Thursday, August 25, 2016




My friendship with him is barely one year old. Prior to that , I had never seen him either at Jammu or in Kashmir valley .I knew him well through his write ups , Books , Poems and superb Translations. He taught English at various colleges in kashmir. Many friends told me “Beware ! He is terrible with his Pen” . Those who knew him would often say that he was friendly , Leisurely and above all helpful to Young and Promising writers . Some people tried to introduce him as writer SIDDHARTHA GIGOO’s father . In any case both happen to be brilliant writers . 

In the very first meeting that I had with him, he turned out to be a Jovial, Candid and Helpful person. And then a very well read and well informed writer who dislikes people with double speak.

“ I detest Double Talkers “

The last trait also makes him profoundly different from others , affable and respected .

I kept meeting him thereafter Mostly at his residence and quite often in the company of Ramesh Hangloo  of Radio Sharda . He usually talked about his Books , Translations , Future proposals and so many things from the world of Literature and fine Arts.

As writer, Arvind Gigoo has a unique style and flavor that akeeps you engrossed . He is a wonderful Narrator of events . His narrations are laced with a unique perspective . Sometimes one feels as if Sadat Hassan Manto is reborn and writing in English .

As poet ,he comes up with his own style and content .Philosophical yet simple . Apparent Humour but a subterranean and profound criticism of life .

" I AM DOING NOTHING " is a Poem by Arvind Gigoo that I need to present to substantiate what I have said about his poetic Talent ..

I dialed the number ,
“ Hello !“
It was my four year old grand daughter .
“ Hello Amia , What Are You doing ?”
“ Dadu , I am doing Nothing .”
Doing Nothing is the acme of wisdom.
Silence prevailed upon the words.
I kept the phone.
People do because doing means living .
They are dynamic and hardworking ,
And are busy in doing for their families , 
the society and the world.
“ I am not greedy or ambitious .
But people whom I know and don’t know 
Have sped ahead of me .
I do not want to sit behind .
I crave for recognition and superior position “
“ Do You watch the full moon
and the stars and the clouds and the sunset?”
“ The skyscraper blocks the view .
Have you seen the drawing room of Malhotras ?
They have two more flats . 
And their new Car !
It is very expensive .”
Dear Reader , I will disagree .
Eating is a ridiculous activity .
The unmistakable rapport and the perfect 
Friendship of the hand and the mouth keep us alive 
And are the basis of life .
And we do for remaining alive .
We race against others 
And climb ladders to accumulate wealth.
We doom ourselves into doing , Into exhibitionism,
Into show .We speed for we are in haste .
“ Damn others , I want my Buck . 
I will do for twenty years and then live “
“ So You will live in twenty years ! ?”
( Amia had said : I am doing nothing .)
Sitting still is doing nothing or doing nothing 
Is the cessation of all actions –Of the speed and the climb.
Doing is evil , curse , trouble , unhappiness .
It is un-living or not living .
He said :” Perform duty without thinking of the fruit .”
Performing duty is attending to the ordinary 
and the commonplace.
Doing breeds endless desires .
“ Why shouldn’t I desire the fruit of my doing ? I want to prove myself .”
Doing is “ Enjoying .“
When doing is in the process of doing ,souls and being get defiled .
Doers stop doing .
As for me while doing 
I don’t – know- what I talked much and spoke nothing .
Do nothing and talk nothing .
Not doing and silence are inaction –I mean in – action.
What man needs is nothing.
No- Thing .
Evil will disappear .
The inside will flower .
Your mind is a curse .
If you say ‘NO” to whatever “IS”
You will stop doing and start living .
It takes a flash to stop doing .
Doing is undoing the you in you.
Do And suffer .
Don’t do and live.
When I stopped writing , the telephone bell rang.
“Hello !”
It was my sixty year old friend.
“ What are You doing ?’
“ I am doing nothing .”
“ You fool , stop this nonsense . Dress up, Come out and live. “
I am the contradiction.
I am the clever Rascal .
I am the evil doer .
I dangle between not doing and doing.
I live in silence and speech..
( Arvind Gigoo.. Source ..SHEERAZA ( English segment ) Published by J&K Academy of Art Culture And languages ..April- June 2009 issue )

In his Books and essays written in English , Arvind Gigoo uses small sentences with simple English words. Understood easily and effortlessly , this style creates a vast readership apart from making an everlasting impression on the mind of the reader . In this style ,he comes closer to Sadat Hassan Manto. Like Manto , he spares none while dealing with men and issues in his Books .No prejudices and no Biases . He remains confined to Objectivity . With this approach , Some people may get hit and some may get positively revealed , he bothers not. His conviction remains “ Na Kaahoo se dosti Naa Kaahoo Se Beir “.
Read him to know that he is a master in conveying the apparent and the veiled. I quote some anecdotes written by him as they appear in the Book “ A LONG DEREAM FOR A HOME “ Chapter “ Days of Parting “.

(a) “Shaha , the old Muslim woman in our neighborhood , tells me on the road “ What nonsense is this ! we are fed up .” A Muslim gentleman joins us . Shaha now shouts ‘ We are prepared to die one by one for Independence .”’ Searches and searches. Deaths. Killings . It is horrible . A Muslim neighbour tells me in confidence “ I am afraid of my own son. Strangers are his friends .I have never seen them “

(b )We pack our things . Father is weeping . I ask Hafiz to arrange a truck for us . He says :’ Go home . A mini Bus will come to you in twenty minutes but don’t talk to me on the road henceforth “. We put other things In the Minibus very quickly. One Almirah full of old books belonging to my Grandfather remains untouched .I will come some day and carry them. These are rare books which my Grandfather had bought in Italy , Turkey and other countries . Through the window the daughter in law of Mohi Ud din tells me :’ Forgive us . Go wherever you want to go . May god protect you.’ She is weeping .”

His description about life in downtown Srinagar goes as under :

“The street urchins pelt stones on the houses of Pandits when a cricket match is played between India and Pakistan. Nobody takes such things seriously. Educated and illiterate persons rub shoulders. All steal electricity . Pandits celebrate marriages in the houses of those Muslims who have big houses .Carpets and Furnishings are lent to Pandits for use all the day. Shias Sunnis and Pandits live in harmony. Many Muslim families have leanings towards Pakistan.On Two Eids , Most of the Pandits go to Eidgaah . My Muslim friends come to me on Shivratri days and have lunch with me. Pandits and muslims play cricket in Eid Gaah. Others fly kites over there . In the evenings , some Pandits smoke charas in the Janam Bhumi Temple or in the compound of Ram Mandir. A handful of Pandits gamble in Ram Mandir. A few Pandits and Muslims drink in stealth. The quarrel of boat women lasts for days together . For onlookers , it is an entertainment of the highest type .Some young Pandits and Muslims steal hens and cocks belonging to few Muslim families , kill them , cook them and eat them. The owners of the hens shout curses on “ Cock Thieves “ . The lanes , Kochas and roads in our locality are filthy and covered with garbage .. Jagan Nath Saqi , the well known Radio Artist sits in the shop of Shamboo Nath ( Shomb Kak ) and talks about his past. Pandits who now live in New Colonies wonder how we Pandits live in the down town”

His Translator’s note to the Book " Light And Shade" Poems by sunita Raina Pandit is inimitable and matchless . This book contains kashmiri poems translated to English By Arvind Gigoo. I quote the text of this Note:

" While translating the kashmiri lyrics of Sunita Raina Pandit into English, I resorted to compression, reconstruction and re-composition . I allowed the architecture and linguistic nuances of the original to suffer. I subverted without worrying about exactness, Fidelity and accuracy of equivalence .I ruined the syntax, metre and richness the original kashmiri .The lackluster voice is an artificial exercise in which the ineffable impact of the Ghazals is lost but their soul swings and rings. This translation does not communicate the music, Rhythm ,Passion and transparent grace of the original.."
( Arvind Gigoo...... Translator..)

A sample of his English Translations are as under:

(Portrait of a Child)

A portrait hung 
the wall. 
The chubby child 
and opened his Cupid mouth. 
I said "Are you my virgin past?"

The rainbow smile vanished, 
and the thoughtful child said: 
"Are you my defiled future?"

The answer reached me.
Grown-ups don't remember purity 
children don’t know defilement.
( This is a poem by Noted kashmiri Poet Arjan Dev Majboor Translated to English by Prof. Arvind Gigoo and Published in his Book WAVES )
(Spring-wind passed by our door)

Spring-wind passed by our door
with restive fingers
beat its breast.
I asked a flower, “What happened?”
In a corner
it puckered its lips.
Soon a dry petal appeared
the spring bushes
beat their breasts.
( From “ Anecdotes “ Mini Poems of Poet Dina Nath Naadim translated to English by Prof. Arvind Gigoo )
(The oil in the lamp dwindled)

The oil in the lamp dwindled;
the wick was a flicker
the light too dwindled.
A moth danced into the dying flame;
the half-burnt hope
fell into a niche.
When the flame died
darkness gave a hysterical laugh.
Why trust laughter!
Weeping knows no end.
Who lost
who won?
( From “ Anecdotes “ Mini Poems of Poet Dina Nath Naadim translated to English by Prof. Arvind Gigoo )

He has also done beautiful English translation of Hindi Poems written by Maharaj Krishen Santoshi , Agnishekhar and Kshema kaul apart from Kashmiri Poems of Bimla Raina . .
If you need to read some serious humour and Cameos then read his Book” The Ugly Kashmiri (Cameos in exile)”. Here he spares none in his crisp , brief and Poignant cameos ( 180 in totality ) .He touches the very edifice of Social life in kashmir where he lived . He provokes you to think “ Was that life based on Hypocrisy and falsehood ? “

In this book , he Talks about Pandits , Muslims , Militants, Killers , Plunderers , Intellectuals , Leaders , Language and customs . The reader is perplexed with his incisive and scissor like style that rips open every thing for display. It takes some time to understand and comprehend what he actually intends to convey.

I quote some cameos :


"I am where I am not,
Therefore, I am not where I am"
"We must preserve our culture."
"By reviving dead rituals."
“We salute this man for he is a martyr,
We kill this man for he is a traitor,
We nail this man for he is an informer.”
“ From Pakistan to plebiscite to India to Pakistan to independence to anything and anywhere in one breath.”
"Listen! How can I talk about the plight of Kashmiri Pandits? I am a secularist."

He is a kashmiri at heart and a Pandit as well. Liberal ,forgiving and Patient . No Never an Agnostic or an Atheist as was conveyed to me by some friends .I could infer that he does not believe much in ritualistic and dogmatic religious activity. Can’t say beyond that .

As and when I meet him , some specific Couplets of Majaz Lakhnavi come to my mind . I quote them ..

" Dair o Kaaba Ka me nahin Kaayal
Dair o Kaaba ko Aastaan na Banaa.. 
Mujh Mein Tu Rooh e Sarmadi mat Phoonk
Raunaq e Bazm e Arifaan na Banaa 
Iss Zameen Ko Zameen Rehnay Dhe
Iss zameen ko Tu Aasmaan na Banaa"

Next time more . So long so much on Arvind Gigoo ..

( Autar Mota )

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016




Honorary Capt.Bana Singh  ( Born  1949 )Param Veer Chakra Awardee ( 8 JAKLI and 1987 Siachin Hero) is a native of R S Pura Jammu(J&K).  As  Naib Subedar Major  from  8 JAKLI , He led the team that captured Highest Peak in Siachin Glacier that is now named as Bana Post .

As DCO/Chief Manager Marketing of my Bank, I have personally organised three functions that were presided over by him .

He once told me,

" At Siachin , so intense is the effect of the climate that you forget everything; Friends , family, relatives, your native village and all connected memories. You only remember your duty and keep fighting a terrible climate . Unbelievably Terrible. The outside world is totally closed.Snow is your Friend,Companion,Enemy and Killer . 

White is the only colour that confronts you everywhere and at every moment. As and when a letter is brought by a helicopter from the base camp, you are reminded that you also belong to the world below the glacier."

(Autar Mota)
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Some time around 1890, Tyndale Biscoe brought the first Bicycle to Kashmir. He would use it as his local conveyance . As and when , Tyndale Biscoe would move to down town Fateh kadal on his Bicycle , Pandits and Muslims would line up on road to see what the metallic animal Tyandle Biscoe was riding . It was named as “Biscoe sahib ka Djjin “.So a Bicycle was a Djjin for kashmiris initially. They also named it as Zal Gurr later .

Then I am informed about one AFSAR KHAN who is reported to have come to Kashmir during Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed ‘s rule. . AFSAR KHAN was an ace Cyclist who demonstrated his skill at Rainawari ( Zindshah Mosque Ground ) Eid Gaah Grounds ( Downtown ) , Hazuri Bagh Ground and Polo ground ( Near Residency Road ) Cycling Non stop for 7 days . He also held his shows at many other places in Kashmir valley.My father told me that he would eat his food and even shave his beard while paddling his Bicycle. Although I have not seen any show of AFSAR KHAN , yet so many stories about his Cycling talent have been conveyed to me by so many elders .

And then at a point of time, films also promoted a Bicycle.So many films had song sequences with Lead pair on Bicycles. I vividly remember Nazaraana a film wherein Raj kapoor and Vaijayanthimala sang the complete song " Meray peechhe ek deewana Ek Albela mastaana koyee dekho re mujh ko Sataaye re" riding Bicycles .O P Nayyar’s Composition “ Pukaarataa Chalaa Huun Mein “ for Meray Sanam was again filmed on Asha Parekh and her friends riding Bicycles . The song shooting took place on Srinagar Baramulla Road with Shammi Kapoor driving a jeep .Other Bicycle songs that come to my mind at the moment are " Maana Janaab ne pukaara Nahin ( Devanand and Nutan in paying Guest ) " and " Mein Chali Mein Chali ( Saira Bano in Padosan ). "
Noted writer Bhisham Sahni ( Brother of Actor Balraj Sahni) in his Memoirs 'Today's Pasts ' writes about his experience of Cycling in Kashmir.I quote:

“ In summers , we used to go to Srinagar . Kashmir was created for sightseeing , after all.What destination was better for celeberating Honeymoon than kashmir ?One morning , I got two bicycles . One of them was mine and the other was a Girl’s bicycle that I borrowed from a neighbour. Sheela and I set of . We went to Dal Lake . We could have parked our bicycles on the shore , enjoyed the lake on a houseboat and stopped at Ahdoo’s Restaurant on way back for our Lunch . But I changed my mind. Why not go to Ganderbal.Sheela was really happy . Her hair was gently blowing in the breeze and there was a smile on her lips . But the roads were bumpy and the heat was intense. Sheela was finding it difficult to continue her cycling. Her face had turned red and she felt exhausted . She had just taken her Exams a few days ago and then she was exhausted from the wedding . She was sweating and tired.
Ganderbal is one of kashmir’s oldest places . Kheer Bhawani is next right to it. Lake Manasbal is not that far. You will like it . Just a little more “ I said to her . She kept cycling though she was extremely tired . soon She began to cry . We were outside the Temple and I got her something to eat.We relaxed under a tree but Sheela did not say a word.She just kept shaking her head.My heart stopped. It was afternoon when a bus arrived for srinagar . I put the bicycles on the roof of the bus bought tickets and got into the bus .Sheela looked at me and smiled for the first time.And when the Bus started , she put her head on my shoulders and soon fell asleep.”

I vividly remember having seen Prof. B K Bhan ( Chemistry ) of Amar Singh College Srinagar using a Bicycle to go to his college from his Jawahir Nagar Residence . He was generally seen in a two piece suit with a tie paddling his bicycle and also chewing a Paan . A metallic clip was always attached to his Trouser Bottom to protect it from Bicycle chain. His bicycle had a Bell , Chain cover and a Torch operated by a Dynamo .
In My school , Sri Krishen Seeru ( a popular Teacher ) would always paddle all the way from Habba kadal to DAV school Rainawari on his well maintained bicycle.

For a 10 or 12 year old boy like me, learning Bicycle meant moving through various stages of learning known as Zangataar ( Putting your feet on both the paddles without sitting on the Bicycle seat ) , Half paddle and Full paddle .And then finally one day i sat on the seat and effortlessly brought the bicycle down the slope of Jogilanker Bridge in Rainawari.

It was a source of freedom for So many Teachers , so many Government employees and so many students . leave at your own time , Move at your own speed and then spend nothing as transport charges . It needs no fuel, no documents and very little maintenance. Most importantly the rider remained connected with his surroundings while paddling along the Paths.Doctors , Advocates, College Professors and Businessmen used Bicycle as a mode of conveyance.
Many families in Kashmir owned some popular imported Brands of Bicycles like Raleigh , Robinhood , Phillips and Humber These brands were imported by some Bicycle Traders from Srinagar city.
In early seventies of the last century , Popularity of this cheap and useful conveyance suffered a set back after the arrival of Lambretta and Vespa Scooters in Kashmir valley . These were followed by yet another popular Brand of Motorbicycle known as YEZDI. Surely , from Bicycles , the younger generation moved to these Two wheelers .

But then these Petrol driven Two wheelers were expensive and a select section of the population only opted for them. As Population kept increasing , Bicycles also found an ever increasing New Market and Indian Brands like ATLAS, HERO , AVON and HERCULES started becoming popular in Kashmir . The Municipality also started registering Bicycle owners and collecting annual Token Fee /Tax on Possession of a Bicycle . This fee was later withdrawn.

These Bicycles were kept tidy by elderly users with Dynamo Batteries ,   Chain Covers , Bells and carriers on backside . Some users also carried a bucket in the front of their Bicycles . Lady Bicycles were also available and used by many college going girls and teachers in Kashmir.

During summers , you would come across so many Tourists from Europe and USA riding bicycles and moving in group of three or four towards Ganderbal, Mughal Gardens, Down Town interiors and other areas in Srinagâr city's suburbs. These bicycles were rented out by many Bicycle Dealers 
In Srinagar city , We had so many Bicycle shops , so many shops dealing in spare parts and engaged in Repairs and closing Punctures in Bicycle tubes . I vividly remember Durrani Cycles Exchange Road Srinagâr or Mir Cycles Nawapora near Khayyam cinema.And then we had some Bicycle Traders who had their Business locations at Hari Singh High Street, Regal Chowk, Lal Chowk, Karan Nagar and so many other places in Srinagâr city.

My friend Dalip Langoo informs me that  Pandit  Tikka Lal ( a kashmiri Pandit)  had established many Bicycle shops in Srinagar city sometime around 1918AD.He had a flourishing Bicycle Business at Gagribal near Dal Lake run under the name and style of Ganesh Cycle Works.

And Bicycle never lost its popularity and utility in Kashmir.

( Autar Mota )




INTESAAB ( Dedication ) is a Thought provoking poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz . It reflects Poet’s unwavering commitment towards the marginalized , downtrodden and sufferers . A dedication to Labourers , Tongawallas ,Farmers , Factory workers , Housewives , Young Boys , Girls, students and Suffering women.

I add some lines from this Beautiful poem of Faiz...

“un dukhi Maaon ke naam
raat mein jin ke bachche bilakhatay hain aur
neend kii maar khaaye hue baazuuon se sanbhalatay nahin
dukh Bataatay nahiin
Minnaton zaariyon se bahalatay nahiin;”

“Dedicated to those unhappy mothers
Whose Children weep and wail at night
And then are Cradled in Tired and sleep deprived shoulders and Arms .
A Dedication to these Mothers who shall never tell their woes
And will not be consoled by Tears and entreaties “

And then what about Poet Farooq Nazki’s “Intesaab” for his closest Friend and Dear Colleague late Som Nath sadhu. Nazki’s anguish over the loss of composite culture in kashmir is deep and profound . He misses Kamla ji ( Kamli ) who was like a mother to him ..Why did Kamla ji (Mother of Som Nath Sadhu ) Leave kashmir ? What had this simple and god fearing woman done? I quote him....

“Ek Intesaab Aur
Somnath Sadhu, teray naam.
Jaanta hai tumhari maa, 

Kashmir chho’rr kar gayi hai
Aur apnay saath chaandi ki woh thaali bhi ley gayi hai
Jis mein woh
Hum donon kay liye khaana parosti thi.
Kya tu jaanta hai ke
Woh meray dar se kashmir se bhaag gayi hai.

My English rendering of these lines would be ....

" Once More a dedication to you ,
My Somnath Sadhu,
Do You Know Kamli ,
Your Mother ,
Left kashmir,
Taking her silver plate along ,
Yes the very plate ,
from which you and I ate ,
the food that she served us,
Do you Know Som Nath sadhu
Fearing me ,
She left Kashmir.
Your Farooq "

This poem Of Farooq Nazki comes close to a poem of Sindhi Poet Sheikh Ayaaz that he dedicated to his closest friend and eminent Sindhi poet Narayan Shyam. In 1947, Narayan Shyam moved to India while Sheikh Ayaaz Stayed back in Sindh..

( Autar Mota )
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Saturday, August 20, 2016




SNUFF OR NASWAAR ( NAAS IN KASHMIRI ) became popular in Kashmir since afghan rule. While Afghan governors were busy in collecting revenue by all cruel means , Traders from Kabul brought Snuff and Tobacco to kashmir and carried horse loads of Pattoo , shawls ,and Tosha .An entry in the diary of *John Nicholson dated 19th November 1847 reads as under....

“ Had some conversation with a group of Afghan merchants from Kabul who were carrying Snuff and Tobacco to Kashmir wherefrom they would bring Tosh( Shahtoosh ) and Pattoo ( Woolen cloth ) which fetches very high price in Kabul. ”

And Naswaar is a Pashto word..

In Kashmir , I would see some elder suddenly pushing something in his Nostrils and then sneezing . some minutes after that he felt comfortable and relieved .That something turned out to be Snuff .

I would see many snuff users with shabby and stained Teeth . This finely powdered Tobacco that made the snuff would travel to mouth via the Nasal route and to its job. A pinch of snuff was something that could instantly raise Nicotine level in the blood by getting absorbed through Nasal Capillaries . No smoke , No Lung damage and No suffering for the passive smokers. But surely it did its damage on Teeth , gums , Nasal passage and oral cavity .

I would see many Labourers , elderly people from good families and some old ladies addicted to it. They would keep this stuff in small Boxes , cloth Pouches and tin boxes and carry it along .
A Woodcutter would stop his work suddenly to push a little of this stuff ( held In between Index Finger and thumb ) in his Nostrils . A driver would skillfully manage to put a pinch in his Nostrils while driving . An elderly Pandit women would take out the Pouch from her Pheran pocket and push a pinch in her Nostrils . A khwaja sahib would take out a pinch from his Beautiful Box kept in Waistcoat and push a pinch in his Nostrils . A little sneezing , some cough and they would carry on .

I vividly remember having seen PAANCH PHOTO NASWAAR , SAAT PHOTO NASWAAR , SIX PHOTO SNUFF ,ELEPHANT , ZAMINDAAR , CHAKALI , DHOLAKIA , ROSE SNUFF, HIMALAYA SNUFF and some other brands of Snuff sold in kashmir. A Punjabi Tobacco seller at Batmaloo sold some popular brands . He would sell dry snuff as well as something like a paste in small boxes and bottles. Many other Tobacco shops sold snuff powder .Then there were a little expensive scented snuffs as well.

At a point of time , snuff was widely used by upper class society in Europe . Consequently expensive Gold, silver and ivory snuff Boxes were sold in European markets . Apart from so many royals, Napoleon Bonaprte , Queen Charlotte and Samuel Johnson were great snuff users .

In kashmir , usage of snuff was also linked with idlers and quite often with cowardice. Naastih Khan was a word used to describe a coward person.

" Ya ha chhuyii bael havaan Rustumi.Tchaekki chhu Naastih Khan "

" He pretends to be a great fighter but in reality he is a Naastih  Khan or a coward."

The lingo that had gained currency during our youth was as under ….

“ Kyaa Bakwaas chhukh Karaan . Gutchh kar Naas “

“ What Nonsense are you speaking? Go and use snuff. “

Snuff usage was not confined to poor kashmiris or to a particular section of the society  only . Every class of people had snuff users .Both Pandit and Muslim families were familiar with it . Tobacco sellers and General merchants sold it across the length and breadth of kashmir valley. Some Europeans In Kashmir were also snuff users . I am told that prior to 1947 , some Traders Imported German Snuff Boxes to Kashmir . Some families in Kashmir ( who traded in snuff )were nicknamed as Naas or Naasti .

Noted Scholar Dr Shashi Shekhar Toshkhani adds:

"I don't know how many of us know that Jaishankar Prasad, author  of the great Hindi poetic work Kamayani,belonged to a family of snuff traders of Varanasi.   Snuff was popular in 18th century England also. Dr. Johnson, the famous English lexicographer, is once said to have asked for a pinch of snuff in these words: "Great Sir, kindly l allow me to  insert the summits of my digits into this odoriferous concavity in order to draw out  a few pulverised atoms which will cause titillation in my olfactory nerves."

( Autar Mota )

* John Nicholson( 1822- 1857 ) was a very Senior Political official in British India who rose to the post of a Brigadier General. He was instrumental in the settlement of the North-West Frontier .He was stationed at Peshawar , Moradabad , Benaras , Ferozepur and Delhi. He died suddenly at a very young age and played a major role in the Mutiny of 1857. He was buried in a Cemetery in kashmiri Gate Delhi and his tombstone reads as under..

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Thursday, August 18, 2016


Pocket watch was popular among some  elders . They would gladly take out the watch from their Pockets and look at it to know time . These watches were mostly imported. Their use was also waning with the sweeping  arrival of  wrist watches . This watch is almost extinct now.

Alarm clocks were also Popular in kashmir. Many families had imported German clocks .


In kashmir, Compared to   PHILIPS    ,  MURPHY Brand Radio set  enjoyed more popularity .      

GEEP Torches and Battery cells were popular . Estrela Battery cells  were also available in Market .

Some elders were addicted to SNUFF.  Brands like  ZAMINDAAR , PAANCH PHOTO  , SAAT PHOTO  and SUPER HIMALAYA  snuff were sold in kashmir.


Many shops in kashmir also sold Beedis  to outsiders. LANGAR  BEEDI was generally sold  in kashmir.                                  

CAMEL brand Pastel colours were quite popular . I  was always tempted by  the quality of this product .                                         

You could easily get Duck Back products in kashmir .  Rubber Shoes , Long shoes for snow  , Hot water Bottles and  Rain Coats .


CINTHOL was the soap of the elite . It was easily available in kashmiri .  Apart from film star  Vinod Khanna , Its manufacturers also brought Cricket Palyer   Imran Khan to advertise the soap some time in early eighties of the last century    .                                                       
Bicycle never lost its popularity and utility in Kashmir. In our childhood , i heard  about persons who owned some imported Brands like Raleigh , Humber . Robin Hood.Later Hero, Avon, Hercules  and Atlas Bicycles made in the country were also available in kashmir . These Bicycles were kept tidy by elderly users   with Dynamo Batteries , Chain Covers , Bells and carriers on backside . Some users also  carried a bucket in the front  of their Bicycles .

passing show and Panama Brand of Cigarettes were also in great  demand in kashmir.

Shaving was done with Blades only. ASHOK, TOPAZ , PANAMA , PRINCE , GILLETTE      , BHARAT and NACET were popular brands sold in kashmir      .
In my childhood and youth,  GODREJ Shaving soap was quite popular  though Shaving Creams  had also arrived in kashmir.

A piece of Alum ( Phatkari ) was always there in the shaving Box. That was a Poor man's after shave lotion.The  box also had a shaving brush ,a  Katori for hot water, Some Old and New shaving  Blades and a  blade sharpening tool known as HONE  .A three-piece metallic shaving machine was the core device.
And later During my college days , I noticed that  a small bottle of Dettol antiseptic liquid and Boroline cream got added to so many shaving boxes...

Even shaving Box of Sh.Sri Kanth kak(IAS) had these items only. I happened  to see Kak sahib shaving  at his  Naidyar Rainawari residence one day during morning hours. A marriage invitation card had to be delivered to his family. I believe he was Director Tourism or Controller TAWAZA at that point of time. It could be around 1972 or 1973.I am not sure.Kak sahib finds mention in V S Naipaul's book" An Area of Darkness"  as well.


( Autar Mota )

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