SRINAGAR: Kashmir’s prominent playwright, Sajood Sailani passed away Tuesday morning (November 17, 2020) at his ancestral residence in Srinagar. He was 85.
Family sources said Sailani was unwell for last many years and was bedridden. He was laid to rest at their ancestral graveyard in Pandrethan. Sailani is survived by his two sons and a daughter. One of his sons, Showkat Shehri is also a playwright and a writer. His other son, Dr Manzoor is a psychiatrist.
Sajood was born Ghulam Mohammad. He was not only a playwright but also a cartoonist, a painter, a theatre artist, and a poet. He, however, was known by his plays that would be broadcast by the Radio Kashmir Srinagar. He was writing in Urdu and Kashmiri. Sailani was the brother of Gayoor Hassan, who earlier headed the School of Fine Arts in Srinagar.
In his career, Sailani has written more than 150 Radio plays, 27 full-length stage dramas and 40 comedies. As a theatre personality, he had set up his own group, the Sangam Theatre Srinagar that would do a lot of cultural activity for many decades. He has almost 12 books to his credit till he was overtaken by the paralysis.
Sailani was working with the Jammu and Kashmir State Motor Garages as a vehicle painter but his passions were in the Kashmir culture. He dominated the cultural space of Kashmir for more than 20 years. Later in his career, he was shifted to Government Medical College as a curator.
Born in 1936 in Dalgate, he started writing from his tenth standard. He never went to college. It was during those days that assumed the penname of Sajood Sailani. He had actually started writing short skits for All India Radio that led the Radio Kashmir Srinagar to actually hunt for him and get him to the Radio and make him write for them also. His famous drama’s included Kaej Raath (Dumb Night), Gaashe Taaruk (Guiding Star), Ropye Rood (Money shower).
As painter, he had set up his own Wani Art Gallery. He got best book award by the Jammu and Kashmir Cultural Academy in 1970 and Sahitya Academy award in 1994. He is perhaps the only Kashmiri writer who wrote a play in Boujpuri, apparently while picking the language from the Bihari workforce that were employed to construct his Pandrethan home.