‘Mahde Saeb Poshwari’- A profound Sufi poet! 

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By: Mushtaq Hurra

Shrines and Mausoleums are a common sight in the valley of Kashmir. Every Hamlet, village and town of Kashmir is abode to one or the other Sufi saint, or I must say that Sufism is deeply embedded in the soil of Kashmir. From Nund Reshi to Ahad Zargar, numerous sufi saints and poets have taught us the lessons of cherished human values and the eternal truth and oneness of Almighty. The unconditional service to the mankind was the soul of most of the sufi poetry. The tradition hasn’t ended as contemporary Kashmir is rich with Sufi saints-cum-poets whose poetry solaces our hearts and souls. Listening or reading this kind of poetry stirs our minds and hearts.

Bandipora district of Kashmir valley is known for its great literary contribution and service to Kashmir language. This district has produced many legends of Kashmir literature, and the Hajin Tehsil of this district takes the Lions share when it comes to Kashmiri language and literature. Wahab Khaar Hajini, Moulvy Sideequllah, Prof. Mohi-ud-din Hajini, Aziz Hajini and many others are a few among many jewels of this town. According to Mohammad Yousuf Taing, Hajin is the Bidayu’n of Kashmir.

The legacy continued and spreads to the outskirts of  the Hajin town as well. This time, a new star appeared on this horizon, from Poshwari, a small hamlet, some six kilometres away from Hajin.

Yes, Haji Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Bhat, aka Mahde Saeb Poshwari, a lesser known Sufi poet-cum-saint has the profundity of the thought and calmness of a Darvish .

Born in a small Hamlet of Poshwari, some 6 kilometers away from Hajin, Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Bhat is the third among his siblings. Though nothing is known about his exact date of birth but he guesses it to be around 1936 or 1937.His father, late Haji Abdul Rehman Bhat was a pious and a noble soul who was admired in the whole area for his generosity and piety. He believed in legitimate earnings and was blessed with a son like Mahde Saeb. Mahde Saeb mother was a housewife who was an embodiment of love and sympathy and was called with the appellation of “food serving mother” ( Bate Mouj ) by one and all in the village.

Mahde Saeb could hardly complete his primary education due to lack of avenues of further education available in the area though he was very bright in studies. But his inner urge and appetite for learning didn’t stop and he attained strong hold over numeration, Urdu, Arabic and Persian. Besides helping his father in farming, Mahde Saeb had a strong business aptitude. He worked as a contractor at a very young age and earned a good name in the business fraternity of the area. He excelled in the sector and spread his business to new dimensions. He soon started a saw mill in his native village thus strengthened the economy of his family to a greater extent.

Mahde Saeb had great interest for poetry and the folklore of Kashmir since his young age. He was a member of a folk singing party that formed the basis of his strong affiliation with Sufi saints and their poetry. He was very inquisitive and would often wonder about the creation and truth of life and universe. His spiritual endowments provoked him to seek a guide who could quench his spiritual hunger. For this purpose, he went to late Akram sahab of Tulmulla and became his cherished disciple. He followed Akram sahab of Tulmulla for some sixteen years till the latter’s death.

Mahde Saeb married Bakhti Baigum and thecouple gave bitrth to three daughters and a son. After his son, Ghulam Ahmad, showed interest in his family business, Mahde Saeb began to spent time seeking the answers to his queries. He would spend hours together in meditating and contemplating. He began to lead a life of penance. Strictly following his Peer-o-Murshid’s guidelines, Mahde Saeb would spend hours in praying and in remembrance of almighty. After the passing away of his spiritual guide, he moved to Lala Aragami  sahab of Aragam Bandipora where his endowments found the ultimate depth and his real journey started. Lala sahab Aragami changed his life which he has proudly announces in the opening pages of his poetic collection.

Thus, after his affiliations with Lala Aragami,   Mahde Saeb began his poetic journey. When asked about the source of this endowment, he at once called it a divine blessing and the beneficence of his spiritual guide. Mahde Saeb continued to narrate poems.

In 1994, his first poetic collection was published under the title ‘Eshqe-Sudur’ (ocean of love) is seen, by many critics, as profound and genuine Sufi poetry that highlights his poetic craft and the greatness of his thought. Late Mohammad Aasan Ahsan of Hajin wrote the Foreword of this book. In his poems and Gazals, Mahde Saeb wishes to apprise us about the frailty and the transitory nature of the world. He, like the Sufi poets, stresses upon the protection of human values. “Service to mankind is service of God”  is the basic tenet of his poertry. Ishqi-Nabi Salallahu-alaihi-wasalam ( Love of Prophet Mohammad Salallahu-alaihi-wasalam) is the primary standard of Sufism and Mahde Saeb’s poetry is dominated by this underlying current.

Mahde Saeb Poshwari has been serving the needy for many decades.Every Sunday, needy and desirous people throng his residence at Poshwari Naidkhai to seek divine blessing and the solutions to their miseries. He has a good number of disciples across the northern Kashmir. Octogenarian, Mahde Saeb is not keeping well for the last many years. Particularly the death of his only son in 2010, shattered his life, and impacted him very deeply. Since then, he mostly preferred to stay at home.

Every year, cultural academy in collaboration with Radio Kashmir, conducts a poetic gathering and musical program at his residence on 9th of August in celebration and acknowledgement of his fine craft of poetry. Besides the spiritual get-together, meals are served to every visitor.  I wish Mahde Saeb a quick recovery and more healthy days ahead so that the flow of such classic literature continues and we are enriched by the beauty, melody as well as profundity of his thought.

The writer is a teacher and can be reached at [email protected]

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