The Patron Saint of Kashmir

Sheikh Nur-ud-Din Wali , the fifteenth-century mystic popularly called Sheikh-ul-Alam, Alamdar-e-Kashmir (the Standard Bearer of Kashmir) or Nund-Rishi, was the founder of the Rishi order. His influence was such that he is considered as the living symbol of Kashmir and the guiding light of its people.

As a saint, revolutionary, patriot and poet he has exerted enormous influence on the beliefs and thinking of the people of Kashmir through five centuries, establishing a culture of utmost religious toleration with an abiding faith in the omnipresence of God.

Although he could neither read nor write he spontaneously uttered verses, called 'Shruks' in which he spoke of the transitoriness of life and its pleasures, and exhorted people to cultivate self-discipline and piety. These shruks have become proverbial and form the basis of two works called the Rishi Nama and Nur Nama.

One of his most famous sayings that has gained relevance through the centuries is:

'An poshi teli yeli wan poshi'

Food will suffice only till forests survive

We can therefore consider him as one of history's earliest conservationists.

The tomb of Alamdar-e-Kashmir at Chrar-e-Sharif, 28 Kms southwest of Srinagar, is revered by people of all religions.

Repost from KeY. Some material courtesy G N Gauhar.