Why Naji Munawar Is The Poet of Kashmir Children?

by Syed Aamir Sharief Qadri

He went door to door and covered long distances to collect such kind of rare manuscripts, which are unique in nature.  Besides all these things his library contains precious books on varied subjects.

Naji Munawar, portrait of a young man

In the field of literature,  Kaprin village is the address of many great litterateurs such as Amin Kamil, Naji Munawar, Shafi Shouq and many others. All these award-winning personalities took Kashmiri literature to a new level. Besides, this Shopian village is full of ink slingers who took inspiration from all these gems to carry forward their mission. All these men succeed in preserving Kashmir’s age-old culture.

Ghulam Nabi Lone popularly known as Naji Munawar is one of the prominent writers of the twenty-first century. Born in 1934, he is one among few influential writers of Kashmir who worked sturdily in producing immense literature in his mother tongue, the Kashmiri

Naji’s Service

The initial schooling of Naji took place at his native village. Later, he went to government high school Shopian and studied along with Shamim Ahmad Shamim, Mohammad Yousuf Teing, Narendra Nath and others. The school provided him a platform to unfold his talent and thirst for literature. After graduating, he was appointed as a teacher and first served in Ladakh for three years.

Naji is a well-known scholar of the Kashmiri language and literature. A prolific writer and thoughtful poet, Naji provided a great literary service for more than seven decades. The author of more than two dozen books, he started his carrier as a poet.

Under the pen name Naji, his first collection of poetry Naag Raat was published in 1974. Naji is famous for his award-winning book Pursaan. He got Sahitya Akademi Award for this best piece of work in 2002. In collaboration with his brother Shafi Shouq, he wrote Kashur Adbuk Tawarekh, which got international recognition and impressive reviews. This book is very useful for university students and researchers.

Residents of Kaprin: (L to R) Naji Munawar, Amin Kamil and Shafiq Shouq

On Sheikh-ul-Alam

According to Naji Munawar, “much work has been done on life history and sayings of Sheikh-ul-Alam. But I think none of them has represented the Sheikh in the true sense. Through extensive research, I tried my best to understand the true nature of his kalam“. This led him to came up with a book named Kulyat-e-Sheikh-ul-Alam. It received great praise leading the publisher to reprint it many times.

Habits and Hobbies

 Naji Munawar is a kind human being who eats simple and lives simple. About his likes and dislikes, he let me tell you he likes everything that keeps him fit and healthy and dislikes what hinder his routine. He embraces nature in its original form.

Naji gets up early in the morning. His day starts by doing regular exercise followed by a brisk walk around his garden, having Deodar, Fir, Walnuts and other trees. After taking small and simple meals he put up essential gardening tools to take care of flowers and the vegetable garden. He doesn’t sit in one place for a long time. All day he keeps on moving and counts his footsteps while walking as the doctor has advised him to do so.

Like many other contemporaries like Amin Kamil, he never thought of migration to settle somewhere else by abandoning the ancestral village.

The Poet of Children

Naji’s love for minors and interactions with them drove him towards children literature.

Naji Munawar now

Naji has spent a huge time producing child literature. To educate and entertain children he wrote a pile of books. It includes Mokhte Laer (1959), Shuren Hind Luki Baith (1959), Shuren Hind Baith (Vol 2, 1962, 1967), Baati Kath (1975), Shuren Hund Iqbal, (1978), Dunyihchi Daleela (1980), Shuren Hund Naji (2017)

The book Shuren Hund Naji is a beautiful collection of 54 poems and 99 riddles sufficient enough to inject inquisitive and hungry minds. These poems act as feeders to help children to think about the world. The book features a range of simple poems on varied themes to help little ones get familiar with the culture of the land. Above all this is the book that a child can grow with. This book is taught in many schools as a part of the curriculum.

Naji, A Curator

Naji has collected a large number of coins, artefacts, terracotta, carved stones, and manuscripts belonging to different ruling dynasties of Kashmir. Naji got his collection registered by the name of Naji Nawadirat. Items mentioned in the catalogue include Kashmiri, Persian and Arabic handwritten manuscripts, copper and silver coins, stone artefacts, terracotta things.

The rooms of his house are decorated with various paintings. Some of them are very precious such as Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.

The house is full of rare books. This great assemblage is a hard work of many years. He went door to door and covered long distances to collect such kind of rare manuscripts, which are unique in nature.  Besides all these things his library contains precious books on varied subjects. As a researcher himself, his library is full of precious books on Kashmir history, literature and culture that work as a primary source to serve the purpose.

(Author has masters in history from the University of Kashmir and is pursuing MPhil at Punjabi University Patiala. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Kashmir Life.)

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