Budget 2021

All you need to know about the Kashmiri poet Nadim

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 01, 2020

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents the Union Budget 2020-21 in the Lok Sabha, in New Delhi, on Saturday, February 1, 2020.   -  PTI

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's Budget speech was peppered with quotes from Kalidasa’s Sanskrit work Raghuvamsam, Tamil philosopher Thiruvalluvar’s Tirukkural, Sitharaman.

However, what stood out was -- her reciting the verse of Dina Nath Kaul “Nadim”, a prominent Kashmiri poet and a Sahitya Academy Award winner while excising his pen name.

The poem that Sitharaman cited encapsulates the essence of the Valley and refers to the beauty of Shalimar Bagh and Dal Lake in Kashmir

The English translation of the poem she recited reads: Our country is like the blooming Shalimar Bagh; our country is like a lotus blooming in the Dal Lake; it is like the hot blood of the youth; my country, your country, our country is the most beloved among all.

Who was Dina Nath Kaul Nadim?

Nadim was a progressive writer and a Communist Party leader who was born in 1916 in Srinagar, the capital of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu & Kashmir, which acceded to India in 1948. A year before his death, Nadim won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award in 1987.

His nom de plume -- Nadim, represents Jammu & Kashmir syncretic culture.

Why Sitharaman’s recital of his poem sparked controversy?

Dina Nath Nadim dedicated this poem to his motherland - Kashmir. “The word watan (country) in his poem-- Myon Watan, is for Kashmir as a free nation. He was a Kashmiri Nationalist and a close aide of Sheikh Abdullah, ” said a Kashmiri journalist who asked anonymity, while quoting another poem of Nadim and the underlying discontentment it carries -

“Burn and burn like the colourful field of lalizar!

Roar and roar like a waterfall!

You are fire

A furious fire of burning youth.

Come out

And cross the hills and dales

Raise a storm!”

She further added that Nadim was in the forefront in awakening the conscience of youths in the Valley to join the freedom struggle.

According to the website of the Kashmiri Overseas Association, Nadim was an active member of the Cultural Front that was founded after the political turmoil erupted in the Valley on October 22, 1947. As retaliation, the Cultural Front played an impressive and unprecedented role in taking the idea of patriotism to the people in their own language in both rural and urban areas.

Kashmiri leaders prolonged detention

As FM Sitharaman was reciting the verse, an MP from the Opposition benches shouted ‘Farooq Abdullah’ as the poet she mentioned in her speech was closely associated with the Abdullah family. National Conference President, Farooq Abdullah, is in detention since August 2019. His son Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti are also in detention.


Published on February 01, 2020

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