To unpack the personality of Professor Mohi-ud-Din Hajini, the multifarious man, is intractable for a mediocre like me. What to call the man who was larger-than- life and was made of sterner stuff? He was many in one. A genuine Philosopher, a genius Islamic scholar, a real revivalist, an honest translator, an appealing educationist, a great teacher, a staunch Kashmiri and a dramatist who wrote the first three act play in Kashmiri on Shakespearean pattern ‘Grees-Sund Ghara‘ (The Peasants House), the play of social protest that exposes faithfully the social norms and exploiting agents in Kashmir. It is intended to focus on the partial treatment of the rich and poor in the play. The play reveals his temperamental preoccupation to bring about a social reform and like John Galsworthy, the famous English novelist, playwright and Nobel laureate, Professor Mohi-ud-Din Hajini, select incidents from the society and fuses his strong and furious imaginative craftsmanship on them and transforms them into a stronger forces.
He was an Islamic scholar who vigorously splashed the ink of his pen and wrote mind arresting stuff and rejects the drama of dogmas. He himself says in an interview with Prof. R. L Shant, “Some philosophers put forth fixed values and desires that we should follow the suit. I go through them but don’t pursue those dogmas because I have already picked them up in Islam. Anything against Islam, I reject it”.
In another place, I find his intellect more arresting, he dexterously contradicts with Mohammad Hashim Kamali, a famous Islamic scholar and the most widely read author on Islamic law in the English language, who says, “scientific observation, experimental knowledge and rationality are the primary tools with which humanity can achieve the goals laid out for it in the Quran”. And Professor Mohi-ud-Din Hajini comes in the rescue of irrationality like this, “Rationalism is not the ultimate reality. I believe in what is enjoyed by faith as the religion dictates me. Such as God, from the rational point of view, He does not exist. How can I show him in the laboratory? My point is, rationality cannot understand some things”. To set the stage for teaching of Kashmiri language, Hajini sahib wrote Koushur Reader in 1954 for the Directorate of School Education. In 1965 in jail he drafted the syllabus for Hons. in Kashmiri and next year it was introduced. It is because of Hajini’s untiring efforts that M.A Kashmiri was approved. To qualify the statement I would like to quote Prof. MD Hajini:
“We a delegation of Kashmiri Cultural Organization called on Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah at 7 p.m. We reminded him that he had issued an order in 1949 to introduce Kashmiri at University level. “What happened to that?” Your officers create hurdles without any rhyme or reason. He said, “Tell me in a nutshell what I have to do”? We told him that the day after tomorrow a meeting is going to be convened there. Get M.A in Kashmiri approved it since. He did the same. On arriving there he told them who has asked you not to allow Kashmiri? The officers who created hurdles resorted to a soft tune till M.A class was approved”. (Prav vol 26-27)
He was a revivalist of Kashmiri language and literature and a master of many languages. Being an astonishing polyglot, Prof. Mohi-ud-Hajini served good ink to Urdu, English, Arabic and Kashmiri. Mastery of a second language (or third or fourth) is rather difficult, so writing a masterpiece in a language that is not one’s first is remarkable — and doing it repeatedly is even more astonishing. As a translator he was an ‘exact artist’. George Steiner believes that any human communication is a translation. In his book After Babel he explains that translation is not a science but an “exact art”: a true translator should be capable of becoming a writer in order to capture what the author of the original text “means to say.” The translation of ‘Musadas Hali’ and ‘Alaf Laila’ by Prof. Mohi-Ud-Hajini is monumental. This has been exactly pointed out by Dr Ameen Fayaz:
“Musadas Hali” has been shaping the Muslim mind in the South Asia since the day it arrived in the market and Professor Mohi-ud-Din Hajini blessed the literary landscape of Kashmir by writing a beautiful translation of this world famous book of poetry. His translation of Alaf Laila (1967) into Kashmiri introduced the global landscape of literary sensibility to the already rich literary sense of Kashmiri people”.
An iota of his personality is multi-dimensional in itself and off the top of my head, I’d say that ventilating the literary giant like Prof. Hajini, is an uphill task as the mirror of this learned scholar shows multiple reflections of him. Appropriately, said by Dr Syed Shujaat Bhukhari, “discussing Professor Mohi-ud-Din Hajini is not an ordinary task when you look at more than one shades of his personality”.
In order to clarify the above statements, Professor Mohi-ud-Din Hajini’s collection of research papers titled, Discourses of Prof. Mohi-ud-Din Hajini compiled by Dr Ameen Fayaz, is the best illustration of Prof. Hajini’s multi-dimensional personality. The book comprises three parts and carries three vibrant themes. The first part of the book is a mesmerizing conflation of Quran and science where one can find Prof Hajini at his best. The first paper, “The Quran and the Fundamentals of Science: A Concordance” throws light on a philosophical theme and shows nicely that Quran and science are peas in a pot. Acknowledged world scientists who had displayed great brilliance, didn’t see the pursuit of truth about nature in this way. The Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg too runs out of brilliance when he says, “when you do science, you have to put aside religion. You must exclude the divine from your theories about the world. You can’t bring the religion into the science.” But Prof. Hajini has shown to the scholars of science that what your microscopes are busy with, today, has been said 1400 years ago. For instance, he writes, “according to modern cytology, the first organic molecule came into being in oceanic waters, because in early stages of the earth all oxygen was bound in the form of water and metal oxides. Life in its most primitive form had to remain under water as long as the ultraviolet rays penetrated in quantity to the surface of the earth, and the first organic entity had therefore literally “to live upon itself under water” and further answers this scientific belief with the Quranic verse, “We made from water everything living (21/30)”. Prof. Mohi-ud-Din Hajini delves deep into the scientific theories about universe, evolution, time and space and answers back by quoting the Quranic verse about the same subject. It does not only certify him as a great scholar of Islam but it also surprises a reader with Hajini’s vast knowledge of science, being a Prof. of Arabic.
Islam was having a scientific golden age during Europe’s middle ages, and making tons of scientific and medical discoveries. (Which is why we use words like “algebra).This is what Prof Hajini mindfully throws light on in the next research paper, “Medieval Legacy to Modern Inorganic Chemistry”. Prof. Mohi-ud-Din Hajini rejects the myth that East never excelled in science and technology. He states:
“Reviewing what we usually call the Middle Ages, it is pure misnomer to depict this period as the darkest with reference to the East. With the exception of Muslim Spain, it was certainly the ‘darkest’ period in the history of the west where, in the words of Guizote the intellectual stagnation reached to such a low level that it is beyond our conception in modern times. During this darkest period of history, says Bosworth Smith, “the Arabs held the torch of learning to humanity for 500 years”. In the paper Hajini Sahib extensively talks about the contribution of Muslim scientists and smashes down the barricades of chauvinistic history.
Prof Hajini grapples with the various conceptions of religion and comes out victorious. The paper gives reader a clear view of Hajini’s understanding of religion in a broader sense. He dissects the religion with a scissor of some great philosophers and serves a spicy plate of it like this, “Arnold defines it as “morality touched by emotions”, Principal Caird as, “a thing of heart”, Professor Durkhiem, as something like “the integrating force of social groups”, Jung as “ the systematic cure for all the ills of the soul”. While discussing the faith and ideology Prof Hajini does not turn a blind eye, he was always hard to falsehood, to religious leaders and clearly states:
…all the religious leaders were making business with the ideology. To quote only few: Akbar formulated Din-e-Illahi as an imperialistic device to hoodwink the subjugated Hindus; Roman emperors obtained the certificate of holiness from the pope to conceal their imperialistic mischief-making, Dogras traced their genealogy to Suraj Bansi dynasty to look more victorious in Kashmir and in all these attempts, priests of one type or the other were used as weapon.”
The second part of the book Prof Hajini thoroughly talks about the history and culture of Kashmir and Kashmiri literature. He begins with an insightful paper, “An Outline of the Growth of Various forms in Kashmiri literature” which discusses in detail the richness of Kashmiri literature. It is a retort to those Kashmiries and non-Kashmiries who think that Kashmiri literature has no rich past. The paper gives a detailed history of Kashmiri Epic, Romantic Bazmia, Vaakh and Shrukh, Ghazal, Lyrics, Folk Lore, Folk Song, Vanvun and Rov, Dastan Shayeri, Devotional Poetry, Mysticism, Humour, Ladishah, Elegy, Rubayaat and Qitaat, Free Verse and Blank verse, Prose, Novel, Criticism, and Drama.
The next paper titled, “Historical Background of Kashmiri Language” takes a reader into the genesis of Kashmiri language. It is an authentic account of the history of Kashmiri language.
The last paper of the second section of the book is “Outline of the Culture of Kashmir” which projects Prof Mohi-ud-Din Hajini as a historian who tries to find out the aborigines of Kashmir with the help of authentic works by some famous writers.
The third and the last part of the book carry two papers, “Idealism and college Students” and “Philosophy and Education: A Review”. The two papers place Prof. Hajin in the row of great educationists.
The Discourses of Prof Mohi-ud-Din Hajini is a masterpiece which speaks about the brilliance of Prof Mohi-ud-Hajini, the trio.
Waseem Majazi is a book reviewer, lives in Hajin Sonawari, Kashmir. He is currently doing his research on conflict studies in India, and can be reached at [email protected]