The Prime Source on the History of Pampore

The Prime Source on the History of Pampore

Book Review

Book: Jami’ Tarikh ‘Alaqah Pampur
Author: Engineer Mir Nazir Ahmad Pampori
Publisher: Shah-i-Hamadan Memorial Trust, Pampore
Year of publication: 2022
Pages: 668, ISBN: 9788189437299


Engineer Nazir Ahmad Mir Pampori was an engineer by profession but is better known for being an Islamic scholar, eloquent religious orator, devotional writer and a kind human being. He served Shah-i-Hamadan Trust Pampore—an age-old religious seminary, for a long period of time. He is known throughout the valley for his speeches and writings on Islam and the Muslim world. He is the author of more than two dozen books which includes books on subjects of Islamic theology, Sufism and Sufi saints of Kashmir, moral history of Kashmir, etc. He had also contributed in terms of poetry and penned down many poetic works.
Among all his works, the book under review is the most comprehensive one (667 pages) on the subject of Kashmir history. The work, as the name depicts, is on the history of Pampore province. The book has 17 chapters including the introductory chapter which outlines the framework of the book.
In the first chapter entitled ‘Alaqah Pampore: Tarikh-e-Kashmir Kay Ainey Mein’, the author (like many historians) has discussed the history of Kashmir starting from a lake called “Satti Sar” and going on to the formation of different regions/ tribes/ parganas, original inhabitants, the kings (including their nature) and their kingdoms, such as Gonanda, Utpala, Karkota, Sultans, Chaks, Mughals, Afghans, Dogras, eras like Bikrami, Kaljoog & Christian etc, expansion of different religions, advancement of Muslims propagators, establishment of temples, mosques and monasteries, and wars. He has also demonstrated knowledge of the existing and contemporary research on historical anecdotes of Shankaracharya temple (or Takht-e-Sulimani). In the whole history of Kashmir, however, the author exclusively emphasises on Pampore province.
Chapter 2, ‘Kashmir Mein Din-i-Islam Key Awwaleen Dai’, is very brief but describes the life and role of Syed Sharaf-ud-Din Turkistani, popularly known as Bulbul Shah, in the spread of Islam in Kashmir and mentions some miracles (Karamat) associated with him.
In Chapter 3, ‘Tuhfey Kubraviyah’, Engineer Nazir describes the life and contribution of Mir Sayed ‘Ali Hamadani and his disciples, exclusively of those who were deputed for the propagation of Islam and training of Muslims in Pampore region, including the establishment of the Khanqah. It also makes passing references to the unknown or little-known Sufi saints and shrines of Pampore.
Chapter 4, ‘Tuhfey Sultaniyah Suharwardiyah Kashmir’, deals with the emergence of the Suharwardi Silsilah and its proponents in Kashmir, especially Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom. It discusses his visits to Pampore, and the role played by his disciples in the promotion of the Silsilah.
Chapter 5, ‘Tuhfey Masoodiyah Sultaniyah Pampore’, is all about the life of Khwaja Masood Pampori, his discipleship with Baba Dawood Khaki and Baba Hyder Rishi, and the situation of Kashmir during his times. It also traces the genealogy of Khwaja Masood from his father Khwaja Sadr-ud-Din up to the Peer Ali Muhammad.
In Chapter 6, entitled ‘Khulfa-i-Khwaja Masood Pampori’, the author discusses the life and spiritual state of the ten famous Sufi saints & disciples of Khwaja Masood of Pampore: Shaikh Shareef-ud-Din Wali (Shoogh Baba), Shaikh Banger Rishi, Baba Ali Pampori, Khawaja Habibullah Attar, Baba Muhammad Yousuf, Geebi Shah Sahb, Baba Abdullah Pampori, Shaikh Najm-ud-Din Rishi, Allah Daad Rishi and Shaikh Ahlah Rishi. The chapter also includes the description of three prominent Khanqahs of Silsilah Masoodiyah: Khanqah Masoodiyah, Khanqah Shoogh Baba and Khanqah Saadah Baba, besides the description of the remaining artefacts of the Sufi saints (tabaruqaat).
Chapter 7, entitled ‘Silsila-i-Mahmoodiyah Suharwardiyah’, describes the history of the Silsilah in Pampore which was initiated by Mir Mahmood Pampori Suharwardi and accelerated by his disciples Shaikh Ashraf Fateh Kadli & Syed Saif-ud-Din Sahb and their Khulafas. It also describes briefly the miracles that are associated with these Sufis.
‘Tuhfey Qadriyah Pampore’, the 8th and most comprehensive chapter, begins with the brief history of Qadriyah Silsilah of Khanyar, Srinagar, which begins with Syed Abdul Hassan Qadri & his brother Syed Muhammad Fazil Qadri (popularly known as Sakhi Shah Sahb—migrated from Pakistan and resided in Srinagar). From there, the Khanqah became a centre of Qadri Silsilah in Kashmir. Later on, the foundation of this Khanqah was laid by Syed Ghulam Shah Azad who guided Baba Muhammad Qaim, Syed Jalal-ud-Din,Waiz Sidiqullah and Nur-ud-Din Pampori (popularly known as Nund Wali). It also discusses about Nund Wali and his disciples Buzarig Shah Qadri, Mir Azhar Kantpori, Mir Abdul Gani Andrabi. Seemingly, the author has added one more personality of this order, at the end, known as Haji Abdul Rahim Pampori.
Chapter 9, entitled ‘Mir Wai’zan-i-Hamdaniyah Pampore’, mentions, probably for the first time in history, the prominent orators of Islam exclusively of Pampore. The author begins from Molvi Sidiqullah, Waiz Abdul Salam & Hafiz Abdul Rasool (Lasseh Boi) and Maulana Muhammad Yaseen Hamadani. The author has described thoroughly the life and services of Hamadani in preaching of Islam along with the times he lived in.
‘Majazib-e-Pampore’, the 10th chapter, begins with the definition of Majzub and the status of a Majzub in Islamic spirituality in the light of the writings of the great Sufis and scholars of Islam. Engineer Nazir has devoted many pages to describing the aesthetic life of these Majazeeb. He puts Lalla Arifa (Lal Ded) as the first Majzub of Pampore. The chapter describes other Majzubs of the area like Ahad Sahb Dhalvan, Ahad Sahb Gangah and Peer Zia-e-ud-Din (Zee Sahb). The chapter describes many miracles (Karamat) of these Sufis.
11th Chapter, ‘Shu’ra’-i-Pampore’, mentions Abdul Ahad Sofi, Abdul Samad Peer, Abdul Samad Hajam, Ghulam Muhammad Ghashir, Ghulam Hassan Inqilaab, Abdul Aziz Bhat (Irfan Pampori), Ghulam Muhammad Mir Tavus as the prominent spiritual and revolutionary poets of Pampore. Their poetic verses have been referenced to.
With tireless effort, Engineer Nazir has provided a detailed account on adjacent villages of Pampore in the 12th chapter, entitled ‘Alaqahjaat-e-Pargana Pampore’. The work is rich in explaining even the minute details of socio-economic and religio-political aspects of life. The geography and demography of these villages has been mentioned exhaustively. It also recognizes the intellectual and religio-spiritual personalities of the area. The most important thing is that it provides all these details in context of religion and spirituality. Moreover, the chapter provides ample details about different periods of history viz. Mughals, Afghans etc, and their impact on the life of the region. It also mentions temples, shrines and mausoleums.
The 13th chapter is entitled ‘Qasbey Pampore’. In this, the author has outlined the interior design of Pampore town and marked out certain things which once used to be the sources of prosperity for one and all. Describing the geography and demography of Pampore town throughout its history, the author has succeeded to a very great extent in presenting an accurate scene and account of the populace of the town in different times of history. Moreover, the author has discussed fruits and vegetables produced in the region over the years. Further, the description about the situations which have been faced by the people of the town in different times is depicted well.
Chapter 14, ‘Za’firan Zaar’, distinguishes the region from all other regions due to saffron production. The author has provided the historical details of saffron production in Pampore and in other parts of the world as well. Moreover, he has analysed the current situation, the problems and concerns about saffron production and he has brought attention of the government towards its betterment. The areas of Pampore which are rich in saffron production have been identified. Somehow, the statistical detail of the production according to the villages in 1983 has been missed unintentionally, which the author actually intended to provide.
In Chapter 15, entitled ‘Zaatayn Aur Qabeeley’, the author demarcates the original castes of Kashmir valley and writes about certain castes such as Pushach, Yaksh, Aryan Jews, Saka, Yuchi and Hun. The focus is on castes of Pampore, both inferior and superior as considered by locals: Dar, Lone, Raina, Bandey, Basu, Tantray, Rather, Mir, Shah, Rishi, Shaikh, Ganie, Malik, etc, including their historical roots.
In the 16th chapter, entitled ‘Faqeer Muhammad Ahsan Shah Sahi’, the author provides detailed information about one of the towering personalities of Pampore known as Faqeer Mohd Ahsan Shah (born in Chugund Pulwama). He was a teacher by profession, was transferred to Boys High School Pampore in 1956, and settled there. Being a pious man, he influenced many great personalities of Kashmir, such as Prof Mohd Ishaq Khan—a historian who considers him as his spiritual mentor. The author acknowledges that he himself was very much influenced by the magnetic personality and character of Mohd Ahsan Shah. He is the person who actually laid the foundation stone of “Darul Uloom Shah-i-Hamadan”.
The 17th chapter, ‘Karwan-i-Hamdania Pampore’, is the last chapter of the book. In this chapter, the author reminds us of the days of 1977 when he along with his associates succeeded in establishing a library in the main town of Pampore which developed and emerged as a religious seminary known as “Darul Uloom Shahi-i-Hamadan” and later on the “Shahi-i-Hamadan Memorial Trust” was established for its maintenance.
The book is essentially a comprehensive monograph on the history of Pampore. It is, indeed, the source book for all readers and researchers who intend to work on the socio-religious, cultural, political and economic developments of Pampore throughout history. The work includes a study of Islam in Kashmir in general and of Islam in Pampore in particular. It includes chapters on the life and contribution of Sufi saints, Sufi Silsilahs, shrines, mausoleums, mosques, temples, poets and orators. It also describes the tribes, regions, parganas, villages, occupations and saffron production of Pampore. The work has been penned down in a very lucid manner and in simple language, which is comprehensible to one and all. The contents of the book describe the richness of the work and the proficiency of the author in the field of history. The author bases his statements on written historical records, folklore, and many a time on his own logic and reasoning. The author has consulted primary and secondary sources in Persian, Urdu and Kashmiri languages, and compiled facts in the light of these sources. Besides, articles published in ‘Greater Kashmir’ newspaper and in different numbers of “Hamara Adab” publication of Cultural Academy of Srinagar have been quoted frequently.

The writer is Assistant Professor at Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, Rajouri


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