Samad Mir (1894-1959), known for his outstanding work Akanandun (The Only Son), continued the Sufi-mystic tradition in Kashmiri poetry in the 20th century. Samad Mir has used the folk tale of Akanandun to give expression to his own mystical ideas and present a synthesis between Tassavuf (sufism) and Trika (Shaivism). He has translated spiritual experience into poerty.
Kashmiri Literature has a history of at least 2,500 years, dating back to the glory days of Sanskrit.
The use of the Kashmiri language began with the poet Lalleshvari or Lal Ded (14th century), who wrote mystical verses. Another mystic of her time equally revered in Kashmir and popularly known as Nunda Reshi wrote powerful poetry like his senior Lal Ded. Later, came Habba Khatun (16th century) with her lol style. Other major names are Rupa Bhavani (1621-1721), Arnimal (d. 1800), Mahmud Gami (1765-1855), Rasul Mir (d. 1870), Paramananda(1791-1864), Maqbool Shah Kralawari (1820-1976). Also the Sufi poets like Shamas Fakir, Wahab Khar, Soch Kral, Samad Mir, and Ahad Zargar. Among modern poets are Ghulam Ahmad Mahjur (1885-1952), Abdul Ahad Azad (1903-1948), and Zinda Kaul (1884-1965).
During 1950s, a number of well educated youth turned to Kashmiri writing, both poetry and prose, and enriched modern Kashmiri writing by leaps and bounds. Among these writers are Dinanath Nadim (1916-1988), Rahman Rahi, Muzaffar Aazim, Ghulam Nabi Firaq, Amin Kamil (1923-) , Ali Mohd Lone, Akhtar Mohiuddin and Sarvanand Kaul ‘Premi’. Some later day writers are Hari Krishan Kaul, Majrooh Rashid, Rattanlal Shant, Hirdhey Kaul Bharti, Nazir Jahangir, Moti Lal Kemmu.
Traditional events are still popular and as in the other parts of Kashmir, poetry is highly appreciated. The art of storytelling, both entertaining and educational, considered a way for the transmission of moral teachings, is valued and a rich oral literature is still alive today.
The main language of Kashmir is Kashmiri. It is said that it is a mixed language and the greater part of its vocabulary is of Indian origin and it is allied to that of Sanskritic-Indo-Aryan languages of Northern India.
Kashmiri poetry begins with the works of great mystic poetess Lalleshwari of 14th century. These sayings are the gems of Kashmiri poetry and true knowledge of yoga. These are deep and sublime. She held a key to many mystic truths. The following stanza illustrates her deep mystic thought:
“So my lamp of knowledge afar,
Fanned by slow breath from the throat of me.
They, my bright soul to my self revealed.
Winnowed I abroad my inner light.
And with darkness around me sealed,
Did I garner truth and hold Him tight.”
(Translated by Sir Richard Temple)
Lal Ded thinks dissolution of ‘self’ (Aham) essential for Realization. According to her, Sadhaka has to reach that mental attitude where there is no difference between ‘Him’ and ‘self’. She says one who considers his own self and others alike ends the distinction between ‘I’ and ‘you’, who treats days and nights alike, who is above sorrows and pleasures, can only realize God in his own self. According to her, differentiation between the human soul and Divine-self was Zero. Lal Ded is the first woman mystic to preach medieval mysticism in Kashmiri poetry. She used metaphors, riddles and other mediums for her expression.
Like Lal Ded, another mystic poet of Kashmiri language is Nunda Rishi, who is known as Sheikh Nur-ud-Din alias Sahajanand. He has given much importance to yogic practice- breath control for communion with God. Nunda Rishi favoured good action which is the secret of happiness in the world. He preached a disciplined life like this:
Desire is like the knotted wood of the forest
It cannot be made into planks, beams or into cradles;
He who cut and telled it,
Will burn it into ashes.
He considered rosary as a snake and favoured true worship:
Do not go to Sheikh and Priest and Mullah;
Do not feed the cattle or Arkh or leaves;
Do not shut thyself up in mosques or forests;
Enter thine own body with breath controlled in communion with God.
Samad Mir, a wonderful Sufi mystic poet of our beloved soil Kashmir lived in 20th century bequeathed heavenly verses and new approaches of mystic path and divine love. His verses are poetized in great rhythm, meter, deep connotation and knowledge about human behavior, existence of life and divine love. Samad Mir continued the Sufi mystical tradition in Kashmiri poetry in the 20th century.
Almost every poet of Kashmir has used Arabic and Persian dialect in their poetry, writers of the soil are influenced by Persian and Arabic poets but Samad Mir is the first Sufi mystic poet of Kashmir who utilized Sanskrit and Hindi words in his poetry in marvelous manner, it appears he had deep knowledge, cognition and grip on the both languages. Samad Mir had never went to school and was totally illiterate but his poetry is a clean combination of Islamic Sufism, while going through his poetry even well knowing person of Sanskrit and Hindi language could not spot any kind of error, it is pretty evident that even being an illiterate Samad Mir was a man of towering ability having immense knowledge and wisdom.
Alim Gaw Alim-e-Ludni
Tchalim Shakh Aam Badni
Porum Na Kaseh Nish Toosh
Karis Aarasteh Yaari
Knowledge is, knowledge of Deity
Doubt I left when I saw my Mursheed
I did not bow for the sake of knowledge
But my beloved (Mursheed) blessed me
Sammad Mir was born at Narwara Srinagar in the year 1894 and at the age of 65 he died in the year 1959. His Aastaan-i-Aaliya is situated at Agar, nearby village of Nambalhaar. Samad Mir belonged to a Sufi family, originally they were the residents of Nambalhar (Budgam) his father Khaliq Mir was also a Sufi poet who migrated from village Nambalhar to Narwara Srinagar at young age in search of earnings. He started working in a saw mill and eventually got married; he had three sons namely Samad Mir, Rahim Mir and Muhammad Mir. Till the age of maturity of Samad Mir, the whole family rested at Narwara but at the age of twenties Samad Mir decided to return back to Nambalhar whereas the Rahim Mir stayed at Narwara and unfortunately the third brother Muhammad Mir died very young about his twenties.
Samad Mir had two sons Gh. Rasool Mir and Gull Mohd Mir (also known as Aasi, died 8 September 1980) and one daughter Rehti. In the beginning Samad Mir started working as a labour with carpenters and masons but later join his parental job of timber sawing (Aari Kash).
Samad Mir used to visit various places in connection with work, once he went to Wagur, a village in Budgam where he met Habib Najar. When Samad Mir noticed that Habib Najar is influenced by Sufism, he started conversations with him because Sufism was also running in the blood of Samad Mir. After having discussions Samad Mir was very much impressed by Habib Najar so he decided to follow his directives. This way Samad Mir became the disciple of Habib Najar.
After the death of Habib Najar Samad Mir felt he is in need of more consciousness which could end his thirst, so he started search for another Mursheed and came in contact with Khaliq Najar of Batamaloo Srinagar with whom permission he initiated to write and poetized his first verses.
Veseh Kaar Mushkil Baar Gub Goom
Vet Raw Wun Peyoom
Gulaleh Panas Kaaleh Rang Goom
Vat Raw Wun Peyoom
Oh! My friend burden of work is weighty
But I had to endure
My rosy body turned into dark
But I had to endure
After the death of Khaliq Najar, Mir was shocked and suddenly stopped to write poetry, Mir did not wrote any verse for next 13 years but still was very eager to acquire more knowledge. At last he came under the influence of Faqir Ramzan Dar at Anchidora Anantnag Kashmir who pulled out the fire of his chest and ordered Mir to transform this fire into writing poetry so he started to pen down poetry again after a long time which ended till Mir breathed last.
It is not out of place to mention that Faqir Ramzan Dar is a revered and well known Sufi saint of a historical village Anchidora. From early times Sufi Saints from other places of Kashmir love to live their lives here because it a place where so many great Sufi saints used to meditate in divine love; it is a famous village for having the burial place of numerous Sufi saints. Faqir Ramzan Dar was the resident of village Anchidora and acquired fame because of his Karamaat’s, he has shown so many mystic powers during his life, people from far away villages used to give their presence to have a glimpse of spiritual master Faqir Ramzan Dar. His tomb is housed at Anchidora where hundreds of devotees give their presence. A Karamaat of Faqir Ramzan Dar is very famous throughout area which was also shown by his disciple Samad Mir.
After the demise of Faqir Ramzan Dar and Samad Mir both families remained in close touch and maintained good relation with each other. Samad Mir’s family used to visit the grandson of Faqir Ramzan Dar namely Mohammad Shaban Dar, a well known Sufi figure and poet, who looked after the Aastaan-i-Aaliya and the present structure has been built under his supervision. Mohammad Shaban Dar left this world in 2008. Samad Mir’s son Gull Muhammad Mir also known as Aasi with his disciples used to visit their father’s Mursheed. After his death Samad Mir’s elder son Ghulam Rasool Mir still continued to bestow his presence. Khalifa’s of the order of Samad Mir till date continue to visit the Mazar Sharief and family of their Mursheed Faqir Ramzan Dar.
It is in place to mention here that I belong to the family too and Faqir Ramzan Dar is my grand grandfather, Samad Mir’s family never quitted to offer their presence in our home also. At the time of Urs Pak of Faqir Ramzan Dar thousands of devotees from different walks of life visit in turnstile numbers.
When we go through the writings of different poets of Kashmir, we come to know that most of the poets have similar thoughts but variation in presentation. But Samad Mir being the best of bests has written absolutely different concepts. When we read a complete poem it seems to be poetized on Tasawwuf while other side tells the story of this world and living being. In early years of his poetry he was criticized for writing different style of poetry but time expresses the significance, gradually Samad Mir’s poetry attained everyone’s attention and people started to study him and today everyone knows that Samad Mir is a famous, reputed and eminent poet of Kashmir, who did not practiced the previous forms but defined his own versatile thoughts.
Ya Gasseh Guddeh Keh Panas Sanun
Nateh Bale Banun Apziyoor
Nakhoon Setie Aasmaan Khanun
Toteh Ma whatless Toor
Mir Sund Seer Gasseh Gairun Sanun
Yem Devi Abrah Moor
One should understand his own self first
Or to become a liar who perceived naught speaks more
It is as difficult as to make hole in the sky with nails
Still cannot be accomplished
Mir’s secret shall be empathized by general masses
Who restraint his inner self desires
In these above mentioned lines Samad Mir wants people to know his secrets, his scarifies of material wants in the path of love, one should experience how difficult is to outlive in the path of beloved that is why Mir says, “Mir’s secret shall be empathized by general masses”, so that they become known about the condition of Mir.
He did not penned only about mystical deeds, worldly concern things etc. Samad Mir has written numerous poems on Prophets, Wali’s and Sufi Saints of Islam. A beautiful poem composed about Hazrat Adam (ASWS) in which he delineates how did Allah SWT created this entire universe started from the very creation of Hazrat Adam ASWS. In the grand honor, respect and admiration of Prophet Muhammad salallahu alayhi wasalam he has poetized so many poems magnificently and has revealed the best state of bliss for being in mediation of Prophet Muhammad salallahu alayhi wasalam. These Naat-e-Sharief are the best work done, Samad Mir has brought life to his words written in the nobility of Prophet Muhammad salallahu alayhi wasalam. His art of defining is thoroughly unique and beyond any comparison; he has used words such beautifully that reader’s heart melts within seconds. It seems that Samad Mir has burned his blood till late hours of night while writing these endearing, heart winning and mesmerizing lines.
Kad Choonei Wuchh Meh Bala, Ya Muhammad Mustafa (SAW)
Had-o-Lahad Arsh-e-Aala, Ya Muhammad Mustafa (SAW)
Naam-i-Paak Choon Heun Tchu Dushwaar, Nishi Bo Aataar Ga’s-ha
Sad Hazaar Bar Ziev Bo Chal-ha, Ya Muhammad Mustafa (SAW)
I saw you most eminent, Ya Muhammad Mustafa (SAW)
You are beyond the bounds of skies and eternity, Ya Muhammad Mustafa (SAW)
I must go to perfume seller, before reciting you Noble Name,
Thousands of times I shall rinse my tongue, Ya Muhammad Mustafa (SAW)
Har Saba Durood-o-Salwaat Tchen Ma Kar Aikh Chuh Ti Saath
Paneh Sozaan Haq Talla, Ya Muhammad Mustafa (SAW)
In every breath keep reciting Durood and Salaam
Never halt for a fleeting moment
Allah (SWT) with his angels invoke blessings and greetings on You
Ya Muhammad Mustafa (SAW)
These above mentioned lines of Samad Mir get acknowledgment from the Holy Quran also, in Sura Al- Ahzaab Ayat- 56, Allah (SWT) says:
Surely Allah and (all) His angels invoke blessings and greetings on the Holy Prophet [blessings and peace be upon him]. O Believers! You (also) invoke blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation of peace abundantly (and fervently).
Samad Mir’s time was unlike than other Sufi poets who lived before him. Earlier Sufi masters or poets most of the time used to remain in meditation, Mehfil-e-Samma or in debates & discussions with their disciples. But time had altered various kinds of inventions took place and it was the time when radio was introduced in the valley Kashmir.
Once Samad Mir was invited by his disciple Mohd Yousuf Parata (worked at Radio Kashmir Srinagar) to be the part of a multilingual literary function (Mushaira), great philosophers, writers and poets of the time were also present in the function. Everyone was waiting for the start all of a sudden it was shocking for the seated people when they saw a man on the stage wearing Feran (Kashmiri outfit garment) with a villager cap on the head. They were astonished while seeing an illiterate man holding the mike to present the programme. The function was multilingual so Kashmiri as well as Urdu writer and poets were present to recite their best Kalaams.
The function was at its zenith when Samad Mir had turn to recite his Kalaam, Samad Mir made everyone speechless when he presented a new style of writing and recited a newest poem written in both Urdu & Kashmiri language, the poem was greatly honored by the critics of the time as well as by the youngsters present in the function. The poem experienced outstanding fame in the entire valley, till date the immortal lines of the poem are memorized by almost every Kashmiri on tip of the tongue.
Padh Padh Ke Gaya Pather, Likh Likh Ke Gaya Chhur
Jiss Padney Sey Sahib Miley Who Padna Hai Aur
By studying one turns to stone and by writing got crashed
By which Deity came to know, that Knowledge is different
The most popular and accepted image of Samad Mir having mike infront is also captured in the same function of Radio Kashmir Srinagar held at Shalimaar garden Srinagar.
Present time Khalifas of Samad Mir’s chain Gh. Nabi Hundoo of Buhri Kadal, Bashir Ahmad Beigh of Safa Kadal and Gh. Rasool Mir elder son of Samad Mir oftenly visits our home. Once having conversation with Gh. Rasool Mir about his father. He said that when Samad Mir started writing poetry frequently and any thought strikes his mind, being illiterate he used to call me (Gh. Rasool Mir) and asked to write down. According to Gh. Rasool Mir, at that time he was a youngster and was not as capable to write down complete words correctly sometimes he missed words and sometimes entire lines. When his father Samad Mir used to ask him another day to recite the lines he wrote, it was almost impossible for him to read his own written words which were roughly and wrongly written which results most of the Kalaam of Samad Mir was lost in the roughly lines of his son. An inhabitant of Wagur village namely Ali Shah (known as Ali Saab) also used to write Samad Mir’s poetry.
A huge collection of his writing was written and memorized by his disciples who used to recite their Mursheed’s Kalaam in functions or in Mehfil-e-Samma. One more name, his contribution cannot be ignored, one of the best singers of Kashmir, king of Chakri (type of traditional song) Ghulam Ahmad Sofi, he remained bonded with Samad Mir for a pretty long time and has sung so many Kalaams in presence of Samad Mir in various functions.
Sag-e-Ashaaf Kahaff Laag Jaananas
Tag yeye Godeh Kaas Panas Tchai
Rag-e-Nistar Dith Lageh Har Taanas
Tag yeye Godeh Kaas Panas Tchai
Be faithful to your beloved as dog of Ashaaf Kahaff
If you can do, eliminate your shadow first
(Shadow makes you two; alter it in oneness because deity is One)
Prick anywhere in vein causes pain in entire body
If you can do, eliminate your shadow first
John Keats says that poetry gets entire fame which is poetized about ones desires, difficulties and painfulness. From hundreds of years a folk tale known as AKANANDUN (The only Son) is being dramatized as well as poetized by so many writers, artists and poets. AKANANDUN is a story having anguish, sufferings, distress and wishes which magnetizes everyone’s intention. From decades Akanandun has been remembered and has won people’s heart residing in every corner of the valley Kashmir.
AKANANDUN (The only Son) has been written by many poets in their own style viz. Bahadur Ganie in 15th century, Ramzan Bhat in 19th century, Tara Chand (Bismil Kashmiri) in 20th century , Samad Mir and Abdul Ahad Zargar.
Besides usual poems Samad Mir is well known throughout Kashmir for his stupendous work Akanandun, he has used the folk tale of Akanandun to bestow manifestation to his own mystical thoughts. Samad Mir’s Akanandun has been penned in fourteen parts and all the characters are Hindus.
Saneh Truva Sheth Bay Chu Sheytaji Yeh Saal (1346 Hijri)
Kan Thavith Man Previth Wun Meh Haal
Akanandun Tie Hareh Suna Maal Tchuie Ishar
Jugee Galib Peer Talib Kuorr Ti Maar
This is 1346 Hijri I wrote the folk tale Akanandun
Listen carefully the story I tell is heart touching
Akanandun and his parents are just symbolic characters
Jugee (saint) is dominant, sisters are disciples
Samad Mir says that the characters in the story like AKANANDUN his father King HARNAAM, mother SUNMAAL, JUGGEE, SEVEN SISTERS etc. are just symbolic, actually he wants to express his deep thoughts about the actual relation between Mursheed and his disciple, how a disciple should forget and bury his own self for the love of his guide (Mursheed) which is also an imperative stage in Tasawwuff called FANNA-FI-SHEIKH.
(Exerption by IMRAN YOUSUF)