The modern day genius in Kashmiri, Urdu literature
Remembering Basheer Asrar-
By: Mariya Younis, Hashim Muneer Khan
Basheer Asrar, one of the most prominent and acclaimed modern Kashmiri writers who died on Sunday 3rd January 2021 due to cardiac arrest at his residence Bakshiabad Anantnag at the age of 68 will be remembered forever for his literary contributions and for the uniqueness of his work. ”A great figure in the world of Kashmiri literature, Asrar’s passing away leaves a void that cannot be filled again,” said writer, poet and author Farooq Ahmad Shahmeeri. Asrar was the pen name he chose. Born at a beautiful place called Malaknag in the district Anantnag,he dwelled and grew in a literary family with his father being a poet and Asrar, in his early age was sent to Gh. Mohd Khan, who was a headmaster by profession and who brought up and nourished him under his guidance for about eight years. His creative talent was nurtured here and from his early age Asrar developed a passion and sprit to express his treasure of emotions and sentiments through literary works of poetry.
Deemed as one of the most gifted poets and authors who has done a splendid and extra-ordinary work in the fields of Kashmiri and Urdu literature, Asrar was associated with literature since 1967. He has written his autobiography in the form of a poetry collection that contains about 700 verses which were later published in one of his poetry books named as ‘Karvan-e-Sukhan’. It uncovers all the facets of his life and the challenges that he faced during his childhood, while growing and also in his adult life. Having seen poverty right from his childhood, he did face difficulties while pursuing his passion but he never felt despaired or disdained at the events of life. A man who believed in high thinking and simple living, he courageously faced all the hardships and hindrances that came his way and continued his literary journey to establish himself as a poet of repute and respect. He enriched the Kashmiri and Urdu language by the beautiful works that he produced.
In 1967, a magazine ‘Swarg Mounue Watan’ (paradise- my land) was being published by the J& K Cultural Academy (Shaheedgang, Srinagar) in which the first poem of Basheer Asrar titled ‘Baji Watth’ was published and it became so famous that it left a profound effect on the life of Basheer Asrar and made him more convinced about th choices that he had made. And after the first success, he never looked back and went on writing steadily without showing any sign of tiredness. In those days he used to write ‘Hayaat’ as his pen name.
While his poetry was full of colours and variety, he had to work hard to earn a decent living. “I always looked upto him and he guided me at every stage of my life and whenever I needed him he was there for me,” said Dr. Mujeeb Liyakat (Asst. professor DJMC Islamic University Awantipora).
“He had tremendous knowledge in the field of poetry and his writings would change people’s perspective on life. He was, and will be my inspiration forever.” he added.
Besides being a pot, he also had the knowledge of Unani medicine (Hakeem) as patients from distant places having any sort of ailment would come here for the consultation as well as the treatment.
Basically a Sufi poet, has definitely carved a special place foe himself in the world of literature. The Sufi-poetry is the main objective in his life. His love for the Sufi poetry is reflected in his poems and his overall work though his poems have different variety and variations including humour, revolutionary ideas, sentimental tones, parody and patriotism etc.
His poems are often played on the Radio Kashmir and Doordharshan Kendra. His work for the Kashmiri as well as the Urdu literature is unparalleled which is not only a complex job but nearly a dream come true for a poor person that he was. He was distinguished critic and a man of letters and always encouraged the new comers in the field of poetry and always remains accessible to them for their guidance.
In 1985, he formed an organization named as ‘The District Cultural Association Anantnag’ which is still considered to be one of the best forums for new comers as well as senior literary figures. Besides this he is also the founder of the ‘Bazm-e- Khadim’. He has written and published about 14 booklets and 16 books. These include Mizraab, Sona- Warq, Siyasat, Noorey Noor, Loul, Machher, Aala Maal, Karvan-e-Sukhan, Aabshaar, Satsung, Shaan and others. He has also compiled many books related to the late/deceased poets. These include Kulyat Hassan Misger, Kulyat Qadiri, Kulyat Rasool Nowshehri, Kulyat Bulgar, Kulyat Salaam Mandho. And also the books related to the presently active poets which include Adnan, Ghash, Shehlath, Wuzin, Zitin and others.
In market, his poetry is available in the form of cassettes/CD’s in every music shop. One of his cassettes has recently been introduced in the market which added to his fame. This cassette consists of one of his most touching songs.
From 1986 to 1991, he used to publish a weekly newspaper ‘The Anantnag Times’ and also had been its editor, printer and publisher. The newspaper is still being published but on certain special events.
besides his achievements in literature, he also wrote extensively about Kashmiri grammar/dictionary- the work is yet to be published.