Born and brought up in a remote village Tral of south Kashmir's Pulwama district, prominent multilingual writer, poet, and broadcaster Satish Vimal says Kashmir is a land of spirituality and there is spirituality everywhere.
Vimal is presently working as “Programme Executive” in All India Radio Srinagar. He is looking after literary programs, cultural and historical programs. In addition, he is also working as In-charge of Co-ordination department of the station.
He was widely appreciated for Nund Reshi and Lala-Ded series on Radio. The old traditions of Kashmir have touched the hearts throughout the region and his programs on culture and history have been also cherished by listeners.
After completing elementary education from a local school, Vimal was struggling to get a job.
"I had small dreams and was looking for a job of a teacher, bank clerk or working as an office assistant in any government office," he said, adding that he tried many times to be a teacher but it was not in his destiny.
About interest in poetry, Vimal said he was inclined to poetry from his school days. During that time, I used to compose the lyrics of poems and was also an active participant in the theatre group of our village, he said.
"I used to write the script of a skit, songs for a local theater and that was the beginning of my interest in poetry. I was very shy and was unable to deliver a single word in front of them," he said.
"During those days, I still remember my teacher, Mohammad Shahban Mir, who used to teach me at a School in Tral. He acted as my guide, companion, and formal teacher. Even today, I talk to him when I am in any problem," he said.
Vimal said after completing higher education, he got a job as an actor in Doordarshan Kendra Srinagar in 1993 and thereafter acted in a few serials and movies, then shifted to All India Radio (Radio Kashmir), where people supported me and loved my voice.
"Whenever I spoke on Sufi thought, inheritance, history of Kashmir and I was feeling proud and was appreciated by people for the same. Then I never looked back and started focusing on core issues that touch people's lives," he said.
"At my home, none among the family members had an interest in poetry and at my adolescent age, I was more inclined towards reading books and literature including Ibni-Safi, Gulshan Nanda, Munshi Prem Chand, Tagore, Khalil Jibran, and other authors," he said.
Over the past three decades, Vimal has extensively written in several genres of writing including, poetry, short story, criticism and research, diary, and translation.
Vimal completed his Master's in English from Kashmir University in 1989; he read scores of books of English poets. It exposed my vision to vast knowledge, wisdom, and world literature, he said.
"After that, I started writing books in Kashmiri, Hindi, English, and Urdu. I can also read in Arabic, Sanskrit, Panjabi, and Persian languages. These languages helped in exploring world literature," Vimal said.
Following the busy job schedule, over the past 15-16 years, he said his literature readings have been affected but has developed an interest in other subjects including Physics, Astronomy, and religion.
"In my childhood, I had mostly read religion and philosophy through public libraries, as I could not afford the cost of these books. They played an important role in my life and it developed a good outlook of universal understanding," he said.
Vimal said Kashmir is a land of spirituality and there is spirituality in every sphere.
I had read vast literature about the progressive movement but was never impressed by any person. The viewpoint was mostly materialistic in nature, but the world is not only materialistic, it is beyond that.
"Any person born in Kashmir, he or she used to listen to the poetry of Nund Reshi, Lala Ded, Shamas Fakir, and other Sufiyana music. There is spirituality everywhere in the Valley," he said.
Vimal has published around 10 books of poetry depicting Kashmir and his love for the motherland. His first book was Vinash Ka Vijeta (winner of the destruction) which was released in 1992 in Mumbai. " I got an appreciation for the book from all quarters and then my second book was published in 2012 in Hindi," he said, adding that in between he wrote books in Urdu and Kashmir languages.
The other collections include Thoonth Kii Chhaya, Kaalsurya, Nishabd Cheekh Kay Shikhar Par, Nritya Maun Ka, Siyah-Var, Waryah Tchange Tche Zaalin, Koye Hue Prishth and Bansuri Shaakhon Par.
He has also worked on the translation of several collections including Dag Tchi Kuni (Kashmiri translation of contemporary world poetry selected from thirty-five countries), Waqte Tchale (Kashmiri translation of the poetry of Argentinian poet Antonio Porchia), Wunal Te Siryi (Kashmiri translation of selected contemporary Hindi poetry of India), Tyangal (Kashmiri translation of poetry of Dr. Laari Azaad from Hindi).
He has also translated books including Andhere Se Churai Gayi Kavita (Hindi translation of selected poems from the era of violence in Kashmir), Akh Chhal Zameen Akh Chhal Asmaan (Poetry of ex-Prime Minister VP Singh in Kashmiri as co-translator), and Jahaar (selected poetry of India from twenty-one languages into Kashmiri as co-translator).
Vimal has also worked on Tchopi Saete Kath-Baath, which is the first literary diary in Kashmiri.
I have learned from the common people, nature, so-called illiterate persons of our village, who had not professional degrees, he said, adding they used to sit at shop fronts in villages and we used to listen to their sayings, but their quotes were very dense and full of wisdom.
"Even some of their sayings had a big impact on my life. I can say that no university in the world can provide such knowledge, which those impart, to the Village children," he said.
Apart from poetry, Vimal said he started to work on dramas, serials, scripts for films and serials, short stories, and research papers. I was also contributing to local newspapers. I am confident about the one thing that I am a jack of many trades but not a master of any field, he said.
"I have love and affection towards Kashmir more than my life. It compelled me to stay here and not to migrate during the 1990s. During my job, I was transferred four times outside Valley but I always tried to cancel or stay at minimum tenure and return back to stay connected with my roots," Vimal said.
The veteran poet said even he got good opportunities outside Kashmir but he never thought of leaving the Valley. I love to be in the company of Sufis and Reshis and will prefer to die here rather than getting anything from outside, he said.
After I learned Sanskrit, one of my good friends told me that in Kashmir University' Sanskrit department there are some manuscripts, which no one had explored yet.
"Next week, I visited the University library to read those manuscripts and explored Kashmir's contribution to Literary Aesthetics during the Sanskrit period and now I have compiled that in the Kashmiri language, which will soon be available in the form of a book," he said.
Vimal said out of total literature written on Asian literary aesthetics, more than 70 percent of that was contributed by the Kashmiri writers during the Sanskrit era.
"Although some people have worked on it, I have compressively worked on it under a university project but there are thousands of such things which are yet unexplored as they need hard work, patience, and time," he said.
Similarly, over the past 10-15 years, the sayings of Sheikh Ul Alam (RA) and Lala Ded have been mixed by some people. It needs to be verified by a linguistic board which will work on these things, he said.
About the young generation, Vimal said they are more inclined towards poetry and literature. They have more talent, freshness, and exposure to things. When a person is equipped with all things, his talent is nourished, he said, adding that there is a need to channelize their talent.
"I was impressed by the work of some youth, who were not influenced by the prevailing situation. Their work is not relevant to present times but their work will be remembered in future also," he said.
Vimal said his message to the youth of Kashmir is only to channelize their energy in the right way. There are thousands of things that can divert their attention and at the same time there are alternatives that can benefit them in some way, he said.
"One-click on Google can benefit them in the right direction and explore, excel their interest," he said.
While recalling his interest, the noted poet said, a few years back the Ministry of Science and Technology released a 52-episode series on Astronomy based on the latest researches for Television and Radio.
The language of the series was of the common man so that he could understand and the ministry directed all regional stations to broadcast it in local languages, he said.
"I got a chance to read and understand the 52-episode series. It was new to me as I had never studied astrology as a subject. It was a unique experience and my vision was expanded,' Vimal said.
The youth should narrate their stories in their own way and keep their vision very big.
"Don’t restrict yourself to Kashmir only but you have to move forward across the world. Open your eyes and connect to the people across the globe,” he said.
Vimal has been appreciated for his work across the region. He received Sahitya Akademi Award for Kashmiri translation in 2012, Lassa Koul award for National Integration (I&B Ministry) in 2014, Rajbhasha Puraskar in 2008, Best book award from Central Hindi Directorate (HRD Ministry, Govt of India) in 2017.
He received best editor award in 2006, State translation award (J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages) in 2011, Best book award (Kashmiri) by J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages in 2016, J&K Governor’s Award of Excellence for contribution to Gandhian thought in 2004, Ahad Zargar Memorial Award in 2013, Ram-Vreksh Benipuri Centenary Award (Jemini Academi Haryana) in 2002 and many other awards and felicitations.
Apart from these awards, Vimal has elaborately worked on research papers in Hindi, Kashmiri, Urdu. He also worked for Films and Telefilms including Saath Rupay Aur Ek Saari, Scripted Tele serial Badi Imarat in Urdu, Yeh Chirag Jhil Milate, Advocate Muskan, Children series Naunihal, Mahouliyati Dareecha, Habba Khatoon, and many more.