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    My father, as I know him

    KHAZIR MAGHRIBI:   My father, as I know him


    30th November 1999 is the day when 

    he left this world after a brief ill-

    ness at home, even before death 

    he was as agile as ever, making 

    people smile. Many people do not 

    know his real name - Ghulam Mohi-ud-

    Din Khan. As a young child he visited 

    a Hakeem sahib for severe respiratory 

    infection, along with other advises, he 

    was given ill advise of using hookah, to 

    get sputum out. After years, he gave it 

    up in his late fifties by his will power. 

    Any way Hakeem sahib misheard his 

    real name also and wrote Khizer Mhu-

    hammed. Decades later, when he began 

    writing humorous poetry in Kashmiri 

    language, other poets gave him his 

    pen name Khazir Maghribi as they 

    thought humour is incompatible with 

    Kashmiri language. There are many 

    dimensions to my father’s personality. 

    I hope I will be able to cover all. Born 

    in a humble family at Chotta Bazar 

    Srinagar in late thirties, his other sib-

    lings also rose to higher positions like 

    his elder brother Shehzore Kashmiri 

    or Muhammed Shafi Khan known as a 

    great administrative officer. My father 

    was not initially sent to school but to 

    a tailor shop. One day he was seen in 

    this shop by authorities who wanted 

    to promote education. My grandfather 

    was asked to send him to school, which 

    he reluctantly did. This shows how sin-

    cere were the authorities in promoting 

    education. He learned some skills there 

    and would sometimes sew his own 

    clothes to our astonishment at home. 

    When we asked him the reason he 

    would talk about dignity of labour and 

    Islam. Anyway after getting scholar-

    ship for pursuing his school education, 

    he passed 10th class examinations with 

    merit from Lahore University. Among 

    the Muslim students he secured the 

    second highest marks, and would say 

    that only a girl secured more marks 

    than him. But my father would always 

    say that passing examinations is not 

    important, hard work is. 

    After graduation in Geography, Per-

    sian, Urdu he was struggling to get a 

    job. He would always make us burst 

    with laughter when we asked about 

    his job search. He would recall, and 

    say that he covered so much distance 

    and climbed many mountains to get 

    a job as a forester or a job in police. 

    But he was denied job as he did not 

    pay 5 rupees as bribe. And this atti-

    tude remained till death and became 

    his brand. Finally, after much struggle 

    he got a job of a teacher, where he made 

    his mark by unique style of teaching. 

    He wrote many books on Geography, 

    History, Maths and English; and Ali 

    Mohammed and Sons was his pub-

    lishing house. These books were sold 

    like hot cakes, and till 1990 remained 

    a big source for all students specially 

    who struggled to pass 10th grade in JK. 

    He would tell us that when he wrote 

    a book on Mathematics for student of 

    10th grade, he would think like a stu-

    dent of 10th grade. His fight against 

    nepotism and corruption lead to his 

    frequent transfers, prominent being 

    the one to Rajori and Poonch, which he 

    embraced with grace. During his stay 

    there learned Pahari language. 

    Life story of my father is incom-

    plete without my mother’s mention. 

    My father always told us that how 

    they fought battles of life together 

    and remained steadfast during test-

    ing times. My father got married to 

    my mother, from Khan Family of 

    Gojwara, who also started her career 

    as a teacher. Much to the discomfort 

    of the society the marriage was held in 

    a simple way. Actually my father had 

    rented a car with a loyal Sikh driver 

    who was told to be ready to go back if 

    there are any signs of rituals; thank-

    fully it was all simple. I do remember 

    my relatives showing displeasure 

    even after decades of marriage, but 

    my father and my mother both stood 

    their ground. And today when in 2020 

    I read about overage boys and girls, I 

    think of my father and talk with my 

    mother on this. She smiles and says 

    proudly how difficult it was then to 

    persuade people in making marriage 


    There were nationwide reforms in 

    education that started since 2010; one 

    of which is no student will be declared 

    as failed till 8th class examinations. My 

    father initiated this way back in late 

    seventies in Batmaloo school, where 

    on the result day it would be declared - 


    PASS [From Ist to 8th all are declared 

    pass]. Whenever he was questioned, 

    he would say, “show me even one stu-

    dent of mine who is not doing well in 

    life. My pupils include doctors, engi-

    neers, researchers, bureaucrats, and 


    After getting married my father 

    was briefly transferred to one end of 

    Kashmir and my mother to another 

    end. One day, much to the embarrass-

    ment of my parents, I discovered their 

    love letters written after marriage and 

    sent by mail or hand. One letter reads, 

    “How I wish I became a singing bird 

    and tell about my love”. We had pre-

    served all these love letters till 2014 

    floods razed our house to ground, and 

    nothing could be retrieved. 

    My father had many books to his 

    credit, one being “BAAGHI AROOZ”. 

    It is the first book published of its kind 

    which talks about writing poetry, cor-

    rect usage of grammar in Kashmiri 

    poetry. It was published way back 

    in 1970, and sold at Ghulam Ahmed 

    Booksellers, Zaina Kadal and Kapoor 

    Brothers Lal-Chowk. His other books 

    include MOTI-MAALA for children, 

    and Gulshani Khizr. 

    My father was known for his humor-

    ous poetry. When asked the reason he 

    said “In Kashmiri poetry except for 

    LADDI-SHAH we do not have humour. 

    it is mostly sad. So I thought of includ-

    ing humour to make people laugh, as 

    well as motivate them to do well instead 

    of lamenting them on past”. My father 

    regularly featured on radio and TV 

    shows including NATIYA MUSH-

    AYRAS [Poetic tribute to Prophet 

    Muhammed – peace be upon him] .

    Most people do not know that my 

    father has written a series of books 

    on Sir Muhammed Iqbal – the series 

    is known as GUFTO–SHINEED’. I end 

    with the hope that state cultural acad-

    emy takes up further publication and 

    circulation of his books. Some of them 

    are already in libraries, but now with 

    internet and digital formats, we need 

    to move in that direction. 

    Author is youngest son of Khazir Maghribi.

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