Srinagar, Feb 6: Farooq Nazki, 82, a distinguished poet, broadcaster, and cultural icon passed away in Katra on Tuesday.
Nazki had been battling various health issues, including lung and kidney complications, for the past four years.
Facing health challenges, Nazki relocated to Katra to live with his son, a medical doctor working at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Katra.
Nazki breathed his last on Tuesday morning, with his two daughters by his side.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Nazki’s nephew and former minister, Naeem Akhtar said that Nazki’s body was brought to his Shivpora residence in Srinagar from Jammu through the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway on Tuesday evening.
“The Namaz-e-Janaza of late Nazki Sahab will be performed on Wednesday, February 7 at 10:30 am on the premises of the shrine of Syed Sahab Sonwar. His body will be laid to rest at the family’s graveyard at Malkha, Kathi Darwaza, Srinagar,” Akhtar said.
Born on February 14, 1940, in the quaint village of Maddar in the Bandipora district of north Kashmir, Nazki's journey through life was marked by profound contributions to literature, broadcasting, and Kashmiri culture.
Nazki acquired early education in Gamroo village, his maternal home, and later enrolled in a government school at Nadihal in Bandipora where his maternal uncle Masood Ahmad was posted.
Ahmad would take him along wherever he was posted.
Under the guidance of his teacher Ahmadullah Afandi, he imbibed the scout spirit, embodying a responsiveness and discipline reminiscent of his parents’ influence.
Despite his father’s reservations, Nazki’s intellectual prowess became evident during his school days.
His bond with childhood friends Mansoor Ahmad Fazli and Manzoor Fazli remained etched in his soul.
In his recent conversation with the former Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Academy for Art, Culture and Language, Dr Rafiq Ahmad Masoodi, Nazki recalled that Ahmadullah Affandi of Onamgam Bandipora, who was his school teacher, left an indelible mark on his career.
“During his school days, Prof Mujeed from Jamia Millia Islamia came with his team to the school when Nazki was in the 3rd standard. Prof Mujeeb had brought a team to select students based on their IQ, offering scholarships at Jamia Millia Islamia,” Nazki said during his tete-a-tete with Masoodi.
During the conversation, Nazki said that his father did not allow him to go although his mother was not averse to the suggestion and that his father had cited high fees as the reason, which was Rs 4 to Rs 6 per month.
During the conversation, Nazki said that Mansoor Ahmad Fazli was one of his closest friends and Vijay Dhar was his friend from the days of childhood.
Nazki termed Dhar an honest man with a high intellectual order.
Though people associated with Nazki would call him very intelligent in his school days, he considered himself an average student.
During his school days, his non-Muslim friend Rajnath would always bring food for him from his home, and they both shared a deep bond.
Relocating to Srinagar in 1948, Nazki’s family settled at Srinagar’s Exchange Road.
From an average student in the eyes of his father to becoming the Director of Doordarshan and AIR Srinagar, the posts that he held from 1986 to 1997, Nazki’s trajectory was nothing short of extraordinary.
A multifaceted personality, Nazki also served as the Editor of Daily Mazdoor from 1960, leaving an indelible mark on journalism.
He played pivotal roles as media advisor to Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, showcasing his dedication to public service.
His presidency at Bazm-e-Adab, literary assistant role at JKAACL, and tenure as the Editor of Daily Mazdoor underscored his commitment to nurturing literary talent.
Nazki's eloquent and evocative poetry, capturing the essence of Kashmir's beauty and pain, earned him the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1995 for ‘Nar Heton Kanzal Vanas’.
In his 8th grade, Nazki wrote an article in the Jamia Millia Islamia's magazine ‘Mera Parcha’ under the leadership of Dr Zakir Hussain.
After passing the 10th standard, he contributed writings to various newspapers including Khidmat, and Delhi’s well-known newspapers Ashiana, Mastana, Jogay, and Hafta Rozah.
After graduating from SP College, he became the president of the Literary Forum and worked as a literary assistant in JKAACL for some time.
When Nazki received a CDG Fellowship, the journey to Germany enriched his knowledge of literature, thought, and perspectives.
He also received the State Cultural Academy Award for his work and the Noor-ul-Lugha Award for his contributions to both Kashmiri and Urdu languages.
For his participation in the media, he was honoured with the Asia ’82 Award for Best Media Controller in addition to the Jammu and Kashmir Award for Best Electronic Media Management.
In the Urdu language, his works include ‘Akhir-e-Khwaab Se Pehle’ and ‘Yeh Dhuan Sa Kahan Se Uth Raha Hai’ among others.
In the Kashmiri language, Nazki wrote ‘Masnavi Meh Jabeen’.
In the realm of broadcasting, Nazki's resonant voice and eloquence made him a recognisable figure, playing a pivotal role in bringing Kashmiri literature to a wider audience.
Even in the face of health challenges in his later years, he remained active in cultural and literary organisations, leaving an enduring legacy.
During an interaction with him in Kashmir, famous Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah was mesmerised by the mastery Nazki had over the Urdu language.
His legacy lives on in the hearts of those touched by his words, and his contributions continue to shape the cultural landscape of Kashmir.