A man of Literature, Peace, and Legacy

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A tribute to Raja Nazar Boniyari

       Reyaz Ahmad Ganai

A luminary in the realm of literature, peace advocacy and social activism, Raja Abdul Qayoom Khan, popularly known as ‘Raja Nazar Bonyari’ left for heavenly abode on February 20, 2024 in a Mumbai hospital after prolonged illness! His passing away marks the end of an era for Urdu and Pahari literature, leaving behind a legacy that will continue to inspire generations to come.

Born and nurtured in the picturesque surroundings of Trikajan village of Boniyar Baramulla, Raja Nazar received his basic education in his village Trikajan. Propelled by an innate passion for writing, Bonyari started writing before he joined GDC Baramulla in 1973 for his Bachelor’s course. He embarked on his educational pursuit locally, eventually earning a master’s degree in Urdu and a B.Ed from the University of Kashmir, thus laying the foundation for a distinguished career in education.

Throughout his 43 years of service as an educator, Raja Nazar Khan left an indelible mark on the landscape of North Kashmir’s educational sector and retired as Headmaster of Government High School Trikajan in 2007. His dedication and contributions to various educational institutions, including the DIET and the Board of School Education of Jammu and Kashmir, exemplified his unwavering commitment to nurturing young minds.

However, it was in the realm of literature that Raja Nazar truly shined. With over fourteen published works to his credit, in both Pahari and Urdu languages, he captivated readers with his insightful prose and poignant poetry. His literary prowess garnered international acclaim, with translations of his works reaching audiences far and beyond the confines of Kashmir.

Raja Nazar’s literary endeavors were not confined to the written word alone. He lent his voice to the airwaves, serving as an anchor and singer on platforms such as DD Kashir and Radio Kashmir Srinagar, thereby enriching the cultural fabric of the region.
Beyond his literary contributions, Raja Nazar was a staunch advocate for the preservation and promotion of the Pahari language. His tireless efforts to elevate the status of Pahari, both within educational institutions and through media are well acknowledged.

In 1970, he also assumed the role of editor at Roznama Chinar, where he made significant contributions during his tenure. His insightful Urdu articles caught the attention of progressive writers in Delhi, earning him widespread appreciation and acclaim. Demonstrating his linguistic versatility, Raja Nazar’s literary repertoire spans across nine languages spoken in Jammu and Kashmir. His Urdu book titled “Dil Nama” was published in April 2020, showcasing his literary prowess and garnering praise from readers. 

Furthermore, his work extended to diverse genres, with his Urdu book “Sharda Peak (Safar Nama)” being published last year and receiving accolades globally. Notable among his other published works are “Banj Maa Ka Beta,” “Yeh Kis Ki Lash Hai Mere Kafan Mai,” “Namal,” “Mithi Neech,” “Laelal De Banjare,” and “Seerat Tul Numan,” each contributing to his legacy as a prolific and versatile writer.

Raja Nazar Bonyari’s legacy extends beyond the realms of literature; he was a beacon of peace and a fervent advocate for cross-border cultural exchange. His frequent travels to Muzzafarabad served as a testament to his commitment to bridging the gap between divided communities and fostering understanding through the universal language of literature.

As a keen observer of the world around him, Raja Nazar was not content with merely penning his thoughts; he was also deeply engaged in social activism. He possessed a keen eye for spotting issues worth addressing, whether they pertained to literature, culture, or social justice. His dedication to his community and his country was unwavering.

In his role as a social activist, Raja Nazar played a pivotal role in advocating for peace and collaboration between India and Pakistan. Alongside fellow representatives of cultural and literary organizations, he tirelessly lobbied for the inclusion of diverse voices in cross-border delegations, recognizing the potential of such exchanges to foster mutual understanding and reconciliation.

Through his actions and words, Raja Nazar Bonyari embodied the spirit of compassion, empathy, and unity. His legacy serves as a reminder of the transformative power of literature and the profound impact that individuals can have in building bridges across divides. As we mourn his passing, let us also celebrate his enduring legacy of peace, understanding, and goodwill.

In his passing, we bid farewell to a luminary whose words transcended boundaries and whose deeds left an indelible imprint on the hearts and minds of all who had the privilege of crossing paths with him. While Raja Nazar Bonyari may have departed from this world, his legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.

May his soul rest in peace, and may his literary legacy continue to shine brightly in the annals of Urdu and Pahari literature.

The author is an Educator, Innovator and Writer presently working in Government Boys Middle School Sheeri Payeen Zone Fatehgarh Baramulla.

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