Khwaja Muhammad Amin Darab wrote these congratulatory messages to Maharaja Hari Singh on his accession to the throne in 1923 | Photo credit: special arrangement
From the official language of courts and commerce in Jammu and Kashmir to verses of Sufiyana poetry up to 1889, an exhibition of Persian manuscripts, written by Khwaja Muhammad Amin Darab, poet and author of chronograms, in Srinagar highlighted highlight the rapidly fading language in Kashmir. The exhibition is an attempt to revive the language in the territory of the Union.
About 73 rare manuscripts, including 11 books, written by Darab were exhibited at the Amar Singh Club in Srinagar on Monday. It contains a timeline of Neil Armstrong’s moon landing and ‘tahniyat nama’ (message of congratulations) from Srinagar traders to Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh on his accession to the throne in 1923 and a number of elegies of prominent scholars, including on the death of Muslim scholar and jurist Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri, who served as headmaster of Darul Uloom, Deoband, Uttar Pradesh, before 1933.
“These manuscripts shed light on how Darab engages with the community, scripting invitations from prominent families, writing ‘ marsiya‘ (elegy), versified ‘ tarikhs‘ (dates) and inscriptions of important shrines and mosques in Kashmir,” said Saleem Beg, head of the Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH)-Kashmir. The Hindu. INTACH with the Drabus organized the week-long exhibition.
Darab, who died in 1979 in Srinagar, is considered one of the last transmitters of traditional Muslim learning, based on Persian. adab or literature in Kashmir. He was considered the master of Persian Qitah-i-Tarikh (chronogram) in addition to its Persian ‘ Naats‘ in praise of the Prophet Muhammad and ‘ Manqabats‘.
At present, the remains of Persian worms in Kashmir live in ‘ Naats‘ and ‘ Manqabats‘ recited in mosques and shrines. The sufiana mehfils, spiritual musical nights of the Sufi order, are still dominated by Persian poetry in Kashmir.
“The Mughal rule in Kashmir in 1589 saw the Persian language reach its peak. Prominent Iranian poets visited Kashmir in the 17th century including Sa’ib Tabrizi, Abu Talib Kaleem Kashani, Muhammad Quli Salim Tehrani, Muhammad Jan Qudsi Mashhadi and Mir Ilahi. All but Sa’ib died in Kashmir and were buried in Mazaar-u-Shuaraa, a cemetery reserved for poets. Among several centers of Persian learning that emerged in the Indian subcontinent after the establishment from Muslim rule, Kashmir held a distinct position,” said Professor Mufti Mudasir Farooqi, an author who teaches in the Department of English at the University of Kashmir.
From the 14th to the 19th century, Persian appeared both as the language of administration and of all kinds of writing, including historical, literary, religious, etc. the scene,” Mr. Beg said.
Darab’s lifelong interest in Kashmir’s contribution to Persian is also evident in his meticulous documentation of the works of one of Kashmir’s greatest Persian poets, Ghani Kashmiri. Additionally, Darab was a respected calligrapher of Nastaliq script evident from handwritten wedding invitations.
“This exhibit is also an invitation to individuals and families across the geography to preserve and share their family archives,” Beg added.