The land of kashyapa has given many scholars and poets to the world, who have dazzled us with their poetry and literary brilliance. In the world of literature names like; Lal Ded, Arnimal, Roopa Bhawani, Habba khatoon are quintessential and one amongst these names is Master Zinda Kaul. On 136thJayanti of Master ji, we remember him through his contribution to the literature.
Zinda Kaul was a well known poet , writer and a teacher from Kashmir valley. He composed in Persian, Hindi Urdu and Kashmiri. He also contributed in translating works of Kashmiri into English, Persian and Urdu.
Zinda Kaul was affectionately called masterji by his students and friends. He was born on August 1884 in Habba Kadal, Srinagar into a Kashmiri Pandit family. His father was Pandit Lakshman Kaul. Zinda Kaul ji served as school teacher for a very long time, also worked as a clerk and finally retired in 1939 from the publicity office of Kashmir as a translator. He died in Jammu in the year 1965.
Zinda Kaul’s literary work is exemplary. He was the first Kashmiri poet to win the Sahitya Academy Award in 1965, for his poetry compilations “Sumran”. Kaul initially used to write in Persian, Hindi and Urdu. His first poem was Unity and Sympathy, written in year 1896. His Kashmiripoetry was primarily based on devotion, philosophy and peace. Masterji’s poetry has been published in Persian, Hindi, Urdu and Kashmiri. However, he made his name in Kashmiri writing. He started writing in Kashmiri in 1942.
Influenced by bhakti tradition, most of his Kashmiri works were dedicated to philosophy an devotion. His poetry is found to have an essence of Lalded and Parmanand as well. He always wrote poetry for his own happiness rather than admiration. He gained popularity as a writer through his Kashmiri works more as compared to his works in other languages. Kashmiri poetry has suffered a huge loss after Masterji’s death.
Here is the selection of few lines from his famous book “Sumran”;
translated by him in English:-
Hymn to love
Great love. I have seen that thy power is marvellous as God’s
I know no God apart from thee make thou my heart-shrine…
You revealed yourself to me of your own accord
And having raised in me. You left me alone
To whose care, my sovereign Yogi!
The New Year has come
New flowers have bloomed in the garden
And song-birds have again begun their working!
Adding some beautiful lines in Kashmiri from Masterji’s composition;
Kaansie Praraan Daari Pyaath Yuss
Vaansi Haarey Dhaari oush
Aabshaaruk Tuss Hawas Kyaah
Shalmaarus Kyaah Karrey.
Meaning in English; He who has been waiting for someone at the window,
And waiting With Tears running down his eyes since an age , .
For what should he cultivate a desire to see the beautiful Waterfall !
What joy shall a visit to the Shalimar garden bring him ?
His earlier work was in Urdu and Persian. One of his Urdu poems Aha Ha Kalarki is often mentioned. This satirical poem was composed after he was appointed as a clerk in the A.G.’s office. He also wrote patriotic songs and satires on man and society.
He also published some Hindi poems in Patra Pushpa (1940). In 1939, Masterji retired from the post of a translator in the Publicity Office.Before his retirement, he had written only one Kashmiri lyric in 1910. In 1942, he recited his second Kashmiri poem Paninya Kath at Sri Pratap College.I stumbled upon few interesting pictures of Masterji’s handwritten document and his family tree. For interest of the readers, I am attaching it here.