By Mushtaque B Barq
The wind once again blew off a twig bearing a name of a legend. Although plucking is prohibited but the wind can’t read it. It is life, a leaf kissing the Blue has to bow down one day to mark the end the of worldly life. Let all those who left us be granted the highest place in the Heaven. It is hard to write a tribute to the one who has throughout his life served the Kashmiri literature and all the three mediums.
Dr. Aziz Hajini (born Abdul Aziz Parray; 7 March 1957 – 11 September 2021) was born in Hajin area of Bandipura, Jammu and Kashmir. From Hajin, after completion of his schooling, he moved to Srinagar city where he graduated from the Government Degree College, Bemina and later joined The University of Kashmir to obtain Honours Degree in the Kashmiri language. He created a niche of his own as a Kashmiri writer, poet, critic and convener of Sahitya Akademi for New Delhi’s Northern Regional Board. He served as a Govt School teacher for 30years later appointed as Assistant Professor (Kashmiri) in Centre for Shaikh-ul Aalam Studies, University of Kashmir till he retired from active service in 2019. He taught Kashmiri Script to thousands of students through a Tele classroom organized by Doordarshan Kendra Srinagar weekly for more than five years. He was Deputy Director Academic (Kashmir) State Board of School Education Research Officer State Institute of Education. He was appointed Nodal Officer by the Center for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT), New Delhi for conducting various programmes. He also worked as secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages in 2015. He is the first gold medalist of the University in the Kashmiri language category. He obtained PhD (Development of Kashmiri Prose During 20th century) in 2017 from the same university and played a pivotal role in including the Kashmiri language as a subject in the school curriculum of the Kashmir region.
He has many distinctions in his credit: First Gold Medalist in Kashmiri, First Position in a state-level essay writing competition (Organized by Adbee Markaz Kamraz), and Translator of WARIS SHAH from English into Kashmiri published by Sahitya Akademi New Delhi. He is also known for his contribution PANTCHAHAN VARIYAN HUND KASHUR ADAB Published by Sahitya Akademi New Delhi. ), Paer Zaan, a book on Kashmiri Script, Kaashire Naat published by Sahitya Akademi New Delhi, Noor-e-Nooran, a collection of Kashmiri devotional poetry, Vitasta Ki Saer, (Urdu), Kashur Aqeedati Adab published by Sahitya Akadem, Punjabi Shayari Manz Kasheer published by Sahitya Akademi, Ze Gaz Zameen (Translation of Sahitya Akademi award-winning Urdu Novel) published by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, Hamkaal Kashir Shayiri published by Sahitya Akademi, Tcharne-Aamtche Dalit Daliele, Kashmiri translation of selected Dalit Short Stories published by Sahitya Akademi, Aen e Khane, a collection of essays, Te Pate Aaye Daryawas Zaban, Kashmiri Translation of NBT Publication, Molvi Sidiq Ullah Hajini Published by J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, Mir Gh. Rasool Nazki Published by Sahitya Akademi , Me and My Animal and Asi Cha Puran Hamsayan Tal. He wrote and directed a documentary film series QALAMKAAR on distinguished literary personalities like Prof Rahman Rahi, Prof. Hajini, Late Gh. Rasool Nazki, M.Y.Taing, AktharMohiud-din, Farooq Nazki, Hakim Manzoor, Prof Firaq, Sofi Gh.Mohd., Gh.Nabi Khayal, Moti Lal SAqi, Late Shamim Ahmad Shahim, Prof Shauq, Nishat Ansari, Prof. Azurda and others dignitaries for Doordarshan. He was also seen on Television screens and Radio as a News Bulletin reader for more than three years. He hosted popular programmes like Betakj, Asloob, Yawun and Mahool for Doordarshan Kendra. Ranghaa, Subh-i- Kashmir and Warrasat for Radio Kashmir. He also wrote a tele serial Daleela Zindagani Hinz. He also wrote and conceived a tele programme series entitled Sunzal and an Opera Aalam Ha Kari Yaad Azaad Azaad. His literary contribution includes Aane Khana, Te Pate Aaey Daryavwas Zaban and Prarinidhi Kashmiri Kahaniyan. In 2015, his book Aane Khane, a literary criticism covering Kashmiri literature and language was released by the then governor of Jammu and Kashmir Narinder Nath Vohra and later in 2016, he became the recipient of the Akademi Award in Kashmir after the book was released to the general public.
As an editor, he served Alamdaar English/ Kashmiri yearly Journal of Center for Sheikh –ul- Aalam Studies, Kashmir University. He also edited, Noor, the News Letter of Center for Shiekh- ul -Aalam Studies, Kashmir University, and popular Kashmiri Journal wularek-Mallar. He worked as Editor-in-Chief Bi-monthly Edu-News, published by Directorate of School Education Kashmir besides Tri-Lingual Monthly News Letter published by Directorate of School Education Kashmir from 2000 to 2005. He was also Assistant Editor Yamberzal Magazine of Govt. Degree College Bemina and Educational News Letter Published by Institute of Peace, Research and Action. He was a Patron/ Editor Prav yearly journal of Adbi Markaz Kamraz. As a Consultant, he served the monthly Guftaar published by the Institute Of Peace Research and Action. He worked as Editor in Chief-cum- Convener Gashe Taruk , besides being the Chief Advisor Monthly English Magazine Kashmir Insight. As a Researcher his papers : Naat Riwayat, Wartav te Tajrube Anhar, Lal Ded te Shaikh-ul Aalam Akh Taqobul Sheeraza Kashmiri, “Literary Articles” Sheeraza English, “Research Articles” Sheeraza English), Research Articles/Reviews” Sheeraza Urdu, Special Issue on Mufti Muhammad Sayed Sheeraza Urdu, “Literary Papers / Poetry” Sheeraza Kashmiri. Wuhmi Sadi Hund Vukhre Adeeb – Mohi ud Din Hajini, Prave, and Arzi Nashir Sheeraza Kashmiri are known for the accuracy of substance and sincere study.
Key Positions : Elected as Finance Committee Member Sahitya Akademi New Delhi from March 2018- Elected as General Council Member Sahitya Akademi New Delhi from January 2018, Convener Kashmiri Advisory Board Sahitya Akademi (National Akademi Of Letters, New Delhi from 2018, Convener Kashmiri Advisory Board Sahitya Akademi (National Akademi Of Letters, New Delhi(2008-2012), Member on Expert Committee for Granting Senior & Junior Fellow Ships in literature, Ministry of Culture Government of India (2009- 2013) ,Executive Board Member of Sahitya Akademi (National Akademi Of Letters) (2008-2012), Empanelled Referee for Nobel Prize in literature, Empanelled Referee for Jnanpith award for Kashmiri Writers, Life member of Indian Institute Of Public Administration New Delhi, Member Advisory Panel of National Book Trust of India (2012) , Empanelled jury member for Main Best Book Award, Translation Prize, Bal Sahitya Puruskar of National Academy of letters, Sahitya Akademi New Delhi, Member of the high level Committee of Kashmiri Scholars constituted by the State Legislature for visualizing the scope of classical language status for Kashmiri, Member Sahitya Akademi’s Kashmiri Advisory Board. (1997-2002), Thrice elected President of ‘Adbee Markaz Kamraz’, a federation of 22 registered literary and cultural organizations of Kashmir (June 2008- 2015), Member Secretary Central Committee, General Council and Finance Committee of J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages from (2016),Member Advisory Committee of J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages Srinagar, President Kashmir Theater Association (1998 – 2000), State Commissioner Head Quarter (Culture) Bharat Scouts And Guides.(2006-2008), Secretary Halque-e-Adab Sonawari.(1999-2001), Vice President of Kashmir Foundation For Art and Culture.(2000-2001), Member Kashmiri Text Book Advisory Committee J&K Board of School Education, Patron Wahab Dramatic Club Hajin, Member Central Advisory Board Of J&K Scouts and Guides, Member Advisory Board (CNS) Current News Service , Chairman of 12 Languages Sub Advisory Committees of JKAACL including the Advisory Committee for Kashmiri, Urdu, English and Hindi (From 2016), Member Advisory Committee of weekly ‘Sangarmaal’ , Advisor monthly News magazine ‘Kashmir Scan’, Nominated Organizing Secretary of ‘Azad Memorial Committee’ constituted by Govt. of J&K in the year 2003, Remained Judge/Expert for State Cultural Academy awards and Member Advisory Committee of weekly ‘Kashur Srinagar Times’ (2005).
Awards: Sahitya Akademi (National Akademi of Letter) New Delhi prestigious main Best Book award for Aan-e-Khane for the year 2015. Shahitya Akademi (National Akademi of Letters) New Delhi Award for best translation in Kashmiri for the year 2013. Khilat-e-Sheikhul Aalam (2008) awarded by Department Of Information, Govt. Of Jammu & Kashmir. Certificate of Excellence for outstanding contribution to culture and academics awarded by J&K Govt. Education Department. Award of Honour presented by J&K BOSE for excellent contribution in development of textual material for teaching Kashmiri at school level. Harmoukh Award 2010 presented by Harmoukh Kashur Markaz Jammu & Kashmir. Award of title, Mir-e-Karwan by Karwani Adab Dab Ganderbal in 2012. Awarded by Maraz Adbi Sangam for outstanding contribution to Kashmiri Language, Literature and Culture. Sharf-i-Saqafat (2004) Robe of Honour for outstanding contribution in the field of Culture, awarded by Sangar Stage Kashmir. Robe of Honor presented by Halqu-e-Arabab-i-Zauq Baramullah.
“I have felt deeply shocked and saddened over the news of the demise of Dr Abdul Aziz Hajini, former Secretary of J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages. He was also an elected President of Adbi Markaz Kamraz for two terms. Dr Hajini was basically an academic and educational administrator, who ardently espoused the cause of protecting and promoting the Kashmiri language.
Dr Hajini was the first Gold Medalist in the Kashmiri language from the University of Kashmir. He was the author of several books in the Kashmiri language and had done translations of many books from English to Kashmiri. He won the Sahitya Akademy award in 2013, for his translation (Ze Gaz Zamin), of the Urdu novel, Do Gaz Zamin, authored by Abdul Samad. Dr Hajini was also the Executive Board Member of Sahitya Akademi from 2008 to 2012, besides being a member of the Advisory Board for the Kashmiri language for a good number of years. His loss has created a void, impact whereof will be felt for a long time.” Mohammad Shafi Pandit, AIS.
“The organizer of extraordinary capacity to manage socio-cultural events. A writer of repute. Poet of high order amidst a critic.” Farooq Nazki,
“Dr.Aziz Hajini was, indeed, a person with manifold shades. He combined in him a poet, critic, theatre activist, cultural practitioner, missionary linguist and above all a noble human being. He left his indelible imprints on every discipline of his personal interest. He believed in merit and qualitative pursuits of literature and would never compromise on trash in literary productions. May Allah grant his soul the highest place in Jannah and provide courage to his family members to bear his separation Ameen.” Farooq Fayaz,
“Too difficult to sum up my decades-long association with my friend and colleague in my journey of art and culture. I am a witness to his struggle in life and career; his rise through ranks; his growth as a noted and acknowledged poet-critic and language activist. He was a focused person with immense potential to pursue his goals methodically. His achievements were in tune with his talent and versatility. The loss of a lifetime friend cannot be explained in words. He was the one with whom I could differ or who could differ with me and still be friends. I will always miss his company as a friend to whom I looked whenever I needed frank fair and objective analysis of any issue not to speak of missing him in personal matters.” Amin Bhat,noted writer and President J&K Adbee Markaz Kamraaz.
“One who was a remarkable gatherer of souls who could mobilize people for various ends. He worked indefatigably for what he perceived as the cause of language and literature, for the marginalized cultural expressions to help reassert local regional narratives.” Dr Maroof Shah.
“His contribution in promotion of the Kashmiri Language can never be ignored. He was a noble person, a daring administrator and above all an impressive poet and scholar. He was well versed with Kashmiri literature and has played a remarkable role in introducing Kashmiri in school syllabus. May his soul rest in peace.” Dr. Ayash Arif, a film maker.
Syed Shakeel Qalandar, Trade leader & social activist pays a rich tribute to late Hajni, “Dr. Aziz Hajini was an organiser and orator par excellence, he was a name to reckon with in the literary circles. His demise certainly is an irreparable loss to Kashmiri literature and a vacuum created is hard to be filled. Dr Aziz Hajini shall be remembered as one of the true lovers of the Kashmiri language who not only involved themselves in formidable activism for its promotion but also finding out the missing links of this language beyond Kashmir province. He along with his other colleagues used the platform of Adbi Markaz Kamraz not only to encourage young writers but also to acknowledge the works of known literary figures. He is the one who led to successfully mount pressure on the Government to introduce the Kashmiri language in schools. As Secretary of Cultural Acadamy, Dr Hajini played his role well in publishing the literary works created in various languages like Urdu, Dogri, Gojri and others besides Kashmiri. Society will miss this “crusader of change” for his advocacy and activism in regaining Kashmiri language, art, culture and heritage from the clutches of westernized and other impacts.”
“His biggest asset was his organizational capability. During his term as president of Abdi Markaz Kamraz, he organized conferences where 100 to 200 writers from far off areas of the state participated. This is what helped him probably when he organized a state-level meet of all the writers of all the languages of the state a few years ago at Abhinav Theatre is at Jammu. Another credit that goes to him is that despite the current turmoil in Kashmir, he ( Along with other office bearers) during the last several years made successful efforts in associating the civil society with the demand for the introduction of mother tongue in schools and this demand was ultimately met. As a filmmaker, we had a chance to work together during the making of a documentary film on Gujjars and Bakarwals of our state for Doordarshan. His passion for detail and authenticity was incredible. I have seen him following the trail of nomads and sacrificing his sleep to meet the deadlines. . He was not influenced by the turbulence of temptations. He had his goals set.” Writes B N Betab.
Dr. Aziz Hajni was my student in 1970 and I well remember that during the first annual conference of AMK in 1971 he was a 14 yr old boy . Dr. Hajni was a born activist . He came from a rural background and achieved all the heights because of his determination, sincerity and thirst for knowledge. Mohammad Ahsan Ahsan nurtured him well in the literary atmosphere of Hajin.
Dr. Hajni had a multidimensional contribution as a teacher, as a lecturer, as secretary Academy and convener of Sahithya Akademy. His efforts helped in providing a place for Kashimiri language in the school curriculum. He inspired the youths and provided them much inspiration and moral support to materialise their dreams. He was a very good administrator with ethical values and devotion for duty.
The untimely demise of Dr. Hajni is a great loss to Kashmiri language and culture. He was a creative poet, intelligent critic and had the scholarship of high order. His overall contribution is sufficient to make him immortal,
Dr. Amar Malmohi, an eminent short story writer.
I have known Hajini sahib for about two decades. Our association started within the sphere of cultural activities that we were undertaking as part of our professional obligations. But then over a period of time with the linkages and networking with other men of great passion and vision we became a part of thought process where our concerns enlarged and expanded to the issues related to the society at large. Hajini sahib came from a background where he had made a mark, rated as a good writer and a respected academic. That would in the normal circumstances, as in many co-academicians, mean a career, an occupation for life. But then he was made for taking bigger challenges. Seeing the distressed state of our mother tongue he turned into an activist, protagonist for preserving our language. This became a struggle and purpose of his life. Having turned into a campaigner, he naturally looked at vulnerabilities of our community at large. Among our fraternity a sense of loss gave birth to a movement that raised a bigger demand. This is when Kashmir was pushed into a quagmire and an existential threat. Till then many of us who were satisfied with the smiling welcome and appreciation of our work in the field of culture were alarmed with the uncertain and bleak future for all that was good about our society. Our frequency of interaction expanded exponentially at a stage and time when we realized that the medium of culture remained the only available tool and a hope for retaining the dignity . In our common world, the dimensions of Culture broadened and included use of arts, literature, and traditional knowledge systems within the context of actions, campaigns and movements. At its core, we realized that our work is a way of reclaiming our dignity, and celebrating our work as individuals and communities. Assertion of cultural identity became particularly powerful because it served multiple purposes. It inspired many of us to own our lives and invest in our communities, while building capacity for local leadership.
This is the context of our deep sense of loss in the demise of Professor Hajini. A void like this can only be filled with some divine intervention and that is what will sustain us for times to come, M. Saleem Beg former Director General tourism and convener Intach J&K.
Mushtaq B.Barq is a Columnist, Poet and Fiction Writer. He is the author of “Feeble prisoner, “ Wings of Love” and many translation works are credited to the author like “ Verses Of Wahab