A forgotten Legend ---- Janki Nath Bhat
ate Sh Janki Nath Bhat ‘Parvaana’ (1909-1970) belonged to village Wari-Pora (Bangil) Tehsil Tangmarg (Kashmir). He was a mystic besides an excellent poet of numerous Urdu and Persian poems mostly unpublished except a few contributions in some Urdu magazines and news papers of his time. Besides an erudite scholar of Urdu and Persian language he was well-versed in Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic and English. He was a poetic genius who could write extempore excellent Urdu and Persian poetry right from his school days which amazed his teachers at Mission High School (St. Joseph’s Convent) Baramulla (Kashmir) where he studied up to Matriculation (tenth class). One of his memorable poems recited by him in February 1925 as a tenth class student (age-16 years) on the coronation celebration ceremony of the erstwhile King of Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh was widely appreciated and won him a special commendation certificate and a cash prize from the King’s court for its content and high quality. One more memorable occasion during those days was his poetic presentation at the farewell function on the transfer of Father B D Writer, the popular British Principal of same Mission School. Writing of Urdu and Persian poetry was a maddening craze those days and hence Janaki Nath was the most favourite student of the school in particular and his friends and relatives in general.
Janki Nath passed his Matriculation Examination with high merit conducted those days by Punjab University, Lahore in June 1925. He didn’t continue his formal education obviously due to lack of resource and also because of the sudden death of his beloved mother, the shock that revolutionized this sensitive poet and a proud guy to the extent that he frequently remained out of home to seek solace in the feet of various awakened saints of that time. His writing of poetry took a back seat though the poet in him off and on reinvigorated him but he wrote with a different content now, mostly the themes of divinity and devotion for his lord. Meanwhile he was married into an affluent family at Kwarhama (Tangmarg) with an arrangement to stay there in his in-law’s house which further hit the ego of this poet and his desperation touched new heights. Having bent himself completely in for the higher life he didn’t prefer to opt to earn any independent living for himself and family which he could easily given his brilliant academic efficiency and overboard talent. He had in fact selected for himself finally to seek the higher life far above the ordinary one. He continued to be a householder but renounced the worldly aspirations to a quite large extent that he frequently remained out of his home in the pursuit of his spiritual goals. In the circumstances his esteemed wife took over the responsibility and Janki Nath, the poet began progressing considerably in the field of spirituality. He soon met his Guru Swami Aftab Joo Wangnoo of Srinagar (a disciple of the reputed Srinagar saint Razdaan Sahib) who formally initiated him into sainthood and gave him a proper direction such that he gradually advanced significantly in his spiritual aspirations. In spite of all this the void in his life remained, his peace of mind eluded him and he continued to be on his frequent sojourns usually without a direction neither being able to consolidate fully at his home with his family nor establish himself as an ascetic with a wide public recognition though the saint in him showed enough signs of higher life in him and advancement in spirituality.
His wonderful poetic compositions continued gushing forth, he continued writing off and on and his works continued piling up mostly on stray scraps of paper besides a few properly compiled volumes. He is said to have written widely, attempted on various serious and difficult themes including a commentary on Bhagavad-Gita in Persian verse, a translation in verse of the famous couplets of the Persian legend Jalal-ud-Din Rumi and the stories of Panchtantra, but none of them is available. His poetry in his later life had taken almost totally the theme of extreme devotion to his personal God Lord Krishna and the Astuti of his Guru Maharaj. In spite of his complete mental absorption as a seeker of the ultimate truth his taste for high rate poetry didn’t diminish and he continued giving vent to his feelings through his favourite medium especially his deep love for his Lord in his numerous poems. The major portion of his poetry including the best of his work is lost still whatever is available with this author is enough to rate him as a high rank poet of his time. Two full volumes in his own beautiful hand containing hundreds of his high quality poems one written in his early life and the other purely devotional mainly devoted to his Lord are available besides more than a hundred poems more on stray papers and scraps preserved safely. He has never made a serious personal attempt to get any of his works before public view may be because of his ascetic nature where writing is considered as an authentic form of worship and exposing it a deliberate sin. Though his name and fame as a brilliant poet took regular rounds in the corridors of academics and writers of the time but probably the callous attitude of those in authority didn’t make any effort to show him the light of the day and this great genius went on giving expression to his feelings by simply jotting down with nobody around ready to listen or read.
The surviving work of ‘Parvaana’ can be classified into (1) his early stage poetry (2) philosophical expressions and (3) advanced devotional attitude
His early stage poems written during the late first half of the twentieth century displays the vigor of youth combined with high taste for high quality poetry full of terse choice of words and Persian phraseology. The themes are purely philosophical full of romanticism. Some sample extracts:-
- Zakm’e kaari lag gaya khanjar sa teri ai sanam / zakhm ko ab andmali ki dawa day ai sanam.
Gar hai chaahat ishk’e kaamil ki duye ko kar baddar / ban ka pujari’y sanam jaan o dil day ba sanam.
- Bekhudi woh hai ki nai khud say guzarna chahi’yay / dil’dihi woh hai ki nai dil dil pai khona chahi’yay.
Bekhu’do yun marg’e aalam par nahin rona rawa / jo maray marnay say pah’lay us pai rona cha’hiyay.
Ho na tar daaman kabhi bazee’chaoo af’aal mein / bahr’e aalam mein dila bay los rehna chahi’yay.
- Kya pata kya kya bane’ga hamko phir marnay kay baad / Saqar hai ya surg ya aawa’gawan marnay kay baad.
Koi aata muud kay phir shahr’e khamo’shaan say a’gar / hamko bhi hoti tasalli kya Karen marnay kay baad.
- Karun’ga jaan ko kurbaan main iiman kay badlay / nazar karlon yeh iiman bhi teray khu’baan kay badlay.
Hai yaksaan mujh say shah ho ya shahan’shah ya gadda’gar ho / na lunga kas’re sultaani mein is iiwan kay badlay.
Hai behtar qaid say veerana karlun agar maskan / na loon main kabar ki tangi kabhi shamshaan kay badlay.
With the advancement of age and spiritual awakening his concentration seems to have mainly diverted towards Bhakti-Raga or absolute love of God. It seems he was wholly absorbed all the time in a single thought -- the deepest love for his Lord so much so that his poetry too flowed with the same content one after another without an obvious stop depicting the pure jewels of his deepest love in high ranking poetry but again infested with terse Urdu and Persian words and phrases. Some selected extracts:--
- Aai Ram khalaq’e jahaan, aai Ram ruh’e aash’qan / aai chara’ye be’chargaan, aai malik’e kon’o’makaan.
Aai Ram razaak’e zameen, ai razaak’e aasman / aakay kinaray say laga yeh kishti’ye bay’badbaan.
Tu zaa’te ba’barqat hai, tu qazi’ul’hajaat hai / tu sad’i sad aafat hai, aai’tu habib’e aarifan.
- Krishen bigdi huii meri imarat hai bana kar day / talatum mein meri kishti hai, saahil say lagaakar day.
Giri haalat hai garqab’e zalalat mein uthakar day / Na yun mayus hi mujhko meray ab dilrubaa karday.
Kabhi pura hi who pyaray mera shart’e wofa karday.
- Jyoti swaroop kar’kay har pal tan’o’man mein / Shankar kay saath damru kailas par bajaun.
Puran wa such ka saagar jo hai ajaan niran’tar / kyunkar na us kay andar yeh tan-o- man dubaaun.
Bakshi aatal padvi Prahlaad-o-Dhrav ko jis nay / kyunkar na geet aisay dayaal kay mein gaavun.
Jo Ram vishwa karta har shaiy mein rem rahaa hai / us Ram ko mein pakay aaram kyon na paavun.
- Huun tadap rahaa virah say dharshan dikha’day mohan / Jo dyaan tha Udhav ko mujh’ko sikhaday mohan.
Hai meri put’liyun main agh’yaan ka andh’era / parda duyee ka un say aakay uthaday mohan.
Gokul kay o gavai’ya, Jasudha kay o Kanayaa / Aankhun mein meri ankhein apni lagaday mohan.
Aaja piya’ray aaja, hirday mein tu samaaja / Bansi ki taan apni mujh ko sunaday mohan.
- Ik gulam’e khaas parvarda huun shah’e Raam ka / kya zaroorat Raam ho jis jaa udhar aaram ka.
Raam ki hi noor-ifshaani hai dar lail-o-nihaar / Raam hi to noor-afgahan hai subuh-o-shaam ka.
Raam hi rooh-e-ravaan Luqman-o-Jalinoos tha / Ramm hi tha quwat’e bazoo Rustum-wa-Saam ka.
Raam hi hai nosh’daro Raam hi sanji’wani / Raam hi tha rah’numa Hanumaan kay har gaam ka.
Raam puran aur pashu’tam daya’sagar hai tu / Naam roshan ab daya say karday is gumnaam ka.
Among the poems with philosophical content one written in description of his personal Lord titled “Mera Khuda” is worth attention:-
- Khuda mera ba’khuda bahut garib parwar hai / Kahun main kya, ki woh kya hai, woh paak-o-bartar hai.
Fayaz hai, faiz hai aalam mein aam uska / hai taaq banda navazi mein, daad-e-gustar hai.
Biduun hai ze’tasaawur, qayaas say baahar / woh pas-i-pustaan hai, pin’han hai, sheer-i-maadar hai.
Zahoor zaray zaray mein hai noor uska / nihan hai, baad-e-khazan mein, havaye’sar’sar hai.
Magar hai woh bhi mohabbat say aajiz-o-qaayil / sanam mein kaabay mein butt mein ayaan woh dilbar hai.
Saday’e gaib ataa hai banam’e ‘Parvaana’ / saraapa soz’e mohabbat hai joy eh daftar hai.
*JAWAHAR LAL BHAT belongs originally to Peth Makahama (Magam) Kashmir. A Post-Graduate in English of 1972 and a teacher by profession he retired as a Senior Lecturer (English) from J&K Education Department in 2004.
He has to his credit six books on English Language improvement and one on Personality Development published by Vee Kumar Publications, New Delhi besides a recently self published book titled ‘Yogiraj Swami Nand Lal Ji Maharaj --- A Biographical Study’ on the holy life of Swami Ji of Tikkar (Kupwara) Kashmir.
His articles mainly related to KP displacement imbroglio and Kashmir Culture get regularly published in ‘Koshur Samachar’ Delhi besides some E-magazines. The writings of the author are also available on his web page on the following link: http://ikashmir.net/jlbhat/index.html. The author writes posts regularly on his personal blog titled ‘Kashmir Warbling’ available on the following link: http://kashmirwarbling.blogspot.com/
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