‘Yim Yemi Bavasurr Draai’ – Wahab Khaar of Kashmir (c.1810s-c.1910s)

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None have returned, O foolish one,
Of those that crossed this thunderous sea
Then, so wonders Abdul Wahab,
What might man’s true home be?

Even men good and just like Hatim Tai
And like Solomon wise and strong,
Withdrew after but a brief sojourn-
So Where, O sage, does man belong?
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yim yemi bavasurr draai matayo
(those this ocean[?] left, o sage/fool)
tim naa pheerithh aaayee
(they not turned and came)
abdul wahabas raayee matyo
(abdul wahab opines, o sage/fool)
jaayee katyo chhaaiy.
(place where is?)

Kum Kum Suleimaan Aaayee Matyo
(who who solomon came, o sage/fool)
Katyaah Haatim Taai
(how many hatim tais)
Doraah Karithh Yeti Draayee Matyo
(sojourn done here left, o sage/fool)
Jaayee Katyo Chhaaiy.
(place where is?)
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Abdul Wahab, known as Wahab Khaar (Wahab the smith), is a much loved sufi poet of Kashmir. His poems traverse all faiths and creeds, making him universally revered by all. Now more popular than ever, his verses offer solace to those in need of refuge from the harshness of life.

His humble shrine is in the town of Pampore in Kashmir, where there is a village named after him. Tradition has it that he lived to a hundred, and though he may have had a long life, he understood the transience of existence quite profoundly, as these verses show.

Hatim Al-Tai was an Arab noble renowned for his generosity and sense of justice; he is a legendary figure in Kashmiri folklore, whilst Suleiman (Solomon) represents power wielded with wisdom. Wahab asserts that even such great figures, with all their might and wisdom, could not endure in this world, and asks what that implies for humanity and its place in the great scheme?

Matyo is a familiar form of address to a Mot (pronounced like mote with an abrupt T) – A Mot in Kashmiri means someone who is above conventional descriptions of intelligence, very like the concept of fool in Shakespeare. It simultaneously can mean a unwise person and a person that has transcended typical wisdom altogether.
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