Amin Kamil was
born at Kaprin, a village in South Kashmir in 1924. He graduated
in Arts from the Punjab University and took his degree in law from
the Aligarh Muslim University. He joined the Bar in 1947 and continued
to practice law till 1949, when he was appointed a lecturer in Sri
Pratap College, Srinagar. He was closely associated with the writers’
movement of that era and under its influence switched over from
Urdu to Kashmiri as his medium of expression. He joined the State
Cultural Academy when it was set up in 1958 and was appointed the
convener for Kashmiri. He later became Editor for Kashmiri and edited
the two journals of the Academy – Sheeraza and Son
Adab with distinction for many years.
is a master of the Kashmiri ghazal and has been instrumental in
fashioning it into an entity distinct from its Urdu and Persian
counterparts. His poetry is marked by freshness of sensibility,
maturity of expression and striking technical innovation which together
give him a diction uniquely his own.
employs subtle humor with devastating effect in his poetry. Through
it he mirrors contemporary life and makes a social comment on his
milieu. It, however, is satire or humor that does not bruise, but
heals. Kamil is metaphysical and introspective as well and in some
ways represents the continuity of the quintessence of his own literary
tradition minus its ponderousness. He has the quality of being simple
as well as profound at the same time. This he does in purely Kashmiri
tenor. In spite of his erudition he has never fallen prey to the
transplantation of an alien metaphor, borrowing of a foreign concept
or trend in literature. As a creative poet "Kamil is matchless
in the contemporary Kashmiri poetry," says Professor Hamidi
Kashmiri, famous Urdu critic and former vice-chancellor of Kashmir
Universtiy. "After Lal Ded and Shaikul Alam and a few sufi
poets in between, Kamil is the only poet to have used language creatively
with all cultural consciousness. His use of language is exceptional
in the literary history of Kashmir."
has influenced a whole generation of Kashmiri poets, in particular
the ghazal writing poets. Many have tried to approximate his diction,
but he stands alone. This is in part due to his poetic concerns
that are deeply humanistic, his rich word-hoard which is informed
by his upbringing as well as a deep study of tradition, and his
literary rectitude. His mastery over prosody and nuanced understanding
of his chosen language has also contributed towards this preeminence.
Writing in the Encyclopedia of Indian Literature, Ghulam Nabi Gauhar
sums up Kamil thus: “He is a master of Kashmiri ghazal and
has to his credit poems of eternal value.”
contribution in the field of fiction adds to his stature. In 1958,
Gati Manz Gaash (Light Amidst Darkness) was published,
a novel inspired by the well-known observation of Mahatma Gandhi
in the context of the aftermath of the partition of the Indian sub-continent
in 1947, that in the midst of darkness prevailing everywhere he
had found a ray of light in Kashmir alone.
collection of short stories, Kathi Manz Kath (Story Within
Story) published in mid-60s includes his masterpiece, Kokar
Jang (The Cockfight). The Cockfight is considered as the most
popular story in the Kashmiri literature. It has been translated
into many Indian languages and has appeared in English translation
in anthologies such as Indian Short Stories 1900-2000 edited
by I. Vi. Ramakrishan; Contemporary Kashmiri Short Stories
edited by Hriday Kaul Bharati, Neerja Mattoo; Contemporary Indian
Short Stories Vol 3 all published by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi.
The Cockfight is precribed in the school and university curriculum
in Jammu and Kashmir. It has also appeared in Best Loved Indian
Stories of the Century published by Penguin India in 1999.
In his Studies in Kashmiri, Prof. J L Koul wrires about this story
that “perhaps, the comic muse at its subtlest best (though
not unmixed with irony) in Kashmiri short story is to be seen in
Amin Kamil’s Honi Rahman and Kokar Jang,
particularly in the latter, in which the foibles and eccentricities
of character of the two women neighbors, Jaana Bits and Shah Maal,
are expressed through their respective cocks.”
has a special talent for blending humor, irony and politics/social
coment in his stories as well as poems. As an example of this, in
his poems, is Taay Nama published in mid-80s, or Sawal
Chu Kaluk (The Question is of the Head) a much-acclaimed story
on the political situation of Kashmir.
literary and creative prose style has been admired by one and all.
“Kashmiri language has not produced the like of Kamil in creative
prose”, says Rafiq Raaz, Director, All India Radio, Srianagr.
Apart from a number of anthologies he edited, Kamil has published
two books of literary criticism Jawaban Chu Arz (In Reply,
vol 1 & 2) and a book Mehjoornen Bonen Tal (Under the
Chinars of Mehjoor) on the popular Kashmiri poet of 1930s, Ghulam
won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1967 for his book of poems, Laveh
Te Praveh (Dewdrops and Sunbeams) . “What distinguishes
this book from the poetry of the sixties is the conversational tone
producing intimacy, blending of Persian and Kashmiri words and expressions,
aphoristic comments on life, intermingling of satire and pathos,
use of musically potent meters, masterly use of simile and image,
oblique but esoteric expression, and finally the use of Persian
and Indian mythological allusions”, to quote Shafi Shauq,
Chairman, Department of Kashmiri. The style established in this
collection gets further refinement in Kamil’s later collections
of poetry, namely, Beyi Suy Paan (Again the Same Self,
1967), Padis Pod Tshay (One Foot Shadowing the Other, 1972)
and Yim Myane Sokhan (These, My Words, 2009).
has won numerous awards including the Jammu & Kashmir Cultural
Academy’s best book awards, awards from the State Government
of Jammu & Kashmir, Robes of Honor from many prestigious organizations,
International Irfan Foundation Award, Kashmir University’s
Lifetime Achievement award, and Padma Shri from the Indian government.