Firaq brought freshness to Kashmiri poetry which still smells unique and strong
Ghulam Nabi Firaq was one of the modern greats of the Kashmiri language. Firaq was born on July 15, 1917 in the downtown area of Srinagar city. After completing his high school from Sri Pratap Higher Secondary (SP) School, he completed his graduation from SP College and then went on to pursue studies in English literature. He was finally appointed in Anantnag Degree College. He was later moved to Jammu Science College and then back to SP College and remained with SP College for major part of his tenure.
It was in early 1960s that Firaq, under the influence of progressive writers, took up the task of writing and within no time made a name for himself. During this time Kashmiri language was considered an offshoot of Middle Eastern languages and its origin was linked with a lot of conspiracies.
Firaq took the research upon himself and later came to conclusion that Kashmiri was far different than any Middle Eastern languages and concluded that Kashmiri language originated in the subcontinent and got changed over time with influx of people from Central Asia who modified it and gave it a new shape. He was born in an era when the conventional form of poetry was dominant in Kashmir and Sufi poetry had a stronghold in Kashmiri society. Through his writing he tried to move away and made an impact through his writings.
He was a sensitive human being and wrote what he felt. He has exceptionally contributed to Kashmiri literature in all genres. His major contribution is in the field of poetry but he has written extensively on fiction, nonfiction, philosophy and criticism.
He brought freshness to Kashmiri poetry which still smells unique and strong. He is often considered as one of the visionary and profound writers who changed the dynamics of Kashmiri language forever. He extensively worked on Kashmiri script and pronunciation.
One of his contributions was that he standardized the Kashmir language and recovered the lost worlds which were abandoned. His first major contribution to Kashmiri literature came in form of Kasher Adbe Iztila which gives concrete information about the various literary terms used in different languages including Kashmiri.
Renowned Kashmiri literary critic Mohammad Yousf Teng has written in one of his literary essays that Firaq has the same position and status in Kashmiri language which Akhatar ul Emaan has in Urdu. Akhatar ul Emaan and Ghulam Nabi Firaq emerged as major voices of his time in their respective languages after 1950 and both have a number of similarities in their writings.
One of his poems titled ‘An Ode to the Night Angle’ which was published by a British newspaper still remains the best poem of last century across the globe. The poem featured in the list of top 100 poems. His book ‘Sada te Samundar’ also fetched him Sahitya Academy Award.
Another of his famous writings ‘Dazwun Naar’ was written by the author after the death of his wife. It describes the condition of the writer after the death of his beloved besides the different aspects of our society and their impact on the common man. In mid 1970s, Firaq came up with a masterpiece when he wrote ‘Kashur Wuchnuk Safar’.
Firaq knew how to put together words which would reform society and how it could contribute towards the Kashmiri language which was losing its charm. He translated the famous English book by B R Hook about human civilization into Kashmiri language; titled it ‘Tath Insaan Saenz’. This work defined the Kashmiri language for a long time.
He also wrote the maiden novel ‘Wuduv Fiker Hund’. It comprises of literary essay based on the trends and movement which have taken place mostly in western languages and literature from 14th century onwards especially in France and England. It comprises a portion on oriental languages, the trends and movements, which have taken place from time-to-time in those languages. The book is considered as one of the milestones and sort after book in Kashmir language.
The biggest strength of Firaq was that he kept on thinking and asking questions until he got to the bottom of the truth. He explored every field of study to gather knowledge. He wrote a book that blend with traditional Kashmiri religiosity and Sufism. One of his books ‘Khair ul Bashr’ consists of naat written in traditional form and short poems.
Firaq will always be remembered for his remarkable contributions to Kashmiri language. He died on December 17, 2016. Firaq wrote dozens of books which besides Sahitya Academy Award also got him many different awards from universities and cultural organisations.