The issue number 18 of Neab is finally out. Size octavo, 68 pages in all on a thick pape. The cover is pretty. The name of the magazine Neab (design by late G R Santosh) is in blue color on a pure white background of glossy art card. In the center, in a box, Shora Bashir's water color (muneeb's possession) depicting a horrified mother with a child clung to her chest. Shora Bashir, one the talented painters of Kashmir died in an accident on Jammu-Srinagar road a few years ago. Outside back cover has some selected quotes from the contents of the magazine.
The magazine is in currently approved script using Perso-Arabic and Urdu characters with a lot of additions specifically made for Kashmiri. The orthography is simple, avoiding diacritical marks ('arab) which has made its pages look prettier than those of general Kashmiri books which are overcrowded with unnecessary diacritical marks over and under each word and sometimes each letter. Neab has a three-page note explaining and advocating orthography with minimal use of 'arab.
The editorial touches on Agha Shahid Ali's direct and indirect links with the Kashmiri literature. Editorial is avialbale online here. The table of contents of the magazine is available on the Neab website. The letters are very interesting, originating from Saudi Arabia, America, France, England, India and Pakistan. The title for this section is tsok modur (sour 'n' sweet).
A generous gift of ten ghazals of the master ghazal writer, Amin Kamil, open the magazine. The ghazals are taken from his fifth collection of poems under print, which is titled yim myany sokhan (These, My Words!) This collection includes poems written by Amin Kamil in the past 30 years. The ghazals in Neab show a high degree of maturity, spontaniety, and meaningfulness. They are neither pretty love songs nor intimidatingly verbose thoughts. Their distinctive feature is in their being powerful and effective expressions of the sensibilities of our time with a tone of protest that's rare in the contemporary Kashmiri ghazal.
There's a translation of a conversation between the host Jean Faraca and Ohio Weslyen University Assistant Professor of English David Caplan on Agha Shahid Ali's ghazal wrting and it's relevance as a form to current literary scene of America. The conversation is translated by the editor of the magazine Muneeb. In continuation of the theme of ghazal, the issue also includes a senior American poet Robert Bly's thoughts on ghazal and its possibilities, and a translation of his four recent ghazals.
The lone short story in the issue is by Hirdhay Koul Bharti. The story is very short but suggestive, a thought provoking monologue.
There are two articles on Arabic quantitative meter. One by Rafiq Raaz and other by Muneebur Rahman. These articles are part of the current discusion over the suitability of Persio-Arabic quantitative meter in Kashmiri. Rafiq Raaz's articles basically shows that repertoire words in the Kashmiri language matches the minimal prosodic elements of the Arabic meter and thus there should be no reason why the Arabic meters cannot be successfuly used in Kashmiri. Muneeb's article deals with Mr. Rahi's doubts about the origin of Arabic meter. He has highlighted the differences between Arabic and Sanskrit quantitaive meters, and also hinted at the Arabic native origin of the Mutaqarib meter by internal reconstruction of the related arabic meters and the Mutaqarib.
(ran out of time; will continue soon.)