Madhosh Balhami: The Poet of Perseverance (Documentary Series) — by Irfan Dar and Gowhar Farooq

May 4, 2020

On 15 March 2018, Madhosh Balhami lost his house and thirty years of written poetry to a fire in the middle of a gun battle between Indian soldiers and rebels. Producers and directors Irfan Dar and Gowhar Farooq have come up with a short documentary series on Kashmiri poetry titled "Madhosh Balhami: The Poet of Perseverance". Here is an updated page with each of the episodes as they are released. In the first episode, Ghulam Muhammad Bhat (Madhosh Balhami) reminisces about "his early education and the trauma of losing his parents at a young age." Balhami also revisits the "moment when he took to poetry to express his inner anguish" and recites one of his poems (with English subtitles). Camera by Mohammad Irfan Dar and translation by Hanan Zaffar. Additional links are included to familiarize readers and viewers with Madhosh Balhami's story and greater work. All media embedded directly from original sources.

On 15 March 2018, Madhosh Balhami lost his house and thirty years of written poetry to a fire in the middle of a gun battle between Indian soldiers and rebels. Producers and directors Irfan Dar and Gowhar Farooq have come up with a short documentary series on Kashmiri poetry titled "Madhosh Balhami: The Poet of Perseverance". Here is an updated page with each of the episodes as they are released. In the first episode, Ghulam Muhammad Bhat (Madhosh Balhami) reminisces about "his early education and the trauma of losing his parents at a young age." Balhami also revisits the "moment when he took to poetry to express his inner anguish" and recites one of his poems (with English subtitles). Camera by Irfan Dar and translation by Hanan Zaffar. Additional links are included to familiarize readers and viewers with Madhosh Balhami's story and greater work. All media embedded directly from original sources.

From the Madhosh Balhami: The Poet of Perseverance Facebook Page:

On 15 March 2018, Ghulam Mohammad Bhat (Madhosh Balhami), lost his ancestral house and most of his thirty years of poetry to a fire that broke out during a gunbattle between Indian soldiers and rebels.

Balhami poignantly sums up this loss in the couplet:
“…Woh aatish-e-namroodh mera kuch begaad na sake
Mera qalam na le sake magar mera qalaam le liya”

(Nimrod’s flames could not harm me
Could not snatch my pen but took away my words)

Episode One

In this episode, Ghulam Muhammad Bhat (Madhosh Balhami), talks about his early education and the trauma of losing his parents at a young age. He revisits the moment when he took to poetry to express his inner anguish.

Episode Two

In this episode, Madhosh Balhami talks about the 1987 elections in Kashmir, his first public recitation of poetry and his realization of injustice and oppression.

Episode Three

In this episode, Madhosh Balhami narrates the events that shaped him as a poet, who intended to write Kashmir's resistance history through poetry. He also captures the nuances of life in a place mired in conflict.

Episode Four

In this episode, Madhosh Balhami recollects how he had to face torture and spent time in prisons despite no fault of his. He describes how each of these events shaped him as a poet. The poem 'Yaarbal' symbolises his personal and poetic journey and his unwavering resilience.

Episode Five

In this episode, Madhosh Balhami recollects the horrors of prisons and torture centres of Kashmir. Through this recollection, he stands witness, and articulates, experiences many in the Valley had to bear.

Episode Six

In this episode, Madhosh Balhami recounts the events of the fateful day when he lost his ancestral home and almost all of his poetry, a tragedy that he is still coming to terms with. In the poem 'Panni Sharan', Balhami reflects on, and introspects about, the approach of Kashmiris as seekers of their rights. He also calls attention to the individual and collective responsibilities of the people of Kashmir, especially in the face of continuing grief and tyranny that affects each and everyone in the valley.

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