Rehman Rahi:

Kashmir's first Jnanpith awardee poet dies

Kashmir Magazine

KM Desk

Renowned poet and Kashmir's first Jnanpith awardee Professor Rehman Rahi died in Srinagar on Monday. He was 98. According to reports Rahi died during the wee hours on January 9 at his Vicharnag residence in Srinagar.

Born on 6 May 1925, Rahi wrote several collections of poems and translated works of some of the celebrated poets in other languages to Kashmiri.

Rahi has authored almost a dozen books and translations and mentored hundreds of students and scholars. For his contributions to the language, he was honored with almost every award.

Rahi started his career as a clerk in Public Workers Department in 1948. He was later associated with Khidmat newspaper as a sub-editor. In 1952 he did his masters in Persian and a decade later another master's in English.

For most of his career, he taught at the University of Kashmir. Rahi is survived by three sons and a daughter. His wife had already passed away.

First Kashmiri awarded with Jnanpith Award:
While Rahi received the Sahitya Akademi award for his collection of poems 'Nawroz-i-Saba' in 1961, he received the highest literary award of the country — Jnanpith award — in 2007 for his collection 'Siyah Rood Jaeren Manz' (In Black Drizzle).

Dr. Manmohan Singh presented him with the 40th Jnanpith Award as an eminent Kashmiri poet, on November 6, 2008. He was also conferred the Padma Shri award in 2000 for his works.

Rahi translated the works of Baba Farid into Kashmiri while Dina Nath Naadim's influence was apparent in his early works.

He was honored with Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 2000 by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi.
LG condoles demise of Rahi

Death of Kashmir's famous poet was widely condoled by people from all sections of society. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, while condoling the demise of Rahi described him as the “most influential poet” of Kashmir.

“Deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of Jnanpith awardee Prof Rehman Rahi, one of the most influential poets in Kashmiri in recent times. His passing marks the end of an era. My sincere condolences to his family, friends, and well-wishers”, the office of the LG tweeted.

“Saddened to hear about the sad demise of towering literary personality and Gyaanpeeth Awardee Jinab Rehman Rahi sb. In his death, Kashmiri Literature and society has been left with a void that can never be filled. My condolences to the family”, former Chief Minister and president of PDP Mehbooba Mufti tweeted.

Former Chief Minister and president of the Democratic Azad Party (DAP), Ghulam Nabi Azad tweeted, “Saddened by the demise of noted poet and lyricist from Kashmir Prof Reham Rahi Sahib. Rehman sahib's sublime poetry and writings have enriched Kashmir literature for decades. His works are unforgettable gems, which will live on and inspire many. May his soul rest in peace!”.

His death has been widely condoled by people from different sections of society, especially the literary circles.

Calling Rahi's death a great loss to the Kashmiri language and literature, the president of the Halqua-e-Adab Sonawari (HAS), Shakir Shafi has remembered the close association of Prof Rahi with Halqua e Adab Sonawari.

“Prof Rahi has always been of great support to the organization. He has rarely missed any major events of the organization and would always ensure his presence on Prof Mohi ud Din Hajini Day.

His magnificent absence in such events would be badly missed by all of us and his fans”.
All the senior members and literary persons associated with the organization have expressed their condolences to the bereaved family and prayed for the departed soul.