Introduction to KashmirForum.org Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.
www.kashmirforum.org

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Genius of Ghulam Ali Bhat

Basharat comments on an unsung hero named Majboor

(Mr. Syed Basharat, 29, was born in Kreeri, Baramulla, and did his schooling in Kreeri, and later in Uri and Sopore. He graduated from the Degree College in Baramulla and completed his Master's degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from the Kashmir University in 2005. He has been a reporter for Kashmir Images, a Srinagar based daily, London based website Gaashonline.Com, and a Srinagar based journal, Globe. Currently, he is working as a special correspondent with Jammu based daily newspaper, The Kashmir Times.)

A tribute to Majboor

The inevitable was fast approaching. With every passing day, even the distant hope, that some of his relatives, friends and fans have had, of Ghulam Ali Majboor's recovery from the dreaded disease cancer, faded into eternity. Too obvious was it, that within days, if not hours, he would not be among us. All regular visitors to his house at Hanji Gund Wathoora in district Budgam prayed for the renowned humorist in their hearts, but were hesitant to even discuss his condition with others- as if they had already submitted to the divine will.

Born on December 17, 1952, Ghulam Ali Bhat pen name Majboor had a multifaceted personality. Besides being a teacher in department of education, he had carved a niche in prose, poetry, play writing, theatre, acting, and above all his hallmark satire, pun and comedy. Majboor was son of a legendary theatre actor during Maharaja's and Ghulam Moahmmad Bhakshi's ear. Majboor founded National Bhand Pather. One rarely saw him disturbed or agitated; in fact, he would manage to make others smile even during the most testing of times.

However, this was only one side of the picture. Majboor's close associate and colleague Talha Jehangir remembers him as an excellent team player, a legendary dramatist, theatre director and a script writer. "He remained positive even in the most adverse of situations. When we started our career in radio Kashmir in early 1980's, with the Programme Zafraan Zaar Late Lassa Koul was the station director. We continued with this programme without any break upto 2004. It was broadcasted thrice in a month and then it became a weekly programme on satire," Jehangir said.

It was only after Jehangir was transferred mysteriously, Majboor left the programme in protest. Later the programme came to a standstill for a long time. What pinches Jehangir a renowned stage director and broadcaster, is that Majboor's potential was not recognized during his lifetime. "He was not recognised during his life. To me he passed away as an unsung hero," Jehangir observed.

Most of the stage artists who know Majboor complain that his work for radio Kashmir went unnoticed and was not recognised as per its worth. Coupled with his gracious nature, pleasant behaviour, team spirit and creativity made Majboor a popular figure among dramatist and stage actors of Kashmir.

Valley being a conflict torn land, the main casualty of this decades old trouble is the culture of Kashmir. Majboor was a renowned artist of Bhand Pather, the celebrated and one of the oldest folk theatre forms in the subcontinent. He headed the National Bhand Theatre which he got affiliated with the Sangeet Natak Academy since 1989. Folk theatre survived these testing times and the credit goes to Majboor, believes a cross section of artists in Kashmir. He was the icon of folk theatre. After the renowned folk artist Mohammad Subhan Bhagat, it was Majboor who worked for the survival and sustenance of Kashmir's traditional heritage. He wrote for 40 years for Radio, television, and stage thus serving both Urdu and Kashmiri language, said Jehangir.

He also served the cultural wing of the education department after which he was deputed to the state's academy of art culture and languages as an artist. His essays have been published by the cultural academy in its monthly number Sheeraza. He was columnist for Sangarmal a Kashmiri weekly and Urdu weekly Khabr-o-Nazar.

Remembering his creativity, Jehangir says that Majboor had introduced many effects in stage drama for which he would be remembered for time to come. A senior journalist and Majboor's friend says that the sad demise of the renowned dramatist created a cultural vacuum in Kashmir. "He will be remembered for his sense of humour, witticism and creativity in the annals of Kashmir's cultural history," said the journalist.

In the artistic and intellectual class, Majboor would be remembered for his anti establishment scripts which were aired by a government run platform. "He would criticise the government policies in a different way. Majboor would make people smile, while he was fighting for his own life," the journalist added.

1 comment:

shabnam manzoor said...

majboor was the only personality of kashmir, who would make people smile during criticle conditions, when in kashmir there was no one ready to laugh, and he was the prominent folk as well as modern theatrist. we miss u so much, after u there is no one who make us laugh still ,
RAyees RAshid