Gujjars lose visionary scholar – Jammu Kashmir Latest News | Tourism
Dr Javaid Rahi
Iqbal Azeem Chowdhary was a towering personality among the Gujjars of Jammu and Kashmir. He left a lasting impression on the Gojri language and culture movement. His wrestling history spans five decades. His scholarly contributions were widely admired and his death is considered a great loss to the Gujjar community.
Iqbal Azeem, played a key role in structuring a Gojri movement and worked hard for recognition of the literary merits of the language which has its own history spreading across the subcontinent. It was the focal point of activities related to the recognition of Gojri as an independent language in J&K. He has long led the writers, poets and scholars of Gojri and kept alive the literary tradition of the Gujjar tribe.
Azeem was first a host of Radio Srinagar station’s ‘Gojri programme’ which first aired in 1969. He also worked for the development of the Gojri language at the Academy of Arts, Culture and Languages of Jammu and Kashmir for more than two years. decades.
He, with his hard work, for the promotion and dissemination of the Gojri language and culture, paved the way, which guided his generation to compete with other contemporary languages of Jammu and Kashmir including the Kashmir, Dogri and Punjabi, with great merits of literary works.
For me, Iqbal Azeem Chowdhary was not only a senior colleague, but also a guide and mentor, who shaped my mind and helped me a lot in my endeavors and successes. I worked with him for a decade, in the 90s. As a subordinate, I learned a number of skills from him by carefully observing his words and actions.
Fire Azeem was a cultured person. He was a very capable scholar, writer, editor and lexicographer. His poetic spectrum is very wide and the best singers in Jammu and Kashmir have sung his songs, ghazals, geets for radio and private albums in Gojri.
On December 11, 2021, he died at his residence Uddar, Babanagari village of tehsil Kangan of Ganderbal district, aged 81.
He had been suffering for a few years with long periods of hospitalization. His last two years were constricted at home.
The late Iqbal was the grandson of the most revered Gujjar Sufi Hazrat Baba Ji Sahib Larvi (RA) and cousin Padam Bhushan the late Mian Bashir Ahmed and uncle of the former minister, Mian Altaf Ahmed.
Life and education:
Born in March 1940 to Mian Mohammad Akbar Bajran, Iqbal Azeem Chowdhary belonged to the Bajran clan of the Gujjar community of Jammu and Kashmir. Being a nomad, he received his mid-level education at the government mobile school Lamberi Nowshera. For secondary education, he joined Govt High School Kangan, Ganderbal. Later, he joined Oriental College Srinagar for higher education and graduated with honors in Urdu and Persian with honors from the University of Kashmir.
Contributions to Gojri Literature
During his prolific career, Iqbal Azeem has contributed about a dozen books in the Gojri, Punjabi and Urdu languages. His first poetry collection in Gojri – ‘Raijh Kawalein’ was voted best in a state-level competition held by J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages in 1980.
His other book titled “DHARTI KA ZAKHM”, a collection of short stories by Gojri, was widely appreciated in tribal literary circles. Iqbal’s Gojri Poetic Collection “PAYAAB”, Punjabi Book “KULLI NI FAQEER DI WICHOON and Kuliyat e Iqbal Azeem have been widely recognized by the literary fraternity. His Kuliyat has been published by Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, in 2017.
Contributions to the Gojri language as a lexicographer
As a highly regarded researcher and linguist, he was instrumental in compiling the first ever monolingual Gojri-Gojri dictionary along with his other colleagues including Ch Sarwari Kassana – Gojri editor, Ch Naseem Poonchi – Gojri editor, Ch Gulab Din Tahir – Associate Gojri Editor, Ch Mohammad Mansha Khaki-Associate Gojri Editor from 1984 to 1990. The said dictionary is comprised of six volumes in which more than one word from Lake Gojri have been collected along with their meanings along with grammar and synonyms , in Gojri. He is also the author of a number of creative writings, research papers which have highlighted various aspects of the Gojri language. Late Azeem was a linguist trained at the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore in phonetics.
First broadcaster of the Gojri program
Iqbal Azeem was a well-known broadcaster. He was among the Gujjar-Bakerwal tribes who made the first announcement in Gojri, in 1969, from Radio Kashmir Srinagar (currently All India Radio Srinagar), later appointed as a regular radio announcer. During his service on the radio, he recorded a number of folk songs, interviewed high tribal dignitaries, artists, poets, in addition to contributing to the preservation and documentation of a great treasure of the language. and gojri culture.
Azeem was also a known commentator. He commented for several hours on radio/TV on all auspicious occasions like visits of dignitaries, day of counting votes, swearing in ceremony of others.
Later, he left radio and joined the Academy of Arts, Culture and Languages of Jammu and Kashmir in 1980 where he served as a researcher, editor and cultural officer of the Gojri section until his retirement from active duty in 2000.
Contributions as an editor
As a publisher, he edited and compiled prestigious publications. It introduced a number of new titles/projects and initiated the preservation of Gojri folk tales, Gojri folk songs, etc.
During his 20 years of service to the Academy, he edited, compiled Maharo Adab (Gojri), Bi-monthly Sheeraza.(Gojri), SANJHA DUKHRA, GOJRI LOK KHANI, GOJRI LOK GEET, GOJRI KA LAL, GUJJAR AUR GOJRI in several volumes including some special issues such as Gojri Ghazal, Gojri Lok Adab issue, Gojri nazam issue, etc. published between 1980 and 2000.
In the early seventies, he was the editor of the monthly magazine “Gujjjar Desh” with Ch Sarwari Kassana and Ch. Naseem Poonchi and contributed a lot to the Gojri language.
As an anchor of high repute, Azeem has led many stage programs held in Srinagar in honor of Prime Ministers of India, Union Ministers, Governors, Chief Ministers and other dignitaries.
Membership in learned societies
He was an expert on the subject of tribal culture and had participated in a number of missions of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, New Delhi. He was a national jury member of Sahitya Akademi New Delhi from 2002 and an expert for a number of programs run by the Union Ministry of Culture. He remained a member of the State Advisory Board for the Development of Gujjars and Bakerwals, through the 1970s.
Azeem was one of the founders of a cultural NGO in Gojri, namely ‘Adabi Sangat Kashmir (Rgd.). He was also secretary Anjuman Taraqi Gojri Adab, Lamberi Nowshera, Rajouri, member of textbook editorial board of J&K Board of School Education, member of central committee (2010-2015) advisory sub-committee for Gojri at J&K Academy of the art, culture and languages.
Awards and Honors
Iqbal Azeem Choudhary was known for his extraordinary work in the field of Gujjar culture and Gojri language. He was awarded by the J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages in 1980 for his poetic collection in Gojri.
For his lifetime achievement in the field of Gojri literature, he has been awarded by Doordarshan, All India Radio and J&K Academy of Art, Culture and languages.
He has also been awarded for outstanding service and contribution to Gojri language and literature by ‘Gurjardesh Charitable Trust’, Jammu, Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, Jammu, Sarwari Kassana Memorial Committee and other literary organizations and cultural.
(The author is a tribal researcher)