Sopore: Peer Saifuddin Saifi, also known by his pen name, Saifi Sopori’s passing away has left a deep void in the hearts of lovers of poetry and literature. The acclaimed poet, social activist, author and educationist passed away on October 19, 2017.
Saifi completed his early education from Sopore and went on to finish his graduation from Punjab University Lahore, Pakistan. He served as teacher in education department where he developed a reputation as an upright and bright educationist. He rose the ranks in the department from tehsil education officer (TEO) to joint director in non-formal education, Kashmir.
Born in Hatishah Mohalla on January 19, 1922, Saifi had a God-given talent for letters. Living near the river Jhelum, which flowed next to his old home, he reflected upon life and composed some of his finest poetry. Saifi later shifted to New Colony, Sopore where he translated the works of several Western philosophers like Sartre into Kashmiri.
As a polymath, Saifi was well-known for his mastery of several languages. He had an intimate knowledge of Urdu, Kashmiri, English, Arabic and Persian. “A few years ago his latest book Sehra Sehra was launched by the Vice-Chancellor of Kashmir University. His work focused on nature and themes like Islam, compassion and humanity,” Dr Azhar Masoodi, Saifi Sopori’s son told Kashmir Reader.
Always surrounding himself with books and literature, Saifi Sopori was equally at home with Urdu and English. “He also translated Keats’ and Shakespeare into several languages. It was a lifelong mission for him to be engrossed in books. That entire he learnt he imparted to others, either through lectures or via his books,” he noted.
Saifi Sopori was awarded the State Award by the then education minister of J&K, Harbans Singh, for his contribution to arts and literature. He also received several awards for his works of poetry and translation from the J&K Cultural Academy.