Noted writer poet and Sahitya Academy award winner Ghulam Nabi Khayal passed away recently. Khayal was a prominent figure in Kashmiri literature. He was born in 1945 in Kashmir and went on to become a well-known poet and author. His poetry is deeply rooted in the culture, history, and landscape of Kashmir.
A People’s Poet
Khayal was a renowned Kashmiri poet and writer. He is known for his contributions to Kashmiri literature and his poetry often reflects the beauty and cultural richness of Kashmir. He has authored dozens of books in English, Urdu and Kashmiri, including the highly acclaimed Kashmiri translation of Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. His works have been appreciated for their lyrical quality and themes that capture the essence of life in the Kashmir Valley. Khayal’s writings have made a significant impact on the Kashmiri literary landscape, and he is celebrated for his poetic talents.
Khayal’s poetry often delves into the unique identity of Kashmir and its people. He celebrated the cultural and natural beauty of the region. His poetry explores a wide range of themes, including love, nature, spirituality, and the human condition. He had a distinctive style that combined traditional Kashmiri poetic forms with modern sensibilities. Khayal was not only a poet but also an accomplished short story writer and novelist. He contributed significantly to various forms of Kashmiri literature.
In October 2015, Khayal returned his Sahitya Academy award – which was bestowed upon him in 1975, in protest against the mistreatment of minorities in India. Khayal had bagged the award for his book Gashik Minaar (Luminaries) in 1975.
Khayal was arrested in 1958 as a newscaster in the Kashmir conspiracy case. He shot to prominence later for his famous poem, Yeh Chuh Choun Watan, Yeh Chuh Meoun Watan, which he read for the first time in a July 13 function in Srinagar.
He received several awards and accolades for his literary contributions, which include the Sahitya Akademi Award, one of the most prestigious literary awards in India, for his poetry collection “Akhran.”
Ghulam Nabi Khayal’s work has had a lasting impact on Kashmiri literature, and he is considered a significant literary figure in the Kashmir Valley. His writings have inspired subsequent generations of Kashmiri poets and writers.
Through his poetry, he played a role in preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of Kashmir, which has a rich tradition of art, literature, and poetry.
Khayal was the winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award but he returned the award as a sign of protest. He became the first Kashmiri to return the literary award as a sign of protest in the valley.
Preservation of Kashmiri Culture: Khayal’s writings played a crucial role in preserving and promoting the rich Kashmiri language and culture. He was a strong advocate for the preservation of Kashmiri identity and heritage.
Promotion of Peace and Harmony: Khayal’s poetry often carried messages of peace and unity, which were especially significant in a region marked by political turmoil. His verses conveyed the importance of communal harmony and coexistence.
Exploration of Human Emotions: Khayal was a master of portraying human emotions in his poetry. He delved deep into themes like love, longing, and despair, which resonated with readers and touched their hearts.
Influence on Kashmiri Poetry: His works inspired subsequent generations of Kashmiri poets and writers, leaving a lasting legacy. Many poets were influenced by his style, making him a central figure in the modern Kashmiri literary tradition.
Celebration of Kashmir’s Natural Beauty: Khayal’s poetry celebrated the unparalleled beauty of the Kashmir Valley. His vivid descriptions of the region’s landscapes, gardens, and rivers provided a literary representation of Kashmir’s natural splendour.
Champion of Kashmiri Language: Khayal played a pivotal role in popularizing the Kashmiri language, helping it gain recognition and respect as a literary language. He worked to establish Kashmiri as a language of art and expression.
Cultural Ambassador: Khayal’s contributions extended beyond poetry; he was a cultural ambassador of Kashmir. He actively participated in cultural events, seminars, and literary gatherings, both within Kashmir and at the national level, thereby promoting Kashmiri culture and literature.
Khayal’s writings continue to be cherished by those who appreciate Kashmiri literature, and he remains an influential and celebrated poet and author in the region.
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