Saar-e- Kashmir by Ghulam Rasool Mehr

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Prof.Khalid Akbar
Ghulam Rasool Mehr(1895?1971) was a prolific scholar, a genuine author,a keen historian and a competent translator.He began his profession in the capacity of a journalist from the illustrious paper, ‘Zimindaar’ owned by Molana Zafar Ali Khan and ended up with his own weekly, “Inqilab”. Besides,he penned down over hundred books which speak volumes of his power of imagination , ideas and linguistic skills.He translated two parts of voluminous and monumental editions of “A History of Civilizations”by Crane Brinton; John B Christopher and Robert Lee Wolf which does appear more an original work rather than translation. He undertook a journey to Europe with Allama Mahmood Iqbal ;however he inscribed only two travelogues : Hejaz -e – Moqaddus and Sahra kashmir. The under-reviewed, Sahar-e- Kashmir is the reflection and minute account of a master genius who demonstrated his credentials in all forms of writing.Saar-e- kashmir was compiled artfully in a compact manner by Dr. Zafar Hussain Zafar by putting in all his professional skills and expertise. Precisely, these narratives had been published in the paper ‘inqilab’ with the courtesy of Abdul Majhid Saliq, an old chum of Mr.Mehr.These assays have been gleaned laboriously by Dr Zafar to shape it into a volume. Dr.zafar Hussain is a distinguished professor of Urdu literature at PostGraduate College Rawalakot. As a seasoned author and practiced researcher,he has already established his comfortable niche in academic and literary circles nationwide.He took this gigantic task of collecting all this stuff from the worn out pages of ‘Inqilab’ with the benevolent assistance of the worthy son of Ghulam Rasool Mehr.He endeavoured hard to forge this matter into the form of book. The meaningful footnotes and useful interpolations added by him help recognize places and untie other complicated knots in these narratives. Saar-e- Kashmir enjoyed such immense individuality and uniqueness, exclusively in the backdrop of Kashmir that it could not be rivaled by other volumes written about this paradise on the earth. It is the last travelogue penned down by any author just before the dismemberment of the biggest and the most picturesque princely state of the subcontinent known as heaven upon the earth. There are a few travelogues pertaining to the valley of Kashmir in the era of Dogra Dynasty.Neverthless, it excelled to all in many traits.It offers precious accounts.rare historical facts and overall heartening states of affairs prevalent in kashmir just before the longstanding unfortunate tragic history- a sad episode stained in blood and infinite sufferings.Saar-e- Kashmir mirrors the culture and social life of Kashmir.It encapsulates daily rhythm, rituals , festivals and traditions of then Kashmir.It combines two narratives of travels undertaken by Ghulam Rasool Mehr in 1940 and 1946 altogether, stretching over three weeks. He happened to visit silver lakes of awesome Dal; Wular and blossoming gardens filled with tulips ? roses and saffron besides mesmerizing icy mountains. He enjoyed these summers in rolling lush green cliffs and cool and calm valleys.In one of these wonderful places,he gets so fascinated and absorbed that he speaks thus 🙁 jee chata ha lorry sa otur jian aur hiaat mustaar asi bharistan ma ghazaran.) :”I were so enchanted by the exquisite landscape that I would yearn to live in this pleasure dome forever.” All events in this ‘ Safer Nama’have been described with freshness, intensity and power . It is unique because of its style either. There are no lofty flight of imagination or employ of far-fetched imagery and stilted language which cause unsavory taste in reading.Its style is lucid,vivid and simple. There are frequent uses of Persian verses. However the learned editor, Mr. Zafar has given paraphrases of them in footnotes along with a list of glossary alphabetically in appendices which expound and explain things superbly. In the preface, the learned editor asserts that this travelogue states all his account of travels to this fascinated valley of Kashmir factually and unmistakably. Certainly ? it is an invaluable addition to the storehouse of knowledge with respect to Kashmir. Manyobservations of the narrator are insightful too chiefly, those which are related to health and hygiene . He castigates the sub-human conditions of some towns of Kashmir having garbage , refuse and dirty sewers in didactic manners.To me this travelogue provides intense pleasure and entices us to accompany the narrator mentally on his emotional and physical journey. This travelogue is amazingly smart. It is worth reading- a book which is wholly absorbing. Once you start off reading, you would find it pretty involving and fairly instructive. In nutshell, we can say it is highly fascinating book and enhances ourunderstanding of the natural, social and cultural life of the valley of kashmir .This book ought to find space in your library.It was published by Majls-e- Traqi-e- Adab in a very compact manner. It has 144 pages. Its price is PKR 300 and available in all main book stalls in the country. Edited by Dr.Zafar Hussain The reviewer is an assistant professor at Boys Degree College Trarkhel Azad Kashmir.