A prominent literary figure and an influential personality of his time, Prof Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Hajni is often termed as the ‘first among the equals’ in state literary circle. Apart from penning down literary masterpieces, his take on political matters in state made him dear to leaders of his time. Bilal Handoo profiles the ace Professor.
Located at a distance of 35 km towards the north of Srinagar, a modest house in Hajin town abodes a tomb in its lawn in a calm ambience. An epitaph written in Kashmiri verses exhorts men to lead an ideal life. These verses have been penned down by one of the tallest literary figures of Kashmir, Prof Mohidin Hajini (1917-1993), resting inside the grave in the lawn of his house.
At the entrance of Hajin town, on the left side of scenic river Jhelum, Jamia Masjid Hajin is one of the important structures, architected and founded by Prof Hajini. His effort in institutionalizing Jamia Masjid as a centre of learning, where people might get food for their souls, is significant. In the lawns of the grand mosque, Prof would hold discussions and question-answer sessions after Friday prayers.
Being a polyglot, Prof Hajni made contributions in Kashmiri, Urdu, English and Arabic and his pen would flow and run with ease whatever subject he would choose to comment on.
“He was well versed in Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Classical Literature, Journalism, Law, Theology and Philosophy,” Ahsan Hajini, nephew of Prof Hajini, says. “Arabic literature was lucky to have such a prolific scholar to teach it in Kashmir as otherwise, its depths remain unfathomed and unexplored by most of the teachers and students in our part of the world due to lack of that cosmopolitan comprehension and understanding required for teaching this age-old literature.”
The Kashmiri language owes its revival to the movement of research and renaissance launched and initiated by Prof Hajini. His Grees Sund Ghara (Peasant’s House) published in 1952 is the first resistance play written on a Shakespearean model in Kashmiri literature. In 1954, Prof Hajini penned down Koshur Reader for the Directorate of School Education thereby formally preparing the ground for the teaching of Kashmiri language at the school level.
“Wahab Parray Hajini would have remained a poet buried in oblivion, had Prof Hajini not shown his poetry the light of the day,” Ameen Fayaz, who compiled discourses of Prof Hajini, says. “He wrote a monograph titled Wahab Parray in 1959, published by Jammu and Kashmir Art and Cultural Academy. An anthology of Kashmiri poetry titled Kashir Shairi was graced by Prof Hajini’s pen in 1960. It was published by the Sahatiya Academy, while his another book Kashiri Nasrach Kitab hit the market in 1961.”
In 1962, Gaman Manz Pheeri Pheeri (travelling through the villages) shows Prof as a journalist who roams about the villages of Kashmir and delves deep into the village psyche and life, in order to reveal what village life is all about. His Maqalat (research papers)(1967) won him the Sahatiya Academy award in 1970. Maqalat is a collection of critical essays that throws light on different shades and colours of Kashmiri literature and language.
Prof Hajini is also known as one of the architects and founders of two of the leading literary and cultural organizations of Kashmir, the Halqae-e-Adab Hajin Sonawari and Adbi Markaz Kamraz.
“He was among those stalwart intellectuals who worked hard for the launch of Department of Kashmiri at the University of Kashmir and struggled for the launch of Cultural Academy,” Ahsan says.
In one of his research papers, Prof Hajini utilizes his knowledge of Physics, Mathematics and Biology to show the concordance of fundamentals of science with the teachings of the Holy Quran. He throws a challenge to Charles Darwin in one of his papers asking, “What is it that distinguishes man from his nearest ancestor in evolution?” The question is open-ended and paper is for an international audience.
In “Medieval Legacy to Modern Inorganic Chemistry”, Prof Hajini connects present with the past of science and reminds that Muslims have their own share of contributions to what we call the age of science and technology.
Born on June 22, 1917, Prof Hajini was a rebel since his childhood. During 1930’s there used to be protests against Dogra regime in valley. In Sopore, during the evening hours, Prof Hajini, then Class 10 student used to take an active part in these protests.
“During one such protest, he was arrested and was lashed 24 times on his buttocks,” Ahsan, his nephew informs. “These lashes were so severe that he remained troubled throughout his life. Whenever he felt pain on his buttocks, he would curse those who made Kashmiris, a slave race.”
Prof Hajini’s anti-Indian mindset was known during his lifetime only. Till his retirement, he taught at Srinagar’s SP College. After his retirement from services, he worked for the welfare of people and dedicated himself to establish Jamia Masjid Hajin and Halqae-e-Adab Hajin Sonawari. The local literary body is now working to reprint his ‘out of stock’ books.
“The respect for him was commanding,” Zareef Ahmad Zareef, a noted social activist, says. “He never used to knock at the doors of ministers of his times, but used to visit Mujahid Manzil till plebiscite movement was on.”
During the Beg-Parthasarthy talks prior to 1975 accord, a meeting was once called in Mujahid Manzil, the erstwhile headquarters of ruling National Conference. Prof Hajini was the part of the meeting. It is said that whenever a meeting would be held in Mujahid Manzil, a local bread chuchvour and simple tea used to be served to party members. “But one day kebab tea was served to members,” Ahsan remembers. “Prof Hajini took exception to the change and told Beg, ‘Beg Sahab, we used to have simple chouchvour and tea till yesterday, how come our menu became so rich today? Are we really stuck to our mission or we have surrendered?”
Ahsan recalls that Beg replied to Prof on the stage: “Be ready, you have to come out of the cave and head the state Education Department.” Prof Hajini smelt scandal, got enraged and hurled an expletive at an intention of sell-out!
“A veteran NC member Sofi Mohammad Akbar sitting behind Prof in the meeting enquired from him what was going on,” Ahsan says. “Hajini Sahab told Sofi Sahab, ‘Koun mout ha chuhekh (you have been sold-out).” Soon after that Sofi Mohamad Akbar rolled his bed from Mujahid Manzil, took a tonga outside and went back to his home in Sopore and never returned back.
Prof Hajini, as per Ahsan, too severed his ties with Shiekh Abdullah after the accord and never visited Mujahid Manzil again.
Due to his least tolerance for the oppression, Prof had to spend some time in state prisons as well. He was arrested twice. During 1940’s, he was arrested for taking part in anti-Dogra protests. Then in 1965, he was arrested under draconian Defense India Rules (DIR), a controversial act, which many believe was equivalent to present day Public Safety Act (PSA). He had to spend two years in Jammu jail and during that time he wrote a book, which later won him Sahitya Academy Award. “Late Mirwaiz Moulana Farooq was also in jail with him in 1965,” Ahsan said. “In prison, Prof Hajini used to conduct classes and teach inmates about resistance movement and about other things. He also taught late Mirwaiz.”
Known for his strict decision making and breathtaking activities, Prof Hajini finally became quiet in the early 1980s, when he survived a fatal heart attack. He was taken to Srinagar for medical treatment, where prominent medico of the valley, Dr Allaqband referred him to GB Pant Hospital in New Delhi with the assistance of Chief Minister Shiekh Abdullah. For the next fifteen days, he was on medical care there. During one day, his friend Ghulam Mohidin Shawl visited the hospital and told him: “Hajini Sahab, do you know where you are being treated?” The convalescent Prof had no idea. “You are in GB Pant hospital,” Shawl informed him.
On hearing it, Prof Hajini wept profusely and insisted his nephew to take him back to Kashmir. “There was a reason why he wept,” Ahsan says. “During his student days at Aligarh University, he and his friend Mohidin Shawl used to collect all disposables during the night and put it in front of Pant’s statue there. Such was his hate for that man and that of Delhi.”
Once taken back to home, he enquired from his nephew how he managed his medical and other expenses, who told him that financial assistance was provided by Shiekh Abdullah and Dr Allaqband. Later he sold popular trees on his land and repaid his dues. “In fact, he paid for the stretcher on which he was taken to Delhi,” Ahsan says.
He was married early in his life. He has three daughters and a son. His son, Mohammad Amin Hajini teaches in a government school.
During Bakshi government in the state, a local delegation from Hajin visited Bakshi and complained about Prof Hajini’s open criticism to Bakshi. Upon hearing this, Bakshi told the visiting delegation: “My son studies in SP College where Prof Hajini teaches. My son informs me every day that Prof was abusing and criticizing me and my government in College. If I can tolerate the man for six days, why can’t you tolerate him for one day?”
In spite of being in government services, Prof Hajini never shied away from openly criticizing the policies of leaders of his time. In later part of his life, he remained bed-ridden without having an iota of an idea that his hometown would be soon known as a bastion of dreaded Ikhwan raj in Kashmir. But before that could have happened, he breathed his last on January 21, 1993, at the age of 76.