By Pawas Verma
6. Habba Khatoon
Habba Khatoon was a legendary Muslim poetess that lived in Kashmir in the 16th Century. Born in a small village Chandrahar she was extremely beautiful and hence named Zoon which means the Moon. She led a struggling life after her marriage and laden with pain and sorrow, she resorted to writing more pensive poetry and singing songs of seperation in Kashmiri. It is alleged that Habba Khatoon languished in separation from her beloved husband and composed several heart wrenching lyrics which she sang while wandering village to village in the valley. A time of nearly four centuries has not dulled the freshness and timeless melody of her and she still is one of the most popular poetess of Kashmir.
Another gem of the valley, Lalleshwari was a mystic of the Kashmiri Shaivite sect. She created mystic poetry called Vatsun or Vakhs, Her verses, known as Lal Vakhs, are the earliest compositions in the Kashmiri Language and hold an irreplaceable account in the history of Kashmiri Literature. The Hindus called for Lalleshwari and the Muslims Lalla Arifa.Lalla’s poetry reveals the ultimate truth and inspiration of wisdom that kills all evil and pain and leaves the reader relish the sweetness of her expression and profundity of divine, social and cultural message. She has been one of the greatest apostles of light and love that Kashmir has known, equally revered by Hindus and Muslims alike.
8. Amin Kamil
A major voice in Kashmiri poetry and one of the most profound figures in the realm of Modern Ghazal. His influence is widely accepted by his contemporaries and later generations. Besides poetry, he also wrote short stories, novel and works of literary criticism. He has also edited the collected verse of Nund Reshi and Habba Khatun. His translation of Tagore’s Dak ghar and poetry of the Urdu Poet Iqbal have been significant in translated literature available in Kashmir. Ghulam Nabi Gauhar sums his up as: “He is a master of Kashmiri Ghazal and has to his credit poems of eternal value.” He has won many awards for his books and achievements including Sahitya Akademi Award and Padma Shree from the Indian Government.
9. Mushtaq Kak
Mushtaq Kak is an Indian actor and director. Earlier, he was associated with Shri Ram Centre, New Delhi as an artistic director. He has directed over 100 plays including plays inacted on short stories by Saddat Hasan Mantos, Anton Chekov, Vijay Tendulkar, Sharad Joshi, Federico Garcia. He has also received the best director award for Andha yug, Malika, and Pratibimb. His production “Andirra” was a big hit. His daughter Ifra Mushtaq Kak is the only woman director from Kashmir who has taken her production outside the state.
10. Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Vidhu Vinod Chopra is known for his Bollywood megahits- Parinda, 1942: a Love Story, Eklavya, Munna Bhai, Lage Raho Munna Bhai, 3 Idiots- which became India’s biggest worldwide box office performer in the history of Indian Cinema. His recent movie- PK is also mustering massive appreciation. Chopra’s first student short, Murder at Monkey Hill, won the National Film Award for Best Short Experimental Film and the Guru Dutt Memorial Award for Best Student Film.