“Keeping alive the great traditions of various kinds of literature in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in present circumstances is not less than a miracle or magic; our writers have sustained these traditions despite having many hurdles and difficulties in the worst period of three decades long turmoil and I salute their consistency and courage.”
This was stated by Justice (Retd) Bashir Ahmad Kirmani at a literary meet organized by Jammu and Kashmir Fiction Writers Guild at a hotel here.
The Guild celebrated 100 sessions with the fiction writers, the journey that started three years back in 2014.
Justice Kirmani presided over the function, while those present in the presidium included Prof. Mohammad Zaman Azurdah, Dr. Neerja Mattoo, renowned Kashmiri poetess Naseem Shafaei, senior journalist Dr. Shujaat Bukhari and patron of the Guild, Vahshi Sayeed.
Three recently published books were reviewed on the occasion. They include ‘Zareen Zakham’, a short story collection in Kashmiri language by young writer Deeba Nazeer, “Bikhray Bichday”, a collection of Radio Dramas by police officer and writer Manoj Sheeri and “Prem Nath Pardesi – Aks dar Aks” by Dr. Mohammad Afzal Mir.
The books were reviewed by Dr. Nisar Nadeem, Dr. Mushtaq Hyder and Prof. Abdul Rashid Khan, who enlightened various aspects of the books.
On the occasion, the Guild’s website was also inaugurated. The website www.fictionwritersguild.com was designed jointly by three computer engineers, Waseem Raja, Tajamul Islam and Faheem Tariq. Zubair Quran gave a brief account of the website.
In the beginning, tributes were paid to writers and intellectuals who recently passed away, including Mohammed Ahsan Ahsan, Prof. G M Shaad, Atiqa Behanji and Saifi Sopori.
In his speech, Justice Kirmani said that in present times Kashmiri masses are caught in such a situation where various sections of the society have their own priorities for being happy and sad.
He said: “We feel happy even if some people are killed by the security forces, some people are happy while listening to a Kashmiri ‘Chhakri’ on the banks of Dall Lake, some are happy even if four dead bodies are recovered from the Dal Lake and some are happy in having Wazwan (Kashmiri Cuisine) at their home and I am unable to understand why our writers are so creative to write about the pain?”
He said the problem is that the society has not been able to recognize its own selves and “we hardly know that who we are”.
Distinguished writer Prof Zaman Azurdah, while speaking on the occasion, said “our writers and our literature are our assets and we must encourage new ones coming in this field”, who have kept this torch alive even in the hardest times of history.
While praising Manoj Sheeri, he called him a soft-hearted young man and said that his profession of being a policeman hardly overcomes his writings. “Manoj is a sweet person with sweet words and he has his fingers well on the pulse of the situation,” he said and congratulated all the writers and the Guild.
Academician Prof Neerja Mattoo, hailed the Guild and said that it has been working hard to bring Kashmiri literature at its heights and the launching of the website is a great success in this regard. She said that she knew young female writer Deeba Nazeer for many years and has been a fan of her Kashmiri writing.
President, Adbee Markaz Kamraz, Dr. Shujaat Bukhari, while hailing the work of the Guild, said that launching of its web portal will for sure help the Kashmiri writers and literature of various languages to introduce themselves to the rest of the world.
He congratulated all the authors whose books were released on the occasion and said that Manoj Sheeri, Deeba Nazir and Mohammad Afzal have proven that the new generations of Kashmir have not given up due to the worst kind of political unrest in the state.
“I am sure there is no threat to any language in J&K as there are good and strong writers with us and all the languages are safe in their hands,” he added.
”Though there are various serious challenges to all the languages, Urdu readers are decreasing, circulation of our newspapers is coming down but despite that all the languages have enough soldiers to guard and protect them well,” he said.
He added that Urdu is the state’s official language, which bridges all three regions of the state together as people can communicate with each other only through this language and “that is why we must preserve and protect this sweet language.”
Dr Bukhari praised Vehshi Sayeed for his devotion towards Urdu and its promotion, and said that under the patronage of Noor Shah the Guild has flourished.
“Its strong team comprising Dr Nazir Mushtaq, Neelofar Naz Nehvi, Salim Salik, GN Shahid and Nasir Zamir have made this Guild a reality,” he said. He also praised Dr Mushtaq Haider for his scholastic aptitude.
Renowned Kashmiri poetess Prof Naseem Shafaei said that people must encourage young female writers and it is the responsibility of their parents and husbands to provide them enough chance to explore and expose their talent.
She congratulated the Guild for ‘keeping the torch of literature alive’.
President of the Guild, Vehshi Sayeed, welcomed the guests and said that its journey has discovered many young faces.
Sayeed said that the Guild has so far conducted 107 literary meetings in which 207 short stories in Urdu, Kashmiri, Pahari and Gojri languages were read out. “The Guild will keep encouraging the writers of all languages of the state without any discrimination.”
Nasir Mansoor conducted the function and Prof. Neelofar Naz Nehvi presented the vote of thanks. A large number of writers, including Prof. Nusrat Andrabi, Nasir Mirza, Zareef Ahmad Zareef, Mohammad Amin Bhat, Afaq Aziz, Mushtaq Barq and others attended the function.
Speaking on the occasion, Sheeri said that he returned to Kashmir valley in 2003. “Most of the members of my community were not comfortable with returning but I did not face any problem here,” he said.
Sheeri’s drama is also based on the displacement of his community. He worked as a journalist and later qualified the civil services in 2001 and is currently working as a Senior Superintendent of Police.