“Gulshan Bagas Fulya Jan
Mdhu ruzeth gach chawan
Rosh gach Bulbulo Chavukh hei
Kam chi begana kam paniney.” Soch Kral
The book entitled Songs of Soch Kral by Mushtaque B Barq is an excellent piece of research. By carrying out this study Mr. Barq has contributed towards filling a major void in the history of tasawuf in Kashmir. Tasawuf has overwhelming presence in our Kashmiri society. The phenomenon of tasawuf in Kashmiri is driven by the quest for ultimate truth behind universal existence. It has the extensive spiritual compass on which the secular tradition of Kashmiriyat is based.
Soch Kral says, “O Soch Kral you are still half witty
Rahim and Ram stand in affinity
Kabba and temple share same spot
O God neglect me not.”
This line of poetry entails that everybody needs to live in harmony with the other. This is the central to tasawuf and it has always reinforced the capacity of Kashmiri society to facilitate the evaporation of variety of crisis in various periods of her history. In dealing with Soch Kral’s poetry Mr. Barq has perhaps no equal when it comes to gathering insights and giving them affirmative momentum while rendering them in English.
The poetry of various Kashmiri poets such as Lalleshwari or Lalded, Sheikh Noor –ud- din Reshi (1376-1438. A.D.), also known as Nund Rishi, Abdullah Bihaqi, Momin Sahib, Soch Kral(1775-1855), Shah Gafoor, Mahmood Gami: (1765-1855), Mirza Kak, Abdul Ahad Naazim, Rasul Mir, Saifudin-Tarbali, Nyama Saeb,Maqbool Shah Kralwari(1802-1877) Ahmad Batawaari (1842-1912), Wahab Paray, (1846-1914,Rehman Dar, Prakash Ram, Abdul Ahad Azad, Shamas Faqir, (1849-1904) Hajin,Hassan Driver,Waza Mahmud, Amir Shah Kreeri(1846-1905, Wahaab Khar, Peer Ghulam Mohmmad Hanafi(1876-1937 ) Shah Qalandar (1880), Ali Shah Haril(d.1935) Rajab Hafiz, Syed Habib and many others reflect how the reality of life is open to irrational and uncontrollable emotions and the way mediation of Tasawuf through their poetry helps to overcome these impulses.
Mr. Barq has chosen twenty three poems of Soch Kral in this volume and each one provides important insights into individual attitudes and encapsulates intrinsic facets of human life. Comprehending these poems of Soch Kral enables us to appreciate better how Tasawwuf has a special power to offer an insight into the several contours of spirituality, humanism and mysteries of universe.
At one point (he) Soch Kral says,
“Oh Soch Kral nearby to guide be.
Evade being late, in good time be
In lightlessness illumined be
In a meshed trap confined (me)”
Barq has brilliantly presented to us how Soch Kral has sought to attain an intimate loving relationship with the God with optimistic spirit, harmony and balance inherent in the philosophy of Tasawwuf and orally mediated the same self-satisfying universe to popular masses from generation to generation. Soch Kral is best when he is craving out his heart and seeks to attain an intimate loving relationship with the God with optimistic spirit. He says, “Within my hearth breaths incandescence. Soch Kral says, “Known to the one who is conscious.
The pangs of love, an imprudent can’t redeem.
A few are wayward and comrades least in team.
Tie thy heart with thy substance.
Then alone bloom shall grow to take in abundance.
Do unify Oneness and Infinite scheme.”
In this enlightening and well-crafted book, Mushtaque Barq develops a new reading of Soch Kral’s mysticism and in the process provides a freshness of perspective, from which to view the impact of contemporary crisis on Kashmir’s everyday life.
Soch Kral says, “Do listen in Oh seeker don’t delay
Whirl about your own cottage.
Do seek out the path, value each day.
Whirl about your own cottage
With your mentor sign a treaty
(He) will show and share his baggage
Concentration leads to authority.
Whirl about your own cottage”
Mushtaque Barq’s reconstruction of Soch Kral is therefore highly convincing and soothing and makes great deal of sense in present day crisis when entire Kashmir is under siege. With a pure grounding in mysticism Mushtaque Barq’s sense of Soch Kral works and it helps different adherents of Tasawuf to strike in incompatible directions. Particularly in 21st century when spiritual landscape is in a flux, an understanding of tasawuf through Soch Kral’s lens and Mushtaque Barq’s interpretation and mediation provides a vantage point from which to analyze inevitable future shifts awaiting us.(Kashmiris).Mushtaque Barq has to guard against any misinterpretation of the original poetry of such mystic poets because their prudence in belief was seen to be intense and it is for this intensity that they were categorized as zuhhad. Soch Kral says, “OH Soch Kral do narrate to your mentor all laments.
He will alone unfold all the secrets
No mundane authority is convincing.
Doze nay Oh Feral starling.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book because Tasawuf is highly successful string which provides a firm foundation to ward off adverse conditions in life. Mushtaque Barq has been very successful in suggesting through this book that we must explore contributions of all such Kashmiri poets and move on to their more illuminating work. His work gives an intimacy to mystic lives and their uniqueness which scholars have not yet penetrated fully. I view this as the major strength of this book.
The author’s deep engagement with this topic, careful crafting of Soch Kral’s poetry, decoding the meaning and mediating Soch Kral’s fascinating contribution to our understanding and Tasawuf in Kashmir is an ambitious task, accomplished successfully. It also opens up additional lines of inquiry and outlines the characteristics that constitute specificity of Kashmiri School of Tasawuf that will potentially influence the future research. This is important and thoughtful contribution, striking in its range, conceptual clarity and originality and a host of fascinating insightsthat deserves a wide audience.
Mr. Sheikh Bashir Ahmad, the managing director Of Kitab Mahal deserves keen appreciation for promoting and patronizing the publication of such neglected areas and for bringing out the book in most elegant way.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Professor (Dr) Rattan Lal Hangloo is honorary Chancellor Noble International University Toronto Canada.He was a Professor of History at the Hyderabad Central University and was also Vice Chancellor of Kalyani University and University of Allahabad. He is originally from Hangalgund Kokernag Kashmir