Writer on a mission to ‘save dying Kashmiri language, literature’
Post by Umar Raina on Monday, November 28, 2022
Ganderbal, Nov 27: A young writer from central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district is on a mission to revive the “dying” Kashmiri language and literature.
Asif Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Duderhama, Ganderbal, is pursuing Postgraduation in Kashmiri Literature from the Central University of Kashmir (CUK) and has received “dozens” of appreciation awards for his writing skills. The 22-year-old has written Kashmiri novels and poetry.
Talking to Rising Kashmir, Asif said his writing journey began at a very young age. “I was studying in 6th standard when I first heard a poem of Prof Rehman Rahi on the radio. It completely swayed me and I started getting interested in the Kashmiri language – our mother tongue, our identity,” Asif said, adding that today his work is published in a reputed Kashmiri journal of the valley.
“After writing a few pieces, I paid a visit to the renowned Kashmiri poet Zareef Ahmad Zareef who was impressed with my work and offered to be my mentor. This encouragement gave me self-confidence and I started writing a lot,” he said.
Asif added, “Our mother tongue is our identity, and if we will lose our identity, we lose everything.”
“There is nothing wrong in knowing about other languages and cultures but not at the cost of our own identity,” he said, adding, “We must protect our culture and language.”
Asif has recently published his debut Kashmiri language novel titled “Khwaban Khyalan Manz”. Presently, he is the “youngest” Kashmiri novelist. “As everyone is aware of the deteriorating condition of Kashmiri literature, I made a small attempt to revive it. This novel encompasses a lot of modern elements in writing such as magical realism, fantasy, and self-discovery through an omnipresent narration. The story has been worked upon for years and can be really a good start for writers to start writing in their native tongue,” he said.
He has also completed 10 batches of Kashmiri-speaking course classes online. “I have students from every corner of the world. The 11th batch started in September 2022. These classes help people to learn the Kashmiri language,” he said.