by Rayees Ahmad Kumar

Asmat Chughtai asserts that she came to understand Kashmir through Shah’s stories, while another notable writer, Krishan Chander, echoes this sentiment, stating that he, too, discovered Kashmir through the works of Shah and Hamidi Kashmiri.

Noor Shah: Kashmir short story writer

In the vibrant culture of Kashmir, one figure shines brightly: Noor Shah, a literary luminary whose written words depict a rich tapestry of language and profound creativity. Born in the Dalgate area of Srinagar in 1936, Shah has embarked on a literary journey spanning many decades. His prose has deeply enriched the fictional landscape of the valley.

Asmat Chughtai asserts that she came to understand Kashmir through Shah’s stories, while another notable writer, Krishan Chander, echoes this sentiment, stating that he, too, discovered Kashmir through the works of Shah and Hamidi Kashmiri. Throughout his career, Shah has held various influential administrative positions, including Director of Rural Development, Director of Science and Technology, Deputy Commissioner, and Chief Executive Officer of the JK Energy Development Agency.

In addition to his short stories, Noor Shah has penned eighty radio dramas, displaying his versatility. His literary prowess is evident in his novels such as Payal Ke Zakhm, Neeli Jheel Kalay Saye, and Aao Sou Jayein. Furthermore, he has authored several novelettes including Adhi Raat Ka Suraj and Lamhe Aur Zanjeerien.

Beyond the realm of literature, Shah has contributed significantly to television, creating serials such as Dard Ka Rishta (13 episodes), Gul Aur Bulbul (13 episodes), Neelma (13 episodes), and documentaries like Gull (a 30-minute feature) and Solar Energy in J & K (4 episodes).

Besides, he has even ventured into cinema with the feature film Urdu in Kashmiri.Shah’s extensive collection of short stories includes titles like Be Ghat Ki Nav, Veeranay Ke Phool, Ek Raat Ki Malika, Man Ka Aagan Udas Udas, Geelay Pathroun Ki Mehak, Be Samar Sach, and Aasman, Phool Aur Lahoo.

Numerous scholars have earned research degrees for their analyses of Noor Shah’s literary works. Shah’s practice of maintaining a diary proved to be exceptionally fruitful, as evidenced by his creation of Band Kamrey Ki Khidki from his diary entries, solidifying his reputation as a proactive fiction writer in India.

Currently under review is Ek Mamuli Aadmi, a collection of thirty short stories spanning 120 pages. Published by Meezan Publishers, Srinagar, the book features a meticulously crafted cover and premium paper quality.

The collection opens with Baat Eik Raat Ki, a finely crafted story exploring the various facets of poverty in society, illustrating the struggles of individuals forced to beg or engage in illegal activities to provide for their families.

The second story, Taali, sheds light on the mistreatment faced by daughters-in-law by their mothers-in-law, particularly when they encounter difficulties conceiving. The relationship undergoes numerous tumultuous phases, growing increasingly strained over time. Parents, without assessing their sons’ responsibility, often resort to divorcing their daughters-in-law. The most embarrassing moments arise when medical reports reveal their own sons’ faults.

In Apni Apni Kahani, Shah portrays the manipulative and deceitful nature of women who exploit naive men in the name of love and commitment. These women engage in temporary relationships, frequent health resorts, and spend nights in hotels to deceive their partners for financial gain.

In Shakhi Be Samar, Shah artfully depicts the close bond between two female friends who live together as spouses, defying social and religious norms and traditions. Both individuals had clandestinely impregnated themselves with the assistance of a male servant who accompanied them and performed household tasks.

In Be Nam Kahani Ka Akhri Warq, Shah skilfully portrays the erosion of human values and cultural integrity among residents of the valley. While Kashmir was once renowned for its hospitality and strong moral principles, these virtues have sadly vanished from the land of the perennial Jhelum River and picturesque Dal Lake.

In Ek Mamuli Aadmi, Shah delicately crafts a romantic narrative centred around Asima and Nadir, former college classmates now seeking to wed. However, Asima’s brother becomes a barrier to their true love story. Asima, hailing from a prosperous background, faced opposition from her brother in pursuing a relationship with Nadir, who came from a less affluent background. Instead, she was wedded to Salman, a wealthy individual whose untimely demise in an accident added to Asima’s distress. Nadir, a skilled journalist, tragically lost his life while covering a firing incident on the same day as Salman’s accident.

In Call Bell, Shah portrays the exploitation of vulnerable women by opportunistic men, whether for financial gain or sexual motives, within the confines of their own homes.

In Allah Khair Kare, Shah masterfully reflects on a period marked by the arrest and mistreatment of youth allegedly involved in stone pelting by the police. While acknowledging that those engaged in criminal activities are rightfully prosecuted, the story also sheds light on the unjust persecution of innocent individuals under draconian laws.

In Kashmir Kahani, Shah vividly portrays the suffering endured by victims of pellet injuries, many of whom have either lost their vision partially or entirely.

Ghar Ki Baat sheds light on the corrupt practices often employed by police officers in their interactions with the public, practices that they conceal from their spouses and later plead to keep confidential.

Khandani Rewayat illustrates the exploitation of unsuspecting individuals by cunning individuals, a practice ill-suited for a literary figure, particularly a poet, as depicted in the story.

In Du Gaz Zameen, Shah expertly portrays the dire and sorrowful conditions faced by people living on both sides of artificially imposed borders, where individuals sharing commonalities in skin colour, traditions, culture, and history are subjected to suffering and hostility.

In Gujno, Shah draws a poignant analogy between children and fireflies, portraying them as living together in brotherhood, free from animosity, greed, and selfishness.

Pehchan delves into the hidden desires of some women who, instead of seeking recognition in the light of day, find solace in the anonymity of the night, where their immoral actions go unnoticed.

Kitabain underscores the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to books, emphasizing the need to select morally upright ones that promote ethical values for both ourselves and our children.

In Waapsi, Shah astutely depicts the consequences of dividing people into various sects within the same religion and region of Kashmir. The proliferation of small mosques in every lane and street has ultimately fragmented communities along different ideologies and sects.

Lazati Be Gunah, the succinct conclusion of the book, displays Shah’s adeptness in crafting fictional narratives, contributing to his acclaim as one of the country’s esteemed fiction writers.

(The author is a columnist from Qazigund, Kashmir. Ideas are personal)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here