Pandit Zinda Koul

Pandit Zinda KoulPandit Zinda Koul
Pandit Zinda Koul (1884-1965)


Pandit Zinda Koul is a well-known poet of Kashmir. In Kashmir, his students and friends used to call him 'Masterji'. He came to be called 'Masterji' because he used to teach many Kashmiris, both in school as well as at his home. He died in Jammu in the winter of 1965. 

In the beginning 'Masterji' did not write in only Kashmiri. He wrote poetry in Persian, Hindi, and Urdu, as well. Masterji's poetry has been published in all these four languages. However, he made his name by writing in Kashmiri. 

His well-known book in Kashmiri is Samran. It was first published in Devanagari, and later the government had it printed in the Persio-Arabic script. The Sahitya Academy of India gave Pandit Zinda Koul an award of five thousand rupees for this book. Masterji received this award in 1956. 

Masterji had to face many difficulties in his life. He was a school teacher for a long time. After that, he worked as an ordinary clerk. 

Masterji started writing in Kashmiri in 1942. In his Kashmiri poetry, he has written primarily on devotion and peace. His poetry was greatly influenced by Lal Ded and Parmanand. 

Masterji composed poetry only for (his own) pleasure. Those who know say that Masterji's poems in Kashmiri were better than those in Hindi and Urdu. Masterji translated the poems of the famous Kashmiri poet Parmanand into English. These poems have been published in three volumes. Kashmiri poetry suffered a great loss upon Masterji's death.

Compulsion (majbu:ri)

by Zinda Koul 'Masterji'
One would cry and not restrain the tears,
But crying is of no avail,
Shedding incessant tears is of no avail,
And knocking one's head against
boulders is of no avail.
And knowing that there is none to heed,
Why this urge to plead!
Why dash darts into the void!
Mere compulsion! Mere helplessness!
The body is consumed minute by minute,
suppressed by hunger and thirst and cold,
chained by ailments and kith and kin
depressed by constant worries and woes.
And once these worries cease to exist,
the body is tempted and lured
by numberless temptations.
The restless mind is without any peace
for something has obsessed it.
Without the encounter with the Good,
Without the realization of the Good,
The mind is searching for something lost
like a person drunk in sleep.
More affliction of desire and body!
Our ears have heard,
Our hearts have believed,
that sometime, somewhere, someone
caught a distant glimpse of Him.
We pine for Him; we long for Him,
For we think he is sulking from us
hiding under the bushes.
Indeed, love is a painful obsession!
I ask
The one who is hidden far and away,
The one who gives us a deaf ear,
Does he ever enquire how we are?
Does he ever recall where we are?
Does he ever ask himself,
"I wonder what is the lot of those
Whom I put in the dismal dark,
Whom I let loose
Over the hills, over the streams, over the woods?"
Indeed, beauty has no compassion!
We could argue,
"Why expect love from the loveless?
Why expect fruit from a willow?
If you do not know his whereabouts,
How can you plan his search?"
But heart will not retract the steps
For how can one chain the air!
For how can one blame the heart!
Love is not a child's play!
It is the sound from within;
It is like the fragrance of the musk.
The musk deer hunts over hills and dales
looking for something that is within him.
The heart is like the musk deer, searching
without that which is within.
The fragrance of the dear one pulls him out
with eyes shut and hands down.
He is playing the game of hide and seek,
appearing here and appearing there.
Once the moth has seen the lamp afar,
how can it stand still?
It must chase the light with frenzy
(Even though the light is not seen).
It must tear through the seven robes of wisdom.
Beauty is not mere enchantment!
Mere compulsion! Mere helplessness!
Mere affliction of desire and body!
Indeed love is a painful obsession!
Indeed beauty has no compassion!
Love is not a child's play!
Beauty is not mere enchantment!

Click here to download Real Audio song: Sumran Panin dichanum


Reproduced from:
An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri
by Braj B. Kachru
Department of Linguistics, University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois 61801 U.S.A.
June, 1973

 
Kashmiri Overseas Association
Master Zinda Koul
Kashmiri Poets