For the last 32-years, Zareefa Jan never gave up in documenting her couplets and poetry, despite never being to school; she developed her own ‘language of circles’ to document it.
65-year-old Jan said nearly decades back, she left to fetch the water from a nearby rivulet where she lost her actual senses and knocked down into a different spiritual spell of Sufism.
Jan says that was the beginning of her new world of writing and documenting her poetry.
She claims that she is drawing the circle on a notepad to remember the poetry and couplets. “Nobody else can understand and decode the language of circles apart from me”
Hailing from Poshwar village of Naidkhai area in north Kashmir’s Bandipora, Jan says that usually, she used to fetch water from the nearby rivulet but one evening she was carrying a water pot on her head and she fell into some other world by losing her normal senses.
“When I reached home, I placed the water pot in the kitchen and immediately took to another room wherein my twin kids were studying,” she said adding, “I took out pencil from the bag of one of my kids and notepad from another bag and started writing the sonnet which automatically came out of my mouth.”
At that very time, I didn’t know what I was writing and doing, but all I know is that I started drawing some circles which later turned to be the face language of my poetry.
Pan Suran Aam Yawun Ye
Lalwun meiw Thow Tham Naar
This was her first couplet that she wrote in the circles.
She said losing her senses continued with her and after some weeks, she shared it with my family.
“I told my husband that I am frequently falling in some other world and at all times some couplets are coming out of my mouth automatically. I told him I wanted to meet my spiritual guide (Murshid) Masood Sahiba in Tulmulla,” Jan says.
She said, “When I reached my Murshid I started narrating whatever happened to me and she was listening to it keenly. In the meanwhile, in a metaphoric way she told me that, people will find you to be under your importance.”
Recalling the response of her guide, Jan said, “Sahiba told me ‘Bateh Lej Yei Ghreakh, Yei Nas, Mukhteh Yei Faleh Faleh Tchakravneh’.”
“As I was scared of what I saw, I told my Murshid that I don’t want to lose my senses like I did for the first time and she told me that I will be fine and since then I continued writing the couplets,” she said.
Jan said, “The couplets I was drawing in the shape of a circle, I used to narrate it to my elder daughter and she wrote it properly but in a short time, she passed away.”
“After her death, my daughter-in-law and my daughter are now writing the couplets for me,” she said.
The master of the language of circles claims that for the past more than three decades she has almost documented a book of her own couplets that too while drawing the circles.
“Drawing the circles was a means to remember those couplets which I have about Sufism,” she said.
Jan says that her language of circles cannot be understood or decoded by any other person.
She says, she was known as a Zareefa only but the famous Kashmiri poet, Abdur Rehman Rahi titled her name with Jan and she was called Zareefa Jan since then.
Reciting some of her recent couplets which she shared in a poetry event, Jan said people liked it very much and was appreciated for it.
Kodum Chillia Mand, Mann Anderi, Tanai Sondri Korum Deedar
Tcham Zanjeeri Phirim Janderi, Tanai Sondri Korum Deedar
When asked about her signs and language of understanding her work, Jan said, “It is a secret and if she shares it, she may lose her identity.”
Jan claims to have a spiritual connection to Sufism from her childhood but she recognized it in her late thirties.
“I had different sizes in two feet and my father had told me that he will take me to the doctor for the surgery but my grandmother did not agree and told my father that I will shine as a sun,” she said.
She said that one day her grandmother who was also on the same boat of Sufism told me ‘Aftaab Watehe te Tche chamkhak’ (the sun will rise soon and you will shine).
For now, Jan says that she has written more than 250 poems but none of them have been published anywhere.
Zareefa’s son, Shafat Ahmad says that her mother is not less than any great poet as she has documented hundreds of poems too without being to school.
“She has never been to school but has created a history of documenting beautiful poems,” Shafat says.
He says that his wife is helping her in documenting the poems she is making nowadays.
“Earlier, my elder sister was doing it but after her death, I told my wife to document it,” Shafat said.