Dr.Mohsin’s Poetry Session at Times Literature Festival, Delhi.

Mohsin Mustaq with poems on love and sufism during Poetry reading session on concluding day of Times Litfest in Delhi. PIC BY ANINDYA CHATTOPADHYAY

Mohsin Mustaq with poems on love and sufism during Poetry reading session on concluding day of Times Litfest in Delhi.

The Times Of India. Nov 30, 2015, 02.55 PM IST

Budding Kashmiri English poet Mohsin bin Mushtaq (29) enthralled audiences at the Times Literature Festival with his refreshing poetry on love and Sufism on Monday.

His session started with a recent poem on Iman Husain, the grandson of the prophet and to whose family Sufis trace their lineage to. The eulogy to Husain, highlighting his great sacrifice while standing up to evil ruler Yazid was read in context to the recent carnage in Paris.


Mushtaq spoke about the need to understand spirit of love that Sufism entails to counter the dark forces of evil and what they embody in forms of tragedy in Paris, Palestine and other trouble-torn places in the world.He read the poem twice at the insistence of a lively audience along with his verses mourning Paris.
The poet explained two perspectives of the poem: One the obvious expression of the fight of good against evil and the values of sacrifice, patience truth besides standing up to the tyranny.

Mushtaq spoke about his background as a doctor and his transition to poetry drawing inspiration for iconic poets like Maulana Rumi, Maulana Jami, Hafiz and Faiz Ahmad Faiz.
He talked about tolerance of the times when Sufism was introduced in Kashmir in the 14th century and how his ancestor Mir Syed Ali Hamadani chose to go with the prevalent Hanafi school of thought instead of his own — Shafi.


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Supplication in Nothingness.


There comes a time when a man realizes that nothing is truth and absolute except for God, the merciful. When there is no sky above the head, no earth beneath the feet, and no hands left to cradle. All alone, left to shambles, in a ruthless mare’s nest. With all the certainty, this time comes in every person’s life, but alas! when this realization strikes most people tend to run over it, dump it to unseen, so they can escape this blue truth of life. Intoxicated with the pleasures of this ephemeral world. 

In such a state of nothingness, on a dusty and weary shelf, I caught hold of an old book co-edited by my grandfather. Flying through the first few pages, I came across a supplication by Hazrat Mulla Moin Kashifi (R.a), which is often recited in mosques and Khanaqah’s of Kashmir. I knew a few lines but to recite it in its totality was a blessing. Specially, coming to know about its author and the fact that Hazrat Mulla Moin Kashifi (R.a) would recite it every day till his transcendence to the world of truth made it even more reverend.

Due to untimely and politically-orchestrated death of Persian in Kashmir, it’s shameful that we remember some of it, recite it, yet are totally blind to the meaning of this Manajaat. With my limited knowledge of Persian, I attempt to translate it..

Chu man pur jurm wa ‘isyaan nam,
Tui’ee Ghaffar yaa Allah,

Encumbered with sins I am,
Yet oh Allah, you are the Merciful.

Chu man baa ‘aib wa nuqsaanam
Tui’ee Sattar Yaa Allah,

Flawed and vanquished I am,
Yet oh Allah, You are the Concealer.

Ba khwab e masti o gaflat,
Ze sartapaa giriftaram,

In a deep slumber of misdeed,
Ambushed, head over heels I am,

Ba Zikr o taaate khud kun,
Mara beydaar Ya allah.

Wake me up to a realm of obedience,
and your remembrance, Oh Allah.

Chunaan kun az karam bar man,
bina’ tauba mustakham

Oh Allah, Bestow upon me
An eternal repentance,

Ke Khwaanam Har zabaan har lahza,
istaghfaar yaa Allah,

That in every dialect, every sigh,
I chant a rosary of forgiveness.

Chu jaure tirah-wa-tar wahshat
numaayad bar man mujrim

When in the darkness of grave,
my soul will trembles with fear,

Bashama’ maghfirat gardaan
pur az anwaar yaa Allah

Illuminate my grave,
with a candle of forgiveness, Oh Allah.

Chunaan kun az karam aasan ,
bahaq e Ahmad e Mursal

Bestow your mercy upon me,
For your love of Muhammad (PBUH),

Azaab -e- qabr chun gardad
mara dushwaar yaa Allah

Mercy that will ease,
the torment of grave, Oh Allah.

Moinudin aasera ki ,
mi naalad basad zaari,

Moinudin, A flawed devotee of you,
Screams with unabated tears,

Gunaham baksh wa imaan ra
Salamat daar ya Allah!

Forgive my sins,
And bestow a strong everlasting faith upon me.


(Manajat by Hazrat Mulla Moin Kashifi R.A)

The Wine of Words.


Taa bar rukh-e-zebaa-e-Khu¹, uftada zaahid ra nazar,

Tasbeeh-e-zohdash yak taraf, Baada musallaa yak taraf.

(When on your beauteous face fell the eyes of  Zaahid,

His tasbeeh of abstinence cast aside, the cup and prayer mat cast aside)

Ameer Khusrau.

Some nights are called the nights of power, but for the scions of Love every night is powerful. Every single moment after the tranquil darkness enmeshes this world into its womb is a seducing slate for heart’s calligraphy. It’s when the hearts open an unruffled path to the soul. Loneliness and silence brings out the quietude language of souls to an open discourse.

There are no measured hours of night, it can be as long as the zillion years of separation or as short as a blink of beloved’s eye.

Our sincere lover Mahad never was a stalwart master of sword fighting or horse riding, so he could not think of ambushing the house of Jatt with an array of armor and cover of marching horse hooves over the miserable gravel to capture the hand of Khu into the land of learning. He would simply put out the feelings of his heart into chosen words and weave a Jamawar of Ishq. He was a simple congregant of Love. A pilgrim of Love’s temple who would cremate all his desire of union for the worldly pride of Khu, and her clan.

Nonetheless, Mahad stood perplexed at the failure of his words to bring out Khu’s heart into the realm of union. With all the love fluttering in his heart, and vexed at the misery of words, Mahad writes, writes to the words this time..

You are all crawling up in my mind again. Striking and spiking at my miserable heart. Why don’t you just fail down in ignominy, once and for all and forever?

When I was born for the first time I was a writer. I reckon that. But then, understand, all these sully lives have silently tarnished the purity of my words into a taint fib. Now I am not the right person to assemble you into a rosary. I cannot weave a posy of your petals anymore. Though apparently I may, but then it stinks and you wither, adding nothing but more blemish to the ragged paper of our love.  And it’s just not me, you are equally the same. Meaningless, worthless and ne’er-do-well minarets. Your aah! doesn’t even touch the abundant winds,  let alone crossing souls, touching hearts or healing the innermost.

I am recalled of the illustrious times of love, when I would spend nights up to brush and groom you with the zealous ink of my heart, so you may be able to recite the tale of my love to the beloved. But look, she is all changed now.  You me and all our concert of oration has had no trace of mark on her heart. She is past this love. Flying up for a new life with those angelic wings. We, my little treasures, have failed to recite the songs of love. She is numb to our love, and gradually her holy soul is falling prey to the glittering-but-evil worldly charms. Berating the tears of my love under the gallops of her stilettos. She seems to be drowning in a new love, or love for the first time, since ours never existed for her. I am hapless and helpless, what I can do, she has left us to the painful winds of malady. All of you please don’t swarm in my head again, you are doing nothing but maiming and peeving at the unhealed wounds. Please take my leave for good. I cannot write.

‘Whatever words I say to explain this love, when I arrive at love, I am ashamed’ (Masnavi 1. 112)



 1-Taa bar rukh-e-zebaa-e-tu.