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Great Kashmiris !
Kashmiri Greats >>
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- Khwaja Abdul Karim Kashmiri
'Kashmiris have always been at their intellectual Zenith', writes the
famous historian, G.M.D. Sufi, 'and among those great Kashmiris who
achieved international recognition, Khwaja Abdul
Karim was the one who spent most of his time outside Kashmir. Born in
Iddgah locality of Srinagar city, Abdul Karim very soon became a great
intellectual and scholar of his time. During the reign of Nadir Shah
Durani he decided to go for Hajj and had to stay in Delhi in order to
get visa from the royal court which in those days was mandatory for
every Hajj pilgrim. Following the procedure, this Kashmiri intellectual
presented himself in the royal court and made a request for visa. During
his brief encounter with Nadir Shah he impressed the King
with his extraordinary" intelligence to such an extent that Nadir Shah
decided to take him to Iran and appoint him on an important position in
the royal court itself. Khwaja Abdul Karim accepted the offer on the
condition that he would be allowed to perform Hajj which Nadir Shah
gladly accepted. Once appointed, this great son of Kashmir left an
indelible impression of his capability and intelligence upon the Iranian
King and his courtiers. He attained the position of Foreign Minister of
Iran and was deputed to Turkey as an envoy of the King for resolving
certain disputes between Iran and Turkey. After his diplomatic triumph
in Turkey, Nadir Shah
deputed him to Baghdad and Damascus in order to resolve some important
issues between these countries. After completing these important
diplomatic assignments successfully Nadir Shah sent him to perform Hajj
in the company of a learned religious scholar, Muhammad Hashim. After
performing Hajj Khwaja abdul Karim came to India from Jedah and spent
sometime in Delhi with some European tourists. Subsequently, he returned
to Kashmir and recorded his experiences of Iran and Arabia in a lucid
and vibrant prose which is considered one of the most precious treatises
in Persian literature. He has recorded his experiences in such a manner
that the reader feels completely involved in the happenings at Nadir
Shah's court and at the same time visualizes some important places and
monuments of Damascus. He presents in just four pages a vivid picture of
Nadir Shah's court and administration which seems to be a precise of a
long epic. Khwaja Abdul Karim has recorded that Takht-i-Tawoos (the
peacock throne) which Nadir Shah along with the thrones of other
captured kingdoms, had carried with him had decorated the royal court of
Iran. Keeping in view the importance of these historical reminiscences
of Khwaja Abdul Karim, an English writer Gladson translated them into
English in 1793. In these reminiscences the documents pertaining to the
period between 1739 to 1749 are considered very important because here
Khwaja Karim has recorded some important development that took place in
Iran and India during these ten years.
- Lalla Arifa
Lalla Arifa is seen as a blend of Hindu-Muslim amalgamation. The Hindus regard her the reincarnate whereas the Muslims, a
perfect mystic saint. The Hindus say that her name was Lal Ishwari born
of the Hindu parents and remained absorbed in meditation and praise of
God. The Muslims hold that she was averse to the Hindu religion,
embraced the Islam at the behest of Syed Hussain Samnani, disliked the
Pundits and the Brahmins.
She is called by several names in Kashmir: Lal Vaid, Lalla-Ji, Lalla Ded or Lalla-Ishwari. In fact she was the lamp of Kashmir who benefited
communities, Hindus as well as Muslims. Both love and respect her.
Lalla Arifa was lost in spiritual wonderment; walked about naked; fought
against her self; and renounced the world. Her teachings gave new lease
of life to thousands of people. She was a blessed soul and could move
the hardhearted man. Lalla Arifa was a poetess and sang of spiritual and
Lalla Arifa was born in 1335 AD. To Shri Zaida Pundit or Zindia Bat, the
landlord at a village Pander - then, three miles from away form
Srinagar. He was God fearing gentleman.
From the very beginning Lal Arifa was inclined to the matters spiritual
in nature and engrossed in deep thoughts and was not interested in
worldly matters. Pundit Shri Kanth, a mystic and Yogi of High order and
the family teacher, realized the spiritual virtues in her and took over
the responsibility to educate her in the matter.
She was married at an early age to the illiterate son of the landlord of
Pampore village. Apparently she performed her household duties, but
inwardly she was given to meditation and knowledge. This resulted in the
neglect of the house, which caused her mother-in-law, and husband
complains. The mother-in-law treated her badly; put pebbles in a plate
and placed some cooked rice around them. Lalla Arifa ate the few grains
of rice and made no complaints. One day her Father-in-law came to know
of it and he rebuked his wife. This angered her further, said untrue
things about her to her husband, and turned him against her. He too
treated her cruelly.
One day Lalla Arifa carried a pitcher full of water on her head. Her
Husband arrived, and struck the pitcher with his stick in anger. The
pitcher broke but water remained in body. She came to the house, filled
in all the empty pots with water, and the remaining she threw outside
into a forest from where ran a spring of water. The episode made her
famous and people came to see her in large numbers and disturbed her.
She then renounced her house and married life and engaged herself whole
heartedly in prayers and meditation. At all times she recited verses, in
Kashmiri language, in low tones in praise of God.
To mention here the practice of Lalla shall not be out of place that in
a state of extreme ecstasy and wonderment that she roamed about the
forest and human habitations naked. Once she was going through a bazaar,
she saw a saint, was terrified and exclaimed, "Here is a man, should
cover myself." She ran to a baker's shop and jumped into the blazing
oven. People raised a hue and cry that Lalla had been burnt. The saint
also came and asked her to come out. Lalla Arifa came out, dressed in, a
long shirt with a beautiful, coloured shawl on her shoulder.
It is also said that during the condition Hazrat Makhdoom Jalal-Uddin
Jehanian Jehan Gard met her, pacified her, and told her the good news
that soon her teacher and guide, Hazrat Husain Samnani, would arrive and
relieve her of her restlessness and sufferings. Eventually came Hazrat
Samnani and Lalla Arifa, under his benign guidance, attained peace.
Lalla Arifa said verses in the Kashmiri language on subjects of
spiritualism and mysticism reaching the common people with the message
that color; castes, envy, prejudice, narrow-mindedness, and greed are
worthless. Real thing is search for the Truth. In brief, Lalla Arifa
gave people of Kashmir the message of fraternity and equality and served
them irrespective of caste and creed.
- Bulbul Shah : People
called him with the epithet of the nightingale of Kashmir, Bulbul Shah's
Real name was Syed Sheriff Uddin Abdul Rehman and title Syed Bilal that
owing to frequent use changed into Bulbul. Hence he came to be known as
Bulbul Shah or the Bulbul-e-Kashmir. Bulbul Shah sought allegiance to
the renowned saint, Shah Nemat-Ullah Farisi Shirazi, of the Suharawardy
Order who, in turn, looked to Zia Uddin-Ul-Najeeb Abdul Qahiri.
Bulbul Shah's native town is a matter of controversy among the writers.
Dr. S. N Naz thinks, he was from the region of Tamkastan of the ancient
Iran, some relates him to Baghdad; still others trace him from
Turkistan. He reached Kashmir with his friend Mullah Ahmad. Some hold,
he came to Kashmir with one thousand refugees out of the fear of the
Mangols. Others believe, he entered the valley in 1324 AD. during the
reign of Ranchan Shah. We think his arrival during the reign of Ranchan
Shah, a Bodh ruler, is more probable. Rancher Shah was a seeker of
Truth. Hinduism could not satisfy him and found the answer with Bulbul
Shah. His meeting with Bulbul left a deep mark on him and he learnt the
teaching of Islam from his precepts and actions. He embraced Islam under
the assumed name Sadar Uddin, and along with him thousands became
Ranchan Shah shared a greater responsibility in the propagation of
Islam. He ordered for the construction of a monastery for Bulbul Shah,
came to be known as the Khanqah-e-Bulbul Shah which formerly stood in
the Mohalla Bulbullinko. In addition to it, he raised a mosque and
several other buildings which don't exist now and of which we read in
The nobles who turned to Islam included the commander of the Kashmir
forces, Ravan Chandra. He adopted Bibi Lalla, the saint, as his daughter
and foretold that she would be a great saint. This proved true.
Hazrat Syed Bulbul Shah was a great scholar, a man of letters, and a
theologian. Besides, he had reached the lovely end in intrinsic and
spiritual learning. He illuminated the darkness of the hearts with the
torch of the faith.
Once it grew very cold in Kashmir. The water in the river Jhelum froze
hard. People suffered for want of water. Bulbul Shah himself went in
search of water but the Jhelum water was so hard that it refused to
break. He saw towards the sky and said, "Where is the sun to melt the
snow from its heat?" It is said, the sun rose and frozen snow melted.
Bulbul Shah was a wonderful and impressive man. Whatever he said did it
built a place of peace and quiet in the form of a monastery from where
ran the stream of benedictions and Faith that lit the entire valley.
He died on 7, Rajab 722 Hijri (1326 AD)
- Sheikh Hamza Makhdum
: Sheikh Hamza Makhdum, entitled Mehboob-Ul-Alam, and Sultan-Ul-Arifeen,
was born to Baba Usman, of the Chandra-Vanshi Rajput family, a
hereditary landlord, a scholar and a mystic saint of high order. Sheikh
Hamza Makhdum, in this manner, inherited the mysticism.
He inherited the mysticism, and from the very childhood was inclined to
the company of holy men, and to the truth. Having read the holy Qu'ran
in the village, he went to the seminary of Sheikh Ismial Kabroi for
The title Sultan-Ul-Arifeen indicates to serious efforts and painstaking
prayers did. During his studies he meditated. Baba Davood opines that
Hazrat Makhdoom did not rest during night for years but remained engaged
The great sage followed the Sunni (Tradition) strictly not only in
prayers but also in table manners, dress, manners, and etc. He
scrupulously followed the Prophet and his love for him knew no bounds.
These things helped him to reach the highest rank. Later, he had to
forsake his love for isolation in order to serve the people.
His greatest contribution was that he instructed the people to forsake
superstitions and Un-Islamic activities through his speech and actions.
Sultan-Ul-Arifin's whole life was full of strange revelations and
miracles. One them to quote is:
One day he went to the house of a saint Sheikh Khawaja Ishaq, and was
served with roasted birds for the breaking of the fast (Iftar). The sage
ate them, collected their bones raised his hands in prayer, and the
bones joined together, the birds came to life and flew out of the
Sheikh Hamza Makhdum died in the Hijri year 984 during the reign of
Sultan Ali Shah Kochak. His colleague Tahir Rafique said his funeral
prayer. He was buried near Hari parbat. Thousands of people visit the
shrine to pay their respects and receive his blessings.
- Baba Payam-uddin "Baba
Reshi": Sheikh Alam Noor Uddin Noorani impressed upon
the Kashmiri intellectuals, powerful men, and rulers, the reality and
importance of Islam. He employed discourses, discussions, debates,
revelations and miracles for the purpose. He initiated a new system
Rishiyat bearing a strong impression of the country. With the passage of
time from Sheikh-Ul-Alam Noor Uddin to Baba Payam Uddin Baba Rishi via
Baba Zain Uddin grew stronger. There were many sages (Rishis) but the
word Rishi simply refers to Baba Payam Uddin. Many places are related to
him such as: Khanqah-e-Rishi, Islamabad, Ziariat-e-Rishi (Shrine) Habba
Kadal, and a shrine, of the Rishi by the side of the road, on the
reaches of Gulmarg hill. The Gulmarg monastery appears to be a place of
solitude and peace from a distance.
Baba Payam Uddin was born to a noble and a minister of the contemporary
ruler, at Chander-nau-gaon in the region of Lar. It is also said that
Baba Payam Uddin was himself a noble of high rank and a trusted man of
the king and lived a life of ease and luxury. Still he liked the company
of the saints and sages and sought their blessings.
One day he rode a horse. On the way he saw a train of ants carrying
grains. He descended and observed them. If God wills, He directs him
with small things. He thought that the small ants were working hard to
gather grains for winter. He was there entrapped in the glamour of the
world unmindful of his next life. (A'khirat), Anxiety of the life after
death sat so heavily on his mind that he resigned his job, renounced his
home, and came to Baba Zain Uddin who put him to prayers and meditation.
On completion of the internal training he asked his permission to retire
in solitude at Tang-Marg in Rabnoh village. There lived men ill of
nature and low of character that objected to his stay but finally he won
them over and improved them.
Baba Payam Uddin died on 3, Zil Haj 889 Hijri and interned at a place, 3
miles from Tang-Marg, by the side of Gulmarg. People from all corners of
Kashmir; visit the Shrine in large numbers. It is believed whenever a
fire breaks out in the Shrine some severe calamity befalls on the people
- Gulam Ahmad Mehjoor
: The revolutionary poet Mehjoor, . Ghulam Ahmad Mehjoor
popularly known as Shair-e-Kashmir (the poet of Kashmir) was born at
Mitrigam, Pulwama on Ist August, 1887.
He is considered herald of didactic poetry in Kashmiri language. He was
the first poet of Kashmiri language to incorporate themes closer to life
and times of his age. Yet his lyrics have the magical appeal as those of
“Habba Khatoon”. His poetry for the first time in Kashmir seemed to be
concerned about national resurgence. He stands as a towering figure of
transitional Kashmiri poetry from old to new.
“ Mehjoor” is the first and the only poet till now on whom a full-length
movie was made. Thus he happens to be the only poet of Kashmir to have
risen to the heights of legend in his life time.
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