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(Dr Lateef Kazmi, standing left, Prof. Farhatullah Khan, sitting left, Prof Masud'ul Hassan, standing with the book, Prof Gulshan Majeed, sitting right.)

Two-day National Seminar on Amin Kamil at AMU

Aligarh Muslim University, March 11-12: A two-day National Seminar on Critical Perspective on Kashmiri Poet Amin Kamil, an outstanding Kashmiri poet, critic, scholar, short-story writer and intellectual was held on 11th and 12th March, 2009 in the Arts Faculty Lounge, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.

Professor Masood’ul-Hassan, former Chairman of the Department of English at AMU, in his presidential remarks gave an elaborate account of references to Kashmir in world literature. He also commented upon the presentations made by previous speakers and also paid tributes to Amin Kamil and acknowledged the relevance of his poetry in modern times.

Professor Masood’ul Hassan also released Amin Kamil's latest collection of poems Yim Myane Sokhan.

Dr. Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar of the Centre for Comparative Study of Indian Languages and Culture at AMU welcomed the guests and threw light on the relevance and significance of the Seminar.

Dr. Sanaullah Mir of the Department of Philosophy at AMU delivered the keynote address. He highlighted the characterizing features of Amin Kamil's poetry and its various dimensions. According to Dr. Mir, Amin Kamil is the foremost exponent of the modern sensibility in Kashmiri poetry. Himself an outstanding liberal, his poetry reflects peace, love, freedom, tolerance and pluralism. His poetry is deeply mystical and can as well be deemed to be presaging central themes of postmodernism in Kashmiri. Kamil's poetry is essentially an exploration and celebration of the mystery of human existence.

Professor Emeritus Farhatullah Khan of the Department of English at AMU, Chief Guest of the Seminar, reviewed the history and evolution of Kashmiri poetry from Lala Ishveri of the eighteenth century Kashmir via Sheikh Nuruddin Wali and Habba Khatoon to Amin Kamil. He paid judicious and fulsome tributes to Amin Kamil for his espousal of liberalism, humanism and pluralism. He lauded Kamil’s masterpiece short-story The Cock-fight as a unique story in the body of Indian short stories written in the last century.

Professor Qazi Afzal,
Director, Advanced Studies of Urdu, Aligarh Muslim University, the Guest of Honor, stressed that Kamil's poetry is predominantly in satirical mode which is a mode of protest by subaltern cultures everywhere in the world. However in view of the fact that all so-called meta-narratives across the globe have fizzled out, there is no centre and no periphery and we are literally living in a multicultural global society where all cultures are equally worthy of celebration.

Professor Gulshan Majeed of the University of Kashmir made forceful plea that Kamil's poetry should not be deemed to be oriented to any ideology or system. Kamil's use of words is oriented to liberating us from the prison-house of systems, ideologies and meta-narratives. Kamil employs metaphors and paradoxes with a view to transcending the normal parameters of the communicability.

In the subsequent session of the Seminar Dr. Sanaullah Mir, Dr. Hayat Amir Husaini, Dr. Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar and Dr. Wasim Mushtaq Wani, read their papers on Amin Kamil and the comments on the papers were offered by Dr. Latif Husain Kazmi, Dr. Tabassum Rasheed, Mrs Masooda, Mr. Shabbir Ahmad, Mr. Ghulam Jeelani, Mr. Shabbir Ahmad, Dr. Bilal Kutte, Mr. Shabbir Ahmad Kutte, Mr. Shahid Rasool, Mr.Muhammad Khaliq, Ms. Kainat, Mr. Salim Khan and Mr.Satish Kumar.

In the end of the first session Dr. Latif Husain Kazmi, of the Department of Philosophy at AMU, presented the vote of thanks and said that Amin Kamil’s personality became a source of unity and mutual understanding for modern generation and the present seminar organized outside Kashmir in Aligarh is the first of its kind to make Kashmiris understand their cultural legacy based on humanism.

This was the second release of Kamil’s book outside the Kashmir valley. In Srinagar, the book was released in January this year by the noted critic and former vice-chancellor of the University of Kashmir, Hamidi Kashmiri who lauded Kamil as an unparalleled creative poet of modern period whose power of original and creative use of language could be shared only by Lal Ded, Shiekul Alam, and a few sufi poets in between.

Two more books, Emergence of Central Asia by professor Gulshan Majeed and another by Dr. Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar (Muntazir) Asri Tajik ti Kashir Shaeri Taqabli Mutale were also released at the seminar.

At the end of the seminar, a Kashmiri Mushaira was held. The mushaira was presided over by Dr. Hayat Amir Hussaini of the Department of Philosophy at AMU. Dr. Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar, Dr. Sanaullah Mir, Prof Gulshan Majeed, Dr. Wasim Mushtaq Wani and Dr. Hayat Amir Hussaini recited their poetry.

Both sessions were long sessions and ended around 8 pm both days. The seminar ended with an elaborate dinner for its participants.

The Seminar was organized by Anjuman-i- Fikro-Saqafat, Aligarh. It was sponsored by Glow-Biotech Limited, Aligarh and the founding members of the Anjuman, Dr. Muhammad Hayat Amir Husaini, Dr. Sanaullah Mir, Dr. Latif Hussain Kazmi, Dr. Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar, and Dr. M. Vasim Wani.

Amin Kamil’s Ghazals in World Poetry Workshop

Chicago - Poet and editor Ravi Shankar of Central Connecticut State University conducted a world poetry workshop for 60 seniors from Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago. The event was sponsored by University of Chicago.

Shankar addressed issues of politics and culture in Asia and the Middle East through the medium of poetry. He included a discussion of works by Korean poet Ko Un, Chinese poet Bei Dao, Japanese poet Tada Chimako, and Kashmiri poet Amin Kamil among four other poets from the Middle East. This is for the first time a Kashmiri poet features in an international poetry workshop. Translations of Amin Kamil ghazals that appeared in an international anthology last year were used in the workshop.

In Europe and Chicago, poetry workshops are organized in schools and universities to teach the art of poetry to students.

American first lady Michelle Obama is a graduate of Whitney Young Magnet High School.

(The Center for East Asian Studies, The University of Chicago)

Yem Mein Sukhan Released
Amin Kamil's Contribution to Kashmiri Language Lauded

Rising Kashmir News

Srinagar, Dec 18: Yem Mein Sukhan, the latest collection of poems by distinguished Kashmiri writer, Amin Kamil was released at an impressive function here on Thursday.

A galaxy of writers, poets, litterateurs and students attended the function presided over by noted writer Hamidi Kashmiri.

The function was organized by Adbee Markaz Kamraz (AMK) in collaboration with Radio Kashmir Srinagar. Prof Margoob Banihali, Director Radio Kashmir Rafiq Raaz and AMK president Aziz Hajini formed the presidium. AMK general secretary, Syed Shujaat Bukhari conducted the function and introduced the book to the audience.

Hailing the “humble and tireless” efforts of Kamil, Prof Hamidi called him a trend setter in Kashmiri language who with his unique style has earned a distinct place among the writers.

"His modest approach over the years to enriching our language assumes great significance, and his style of writing has not been borrowed from anywhere," said Hamidi, adding that the need of the hour is promote unbiased critical evaluation of the present generation writer, poets so that these “men of intellect” could be valued appropriately.

Rafiq Raaz also stressed upon the critical assessment of writings. "For promotion of the language, critiques have an important role but their evaluation must be objective,” he said. He regretted that independent evaluation of literature was missing in Kashmiri.

Terming Kamil as a living legend who has an “unassuming role” not only in enriching Gazal in Kashmiri, Raaz said that his contributions are immense in Kashmiri pose writing.

Prof Margoob Banhali underlined need for understanding Kamil's works in the real spirit and said that creativity was the hallmark of his poetry.

Dr Mashal Sultanpuri who presented the review of the book said that Kamil's latest book represents different facets of Kashmiri writings besides adding some poems and couplets by writers and poets of some earlier period. "His manner of criticizing in a humorous way is also evident in his latest book and the writings make the reader to ponder," said Sultanpuri.

Dr Bashar Bashir appreciated the manner in which Kamil approaches the reader through writings. "The flow in the writing is maintained by a colloquial manner to reach out to the reader, which is distinctive of this great writer," said Bashir.

Amin Kamil who spoke on the occasion thanked the AMK and Radio Kashmir for their efforts to promote Kashmiri language.

Earlier Aziz Hajni, welcoming the guests at the function, said that the Markaz felt blessed when Kamil choose them for the launch of his latest book.

Shujaat Bukhari said that Kamil's was a multifaceted personality who had a remarkable contribution to Kashmiri language and literature. "We owe a lot to people like Kamil" he said.

The programme began with a song penned by Kamil and was presented by famous singer Abdur Rashid Farash. Others who were present included Director Doordarshan Rafiq Masoodi, Farooq Nazki, Ejaz Ahmad Kakroo, Zarief Ahmad Zarief, Ghulam Nabi Gowhar, Prof Mohamamd Zaman Aazurdah, M H Zaffar, Shad Ramzan, Gulshan Majid Hakim Ghulam Jeelani, Qazi M Amin and MLC Basharat Bukhari.

Prof. Hamidi Kashmiri's
talk in Urdu


Kashmiri Poets Ignored at Home are Recognized Elsewhere

Failure to appreciate its literary stars exposes weakness in Kashmir's civil society

Ignored by natives, Kashmiri poets feature in International Anthology

Srinagar: Language for a New Century — Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond, a recent anthology of eastern poetry published by a renowned international publisher W.W. Norton & Co, for the first time includes poems by many Kashmiri poets.

According to reports, the anthology was launched in a series of celebrations in many US cities including New York and Hartford. The anthology celebrates the artistic and cultural forces flourishing today in the East, bringing together an unprecedented selection of works by over 400 unique voices-political and apolitical, monastic and erotic, established and emerging. The anthology includes poems by Kashmiri poets Amin Kamil, Rehman Rahi and Rafiq Raaz. The selection was provided by Muneebur Rahman who edits a Kashmiri literary magazine Neab from Boston.

“It’s for the first time that Kashmiri poets are featured in an international anthology,” says Muneeb. “The anthology includes poems from about 60 nationalities, wildly divergent cultures and voices.”

The collection is edited by three promising American poets: Palestinian poet Nathalie Handal who was educated in London and Paris and lives in New York; native New Yorker Tina Chang who grew up, in part, in Taiwan; and Connecticut resident Ravi Shankar who was born and raised in India. The 734-page anthology includes 35 poets from India. “I had originally recommended more Kashmiri poets but due to limited space I had to drop some,” explains Muneeb. “I regret Dinanath Nadim’s ‘Candy and Absinth’ was dropped from the selection at a later stage during a review by a professor at the Kashmir University.”

The anthology features Rahman Rahi’s poem “Redemption,” translated by Shafi Shauq, Amin Kamil’s ghazal “In Water,” and Rafiq Raaz’s poem “Seven Sparks,” both translated by Muneebur Rahman.

(Report from the Daily Etalaat)