Rasool Mir


 - Dr. R. L. Bhat
Kashmir Sentinel

Tha-rah tha-rah chham ma-rah sha-yad
shar meh ji-gu-rook drav-nai
Khosh yi-von nunda-bon, ve-si-yae
Myon dil-bar aav nai

I am all ashake,
I may die/my heartís wish has seen no fulfillment
that lovely, pleasing, my heart throb/he hasnít come, ah Dear!

Rasul Mir, that skilled decanter of love, has a raging controversy shrouding his age. The local traditions recorded in 1940ís of by Ab Ahad Azad, spoke of a death in his prime. Folk history has it that, Mahmood Gani predicted his youthful death (Amis Chhi jan-h-margi handi koder). His poetry, its fervent youthfulness, its vibrant tenor, its tone of hearty yearning, its pristine emotions, all point to a poet, untouched by the cares of decaying age. Rasul Mir was said to have been alive in 1855 AD when Mahmood Gani passed away and died a few years before-Maqbool Shah Kralawari (d.1874). Accordingly his demise was reckoned between 1867-1870). Rasul Mir was thus said to have lived between 1820s and 1870s. Mr. Teng in his Kuliyati Rasul Mir, refers to a document, in revenue records at Anantnag, which bears the signature of Rasul Mir, as Nambardar and is dated 5th of April 1889. On this basis, Rasool may have lived into the last decade of 19th century.That is as close to factual certainity as researches have gotten to.

For the rest, there is his poetic legacy, and, ah again oral traditions. Oral traditions say, Rasul Mir was tall, handsome fair complexioned person, and sported moustaches that tapered far into the face. He was graceful, fashionable fellow, with a youthful heart that throbbed with love, love, and lots of love.

                                               Yi chho Rasul Mir Shahabad Doo-rey
                                                Tami chho trov-mut lo-la du-kaan
                                               Yi-vu aash-qow che-vu tor-re tor-rey
                                                Mai chho moor-rey la-la-vun naar.

This is Rasul Mir, at Shahabad, Doru. He has opened a love-kiosk. Come ye lovers, drink free cup.
                                                    Loveís fire burns me deep
Love, is the waft and whoop, the craft and creed of Rasul Mir(He lived love, sang love, and lives for his love-ful passion).  Love, the first strings of human heart that present the whole universe as an undulating poem. Love is the creed, beloved is the god and lyrics rush forth in bubbling streams to worship the deity. Singing, sighing and singing again they cascade over the expanses of life, in undating it in its fervor.
                                              Ze-h posha tu-l-i maeni aashq-a mas-jid
                                                      husn imam ta-th
                                             Tsa-ae bae-ng-i shu-baan mokh-ta-e da-ae
                                                   Ch-e-i yous-faen-i chae-lee
My Lovesí mosque, is an edifice of just two petals, Love is the preist there, Ye pearly one art the caller there, Ye, who hath the Yousefís grace. Mirís beloved is grace personi fied Zeh posha tu-l (two petals, mere) the being of his, object of love, is characteristic of Rasul Mirísí dainty love.
Love, flowers, passion and fragrance, the eternal inciters of life and beauty, are a recurring motiff in his poetry.
                                              Posha mal chham posh-a tu-l dda-ae lo-lo
                                              Rinda posh-a-mal gin-da-ney dra-yi lo-lo
My beloved (Posh-a-mal) is but two and a half petals; lo, the gay love goes out to frolic.
                                              Ga-ts-ta ve-si-yeh an-tan asta lo-lo
                                              He-ai mai kaer-i-mus poshan dasta lo-lo
Go ye my friend, fetch my lover here, A Jasmine, I have woven garlands for him

                                              Veer-nag-h ba nae-rai aa-ga-yey
                                              Achwal-ki posh shae-re la-ga-yey
                                              Vach-a-manz-a-lis ma-nz rachh-a-th dachh. mooriyey
                                              Va-lai kastur-re-yey, paer mai tra-v neer-i-yey

Veer-nag, Iíll go to usher thee,/Thy brow Iíll deck in flowers of Acha-bal/Yeh, vine Iíll twins thee to my breast/come ye kasturi, donít roam the meadows free
The weaving green of vast meadows, the dancing hues of wild flowers, the crystal springs singing their purity out, the free birds singing ditties to the air: Kashmir is land that is made for love, passion, a life lived through the heart. It is a wonder that this land had to mouth through painful centuries of love-less self-denials, monastic seclusion, dark corners of incisive introspection which is called the path of realization, or sufism.
The Kashmiri literature, (as much of it as is available) opens with Lalla. Lalleshwari was a saint, who saw the world as a beastís  burden. Lalla lived in the turbulence that was the beginning of Muslim Rule in Kashmir. Nund Reshi followed her, in her footsteps, in a slightly different direction, he was a preacher, who preached the new religion and won converts. His was a Muslim enthusiast living with Buddhist monastic principles, with the zeal of early Buddhist proselytizers, with similar end and results. That was the 14th century, the first Muslim century of Kashmir. Love, was an abhorrence. Faith was all, the beginning, the continuance, the end of life. Except for the interregnum of Buddh-shah, the reigns were harsh ĎJehadsí, against the populace or rival lords. Life was a persecution, living a hard duty, if not a curse. The language, the idiom, the thought and idea all were being transformed to correspond to alien ideals. It was a turbulence where you held your body in two hands, and heart kept pumping frantically under sweeping waves of adrenaline induced by terror. Poetry if any, was a recluse, hidden behind drab walls. Else, it was employed to trans-create Persian fables into heavy persionised Kashmiri for the benefit of converts to firm them in their new faith. Heart was out, for hearts sing free. Kashmir lay in double bonds. The fanatic zealots were out to stifles any free cries. The despots were prowling to cage gay voices.

It took two centuries to breed Habba Khatoon. Habba was swiftly carried to the chak palace. Akbarís taking over released her  from there, to sing over the saffron fields of Pompor, yearning for her lover, who could not have been Yousef Shahi Chak. A century after Habba came Mahmood Gani. Gani was prolific, too prolific. He introduced Kashmiri to Persian verse-form Ghazal, in a heavily Persianised tongue. Be times he took whole verses from Persian masters and re-laid them with a Kashmiri interjection here, a connective there, a pronoun at other places. Still, he wrote some memorable prices. And he wrote a lot. From masnavi, to gazals, to dainty Kashmiri vatchun, on to pieces dipped in Sofi lore, Gani, lived to be ninety and filled a thick Kuliyat. The one published by Cultural Academy runs to 560 pages, of closely written script!

Gani was a gifted poet, a master versifier, in love with Persian. His bequeath was distilled by Rasul Mir, who loved with heart, lived with heart, and sang from a love-ful heart. To a notorityí

                                                  Rasul yud-vy gun-cha laban
                                                  pailth teh-h chhok badnaam
                                                  Kho-sh ro-z aashaq kar tse
                                                  Naa farmaan dapan chhi.
Rasul, even though you are infamous for your love of tulip lips, be happy, for seldom do the lovers complain of thy in-attention

Love was the task to which Rasul applied himself with abandon. Love, and beloved, a total world, with neither time nor space for the mundane.

                                                  Mae-nzi nam-nae van-d-sai bo
                                                  Ha-tt-i Koi rath tor-ri lo-lo
                                                  Sarva ka-math kam-deev myon
                                                  Ja-ma chhis ka-for-ri lo-lo
                                                  Zar vanaan ehho-ee Rasul Mir
                                                  doori shah-baad ddoore lo-lo
For her hennaed naib Iíll give, pot-fuls of blood from under my throat, that tall beloved of mine, is attired in robes of scent Rasul. Mir is crying his heart, away, far in Dooru, oh love

                                              Tanha chon-e dar zulf girf-taar myonui dil
                                               Dar halqa yo-hai sil-sil-h
                                               don aal-man aa-mai

My heart is not the love one, caged in that love/This is way, the path through which, not one but two worldsíve gone

                                                   Chhus koba hus-nuk roae,
                                                      abroo taq bar taq
                                                   Dar ra-hi aashq sajda ra-va
                                                     don bu-mun aa-mai

That face is the kaaba of beauty, her lashes layered over and over. In the path of love, it is meet to bow to those two brows

                                                   Gul ro-ae ra-tah-hath na-la
                                                     dev dilas tselem daag
                                                  Rasul-h tse rus khar mae bar
                                                     farsh-i suman aamai

Ye tulip faced, thee Iíd hold, by neck to heal my pain/sans thee, Rasul the flower bed, is a thorny seat for me

                                                Kama-kus ja-ma-h paerith che-ti-yey
                                                   Sheeri lae-gith gul-i a-naar
                                                Veeri ta-san-zi nae-r-e mati-mati-yey
                                                  Vanta la-ti-ye, tas mae-ni jar.

White are the robes, my Kamdev wears. His brow is adorned in flowers red, His path, Iíd take in drunken stupor, go, tell my love of my pangs

                                                  Nae-li sho-bee ta-sa var-dan,
                                                    bae-li Khorda sae-li-yey
                                                 Vae-li kan chie zaeli waen-kan
                                                   saeli vodd-ni tac-li-yey-lo

Brideís robes, would suit thee well, Ye, my beloved of short years/Thy braids of hair, thy ear rings/peep from beneath the gossamer cover

                                                   Yae-ri laa-gov maeri man-zi
                                                    zaar boj-tai hen-zi-yey
                                                Nae-ri san-zi-yey mae-lh vuchh-ney
                                                    pher-vai. Tel-baeliyey-lo

Come let us be friends, ye lovely beauty, listen to my laments, oh Henzi, come to see the mela and, we  shall roam through Telbal)

The object of Rasulís love is said to have been a Hindu belle of his village. Tales of their having gone to the same mak-tab, and fallen in love have been woven. His poems of love, will yield a thousand tales of prolicy dalliance and passionate love, with little effort. Probably, such soul-full poetry is not possible without a passionate love. You have only to read Mahmood Gani, to know the bubbling heart in Rasul Mirís lyrics. Henzi-yani, Hindu girl, is an unmistakable refrain in Rasul Mirís Poems.

                                              Raza hen-zi-ya-ni naaz kyah anzni gardan
                                              Ya illa-hi chesma bad-a nishi rachh-tan
                                              Ga-tsi kam kyah cha-ni baar-ga-hi lo-lo
                                               Rinda poshamal gindi-ney dra-yi lo-lo

 How graceful the swans neck of henziyani looks, spare her from evil eyes, my Lord, Thy bounty, that wonít lessen, O God, Lo, the love goes on a frolicly outing

Whether the love was reciprocated or not is lost, like the details of Rasul Mirís life, in the depths of past lost to us. It is also not clear whether the mentions would point to a specific person or an idealization of female beauty in the form of a Hindu-maiden (God lenons, they are beauty itself) Raza Henz-yan, passes into Kongi, into Poshmal, Soundermal, Padmaeni, Kostouri, Kongi Padmani, take the primal place, for full lyric ĎKongi

                                                       haav-tai paan.
                                                  Bo veer-na-gai he-mai za-gai
                                                     La-gai mot gaer zaan
                                                 Pooli to cheena-gund kya drengi,
                                                     Kongi haa tai paan.

Iíll look for you at Veernag, in the garb of an unknown mendicent, at Pooli, cheeni-gund, Drengi. Give me a glimpse, Kongi

This is a virtual topographical map of the area, where Rasul Mir lived. The compiler of Q. Kulyati Rasul Mir has avered that Poshmaal too is a probable name of the Henziyaen. Rightly so. And so are Sondermaal, Kastour, Padmaan, Shama, which repeatedly occur in his verses.

                                                 Gul zun bae tse-nai jama tse-ttith
                                                      nae-rh ba-ba-zaar
                                                Padmaeni aa-shaq chh-us tse pa-th
                                                      bad-naam niga-ro

Like a tulip, my robe Iíll rent, and come forth; O Padmani, Iím thy loved, infamed by my love

                                                 Madno Padmaani mo dim dalai
                                                Mad-h chhas az to tai ada-h no var
                                                 Aadan ba-jey va-da na dda-lai-h
                                                  Hain-tse-i-h ko-tah tsa-l-h bo

My love, spurn not this Padmani, now for another occasion is not meet. My primal mate, my word I wonít break. How much shall I bear, ye pretender

                                                  Dil nith mae jaanus ma zaag
                                                Shama Soundri paa-mun mai laag
                                                 Ram-nae-gr-i tsaar-thai veer nag

My heart youíve taken, trap not my body, O beautiful Shama, expose me not to..... I look for you at Veernag through Ram Nagri

Of course, all these proper nouns can be interpreted in adjectival sense, which every name in reality is Shama Sundri, can be dusky, Soundri, beautiful Shama, or a dusky beauty. And that point needs be made about, about Rasul Mir. For Rasul Mir is a poet of love, a poet par excellance even without any enchanting tales appended to him. He lives his heart out in love-ful lyrics, weaving patterns of beauty in the nunees of emale form and adornments, wringing out a resonance from every listening heart.

                                                 Tse yi-vaan roshe chhok-na-t-h
                                                    ho-she dda-la-yo madno
                                                  Be-h rivaan sor-ma chesman
                                                  sor-m-h chha-lae-yo madno.

You stay away, my angry love, and here I sink from senses dear; My tears flow and wash all kajal from my eyes dear

                                               Me-hn eu-than tso-r-ri dil, mas-toor-i
                                                    kor-tham hoo-ri k-soor
                                                   Bad-nus soor ma-lai, door
                                                       tse-la-yo madno
                                                    Kha-ttith see-nus-andar
                                                  na-lae ra-ttith Shama Sunder
                                                    Jama zan sar-va-ka-dus
                                                    paan va-lae-yo mad-no.

My heart you stole, and left me a maiden. With a blot in Ashes Iíll smear myself and wander away,dear

Thee Iíll hold by neck, and squeuster away in heart like robe Iíll cling

                                                  Mot gom yaar farzana vesi-yey
                                                 Kot gom tee kar ba zan-h vesiyay
                                               Pan-ai chho Yousef pa-nai zu-lai-kh-ah
                                                Panus chho aashaq paa-nai vesi-yey

My wise lover is enchanted; whence gone, howíd I knowí He is Yousef, himself is Zulaikhah; a lover he  is undo his self, my dear.

Rasul Mirís object of love, is an idealization rooted in the world of sights, smells and tastes. His flowery aspect is as enticing as the exuded fragrance is invigorating.

                                                  He t-h masval, bai yimberzal,
                                                 bar-r-h gai tse kun v-e-e-chhaan
                                                 Chesm-h si-yah ro-kh vo-zae-lee
                                                    Jam-h che-ti-yey latiyey

Jasmine, Iris narcissus too, looking at thee have withered away/Thine eyes are black, face is red and
                                                   robes are of the whitest hue

                                                 Aash-q-h tab s-o-n bhargi la-lus,
                                                   yaam hae-vi-th man-zi num
                                                 Aar-h-val chh-ey la-lae-na-vaan
                                                    Na-ra-ta-li-yey lati-yey

Loves fire bored into the poppy, the moment they he-nnaed hands it saw. The wild rose is nursing its  boils from burning, dear

The beloved is seen in a floral mien, or else as an ethereal beauty fashioned of the most sublime things around. It is a portraiture thatíd brook no reservation for love, because it is formed of a bubbling love, seeking an end and fulfillment in form. Beauty reaches divinity as it progresses to perfection.

                                             Aash-q-h pae-chaan chho-e arg-vanun manz
                                              Ka-teh-h zoon zan don shah-maar-unmanz
                                               Naq-shi chee-nus zu-naar nachli-ye lo
                                                Bosh hus-nuk ro-zi na kae-li-ye lo.

Like an Ivy caught in violets, a full moon trapped by pythons two; or a beauty of China wearing the sacred thread

                                                  Gum-h shab-num gul ro-kh-us
                                                    Zan chhi arq daa-n-h tus
                                                 Zooni pai-tth taa-ru-kh pa-kaan

                                                     Kari ro-gun dur-dan.

Like dew on a flower, are the drops of sweat on her face, or else starswalking over moon, that my high-necked love

                                                Vuch aafta-bun chon tsan-dan mokh
                                                       te dolus rang
                                          Gae-j Katch-h ta-vuy zoon chhus sar-saam nigaa-ro.

The sun spied thy...Chandan face, and lost color/the moon there upon has been jaded and looks pale

                                             Kad chon alif, laam zulf, meem da-hn chhoe
                                              Por akli sabaq shakli alif laam ni-gaa-ro.

You are talllike alif, thy locks are long like laam, and thy mouth is meem itself; from thy form came all knowledge, in shape of alif-laam

Some where these heady portraits of the lover and beloved mingle into one whole. Kashmiri Gazal, says Abdul Ahad Azad, is a  female seeking the lover, who is male. In Persian from where Kashmiri gazal derives its inspiration, the object of love is a male sought by a male singer. In Rasul Mir, the singer changes from woman to man, the poems, and the elements of female beauty get mixed with distinctly male attributes producing a bivalent image. Azad calls it a defect of conception. This defected concept,í runs in the Kashmiri gazals from Mahmood to Gani to Mahjoor. It certainly mars a distinctive characteristic of Kashmiri gazals, that set it apart from Persian and its offspring Urdu gazal. This trait has been preserved in female poetesses alone, like Habba and Arnimaal where there is no confusion. Rasul also gets into the gazal a boldness that is characteristically masculine. Thus:

                                                 gom ha-n-kli, dr-s-h go-m b-rai
                                                 Ts-us gom va-li-nja yaar ma aam
                                              Tae-mi door see-n-h tai mae da-ri na-rey
                                                   Van-tai vesi-yey konai aam

The (door-) chain clanged the door was pushed  my heart leapt, was my lover comeí His chest he proffered and I my arms. Tell my friend, why didní;t he come

                                             Zae-li dda-bi be-hi-mai ki-n-h rang-h la-rey
                                               vo-th ve-s-e yaa-rus prae-ng voth-rar
                                               Kai-n-h nai mang-sai shong-sai la-rey
                                                  Van-tai vesi-yey kon-ai aam

Would he grace in the balcony, or sit in the painted roomí Arise, my friend, spread his bed. I ask for  little, but to lay be his side. Tell, my friend why didnít he come

                                                  Chum kha-f-h laa-rai pa-ta-h
                                                   la-yey bron-ttha na-lus thaf
                                                 Da-maa-n-h ra-tt-ai ma-h-sha-rai
                                                       baal ma-ra-yo

He is angry, him Iíll chase, by collor Iíll catch hold of him/on dooms day, Iíll hold thee by thy robe; without thee, here I die

It is a practice in Kashmir, for every poet even a singer, to have a spiritual preceptor, a peer. Rasul Mir is said to have had any peers. Rasul Mir sported majestic moustaches, which went tapering across the lip ending in a flowish. Some devotees, it is said, raised some religious objection to Rasul Mirís moustaches Ďwell ask him on the morrowí said the peer. At night, the devotees, it is said, saw in their dreams the peer himself with similar moustaches. Tuswof, does not alloy Rasul Mirísí poetry, Unless, of course, you twist and tear it out of context and Ďdiscoverí Ďhidden meaningsí. But Rasul Mir is an ardent lover, and on that plane, love becomes devotion, godhead.

                                                Rasul chho zae-nith deen-o-maz-hab
                                                      rokh te zulf chon
                                                   Koh zani kya gov kufur to
                                                       Islam niga-ro

Rasuls, knows thy locks and looks is a fine faith.Howíd he know what is kufur, and what Islam, dear.

That is Rasul Mir bold beautiful poet of exquisite love. Singer of fervent lyrics. The breath of vibrant air, that sent its freshness over cobwebs of cloistered verses. Almost single handedly, he turned Kashmiri poetry into a bubbling love, gushing forth helplessly, sincerely, fervently. As it should in a vale of beauty

                                              Zae-li vae-nkan bae-li yeli lagi shu-maar
                                            Pachh lag-nus gae-nz-ra-nus lachh tai hazaar
                                                Ami Sha-yi no mok-lan pa-yi lo-lo
                                              Rind-a posh-maal ginda-ney dra-yi lo-lo

When count is taken of thy braids, lacs of fortnights itíll take. Once begun there is no escape from  there. Lo, the gay love goes out to frolic

Poetry is, needlessly, harangued by analysis and postmortems, split as under to gorge out philosophies, burdened with the weights of duty and messages. Poetry is a communion of hearts. Pure andsimple with or without the appeals and advocacyís, philosophies or campaigns. There reigns Rasul Mir Supreme unmatched. A master singer of heart

                                                    Ruslan ta-a-zh kitaab,
                                                   yi vaen-nai cha-ni ga-mai
                                                     Ani kus taa-b-i jawab
                                                     chav mey jam-i ja-mai

This new volume Rasul has sung in thy pang, whoí dare to rebut come,hand me another cupí.

Kashmiri Overseas Association
Kashmiri Poets