless glimpse into the heart of Kashmir. His profound poetry and prose define spirituality, love, and culture, intertwining them.
BY KHURSHEED DAR
In the picturesque and enchanting valley of Kashmir, where nature masterfully weaves a tapestry of mesmerizing landscapes, cultural richness, and a historic legacy that stretches back through the annals of time, one name shines as a beacon of literary brilliance: Professor Mohammad Ramzan Shah, known far and wide by his literary alias, Shad Ramzan. Literary Luminary Shad Ramzan
This literary luminary, born on April 12, 1956, in the idyllic village of Arehpora, nestled within the Kulgam district of South Kashmir, emerged from the cradle of an educated and enlightened family. His indelible mark on the Kashmiri language and literature continues to reverberate through the hearts and minds of generations, offering a profound insight into the very soul of Kashmir and its people.
Honored with the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award for his remarkable collection of Kashmiri poetry, titled “Kore Kakud Pushrith Gome,” Shad Ramzan’s literary prowess extends beyond mere accolades. He has penned numerous books, and his erudite research articles have found their home in the esteemed pages of prominent literary journals dedicated to the Kashmiri language and literature.
The journey into the literary horizon of Kashmir embarked upon by Professor Shad Ramzan resembles the delicate unfolding of a bud, gradually revealing a kaleidoscope of emotions, thoughts, and profound reflections. His early life was deeply enmeshed with the intricate tapestry of Kashmir’s social and cultural mosaic, a region renowned for its mysticism and artistic heritage.
Kashmir, often referred to as the “Paradise on Earth,” has an enduring history steeped in poetic tradition. Its breathtaking beauty, seamlessly interwoven with a tumultuous history, has consistently served as a recurring theme in its rich literary tradition. Yet, the verses of Professor Shad Ramzan transcend the conventional portrayal of scenic beauty; they plunge into the intricate complexities of life, love, brotherhood, peace, pain, spirituality, and the ever-evolving socio-cultural milieu of his era.
One of the most striking facets of Professor Shad Ramzan’s poetry lies in his remarkable ability to evoke a profound sense of nostalgia. His verses vividly depict the changing seasons, the blossoming gardens, and the serene lakes of Kashmir. In the fragrance of saffron fields and the melodies of traditional music, his words conjure a sensory journey.
Through his poetry, he beckons his readers to wander through the narrow lanes of Srinagar, immerse themselves in the bustling markets, and bask in the tranquility of the houseboats that grace the Dal Lake. It is for this reason that his work has garnered widespread recognition in the heart of Kashmir, earning him titles such as “Shayer i Maraz,” “Fakhre i Maraz,” and “Shan i Gazal” from various literary and cultural forums.
At the heart of Professor Shad Ramzan’s poetry lies a deep spirituality that mirrors the very essence of Kashmir’s ethos. Influenced profoundly by the rich Sufi tradition that once thrived in the region, his verses often embark on an exploration of the spiritual journey, the quest for meaning, and the pursuit of divine love.
Consider, for instance, his poetic masterpiece, “Choonth Kulis Tal” (Under the Apple Tree), a long poem written in free verse. Within its verses, Professor Shad Ramzan masterfully creates an ethereal atmosphere, merging the realms of eternity and non-eternity:
“Baar Khudaya Taeth Bagus Manz Choont Kolus tal Ker ghachi azlus abdus moel” (Oh God! When will be the confluence of eternity and non-eternity beneath the apple tree in the garden?)
With finesse, he employs metaphors and allegorical imagery, infusing his poetry with layers of meaning that resonate with readers of all ages. His ability to seamlessly blend traditional poetic forms with contemporary ideas infuses new life into the realm of Kashmiri literature.
His words serve as a reflection of the teachings imparted by the sages and saints who once tread the valleys of Kashmir, imparting wisdom that transcends the constraints of time and religious boundaries.
Professor Shad Ramzan’s poetry stands as a testament to profound themes, lyrical expressions, and a profound connection to the social, religious, and cultural ethos of Kashmir. His verses delve into the intricate tapestry of love, nature, spirituality, and the intricate labyrinth of human emotions.
In addition to his poetic contributions, Shad Ramzan ventured into the realm of Kashmiri prose. Here, he embraced essay writing and literary criticism, leaving an indelible mark with masterpieces like “Ath zulmatas lal kiyah chhi tay” and “Sahal cha maine bozun.” These works vividly showcase his versatility as a writer, addressing contemporary issues, championing social reform, and providing insightful commentary on the ever-evolving dynamics of Kashmiri society. His writings invariably reflect a deep concern for preserving Kashmir’s rich cultural heritage while gracefully embracing the winds of modernity.
Professor Shad Ramzan’s dedication to linguistic research had a profound impact on the Kashmiri language. He embarked on a journey to uncover the origins of Kashmiri, tracing its evolution and unraveling its intricate linguistic features. His research endeavors played a pivotal role in documenting and standardizing the language, a task of utmost importance in a world that continually undergoes rapid transformation. Furthermore, he championed the development of a modern Kashmiri lexicon, bridging the gap between the language’s rich literary history and its contemporary relevance.
Among Professor Shad Ramzan’s notable achievements was his instrumental role in reviving the traditional Kashmiri “vaakh.” This form of folk poetry had been fading into obscurity, but through his tireless efforts, Shad Ramzan rekindled interest in this cherished oral tradition. He meticulously collected, compiled, and disseminated vaakhs, ensuring that the wisdom and cultural expressions enshrined within them were preserved for future generations. This endeavor not only safeguarded the linguistic and cultural heritage of Kashmir but also instilled a profound sense of pride and identity among its people.
Beyond the realms of poetry and prose, Professor Shad Ramzan’s monographs on subjects such as “Kabir,” “Waza Mahmood,” “Wahab Khar,” and “Khazir Malik Safayee” stand as profound pillars of knowledge, illuminating intricate subjects with meticulous research and eloquent prose. Through these monographs, Shad Ramzan ignited intellectual curiosity, leaving an indelible mark on the relentless pursuit of wisdom.
Furthermore, Professor Shad Ramzan’s recognition extends to the national stage, as evidenced by his receipt of the prestigious national translation award for “Anhaar Te Aks” in 2009. This work, a Kashmiri rendering of seventeen short stories originally penned in various Indian languages, showcases the translator’s profound understanding of both the content and spirit of the original writings. Additionally, his contributions have not gone unnoticed within his home state, where he has been honored with prestigious awards such as “Khilati Harmuk,” “Khilat Shabaz,” “Fhakri Maraz,” “Khilatai Noor,” “Khilati Moti Lal,” and “Khilati Fazil Kashmiri.”
As the golden orb of the sun sets behind the majestic Himalayan peaks, casting a resplendent glow over the valley, the words of Professor Shad Ramzan continue to reverberate through the corridors of time. His poetry, prose, and monographs transcend mere words; they represent a living legacy that immortalizes the spirit of Kashmir and its eternal connection to the world of poetry.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of this newspaper