Soch Kral-a Sufi Poet And a Sufi Saint of Kashmir

Soch Kral - a Sufi Poet And a Sufi Saint of Kashmir

HIRA LAL KAK
Soch Kral is said to have born in 1782 in the village of Inder, in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir. But it’s more appropriately said that he was born in 1775 at Koel Pulwama. His father was the Sufi poet Arif Kral, and he was a disciple of Kashmiri poet Mumin Sahib. It’s said that Arif Kral and his wife Zooni had no child in fifteen years of their marriage. Once a mystic arrived in the village yelling “Does anyone need a child?”. Arif Kral listening to this left his work and went to him. The mystic gave him two sugar coated candies one for Arif Kral and another for his wife on a condition that child will be given back to him after 12 years. Such was the desperation for the child that both agreed on this condition. A male baby was born and named Ismail. After some years the mystic arrived in the village and asked Ismail his name. He suggested Arif Kral to name Ismail as Soch Kral. This mystic after 12 years as per the condition took Soch Kral from Koel to Inder Pulwama.
He was sent to school which he failed to attend and if any he would attend, he would recite poems only. Unhappy Arif Kral forced him to join potter profession. He used to sell earthen pots in Ratinpora area where Peers (upper caste) resided in majority and became a potter by profession. Though Soch Kral was illiterate but he was having good hold on Persian language and this surprises many historians. It’s believed that Soch Kral used poetry as a tool to enlighten the minds of people, and his work promoted Sufism in Kashmiri poetry. Apart from his poetry, Soch Kral detested the materialistic world and attained spiritual powers. It’s believed that then Peers of Ratinpora area were unhappy with people flocking to Soch Kral for spiritual healing and initiated hate campaign against this mystic poet.
Since he had to tread the Ratinpora way to sell his pots, so Peers planned action to humiliate him. Everyday a group of Peers forced him on a donkey but he used to remain silent. Apart from the abuse and torture, once more than hundred people were assembled by Peers to have lunch and tea at Soch Kral’s residence without informing him. His wife was shocked. She was only to be assured by Soch Kral that everything will be fine . The tea vessel never got empty despite people having four-five cups of salt tea. Similarly lunch was served to those in the house, making those understand the mystic powers of Soch Kral.
After sometime another Karamat happened when Soch Kral was in Ratinpora to sell his earthen pots. He saw a group of people dragging a dead Bull from the area and when he asked them the reason, they laughed and replied, “Don’t interfere in our matter. This Bull has credit of his master and he died without returning his master’s credit”. Soch Kral looked towards the Bull and said, “O Bull get up by the order of Allah and return the credit of your master”. The entire Ratnipora was astonished to see the bull coming to life again and rushing towards his master. This Karamat didn’t go well within the Peers who thrashed him on the next day of this incident. It’s believed at this moment, Soch Kral prayed: “Ya Allah Chararas (Chrar-i Shareef) Kar Thhop Tae Ratinporis Hya Tchoup” (block the Charar-i Shareef and bite the Ratinpora). Legend has it that there was a massive fire in Charar-e-Shareef area in Budgam which got extinguished immediately after the prayers and one log flew and fell into a house of a Peer at Ratinpora and all the houses of Peers were gutted in the fire. After this incident Peers apologized to Soch Kral.
Soch Kral lived a simple life devoted to spirituality, monotheism and mysticism. He was was vegetarian. His favorite dish was Lettuce (Haakh) and used to take black salt tea. Among his contemporaries is Mahmud Gami, who and Soch were disciples Mumin Sahib of Bagam. Soch had many students but few known are Sidique Kral of Pandach, Shaban Sofi of Noorpora Tral, Rahman Sahib of Pingalan Pulwama, Khwaja Ambar of Imam Sahib Shopian and Yed Kral of Wanpora Pulwama. Yed Kral was also a Sufi poet and singer who sang songs from his teacher’s collection. Soch Kral may have visited the village of Devsar in the Anantnag district, where his descendants are still living.
Soch Kral in his 80 years of life span witnessed three regimes of Pathans, Sikhs and Dogras. But Soch Kral never expressed the injustices met out to Kashmirs during the period in his poetry. Soch Kral died on 24 November 1854 but some say it’s 1855. Soch Kral will be known to us for his message of universal brotherhood and advocating caste free society in Kashmir. Every year on August 21, people assemble at his graveyard here to pay tributes to this mystic poet buried in his land of six marlas which he bought by selling pots.