‘Voicing Kashmir’s Pain in Hindi’

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Published: May 9, 2013

Updated: May 9, 2013

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Nawaz says he has preserved Kashmir’s violent history of two decades in Hindi literature

Rakib Altaf

SRINAGAR: During the last two decades, when an armed struggle against Indian rule continued in Kashmir, Nida Nawaz wrote poems in Hindi, India’s national language.

Many taunted him and called him a Hindu or an Indian.

Those days the situation was such that many pro-India people, both Muslims and Hindus, fled the valley in large numbers.

Nawaz, a resident of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, has got degrees in both Urdu and Hindi language as well. His first short story in Hindi was published in a newspaper of Jammu. He received letters from many parts of the country appreciating his work.

After this he went on to be associated with the language forever. In 1998 his poetic collection, Akshar Akshar Rakht Bhara (every word is drenched in blood) won him the national award.

‘Pain and Sorrow’

Nida Nawaz’s poems are a reflection of the turmoil that people in Kashmir have witnessed.

There have been many writers in English and Urdu who have narrated the situation in Kashmir. But none did it in Hindi.

Nawaz says he has preserved Kashmir’s violent history of two decades in Hindi literature.

According to him, he narrated Kashmir’s “pain and sorrow” in a language which is the most widely spoken in India.

He has written poems in opposition of militants and has also narrated the “torture” by security forces.

In one of his poems he writes:

“They come at night, they don’t knock
Break open the door, they dash into our homes
They pull my father with his beard
My mother’s headscarf is lost in the midst” (Poem: My mother’s head cover)

Militants kidnapped Nawaz twice but released him safely both the times. Security forces were also angry with him and he was arrested at least once.

About how security personnel behave with the people in the Valley, Nawaz writes:

“We wither like the old poplar leaf
At every turn they tell us to stop
with hate speech, they tell us to get down
Trembling, shaking we fall into a line
Then they search us,
Strip us of our self-esteem” (Poem: With the excuse of searching us)

‘Rebellious’

Nida Nawaz was rebellious by nature. He always wanted to do something different. He briefly lived in Srinagar, where he became friends with a person from Patna, Bihar.

His friend would give him a daily newspaper in Hindi and would also help him read it.

Nawaz says he did not even know the Hindi alphabet, but challenged himself to master the language. He first did his Hindi Honors and then went to the Patna University for his M.A.

He says it is unfortunate that the people associate Hindi with Hinduism and Urdu with Muslims.

He says that it so happened once he was traveling in the bus. A passenger called him ‘Moulvi Sahab’ because of his long beard. Then when he began reading a Hindi book to while away his time the man came and apologised.

“He said ‘Please forgive me, I did not know you are Hindu’,” Nawaz says.

Nida Nawaz is currently working on two books which are expected to be out in the market soon. One of these is his second collection of poems while the other is his diary.

Nida Nawaz has participated in various Kavi Sammelans (poetry recital sessions) outside the valley. In the Hindi Literature circles outside the valley, he is quite a name.

But in the valley he has only one friend who writes verse in Hindi – Satish Vimal.

Satish Vimal and Nida Nawaz often sit over a cup of tea and recite their poems – just to each other.

(From BBC Hindi)

Also Read: Hindi Language Survives Kashmir Turmoil

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