Promila Kaul Vidushi
The author of this English book titled ‘Lal Ded The backbone of Kashmiri Culture’ Er Vinod Kumar has displayed his talent as a young and vibrant writer in the field of literature.It is a showcase of his creative faculty that he has taken up ‘Lal Ded’ as the subject matter for his book.
The 252 page book has been divided into short segments that comprise of Introduction of Lal Ded, Her Early life, Meeting with Guru,A Wandering Preacher, Shaivism and Lal Ded, Her Role as a social reformer, messenger of truth love and harmony, apostle of tolerance and mention of some of her miracles. He has also given a brief account of her life in concluding years..Thus from topic number 05 to 15 the author has made a vivid and systematic pen portrait of LalDed so that the readers could easily assimilate with the help of their creative imaginative faculty an insight into the sea of knowledge propgated by LalDed – the mystic.
The author has brilliantly tried to depict LalDed’s genius as far her contribution to Kashmiri Literature and Language but her comparison to English playwright Shakespeare seems inapt. Lal Ded is above any such comparison. She embodies essence of a great philosophy in herself.
He has very finely described how LalDed occupies the position of the greatest revolutionary in the cultural history of Kashmir by articulating the spiritual messages in Kashmiri Language that was and is the mother tongue of common masses and by doing so she made it available to all the people irrespective of caste creed colour sex religion or region
In the topics from 05 to 15 the author has depicted a great deal about the life of LalDed and also about the social issues prevailing at that time of social.
Moreover, he has also referred to the phenomena of Continental Drift which is a geographical process from which the vale of Kashmir had emerged from Satisar. This shows that the author has devoted much of keen sense of collecting authenticated data with keen sense of responsibility.He has got the sensitivity to pen down and portrait out the total social structure of that time.
In the topic ‘Shaivism and LalDed‘ he has beautifully explained what exactly Shaivism stands for. In particular he has given a lucid account of Kashmiri Shaivism, which is one of the prominent schools of Shavistic Philosophy. Interestingly he has quoted GurudevRabindernathTagore in this context.
The author has remarked that LalDed happens to be the originator of the concept of Shunya (Nothingness) in Kashmiri poetry. This aspect of Lal Ded could be a topic of research for the scholars.
Under the topic ‘Lalla as a Wandering Preacher’ the author has very beautifully explained how LalDed made a powerful impact on the soul, psyche and mind of common masses by propgating her teachings and spiritual experience to them in their own language and style.
In the topic “ Shaivism and Lal Ded “ the author has well knit the coherent element and compatability that existed among the various schools of Shaivistic philosophy. He has given a reference to Acharaya Abhinav Gupta’s contribution in clubbing together the four branches of Kashmiri Shaivism. Reference is made to his most prominent work Tantraloka (The Divine Light Of Tantra) and Tantrasara. So that the reader is able to get a handy information which is of vital nature for our young generation to seek a connection with their roots.
Under the heading ‘Lal Ded As An Apostle Of Tolerance’ the author has very aptly quoted her vaakhs . He has used his creative writing skill to incorporate the lalvaakhs at the appropriate place that has added not only beauty to the topic but also compels the reader to get transported into the world of ecasty.(page 50-51)
In “Miracles Of Lal Ded” the author has mentioned about a place ‘LalTrag’ (Lalla’s Pond) that was a fresh water spring. It existed near Pampore and he has narrated a heart-touching incident about it.It gives us a glimpses about the attainment of spirituality of Lal Ded.
The author has given an account about Lal Ded remembering her previous births(page 56) and one is magnitized to read with interest and curiosity.It captivates the reader’s interest upto the last.
The author has devoted the second half of his book to some popular vaakhs of Lal Ded. Without such incorporation the book would have been incomplete.They occupy a major portion of the book (from page 61 to 241). By doing so, he has attempted to present the readers a ready recknor of lalvaakhs and he has honestly admitted that he has collected these eternal pearls from different sources.His efforts are really praiseworthy and calls for an appreciation from the literary circles.
Promila Kaul Vidushi