From Kairwan’s meadows to poetic pages, how Kashmiri woman attempting to revive native language

Tauseef Ahmad and Nuzhat Masoodi,

Kupwara: Each sunrise in Lolab, also called Wadi-e-Lolab (the land of love and beauty), gives the valley a golden hue. The sunset here casts a spellbinding array of colors across the horizon — leaving spectators in awe of nature’s grandeur. Beyond its visual allure, it captivates the heart with its palpable sense of peace — inviting wanderers to lose themselves in its timeless embrace. It is a treasure trove of natural wonders, offering picturesque landscapes and hidden gems. It would not be an exaggeration if one says Nighat Yasmeen is one such gem.

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At a time when the younger generation loses interest in their mother tongue across Kashmir valley, the 62-year-old retired teacher from Kupwara is sparking a renewed interest in Kashmiri language through her poetry.

Hailing from Kairwan village, which is located 105 km away from Srinager, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, she aims to sustain and celebrate her native tongue amidst its declining usage.

Once an Urdu language teacher, Yasmeen’s passion for her culture and language has been a lifelong affair. Despite the challenges and the lack of recognition of her poetic talents, her dedication never wavered.

She consistently used her platform as a teacher to inculcate the love for the language in her students and encourage them to preserve it.

“These days, most of the parents in Kashmir prioritize teaching their children English and other languages, which are beneficial. However, in this process, they often end up neglecting their own language and literature — which is their identity and preserving it is their duty. We should be proud of calling ourselves Kashmiri,” Yasmeen told

She said her interest in the Kashmiri language developed in 9th grade, and after passing grade 10, when majority of students choose science stream for further studies, she decided to pursue her secondary education in Kashmiri.

The debut poetry collection

Yasmeen’s debut poetry collection, ‘Kairwan’, goes beyond mere words. It tells a vivid story of her village, encapsulating the scenic landscapes and lush green meadows — which, she says, defines her.  Through her writing, she not only shows the natural beauty but also invites readers to explore and experience Kashmir firsthand.

“I was bestowed with the esteemed privilege of serving as the guest of honor at various prestigious educational gatherings. With an unwavering commitment to nurturing young minds, I seized each opportunity to share my profound experiences and insights, kindling a fervent interest in the rich cultural tapestry and linguistic heritage of Kashmir, with the eager students, she said.

The crowning achievement of her lifelong dedication materialized in the form of Kairiwan, a magnum opus born from her tireless work and unwavering passion. Bearing the name of her native village, this literary masterpiece serves as a poignant homage to the breathtaking landscapes of her homeland, particularly the captivating allure of Diver Kairiwan.

Kairiwan transcends mere homage — it delves deep into the soul of Kashmir, offering a poignant exploration of the enduring trials and tribulations faced by its resilient people over decades of turmoil.

“Within the pages of ‘Shehri-Ashoob’, the harrowing realities of our community are laid bare, shedding light on the tumultuous journey we have traversed together. Amidst this arduous odyssey, my family stood as an unwavering beacon of support, with my husband, a revered headmaster, lending his strength and encouragement to fuel my creative pursuit,” she said.

Despite the myriad challenges, her mastery of the language proved to be a steadfast ally, guiding her through the intricate nuances of expression with ease.

“Undeterred by these setbacks, I embarked upon the next chapter of my literary journey with unwavering resolve, giving rise to ‘Naagraat’ — a mesmerizing tapestry of poetry and short stories that celebrates the essence of Kashmiri culture, tradition and village life,” said Yasmeen.

Within the pages of ‘Naagraat’, she invites readers to a captivating journey through time — juxtaposing the timeless allure of bygone eras with the dynamic evolution of modernity.

The resonance of her words echoed far and wide — evoking heartfelt responses from a diverse array of readers. Indeed, her vivid descriptions of Kashmir’s hidden treasures stirred curiosity not only amongst locals but also amongst global admirers, forcing them to discover the timeless beauty of the valley.

Yasmeen is determined to continue to preserve the Kashmiri language through her writing and lectures.

“Our culture and language are unique, and I feel proud when someone calls me a poetess of Kashmiri language. I urge all parents across the valley to ensure that their children do not neglect their native language,” she concluded.