Kashmir Poetry
Zareef A Zareef

Saima Bhat painstakingly expending her diligent care gives a detailed account of legendary Zareef A Zareef´s intellectual prowess, ready wit, rhythmical satirical poetry in the modern day political strife stricken Kashmir reaching the pinnacle of literary taste. Zareef takes his heart out to boost the morale of his native subjects sharing the brunt of merciless occupational forces. He is an asset of the Kashmiri nation and all agree in unison that Zareef has done Kashmir proud. Zareef was born on April 17, 1943 in downtown Aial Kadal (Aali Kadal) of Kashmir´s capital city Srinagar. He was raised in a middleclass family in a residential accommodation at the base of historical Fort (Haari Parbat) near the area popularly known as Baadshahi Darwaza an entrance leading to the shrine of highly revered Sufi Saint Sultan Arifeen Makhdoom Sahib (rtA).

Zareef inherited the natural gift of poetic nuances and refinement from his father late Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Shah, a shawl embroidery business shop owner, at Pather Masjid in the vicinity of Zaina Kadal also known as 4th bridge. His mother late Mokhta Begum, as Saima says, was a simple ´home maker´.
Saima adds "The artisan workshop of Zareef´s father played a highly significant role in the making of Zareef. It was a hub of highly accomplished Hakeems, Sufi saints, poets, and travelling merchants. Zareef has had the pleasure to grow in an environment embodying wisdom and knowledge and holds Khawaja Habibullah Khatar, greatly revered Sufi saint in high esteem and fervently visits his mausoleum to pay obeisance".
Islamia High school in the downtown Razey Kadal (Rajori Kadal) has been Zareef´s initial seat of learning; an ardent enthusiast religiously attending seminars, symposiums, debates and annual functions ´throughout his formative years´. His guiding teachers of repute Rahman Rahi and Sattar Ahmed Shahid were instrumental in imparting eloquence of thought and feelings allowing Zareef to express him in a befitting manner.
Saima further writes that Zareef "apart from being an inspiration, an unknown poet played a vital role in his career. Ghulam Ahmed Mir Abid showed him to use imaginative powers and fine tune in writing aptitude; while Hakeem Manzoor an eminent Urdu writer introduced him to great beauty of verse, the profoundness of literature".
His educational achievements include his Bachelor of Arts (Honors) degree in Urdu from Aligarah Muslim University. Soon after leaving High School, Zareef was appointed a script writer in the department of information. While serving in the cultural unit of department of information he remained active in organising public shows, dramas, Mushairas and features on an unparalleled scale in various parts of Kashmir State. His writings were instrumental in evoking greater response from public which helped the department in achieving various goals in promoting the forsaken Kashmiri language.

Zareef expounds his inner self in line with the decades old political situation of his motherland and expressions of a bruised heart brings out words pearled in Kashmiri vocabulary in the following manner:

azadi ka matlab kya,	          
 what does freedom mean;	 
kashmir chodkey zalim ja, 	    
 make an exit O tyrant,	

hum kya chahtein haq insaaf,      
 what we want is our right & justice;
baichara, nafrat off,             
 no hatred from the innocent,

mehman aayey mahaol saaf,	  
 greet guests with clean environs;
jeevay jeee bharat pak,	     
 also let India and Pakistan live
hamsey karley freedom talk        
 talk to us about our freedom,

UN walo saamney aawo,		  
 let UN show itself,
apney wadaey baja laow,	     
 to fulfil its promises,

bharat walo ab tum jao,		  
 india must leave now;	
apney wadoon ko aamlao,	     
 & fulfil your promises well

zalim Qaetilo athe´ rath path,    
 tyrant killers hold back your hand;
baaraw chu diwan masoom raeth,   
 the blood of martyrs will call out,

par zchol poumpur shamhas paeth,  
 self destructive moth drawn towards the candle,
bharat tum sey jhagda kya,	    
 india no quarrel with you;
kashmir chodhkey wapas ja,	  
 leave Kashmir & go back

kaeshrew haq az kareaw adda,	  
 kashmiris motherland demands of you;
zulmas jhagdas di ragda".	    
 fight against the tyranny

His first ever verses as a teenage school boy depict the level of poetic intellectual pursuits when he amazed his schoolmates and all around throwing light on seeking knowledge saying:

parun Gaczhi kaadaen tarun  
  what you read must sink in
nate´ gaie lagai karein naas 
 or else better to become a junky or trashy
nabre saasa theailus barun 
 filling upper storey with erudition
suo gow paezpaeth naeirun 
 pass that is to pass with flying colours

Kashmiri being the medium of his poetry; his style of writing remained apprehensive and humorous which greatly attracted the masses. Thrust of his poetry has been to portray the social evils to exterminate them by arousing public consciousness. Imbalances in the society, plight of the weaker sections and environmental filth have remained the main themes.


In view of the great contribution to social cause and exemplary contribution for serving the environment Zareef was selected and honoured as Man of the year in 1999 by the board of International Research of the American Biographical Institute. In the annotation Zareef was declared as the best worker in the field of environmental protection and social and literary life. He was also awarded with Ahad Zargar award by Ahad Zargar Memorial Research Foundation in 2009 for his precious research pertaining to less known poets of Kashmir.


Till now Zareef has compiled his 27 essays in his book, ´Khabar Togme´ wanun´ inducted in curriculum of Kashmir University and now planning to compile seven books more like a brief introduction about Sufi Poets and their selected poems. Natyaa Sombran (Hamud, Naat, Munajaat, Mankabat), Tehkeeke (Daste´kaar), Kasheeri hienz saazo awaaz, Choklad Ruh, humorous poems and Taaran Garee (swindling, it was published in yearly periodical of a vernacular newspaper and in a continuous form keeps on adding couplets.).


Zareef is also working on another book that is based on spirituality giving credit to a Sufi Saint Khawaja Mohiuddin Nakeeb once came to visit his family and asked for food but to everybody´s surprise he offered the food served to little boy Zareef and since then Zareef felt some sort of unease or restlessness and dedicated the part of poetry to the Saint.


Zareef retired from the department as cultural officer and after retirement engaged himself as chairman of Ahad Zargar Memorial Research Foundation and as an adviser for various committees for issues like social work and environment. He has never been oblivious to the political sufferings of his native land under occupation and through his poetic thoughts and inscriptions touched the sensitivities of masses to arouse them from time to time. Zareef once faced imprisonment for three days during the regime of GM Sadiq (Indian imposed government chief minister) who thought Zareef had targeted him in one of his couplets written on the cover page of his book Ezhaar-e-Haq.

Ba´ chus koshur te´             
 I am a Kashmiri so;
kar zah zaoen kasheer,			       
 could never understand my homeland,

panun aasun ganzrumut chaun Kasheer, 		  
 counted Kashmir as personal property

dohai phermich cha panne nab-e-kaare,	       
 fifth column have always backstabbed

achan thop deith nakhaa loud koen kasheer"   
 eyes shut Kashmir allowed one eyed to rule

For Kashmir´s struggle for independence, he strongly believes, Kashmir´s two more generations can take it to new heights where world will listen to what we say and what we ask for? Those generations will be highly educated and real intellectuals and not like the ones:

daanishte milwaan zabu kalam,		   
 hand of friendship and sweet talk,
Pathar daide tal daerith halam,	       
 anything offered acceptable,

aamas ti khaamas shruke paree,	           
 false promises to rich and pauper,
taran gare´ taran gare´	       
 swindle and only swindle


One morning of Dec-Jan 1990, notorious Indian CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) knock at the door of Abdul Ahad Bhat of Batmaloo, Srinagar and demand the TV set to watch their favourite program Ramayana. The lady of the house opens the door to find uniformed armed infantry men staring at her with the demand and the next minute she collapses and is rushed by her relations to the hospital to be declared dead. In Kashmir incredible India does such miracles on daily basis.
Back to top


International Forum for Justice and Human Rights
The number of gun pellet injury victims, especially youth, mounts to 877. Men women and children invalid for life.
  • 308 hit in the face by pellets
  • 73 have lost eyesight
  • 174 men and children lost arms
  • 100 have legs amputated
  • 222 received body injuries

Special Director General of Police, Coordination, Law and Order S P Vaid shares information on incidents with Rising Kashmir Reporter Mir Liyaqat Ali.(December 18, 2016)

  • 5084 people have been arrested
  • 500 have been detained under (Public Safety Act)
  • 30 schools have been set ablaze in last five months
  • 250 to 275 militants operating in the Valley
TIMES OF INDIA (May 21, 2016)
Around 1.8 million of Kashmir´s population show significant amount of mental distress.

SPIRITUALITY    Zareef´s first prose
bekaraeri kiech chum,	  
 an unknown restlessness within,
mainis karraras prizchhai,     
 would probe into my stableness,         	

kuos phorum lokcharas,    
 my heydays of youth squandered,
yaeth mousum amarous prizchhai 
 would enquire from innocent loving nature

Zareef touched almost every part of Kashmir in his poetry without indulging in active politics. He always writes about his motherland Kashmir which he feels has given him authority to write so that the younger generations are aware of historical factuality. The ongoing political unrest when the blood is spilled on the streets he writes:

bandookh traweth kaen tujim,			
  left the gun to pick up stone,
panaey wouwum youse´ soye lajim,	     
   stung by my own sown nettle,

saath peeri path gai changrey,			
   seven generations gone astray,
taran gare´ taran gare´		     
    swindle and only swindle
Dr Majid Siraj translates Zareef´s peom
ye cha paez paeth swargech akh tasveer,	   	      
 heaven! Thy true replica is Kashmir,
ye cha chaen kasheer, 
	ye cha myeaen kasheer,      	 
it´s our Kashmir, 
  it´s is my Kashmir.
yaeti thann'e paiy sufi, sant, reish, peer,	      
 it gave birth to sufis, 
           saint, rishis and holy
ye cha chaen kasheer, 
	ye cha myeaen kasheer.           
 it´s our Kashmir, 
	it´s is my Kashmir.

atth lavv´e hatt´i 
	loaluk shootchar chum, 
 it has the sanctity of the 
			dew-fresh love! 
ye cha khoasboyi mushkaavaan rum rum,	                 
 It fragrances every then and now.

thann'e pyeameit yatti kam kam walle-veer,	      
 it is the birth place of many 
		a sage and seer,
ye cha chaen kasheer, 
	ye cha myeaen kasheer.           
 it´s our Kashmir, 
	it´s is my Kashmir.

ammi kuniruk aasun loalli 
		lall'e noav,		      
 oneness it, in its bosom, nurtured,
ammi gatti manz gaashuk aagur hoav,		         
 it showed the brightness 
		from the dark-dead.
ye cha shoaqal khaaban hyuind taebeer,		      
  it is the living interpretation of the 
dreams´ cheer,
ye cha chaen kasheer, 
	ye cha myeaen kasheer.           
 it´s our Kashmir, 
	it´s is my Kashmir.

atth boanyean, veeryean hyuind shehjaar,	      
 it has the soothing shadow of 
	willows and Chinar,

atth ardael baalan pyeath dyivdaar,		         
 its high hills and sentineled 
		by huge deodar,

ye cha anhaer khaaban hyuind taemeer,		      
 it´s the Genesis of the 
			Virgin dreams,
ye cha chaen kasheer, 
		ye cha myeaen kasheer.	         
 it´s our Kashmir, 
		it´s is my Kashmir. 

yaeti woass'e droass´e 
		loelech yaar'eballan,     
 where hustle & bustle is driven 
		by love on springs,
tann mann tchoall vyethi beyi 
		jheel e Dal-an,          
 waterfront & shore, where Dal & 
		Jhelum wash your 
body, mind & more,
yaeti Lalli choav Nund'e Resh 
			amryeat sheer,        
where Nund-Reshi was breastfed 
	by Lal-Ded,the milk elixir, 
ye cha chaen kasheer, 
	ye cha myeaen kasheer.             
 it´s our Kashmir, 
	it´s is my Kashmir. 

ath azlaiy baagi chu baarein toan,		      
 where, from antiquity has 
	flourished the brotherhood,
ath pholl'ewun rall'ewun maalin kroan,                   
where the gloomy bright forehead has 
support of motherhood!
ye cha mitran maskan, shaethran teer,               
 a paradise for friends, as a hell to 
foes will it veer,

ye cha chaen kasheer, 
	ye cha myeaen kasheer.             
 it´s our Kashmir, 
	it´s is my Kashmir.