By Irfan Bashir
She was married immediately after passing Matric. But the love for education kept her going. She continued her studies before the birth of her first child. But by then she was already a graduate. She is Safiya Gulzar Bhat.
Safiya had a story to tell and that carved a writer out of her.
A resident of Shangus in south Kashmir, Safiya was married to the Director General Fire & Emergency services when she was barely 19 years old. She graduated, her first child, Kausar Ahmad was born. The family shifted to Srinagar.
Sometime later, Safiya gave birth to her second son and later to a daughter. It was a routine story. But the twist came in 1991 when her elder son, Kauser Ahmad, then a student of Class X at Tyndale Biscoe School, was gripped by a ragging fever. He lost his battle of life in just two days.
Kauser’s death left the entire family devastated. For the mother, her entire world had crumbled. Safiya lost consciousness and for the next four years, she was in shock. Her memory grew weaker and so did her attachment with the world. Life had nothing to offer. But as they say it’s only from the ashes that a phoenix makes birth and that was true for Safiya as well.
In 1995, after four years of pain and frustration, she found refuge in writing. Her family supported.
It was Safiya’s love for her son that she literally imagined talking to him and jotted down her daily imaginary conversations with him. Thus a writer was born. She started to write in Kashmir. Her writings that have a poetic aura to it soon transcended the barrier of language and she began writing Urdu ghazals. The outcome was fabulous – her first book ‘Firaq-e-Dilbar’ was ready for publication.
She had never imagined that her work would get published. But she kept writing. It was her passion and the only way she could converse with her son. It was Waheed Jeelani who first acknowledged her work and persuaded her to get it published. Soon others came to help. And finally with the support of Zahid Mukhtar, her work was published and appreciated as well. Her third book ‘Lalwun Naar’ was an instant hit too.
More than 200 songs of Safia Gulzar sung by famous singers of the valley includes Vijay Kumar Mallah, Waheed Jeelani, Ab. Rasheed Farash, Deepali Watal, Ab. Rasheed Hafiz, Manzoor Ahmad Shah and others.Besides hundreds of cassettes and CDs available in the market, number of her songs have been broadcasted and telecasted on Radio, FM, Doordarshan and other TV Channels of J&K.