New Delhi: On Saturday, Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman began her Budget speech by quoting a verse from ‘Myon Watan (My Country)’, a poem by renowned Kashmiri poet, late Dina Nath Kaul ‘Nadim’.
However, while reading out the poem, she referred to the poet as Pandit Dina Nath Kaul, omitting the Muslim ‘Nadim’. His nom de plume — Nadim, represents Jammu & Kashmir syncretic culture.
Sitharaman read out the poem, which encapsulates the essence of the Valley. She read it first in Kashmiri and then in Hindi, the lines of which are:
”Hamara watan, khilte hue Shalimar Bagh jaisa
Hamara watan, Dal jheel main khilte hue kamal jaisa
Nau jawanon ke garam khoon jaisa
Mera watan, tera watan, hamara watan
Duniya ka sabse pyaara watan”
The poem which came in the backdrop of the scrapping of Article 370 of the Indian constitution a few months ago, caused quite a flutter in the Parliament and social media. More so, the identity and ideology of Kaul also became a talking point for many.
So who is Dina Nath Kaul ‘Nadim’?
Born in 1916 in Srinagar, Dinanath Kaul ‘Nadim’ was one of the tallest figures among Kashmiri poets and play writers post Indian Independence. The Kashmiri poet wrote around 150 poems in English, Hindi, Urdu, and Kashmiri, but he never got his works published.
Well, the interesting part here is that Kaul was a leftist, a Communist Party leader and also an admirer of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. More ironic is the fact that he rose to prominence for praising National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, whose son and grandson are in custody for the last six months.
Since August 4, ahead of the government’s decision to scrap the autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, and his son Omar Abdullah, have been in preventive detention.
Twitter too pointed out the facts and the supposed ‘irony’ of the whole situation:
A year before his death, Nadim won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award in 1987. He passed away a year later, in 1988.