Saturday, September 1, 2018

notes on Harmukh Bartal

We are still no closer to finding the writer of "Harmukh Bartal". I still maintain that it is a love song.


We find a line "Be'no ye dooryer tchalay Madano"...while of course can also be found in Rasul Mir's love lyrics "Butino Ye Doorer Choon Zaray, Bal Marayo"



However, mystery deepens. I recently came across another version of the lyrics. The version is given by Pandit Anand Koul in his "Archaeological Remains In Kashmir" (1935). In this version (unattributed to any poet), instead of "Harmukh bartal" (Gateway to Harmukh) we find "Achhabal gachhi dabu" or "the grass hut of Achhabal garden". That it is a love song is driven home all the more by use of word "Shakarlab: sweet lipped" and reference to Shirin-Farhad.


There is a tradition in Kashmir of poets getting inspired by work of other poet and including them or building on them in their own creations. So, we find refrain from Habba Khatoon in a work by Mehjoor, even though two are separated by centuries. And often lyrics become so popular that the poet is lost. Maybe something similar happened with "Harmukh Bartal". We still don't know.

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