A part of Kruhin territory, Kreeri is a village in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district where the gems in the form of poets, scholars and other literary enthusiasts were born. Popularly known as Shiraaz of Kashmir, the village is known for its poetic and literary lineage.
Literary enthusiasm has been in the village for more than 600 years now. It started with Hazrat Haji Syed Muhammad Murad Bukhari, who was a patron, saint and had mastery in Sufi life. His grandson Mir Syed Hamzatul Bukhari’s descendants have given birth to many exemplary writers.
President, kruhin cultural forum (a literary forum) of kreeri, Syed Tanha Nizami has been into poetry since his childhood and he writes in different languages.
“I started poetry in 1969. I write in four languages; Kashmiri, Punjabi, Urdu and Pahadi. I write poetry, prose and have done some translations as well,” said Tanha.
Tanha has a huge list of published books. Some of his notable published books and naats include Taaf chi Telan, kashmiri nazmon ka majmua, sath sur-nazmo ka magmua, Mir Maqbool Bukhari (research of a sufi poet), naat e Asra, Anhar i khaab, Darpan, Aa’n Ghaa’n, Mak Madinas Bar chi vithiye, Baateya Allah Waloon ki and Syed e sadaad.
Tanha has done many translations as well. His love for poetry has made him preserve many of the poetries of late poets in his book – look.
“I have translated some surahs of the Holy Quran in kashmiri but in a poetic format. I have also translated a book namely The Prophet, written by Khalil Jibran, but is not published yet”, said Tanha.
Tanha believes that poetry requires a lot of hard work and practice (riyaz).
Another poet Syed Abdul Hameed Bukhari is also from the lineage of Syed Hamzatul Bukhari who wrote under his pen name Nadim Bukhari. He had a literary taste right from his childhood.
“I remember in childhood, my mother, who was passed 6th standard, would make us listen to old naats and poetries of different poets like Habba Khatoon, Lal Ded and Sheikh ul Alam. All this added to my poetic taste,” Nadim said while recalling the days of childhood.
Nadim had always had a keen interest in reading. Some of the poetic works that inspired him were of Ghalib, Mir Taki Mir, Iqbal, Shamus Faqeer and Kasool Mir in Urdu, Shakespeare and Wordsworth in English and Sheikh Sadi Shiraani, Umar Khayaam, Maulana Jami and Jallah ud din Rumi in French. He likes writing in three languages: Kashmiri, Persian and Urdu.
Nadim’s writings have been a part of the Kruhin Cultural Forum. He has also written a detailed essay on Qudus Mir, which was published in the yearly magazine of Kruhin Cultural Forum, namely Anhaar. He has written four books but has not published them because of his personal reasons.
Nadim calls Kreeri, a fertile hub of literature. While talking about the old poets of Kreeri, he said that the literary culture of Kreeri after Hamzatul Bukhari started with Syed Sonaullah, who is remembered in almost all Masjids of Kashmir during Fajr time because of one of his famous works Dua e Subhu.
“His pen name was Sonaullah Kreeri and he had an excellent hold on Manajat, naat and prose. Some of his famous works include kis e zarwaan and Ah Walul Akhirat. After him was a Persian writer, Qudus Mir Kreeri who wrote the biography of Syed Haji Murad bukhari in poetic format and named it as Tooftul Murad but due to some reasons could not complete it. After him was Wasif Bukhari, a Persian writer and Amir Shah Kreeri who translated Saam Naav and Rozat ul Shohda,” he said.
“Following them was Syed Qabul Bukhari who completed the translation of Rozat ul Shohda and wrote the Khharvir Naami.”
One of the great poets and scholars was Syed Ali Bukhari whose pen was Gowhar Bukhari. His works include the renowned Shajrat ul Sadaat Bukhari. He has also contributed to the field of prose with his Tajkeet ul Auliya etc.
It is believed that his contributions to the field of Naat and Managib (Manajib) are still remembered by all. Syed habibullah also had a great impact in the field of poetry. After him was Syed Gullam Hassan Nazim who wrote Tareekh e Islam.
A poet, Syed Abdul Gabar’s contribution to the Kashmiri language was immense. He was known by the pen name of Khamoosh Kreeri.
“Many of his poetry books include Rubaayat e Khamoosh, Gazlya e Khamoosh and Loot e Manajib. Syed Shareef ud din Benawa and Syed Qamar ud din Jalaali were also great contributors to the literary culture of Kreeri,” said Nadim while cherishing the poets of Kreeri.
Nadim learned poetry from Syed Abdullah Bukhari, his father who was a naat reciter and his maternal uncle, Syed Gayass ud din who according to Nadim had a mastery over Persian and Arabic language helped him a lot in poetry.
His college professors like Mishal Sultanpuri and Syed Manzoor Hashmi have guided him a lot.
“I remember one of my professors telling me to write an essay on Qudus Mir. I had little information about him at that time but then after a deep research and analysis I came up with that article,” he said.
Nadim considers Kruhin Cultural Forum, a place of poets and writers started by Syed Ali Alis in 1969 which has been conducting different programs and symposiums in different places.
Kreeri now has a lot of experienced poets who are taking the legacy of poetry forward in the best way.
“We have members from Kreeri and from the adjacent villages as well. One of our key members was Syed Shujaat Bukhari. Today our members include; Sarwar Haashmi, secretary of the forum, Syed Sad-ud-din, a poet and a great author , Shareef Qadri, Syed Nazir Hussain, Syed shamus Ahmad, Shaukat Kashmiri, Isaq Mujhroh, Shad Dardipoori, Posh Wanigami, Fayaz Tilgami and Sonaullah Showkat. There are many young writers in the forum like Syed Sareer Ahmad Saroor and Mohammad Akbar Bhat Sadi who is a sufi poet,” said Nadim.
Nadim remembers the year 2003 when he got first prize in a state level naat competition held by Sangarmaal and Adbi Markaz. What makes him remember this competition is the fact that the naat he recited was written by him.
The yearly publication is read by all writers especially of Kruhin territory. Nadim’s writing has always made him meet and get acquainted with new talents.
Nadim feels that writers get stuck because of no assistance and no sponsorships. His forum now does not get any sponsorship which results in delays of their yearly magazine, Anhaar.
His son Syed Zumair is also a great poetry enthusiast. For Zumair his first poetry “solitude” was a result of seeing his father spending nights writing poetry.
“I always wondered why my father is not sleeping for nights if he is done with his studies but then spending time with the great poetic works of Ghalib and Keats. I realized that poetry is not just understanding a couplet in one sense but understanding all possible meanings of it through all possible ways.In 2019, I started reading Jaun Elia and realized how Urdu in a couplet of words can define everything. I feel I am not in a position to call myself a member of the Kruhin forum because the poets there have no comparison with me”, said Zumair.
“I tom planning on publishing a book and the genre I would take would be deat play. I believe the young writers here don’t get a proper platform and if given Kashmir has remarkable talent”, he added.