• Abid Ahmad
  • Publish Date: Dec 15 2017 9:47PM
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  • Updated Date: Dec 15 2017 9:47PM

Saleem Saghar’s new rubayee collection puts him in the ranks of the finest Kashmiri writers in Urdu

Kashmir is known as an independent dabestan of Urdu language and literature, with its own strong tradition, an indigenous voice and unique idiom. Our writers are duly mentioned in Urdu literary annals; some are even considered ustaad in the Urdu tradition – Prof Hamidi Kashmiri, Hakeem Manzoor, Mir Ghulam Rasool Nazi, Abid Munawari. What is more, almost all Urdu writers from Jammu and Kashmir have successfully attempted all genres of Urdu literature, including the most difficult of them all, rubayee. In fact, writers such as Hakeem Manzoor, Masood Samoon, Fareed Parbati and Rafeeq Raaz have earned acclaim as poets of rubayee. Saleem Saghar has a strong claim to belong to this tradition.

Saghar has just published Raqs-e Tawoos, or Dance of the Peacock, a collection of over 250 rubayees; each poem is an independent composition but the collection is beautifully threaded together like pearls in a necklace.    

Rubayee is a difficult genre to master because it is dictated by stringent rules, borrowed in Urdu from Persian, the language of Omar Khayyam’s famed rubayees, which have inspired generations the world over. Although Omar Khayyam’s rubayees are restricted to the themes of love and indulgence, his successors broadened the genre’s canvass by incorporating almost all themes like in ghazal and nazm.

The peculiarity of the genre of rubayee is that all four couplets are stylistically and thematically connected to each other. They are parts of the whole and make and unmake each other. It is, however, the fourth couplet that opens the lock. Without it, the rubayee is ambiguous. The skill and craft expected of the poet attempting the rubayee is extraordinary; mastery of the language is, of course, a prerequisite. 

Saghar’s poetic craft is impeccable, deftly handling the varied themes of life, love, struggle, pain, separation, spirituality, and social and personal crises. But it’s his rubayees on the political uncertainty in Kashmir that stand out. 

Perun ki yeh zanjeer rahe ghi kab tak

Sar par tere shamsheer rahe ghi kab tak

Yun wadiy-e Kashmir rahe ghi kab tak

Zindan ki tasveer rahe ghi kab tak

Zindan me, zanjeer me kyun jeete hen

Tahqeer me, tazeer me kyun jeete hen

Izzat se kahin kyun nahi rehte ja kar

Hum dozakh-e Kashmir me kyun jeete hen

Roodad-e alam, ranj ki tasweer huwa

Khoonen se ik khwab ki tabeer huwa

Kehte hen jise roye zameen ki jannat 

Doozakh ka namoona wahi Kashmir huwa

Saghar’s poems offer remarkable insights into life.

Dukh sukh ke marahil se guzarna seekho

Saw baar bikhar ke bi sanwarna seekho

Jeena hey aghar tujko jene ke liye

Is aagh ke darya me utarna seekha


The poet prefers to identify with the silent sufferers whose pain is usually ignored in the humdrum of life.

Bhaati he nighahun ko rawish phoolun ki 

Dil ko bi lubhati he kashish phoolun ki 

Kharun me bhi rehte huye karte hen nibah

Jani he maghar kisne khalish phoolun ki 


The rubayee has 24 identified metres, and few poets have succeeded in using all of them. Saghar has used all the 24 metres in just six rubayees, each semi-stich with a metre of its own.   

As Masood Samoon rightly notes in his introduction to the collection, “The deep pearls in the book are an ample proof of the poet’s creative potential. With the self-confidence with which Saleem Saghar has adopted this genre, it is expected that he will achieve new heights in his literary journey and prove as grist to the mill of the world of the Urdu language.”