Famous Personalities of Kashmir
Kashmir is not only the land of magnetism and picturesque beauty; it is the land of art, music, passion and courage as well. The State of Jammu and Kashmir has given India some of the best people who have proved their mettle in their respective fields. Read on to know about some great personalities who became legendary figures of Kashmir:
Omar Abdullah: Perhaps the most famous, Omar Abdullah is the first name that comes to mind the moment someone thinks of Kashmir politics. Though his mother Mollie (an Englishwoman) never wanted him to get into politics, Omar always had the leadership qualities running in his blood through genes of the Abdullah family of Kashmir. Born on 10th March’ 1970, Omar was elected to the 12th Lok Sabha and became the youngest minister in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1998. Since then, like his father, Farooq Abdullah (ex-Chief Minister of the state of Jammu & Kashmir) Omar has been serving the state with best of his political knowledge and leadership expertise.
Pandit Shivkumar Sharma: If you are a fan of Indian classical music, you must have heard about Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, the renowned Santoor (a folk musical instrument from Jammu & Kashmir) player from Kashmir. Born on January 13, 1938, to singer Uma Dutt Sharma in Jammu, Pt. Shivkumar Sharma started learning santoor at the age of 13and gave his first public performance in the year 1995 in Bombay (present Mumbai). Having carved a niche for himself in the world of classical music, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma teamed up with famous flute player Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasiya and the duo was known as ‘Shiv-Hari’. Together they composed for some of the most popular movies of bollywood.
Kundan Lal Saigal: Do you remember the songs ‘Ik bangla bane nyara’, ‘jab dil hi toot gaya’, ‘do naina matware’, ‘babul mora’, all of these songs have one thing in common – the voice of legendary singer, K.L. Saigal. Born on 11th April’1904 to Amarchand and Kesar Bai in Jammu, Saigal is known to be the first superstar of Indian Film Industry. He has not only created great music but also entertained people with his acting talents. Though he did act in many Hindi films but his performance was highly appreciated for the film ‘Devdas’ in which he played the character of a drunken man. Indeed, K. L. Saigal was a blessing to the Indian film fraternity. He is and will always be remembered for his great contribution to the world of Hindi film and music.
Bashrat Peer: A journalist, script writer, author and a political commentator, this is who we call Bashrat Peer, who recently entered bollywood as a script writer for the film ‘Haider’ which was directed by Vaishal Bharadwaj. Born in Seer, Anantnag in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Peer started his career as reporter for ‘Rediff’ and ‘Tehelka’. His book, ‘Curfewed Night’, winner of ‘Crossword Prize for Non-Fiction’, was chosen among the ‘Book of the Year’ by The New Yorker and The Economist. Currently settled in New York, Peer is a regular columnist for various magazines and newspapers.
Habba Khatoon: When she was young, nobody knew that this girl from a small village of Chandrahar (Chandhaur) would become the most famous poetess of Kashmir one day. Habba Khatoon, also known as ‘The Nightingale of Kashmir’, was a famous Kashmiri poet of the 16th century. Since childhood she was very fond of singing. Most of her childhood days were spent in saffron fields singing melodious Kashmiri folksongs. At a very young age, Habba’s parents got her married to an illiterate peasant boy, who never liked her singing. Hence her first marriage could not last longer. Habba’s destiny changed when Yousuf Shah Chak (Last Independent King of Kashmir), fascinated by her lovely voice and immense beauty, proposed her for marriage. It was indeed love at first sight. With their parents consent, Habba and Yousuf got married. From that very day she was known as Habba Khatoon.