BY KHURSHEED DAR
The valley of Kashmir is a land of Sufis who through their teachings have inspired the people of Kashmir. They were kept in high regard by the people for their religious and literary activities. They made the people to understand Allah and Prophet (peace be upon him) and follow them with devotion and sincerity. Some Sufis wrote poetry in Kashmiri also, and thereby widened the scope of Kashmiri language. They connected the people of Kashmir with their language and culture. In their hands the Kashmiri language developed, flourished and reached to us safe and sound.
One of such a great mystic poet was Soch Kral .Born in 1775 at a Koel , Pulwama, Kashmir,Soch Kral was from the mystic background .His father Arif Kral was a disciple of Kashmiri poet Mumin Sahib.His mother´s name was Zooni.His parents were very pious and noble. It is said that Arif Kral and his wife Zooni had no child. After fifteen years of their marriage a ‘fanafillah “ arrived in the village saying “Does anyone need a child?”. Arif Kral listening to this left his work and went to him. The mystic gave him two sugar coated candies one for Arif Kral and another for his wife,Zooni, on a condition that child will be given back to him after twelve years. The parents agreed on this condition. A male baby was born to them whom they named Ismail. After some years the ‘Fana fillah” arrived in the village and asked Ismail his name. He suggested Arif Kral to name Ismail as Soch Kral.It is said that this mystic after twelve years as per the condition took Soch Kral from Koel to Inder Pulwama.Thus began the mystic journey of the great son of the soil.
Soch kral was too much interested in poetry .His father Arif Kral sent him to school but Soch Kral showed no apparent interest to attend the school or his classes. So his father Arif kral insisted him to help him in his generations old potter profession. In this way Soch Kral began to sell the terracotta pots. The terracotta industry taught him the valuable lessons.
Soch kral had never been in school but he had good hold in persian language.He spoke the language of the common people and used poetry as a tool to pass his message of truth to the people. Soch Kral was “aabid ‘and “parheez gar’.He had no lust of worldly comforts and pleasures. He preferred to live a simple life and attained the highest spiritual status.
A number of miracles are attributed with sufi poet Soch Kral . It is said that the Some people of Ratnipora vicinity were unhappy to see the huge rush of people flocking to Soch Kral for spiritual healing.They started hate campaign against Soch Kral .Number of tricks were used to defame this great mystic poet but Soch Kral remained silent.
once more than hundred people assembled at the house of Soch Kral to have lunch and tea at his residence, without informing Soch Kral.His wife was shocked. She was only to be assured by Soch Kral that everything will be fine. The tea vessel never got empty despite people having four-five cups of salt tea. Similarly lunch was served to those in the house, making those understand the mystic powers of Soch Kral.
After sometime another Karamat happened when Soch Kral was in Ratinpora to sell his earthen pots. He saw a group of people dragging a dead Bull from the area and when he asked them the reason, they laughed and replied, “Don’t interfere in the matter. This Bull has credit of his master and he died without returning his master’s credit”. Soch Kral looked towards the Bull and said, “O Bull get up by the order of Allah and return the credit of your master”. The entire Ratnipora was astonished to see the bull coming to life again and rushing towards his master. This “Karamat” didn’t go well within the “Peers” who thrashed him on the next day of this incident. It is believed at this moment, Soch Kral prayed: “Ya Allah Chararas (Chrar-i Shareef) Kar Thhop Tae Ratinporis Hya Tchoup” (block the Charar-i Shareef and bite the Ratinpora). Legend has it that there was a massive fire in Charar-e-Shareef area in Budgam which got extinguished immediately after the prayers and one log flew and fell into a house of a Peer at Ratinpora and all the houses of Peers were gutted in the fire. After this incident Peers apologized to Soch Kral.
Soch kral’s poetry is so impressive and only those who are tethered with sufism can try to know its magnanimous strength.
Let´s read the glorious poem of Soch Kral .Or Sikhwa and Jiwab e shikwa of Soch Kral RA.
dapyomas baliyaras yaer laagav
I told my beloved, let’s be friends
taym dopnam bozwun chus kon laagav
He said, I keep hearing this, so let’s try
dapyomas boznavtam chus ba banday
I said, tell me, I am also my own person
taym dopnam boozmyit gayi sharmanday
He said, the ones who heard, were mortified
dapyomas myati baavtam panun asun
I said, show me/ let me feel (in front of you) my self as well
taym dopnam paen panas khur chu kaasun
He said, your scruples need to be resolved by the self
dapyomas kya chu andar kya chu nyabar
I said, what is it that lies inside and what lies outside
taym dopnam yi chu andar ti chu nyabar
He said, whatever is inside is outside
dapyomas nokhta os na ta aav katay
I said, wasn’t it a dot, where did (all this) come from
taym dopnam pokhta sapdakh aashq watay
He said, you’ll become enlightened on the path of love
dapyomas mokhta aashqun vaav na myate
I said, why don’t you sow the seed (pearl) of love in me
taym dopnam vavatay chi thavakh katey
He said, I would’ve sown, but where will you keep it?
dapyomas yeech kya chay pokhta giri
I said, what is this fancy enlightenment that you have
taym dopnam karvun chus dastagiri
He said, I’m used to blessing (others)
dapyomas chuk cha kuney la shareek
I said, you’re one, alone
taym dopnam harna chashman saurma laagav
He said, I’ll put kohl in your deer eyes
dapyomas saurma lagith kya chu banaan
I said, what does putting in kohl achieve?
taym dopnam poz ti apuz ada chu nanaan
He said, that’s how you will see the truth and lie
dapyomas jama kath kith chu rangaan
I said, why are you dyeing your clothes?
taym dopnam rangavyin chusa kainsi mangaan
He said, do I charge you anything for the colours?
dapyomas rangavyin kona chuk chi mangaan
I said, why don’t you charge for the colours?
taym dopnam phalavith cham haara pyavaan
He said, I’ll get the money in piece-meal
dapyomas jaama vozil chi che paanas
I said, you’ve red clothes on your self
taym dopnam vih kamik chi la makaanas
He said, what (varied) forms does your self have?
dapyomas kanh chu aabaad kanh chu varaan
I said, someone is ensconced, while someone is desolate
taym dopnam tami saeth cham kaem neraan
He said, that’s how I’m able to get my work done
dapyomas kona chuk parvaay melaan
I said, why don’t you care about it?
taym dopnam chus ba parvayas ta gindaan
He said, I play with the care as well.
Vanaan Soch Kral Alif-as ma chi bandi
Says Soch Kral, there is no restraint for compassion (of God)
Vuchaan ghas Khuda saebainy Khuda-vandi
Keep observing the greatness of Allah
A question arises in my mind if Alama Iqbal RA took the theme of “Shikwa” and “Jiwab Shikwa “from Paradise lost and paradise regained of John Milton where Soch kral took the theme?
Soch Kral lived a simple life devoted to spirituality, monotheism and mysticism. He was vegetarian. His favourite dish was Lettuce (Haakh) and used to take black salt tea. Among his contemporaries is Mahmud Gami who also was the disciple of Mumin Sahib of Badgam. Soch Kral had many students and few known are Sidique Kral of Pandach, Shaban Sofi of Noorpora Tral, Rahman Sahib of Pingalan Pulwama, Khwaja Ambar of Imam Sahib Shopian and Yed Kral of Wanpora Pulwama. Yed Kral was also a Sufi poet and singer who sang songs from his teacher’s collection. Soch Kral may have visited the village of Devsar in the Anantnag district, where his descendants are still living.
Soch Kral died at the age of 80 in 1855. It is said that before leaving for heavenly abode he purchased few malras of land for his grave from the pennies he had saved from the selling of terracotta pots.This great mystic poet is known for his message of universal brotherhood and caste free society.His urs pak is celebrated on 21 August every year.People in large numbers including Poets assemble at his grave and offer rich tributes to this great son of the soil.Soch Kral in his 80 years of life span witnessed three regimes of Pathans, Sikhs and Dogras. But Soch Kral never expressed the injustices met out to Kashmirs during the period in his poetry. Soch Kral died on 24 November 1854 but some say it is 1855. Soch Kral will be known to us for his message of universal brotherhood ,love and peace.
Soch Kral was a sufi poet from Kashmir, who wrote extensively in Kashmiri, taking the sufi movement ahead. As we know Sufi poets in the valley grew with the growth of Islam in the valley, that saw the intermingling of the Hindu & Islamic thought. Kashmiri Sufism in the valley was led by mysticism and self-realization.Sufi poets like Soch Kral didn´t write for awards or honours but wrote and used sufi poetry as a tool to connect the people with their language and culture .
Khursheed Dar is a Sufi Scholar of North Kashmir and can be reached at [email protected]