Srinagar, November 5 (SocialNews.XYZ) Ummar Jamal, a 22-year-old Kashmiri boy from Quil Muqam hamlet in Bandipora district in northern Kashmir, about 70 km from Srinagar, had been passionate about poetry since childhood.
Initially, he wrote in cashmere; but since 2019 he switched to English, as it gave him a wider audience. He is currently a 3rd year law student at the University of Kashmir.
His poems are continuously published in the Greater Kashmir weekly The Kashmir Ink and the Rising Kashmir newspaper – the two most widely circulated dailies and magazines in Kashmir.
So far, he has already published about two dozen poems there. He finds in poetry a way to articulate his ideas and express his experiences with the world.
He writes about different social issues ranging from drug addiction to adding smartphones. Also, he writes about the ultimate reality of death, solidarity and pain and much more.
He says “when I see something wrong around me, I’m inherently tempted to write”.
“One day on my way out of college, I saw a poor girl on my way begging. Her poverty suddenly made me cry. She urged everyone for a few pennies. When I asked her why she begging, she said “I’ve been starving for days”
“When people doubted that she was posing as a charade, she continued willy-nilly to persuade them of pennies. It hit me hard and when I got home, I took the poem called “poverty”, which was later published by Rising Kashmir, he recalls.
“I write about everyday issues that are directly related to human beings. I do not believe in imaginary and apocryphal poetry. He said that his father played a big role in his life. He recalls that in his childhood , he always encouraged him and gave him responsibilities from childhood, which helped him a lot to become a father later in his life. Parents and teachers should appreciate their children even for small achievements. Inherently, these Achievements over time would snowball into large ones.It relegates brilliance to average.
“He has a firm command of Kashmiri poetry. He put the whole Kalama Sheik (RA) in his memory and urged me in my childhood to read it. I think it was thanks to him that I started to write in Kashmiri,” he said.
“I like to read William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth and Sheik ul Alam Sheik Noor ul din Norani (RA) and many others,” he said.
Apart from society’s indifference towards poets, Ummar had to face many other challenges. He believes that challenges are inexorable in all fields, so it is when one has the zeal and zest to bring about change through his poetry.
Initially, when he used to write poems, he hid them rather than showing them to others. But as time passed and his poems were published in newspapers and magazines, his family and friends came to realize that he was writing poetry.
“In Kashmir, being a poet means inviting a mixed response; some people would appreciate it, others would take you for granted, while others would blast their satire at you. I believe poetry is a tool to bring about change in society. Poets should be appreciated,” he said.
He had read in public schools throughout his school career. He was brought up in such an environment where we would like to have someone he would speak English with.
It was only because of his boundless enthusiasm that he mastered the language.
He started from scratch and over time established himself as a poet, whose poetry has the potential to bring about positive change.
“I remember when I wrote my first poem in English in the form of ‘modern day friends’. After writing it, I sent it to Rising Kashmir newspaper, one of the most widely circulated dailies in Kashmir , for publication. I didn’t think they would publish it because of the limited space. But when I bought the newspaper the next day, I saw that my poem had been published. It boosted my confidence in my poetic flair. Since then, I have never stopped writing,” he said.
To the question why hasn’t your work been published in book form?
“Naval Ravikant says to write a great book, you must first become the book,” he replied.
He does not want to be in a hurry to publish a book, as most young contemporary authors and poets do.
“Yes, of course, I intend to publish all my poems in book form in the future. I have written a myriad of poems, a myriad yet to be written in order to publish them in book form”, did he declare.
Today is quite a busy day for Ummar as he had to meet with students from different departments of Kashmir University to find out their problem so that he can take them up with the Vice Chancellor as he was planning to call the Vice Chancellor of the University of Kashmir to discuss with him the various student issues studying at the University of Kashmir.
“A delegation of student associations are going to meet with the Vice Chancellor of the University of Kashmir. Tell us the issues you are facing so that we can address these issues with VC. This meeting follows the meeting held with Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha through which we discussed with him the wide range of issues facing the J&K student community,” Ummar told a group of students.
Ummar Jamal is a poet at heart and an activist in spirit. He is currently the national spokesperson for the J&K Student Union.
He has worked tirelessly for the safety, security and welfare of J&K students studying across India.
He was only 21 when he first appeared on national television, representing his student organization.
His persuasive arguments in televised debates are astounding and make him well ahead of his age.
So far, he has written dozens of articles in national and local newspapers and magazines.
He writes on a variety of legal and student, tribal, political and social issues.