Kaeshur Rachav

A month ago, I started a section in this blog wherein I translate the kashmiri songs, I have started with the popular ones first. While translating the songs, one of the problems that I faced was that many of the songs that I came across were nice to hear but I was clueless about the words that were being spoken in them, I couldn’t find the meaning of the words in the modern lexicon, that we use nowadays, as this modern lexicon stems from the urduisation and englishisation of our language. We barely know our language and our culture, that we inherited, as it existed. Partly because it is considered condescending if some child deigns to speak in kashmiri and partly because we don’t want our accent to give away our origins. We are somehow ashamed of our culture, our identity. Yes, it is true, we are ashamed of who we are!

Go to a social gathering and check for yourself, the child speaking in broken urdu  is quickly deemed to be refined and intelligent; and henceforth becomes recipient of affability, love, and generosity of the guests whereas the poor soul who has kaeshur on his tongue becomes the eyesore of the party even if his broken kashmiri is music to ears, he ends up receiving the cold-shoulder from the guests as he is an uncouth fellow just like his parents who didn’t teach him to shun his mother-tongue and ape the foreign language! Such brutes!

This leads to the Urdu-waala guys ending up with kashmiri that is worse than those with ST/GB certificates. I am not making this up, I have had the pleasure to be with such guys at school and college and trust me they only ended up making my Urdu worse. They know that they are speaking an alien language and in a bid to fit in they end up with linguistic disasters.

Tu shikaslad hai, zara kar kaam, zara ja dafa, tu balayei/kalle hai, hum lipper pe thay, usko waaze naatihyen thi aaj syun main saath are some of the examples of trying to fit in which became sort of urban-lingo at school leading to degradation of not just one language but two!

The second reason that I mentioned above is that of being afraid/ashamed of our origins, our identity that is ostensibly present in our accent. Urdu helps to mask the accent so nobody will know what part of Kashmir we are from. Some people are ashamed to belong to a particular place and it is not just one place! I, like all the sane Kashmiris like snow and it gives me immense joy to see a heavy snowfall, somewhat like we had this winter. I once asked few guys from other districts to tell me about the level of snowfall that they receive and surprisingly even at places that receive snowfall in several feet, their replies made me certain that we either receive as much as them or even more! Because, again, somehow the level of snowfall would have made me believe that they live on mountains, maybe!

We want our children to parrot English and Urdu because these are the official languages of the state with former being the global language, fair enough, this will definitely help them in getting acquainted with the functioning/happening of the state and the world easily but they have a lot of time for that, they first need to get acquainted with their own society, their culture, and their roots; they first need to know about the past they inherited then only can they appreciate the future they will build. In a world that demands polyglots, why are we robbing new generations of a language, that too their mother-tongue? In the process of doing so we are doing a great disservice to our land, our culture, and our forefathers. We come from a place that has a written historical document dating much before than that of Europe! Our poets were documented when English were learning to read! We are being dishonest with our past and robbing our future at the same time.

 

There is a silver-lining though but that is generally when we are no longer part of the Kaeshur society, I’m talking about NRks- these people being away from the motherland find that spirit of belonging and try to be more connected to their roots and in that process they impart the mother-tongue to their children and use their resources to safeguard the language and culture for future gens. If you google about Kashmiri language over 90% of the content comes NRKs- lessons about learning Kashmiri language, Kashmiri texts, commentaries on Kashmiri culture, cuisines, documented cultural shows and what not! They sponsor the cultural shows there and most important of all- get that documented! We are slowly getting rid of pheran and kangir but thankfully some ingenious people got pheran in vogue. So for the time-being pheran is another fashion accessory but kangir, still for some, is for photos only. Our so-called regional channel that is there for the promotion of the Kaeshir language broadcasts majority of programs in Urdu, and surprisingly, in English as well, that too at prime time!

Documentation is really important for the future generation because we come from that part of the world where it is shameful to speak in your mother-tongue, to learn your culture at school- we know about Harrapa but nothing about Burzhama, to practice and follow it! So, when in future, a kid wants to know what cacophony his grandparents murmur in, he might google the sound and find that it’s the language he was supposed to speak in!

So, document your culture as much as you can, write about anything and everything that is Kashmiri because if you don’t write your own history as you witness it someone else will as they want it to be!

I Fear To Be

                                                      PART-1

A sunny afternoon in the valley when everyone was busy returning to their homes after a long autumn day. Abdullah, a young boy of 18, was leaving for his tuitions after praying ASR nimaz in the local masjid. Abdullah was a bright student always loved by his teachers, his friends, and his family. He was the third and youngest child of his parents. He had two elder brothers, who were both in college, Umar-eldest studying business administration while the middle one, Amir-was pursuing MBBS. Abdullah, inspired by Amir and somewhat expected by his parents opted for medical in his post matriculation studies. Abdullah being a meritorious student all his life like his other brother was expected to shine in the qualifying entrance examination. His father Amjad, a govt employee, and his mother both were proud of their children. This family of five lived in a modest house located in a respectable neighbourhood with a small garden in front where all the three children had spent their childhood mostly playing cricket. They were considered very pious and were revered by their neighbours. All the three children prayed five times a day, attended a Darsgah as kids, learned the quran and were now living an ideal Muslim life. Their day always started with Nimaz followed by recitation of Quran and so on.

While going to the tuition, Abdullah used to walk on the bank of Jhelum and used to do the same while returning. There was something that attracted him to water; he always felt it to be intriguing, fascinating, and attracting him with some hypnotising force far strong than all those forces that he has studied in his physics and chemistry classes. Whenever he was confronted by female folk on his way to tuitions, he used to remind himself about the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad pbuh stating, “If a woman passes in front of you, lower your eyes until she has passed by.”  He incorporated his lifestyle according to Islam or at least was trying to do so.

Years passed by and now he was studying literature. Why? Because it was what he always wanted to do, it was the only thing he could concentrate on. It took much more than just courage to reason with his parents after he couldn’t qualify for bachelors in medicine. His parents wanted him to try again but he was tired of trying, the very thought of having those sleepless nights once again would make him sad more which would have made any other to shudder. He had given it all he had and in his heart he knew that there was no stone left unturned, no book unread, no plan unexecuted. He knew that there was nothing special that needed to be done. It was a decree and the only thing that he could do was to accept the will of God. What else can you do rather than accepting what the lord has ordained for you? Often he reminded himself of the Islamic saying “What is meant for you will not miss you and what is meant to miss you will not befall you!”

His dream was shattered. Sometimes it is really hard to even breathe, when the dream you were breathing for disappears like the fog breathed out in winters. What are you expected to do when you find that everything you loved was falling apart? The only thing you were asking from your lord was not granted. What now? Is the life worth living anymore when you know that the only thing you loved won’t ever be yours? This was the most common question his heart asked his mind. There are times when you are in love and you start projecting yourself with your love, life changes gears, everything moves so fast, all hurdles are overcome and in the end all you are left with is something rare, something precious, something called ‘happiness’. You build your own memories, you start cherishing them, and you start securing them oblivious of the fact that there is a force capable enough to shatter those dreams of yours in a jiffy.

Abdullah seemed to be cornered; he felt nowhere to go now and was considering committing the most dreaded sin- SUICIDE. Whenever he got reminded of his dream he used to feel a lump in his throat. Things were getting on his nerves. One day he was listening to some bayaan on his mobile when the orator narrated a life changing anecdote for him. The anecdote was:

‘Once someone asked Hazrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) “How did you recognise the presence of Allah?” Hazrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) replied “whenever I failed to execute my plans, I understood that there is some Supreme Planner whose plans are always executed and I knew that He is Allah”

Now here he was living his dream, doing what most of us cannot i.e. pursue happiness. Life was going on smoothly. Umar got a job overseas in Ireland, Amir was now preparing for M.D entrance exam. And Abdullah himself decided to go for further studies at KU. Umar was happy with his  job so was his family. He was now taking the responsibility of being the big brother; he used to send them money at regular intervals, helping out his father and in a way providing to his family. After all, our family is the only candle light that keeps us driving through those dark times when all the bright stars decide to change their orbit.

Abdullah, being inspired by the religious sermons that he used to listen from time to time was trying to be a Daiee– one who invites to Islam. He decided to take this venture a step further and began to start his journey ONLINE. He created an account on a popular blogging website and was inviting people to embrace Islam. His account used to be a busy one. Many muslims were inspired by his thoughts and many disliked him for being ‘extremist’, some with believed he was one with medieval ideology in this modern era. Once he happened to write about the most discussed and most misinterpreted issue- HIJAB. Hijab is as if a taboo, people know about its importance but fail to incorporate it in their lives, they don’t want to discuss it like other religious issues, and rather people dislike talking about any religious issue. People tend to believe in ‘more you know more you will be accountable for’. Hence being ignorant is as good as being Jannati!

This hijab blog of his received many praises and curses alike. One such critic was Aisha. She had literally torn apart his blog by writing a rebuttal- apparently another blog, and providing the link to it in the comment section. The renegades, as Abdullah called them, were praising her open mindedness and her bravery to step out against the common cult, to defy the diktats, to break her ‘fetters’! Abdullah decided to mail her rather than mentioning her blog in his next post, just to gain few brownie points. A correspondence started between the two. Doubts were being cleared on both the sides like that breeze of the dawn that sweeps the sky clear of all the clouds so that the day will be bright and sunny, quietly doing its job in darkness without expecting any credit or appraisal, making your day gilding while you sleep.

Slowly they began to share their religious beliefs, knowledge, and queries with each other. Time passed by and now they slowly knew about each other. Both of them were startled to know that they studied at same university. One such thing about religion and religious talks is that you never need to mention any thing about your place, origin, or culture; Mecca and Medina were the places, Arsh was the origin and Islam itself is the culture, that’s why it’s called Deen- the way of life rather than a simple religion.

Something strange started to happen between these two souls since they came to know that they lived in the same city and studied at the same university. The religious debates began to transform into political ones and over a period of time they were discussing the pro and cons, in fact only the cons of the education system. Few months down the road they were discussing their hobbies and childhood, most of which was spent collecting nightmares and dodging bullets, remembering nearest relative that resides around so that when you came back after the school and found that a crackdown is in place at your locality, you can find a safe haven at the home of your relative. They started correspondence discussing hijab in our culture and somewhere behijabi became their culture or at least they were heading towards it.

Every day after their college they used to communicate with each other, this was becoming the wont now. Both these souls were interested in the life partner like each other. So what was this now? Was this any sort of omen? That you’ve found your soulmate? Your companion in Jannah? Or was it simply some infatuation that was clouding their judgement to decide what to stand for? What were they delivering sermons about? You might get tired but Devil doesn’t! Both of them were deciding to ask other for a meeting, a rendezvous as they both studied at same university and were friends from couple of months but ironically neither of them had seen the other. This meeting was more to see other than to hear him/her out. You know that you love Allah and know about his existence but you never demand him to show up, why? Because in your heart you know that he never will, but this is not the case with us humans. The next person you love and respect more than anyone else in this world apart from Allah is the Prophet Muhammad pbuh. Don’t you desire to see him? To know what he looked like? To watch him smile? There are books published about his looks only! Anyone who has loved will know what it means to see the face that fades the beauty of moon, which hooks your attention taking you into a trance state. They too were experiencing it as everyone else who has ever been in love!

It is said that Allah never lets his blessed slaves to go astray; he shakes them every time they decide to go numb. Similar thing happened this time around; Abdullah was travelling back from his college listening to some bayaan and Aisha was reading some Islamic pamphlet that was distributed at the University. It happened as if at the same time. Both of them came across a similar saying at the same time, one was using his hearing senses while other her sense of sight, it was like this “Whenever a shaitan fails to lead a pious soul astray, whenever all his ploys and plots fail, he goes to Iblees and asks the cursed one for help. Iblees being the most shrewd and wicked knows that all other gambits will fail except one! Iblees deceives him/her by asking him/her to give Daawah to opposite gender in private!” and Viola! They have already digressed!

After reaching home, unlike their daily routine at the evening, no mails were exchanged whatsoever. Initially both of them thought that the other is busy and hence tried to feign busyness themselves. Earlier both of them only came online at the evening, knowing that the other will also be online at that very moment but since couple of days both of them frequented the website whole day in a desperate hope that the other might have left a reply for them.

Ah! Love! But stranger than fiction! They desperately wanted their beloved to commune only to rebuke him/her away, to tell him/her that he/she was no longer interested in such a relationship of mere correspondence to enlighten other of the saying “when a bachelor man and  girl meet alone, shaitan is the third giving them company.” This too was a way of impressing the other so that the other will feel more attracted according to the saying “Desire for a life partner who will help you in your Deen!” Meanwhile their virtual meeting was as good as any real rendezvous only this time there was no worry of being seen or being late to home! If you ask me I think both of them deserved each other, May be you too might be feeling the same but who knows how the events will turn out in future?

It was Sunday, 3 days had gone by since they had shared any sort of communication. You too might remember your first draught in your love life, if there was any or maybe you were too prudent to venture such haunted alleys. In the evening Abdullah decided to leave a reply, he sat down to write and it was:

Dear Aisha,

As’salamu’alai’kum, first of all sorry for writing ‘Dear’ at the start, I don’t think I command any such authority or deserve any position for addressing you that way but I felt it would be impudent on my behalf to start without it! I didn’t communicate with you since Thursday evening and you didn’t either. I don’t know about your reasons but as far as mine go, I want to state them. On Friday, while returning home, I was listening to a bayaan by Maulana Nouman, there I heard this, “Whenever a shaitan fails to lead a pious soul astray, whenever all his ploys and plots fail, he goes to Iblees and asks the cursed one for help. Iblees being the most shrewd and wicked knows that all other gambits will fail except one! Iblees deceives him/her by asking him/her to give Daawah to opposite gender in private!” and by the grace of Almighty Allah I immediately got reminded of myself. No! No! I am not saying that you are someone alien to Islam and its practices and it was me who was trying to get you acquainted with it, I don’t mean that, how can I? I apologise if you felt such. Honestly, if you ask me, you are one of the most pious people I have ever met. On the contrary, it was me who was inspired by you; you have left a deep impact on me and on my being. Thank you for that.

 Now about my recent awol, the reason was that very bayaan, I think I am crossing my limits as a friend (if you ever considered me one) and most importantly as a Muslim. It might be sooner or later that we might (God forbid) commit a grave sin and thus serve shaitan- the cursed one. I am not raising finger on your credibility, please don’t take it that way, I don’t mean that. I am merely pointing out predicaments we may (God forbid) find ourselves preoccupied in. To be really honest, I am pointing out to my weakness, I am not a Wali, and I am not a saint either, I am the worst sinner you can ever meet (why would you meet a sinner anyway? May Allah always save you from that. It was a preposterous question, forget it) and I fear I might fall in love with you or perhaps I already have, I fear being committed to someone, I fear to embark on a journey that has to be taken out in dark, I fear to arouse expectation in someone and then failing to fulfil them, I fear to hurt someone, I fear to break someone’s heart, I fear to be a futile hope, I fear to be myself!

I have always believed in love after marriage rather than before it. As I believe that it is much better to discover new things in your partner everyday for the rest of your life rather than knowing each and every trivial detail about her and then live a completely boring life afterwards. Some may argue that love before marriage saves you from high expectations of arranged marriage. And after failing to find those etiquettes, that behaviour you sought all your bachelor life in your life partner, you are dismayed and it always results in a divorce. Yes, maybe! But can those people who advocate such arguments confirm the fidelity of a love marriage?

Sorry, I did digress there. The point I want to make is that I don’t want to lose the one I love but I love you! I don’t know what I am writing. Sorry! Sorry again! If you felt offended. My apologies are doing overtime today. I didn’t write this letter (mail) to tell you how I perceive the world. I want to tell you that I think it’s better for both of us to never communicate again as our communication have evolved (digressed) from Islamic perspective to private perspective.

P.S Yes, I have never seen or heard you but I love you and I want my life partner to be exactly or Allah willing be better than you or if Allah wishes I want her to be You. And I wanted to ask you for a meeting but now I pray that if we ever met recognising each other then it either be our wedding or the jannah!

 

Tears rolled down Aisha’s eyes. Why was she crying? Did Abdullah give words to her thoughts? She sat down to compose a reply and it ran as: