Around the mid of the first half of the 20th century, two men started on their poetic journey in Kashmiri. Both began as romantics. The younger of the two, Abdul Ahad Azad, began first and the older Ghulam Ahmad Mahjuur a few years later. Together they dominated the Kashmiri poetry during this half of the century. Other poets faded in comparison while the poesy moulded itself in tune with the thoughts and currents they espoused.
Azad, the younger poet, died before the century reached its mid. Over that short period of about three decades he transcended romanticism, traversed humanism and extended his poesy to give love – Lool – a universality of content and import. From short gazls of a dozen or so disjointed couplets, he wrote long poems extending to scores of stanzas focused on a single subject, turning poesy into a dialogue of matter, man and divinity. His da’riyaav – the river – is a modern classic, about which it is said that had he written nothing else this single poem would have sufficed to give him poetic immortality.
Azad wrote more, much more, welding romance, history and philosophy into a powerful potion of all encompassing love, Lool. This work is an English rendering of the major poetic output of Azad. Translated in rhyming English verse, it lays especial emphasis on presenting Azad’s thought and content as faithfully as a translation would allow. To enhance the import, especially for the Kashmiri knowing audience, the poems have been given in original Kashmiri, in English alphabet in a reader-friendly modification, the Rationalized Roman for Kashmiri (RRK), devised by the translator, Dr R L Bhat.