A Kashmiri Girl’s Book of Poems – Written with the Heart of Habba Khatoon
Through 2020, people complained globally that the lockdown made them slip into depression and gloom. Soliha Shabir, a young Kashmiri poet used the lockdown period to write from the heart of Habba Khatoon, Kashmir’s beloved poet and ascetic who lived nearly 500 years ago.
Habba Khatoon has a profound presence in Kashmir’s oral tradition. Soliha named her book Zoon – The heart of Habba Khatoon. Habba Khatoon’s real name was Zoon (moon, Kashmiri) because of her great beauty. She was the wife and beloved of Yousuf Shah Chak, the last Emperor of Kashmir. The book has a string of beautiful photographs of a beautiful Kashmiri woman whom one understands to be Habba Khatoon. Her face is never fully visible.
Soliha is 22, and this is her third book of poetry. She started writing when she was 15 years old. Soliha’s first book was titled In The Lawn of Dark and her second book is titled Obsolete- The Poem Market.
Soliha added her name to India’s World Records as the youngest and first author in Jammu and Kashmir who has recreated the life of Habba Khatoon’s poetry. Soliha did Class 10 from Minto Circle School Allochi Bagh and Class 12 from Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Khanyar, in Srinagar. She later did graduation from Islamia College of Science & Commerce, Hawal, Srinagar. She is currently pursuing Masters in English Literature from IGNOU. She lives near Dalgate in Srinagar.
Her first book, In The Lawn of Dark, is a compilation of 200 self-motivational quotes accumulated over years. Soliha says her sole motive of writing this book was to inspire and motivate the young generation.
“During my school and college years, I was not social. My teacher Ms Sabiya Gulzar encouraged me to write. I scored high in Class X and chose the medical stream, but did not pursue it professionally. I devoted myself to writing,” says Soliha. This effort resulted in her second book, which is a collection of poems. Soliha says the book is multi-dimensional. It addresses the challenges we face from time to time.
Soliha said that the youth of J&K should not just go after instant fame. “We must know about our culture, traditions and languages. We must pursue our dreams and fulfill them, but we should not go against the wishes of our parents. Instead, we should take them onboard by convincing them about our talent.
Do You Remember
Do you remember every time we made love
With the shining stars outside
That when moon engulfed the sorrows of my life in her arms
Then my love, I let my soul rest beside yours with the falling night
And the advent of sun
When the breeze from your lips doused my frame and
I let my arms catch your dreams
Then my love, we smiled together in the
night we both owned
I was the noor of your eyes, you said
The hoor on earth
Then my love, those angels
Burned when we talked enough till eternity.
When the night we lived was less than not Eid,
Those forehead brushes, Eidi, indeed
The warmth of your arms safeguarded
Then my love
We saw each other in
The gardens of peace
The beauty of blossoming buds
The advent of new spring
The chirping life in my garden
Welcomes you to my home
Colonies of fragrances will die of jealousy
As soon as lotus’ll flaunt over Dal
This beauty my love I capture for you
This beauty welcomes you to my home
Tired I am of listening your reasons
My heart is in pain, do pay a visit
This pain of mine welcomes you to my home
Live your beauty, this temporary era
Won’t we fade when skies will go black?
All your colors will not be a mirage?
These colors of you welcome you to my home
Trace my journey within my lines
I left my times finding you in them,
I missed your presence in the walls of my breath
This choked breath of mine welcomes you to my home
I tried to escape the chapters of destiny,
See how pain is in love with me
True I call it, its dedication for me
This dedication of pain welcomes you to my home
I’m devoted or distracted I am
May I find the paths I deserve
My destiny finds you in the empty rooms they have
These rooms of mine welcome you to my home