Zarifa Jan: An uneducated Kashmiri Sufi poetSufi poet who pens poems in a unique coded language

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Zarifa Jan: An uneducated Kashmiri Sufi poet who pens poems in a unique coded language

Zarifa Jan is a unique Sufi poetess from the Kashmir Valley who uses a unique coded language to preserve her poems.

Zarifa, 65, said she started writing poems in her late 30s after she had gone to fetch water from a nearby canal during which she lost her sense of the world around her and fell into a kind of trance.

She also lost her water pot and began to feel like a completely different person.

A few words came out of her mouth spontaneously in the midst of this unconsciousness. In fact, this was the beginning of Zarifa’s poetry.

From Bandipora district of North Kashmir, Zarifa says that initially her late daughter used to preserve her poetry in written form, but after her death, this medium was taken away from her.

“I felt like everything was taken away from me. I will never forget the shock.”

According to Zarifa, it took her many years to realise that she was writing poetry. Since she could not read and write, she started saving them in the form of a few circles.

Thus she became the originator of the unique coded language that no one else could understand.

“I don’t know if this idea came to my mind, but after seeing these circles written on the paper, I understand what I have written.”

Shafaat, Zarifa’s son, said: “I can’t believe that despite being uneducated, my mother is not only writing such good poetry, but has also become the creator of a dedicated coding language to preserve her poetry.”

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Shafaat further said that he wants to preserve his mother’s poetry in a book form so that her words can reach the world without being limited to her alone.

Story By Zubair Qureshi

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