Tuesday, October 6, 2015



ACTOR SHYAAM ( 1920-1951 )

Elders all over the country ,fondly remember Actor Shyaam. I am told that "DIL-LAGI" , co-starring Suraiya, remains his best known film. It was directed by AR Kardar. The tragic romance of the film made it a big success at the box office. People still remember the song " Tu Mera Chand Main Teri Chandni" that touched new heights of popularity all over the country during those days. Shyam-Suraiya hit pair also acted in " Naach "and "Chaar Din".  His heroines included some leading  actresses of that period like Naseem Banu , Nargis , Rehana , Nimmi  and Meena Shorey .

Shyaam ( Sunder Shyaam Chadha ) was born in a middle class Punjabi family from Sialkot  . His father was a store keeper in Medical Department while his grand father was a village Patwari.He was handsome with sharp features. He    Right from his college days , he nursed a deep ambition to join films .

Starting from Punjabi Cinema at Lahore , he eventually moved to Bombay sometime around 1946. And from 1948 till his death in 1951, he rose to become an undisputed heart throb of his Fans all over the country .He was a Graduate from Punjab University and remained  a lover of  English  literature .

Not many of us know that Shyaam also wrote Articles in English that were Published in Blitz during those days. 
While shooting for the Film Shabistan co-starring Naseem Banu, Shyam fell off a horse and  died of Head Injuries in a  Hospital on April 25,1951. This incident broke many Hearts . His Fans  in India and Pakistan were shell shocked with his tragic end.
                                             ( Shyaam and Naseem Bano in Shabistaan 1951 )
Some days back , I came across the most wonderful and detailed   write up on Shyaam by Prof. Ishtiaq Ahmed .Prof. Ishtiaq Ahmed (Born 1947 ) is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University. I like his unbiased articles and research oriented work especially his book..." The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed: Unravelling the 1947 Tragedy through Secret British Reports and First-Person Accounts (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012; New Delhi: Rupa Books, ).Prof. Ishtiaq Ahmed was born in lahore and is a Swedish citizen. He is connected with many universities world over .

I quote from  Prof .Ishtiaq Ahmed's write up on Shyaam ,
" Shyam was born as Sunder Shyam Chadha on February 20, 1920 in Sialkot, whereas he grew up in Rawalpindi where he graduated from the famous Gordon College. Against his father’s wishes, Shyam made his film debut in Lahore in a Punjabi film, Gawandi (1942). His co-stars were Veena, Manorma, M Ismail and Asha Posley. Veena, a Muslim, and Manorma, a Christian, both from Lahore, later established themselves in Bombay, while M Ismail returned to Lahore soon after the partition. Asha became a famous Lollywood actress, initially playing the heroine but later became a character actress, mostly type-cast as a wicked woman.
Shyam acted in many memorable films whose songs continue to haunt people. I will name only a few here: Mann kee jeet (1944), Majboor (1948), Dillagi (1949), Patanga (1949), Chandni Raat (1949), Meena Bazaar (1950) and Samadhi (1950). Shabistan was released in 1951 though the last scenes were filmed with a pathan, tall and stately like Shyam, though his face was not shown.
Autar Mota's photo.Autar Mota's photo.
Shyam was probably the closest friend of Saadat Hassan Manto in Bombay. The two shared an apartment for quite some time. Shyam was also a close friend of another great Urdu writer, Krishan Chander. Both wrote articles on him that could be considered very powerful and moving obituaries. The common observation of both was that Shyam was an exceptionally humane and broad-minded individual. He was also a generous and caring human being who took care of his stepmother and stepbrothers and sisters with great affection. He nevertheless always felt a great void in his life because his mother died when he was very small and he continued to miss her.
He visited Lahore in 1948 and a function was held at the Capitol Cinema on the good old Abbot Road; I believe Capitol Cinema still stands in the same place though the last time I saw it, it was in an advanced state of dilapidation. During the function, Shyam sensed that things had changed fundamentally even though many of his Muslim friends were still loyal to him. Lahore was not the same anymore.
However, Shyam’s links to Lahore were rooted in deep love. He had married a Muslim from Lahore, Mumtaz Qureshi, better known as Taji. They had two children together. While their daughter, Sahira, was born while Shyam was alive, their son was born posthumously, two months after his death. Taji’s elder sister Zeb Qureshi acted in a few films in Bombay. Both sisters returned to Lahore after Shyam’s death. Zeb Qureshi was married for a while to the maternal uncle of a good friend of mine.
Mumtaz Qureshi later married a gentleman called Ansari; hence the children were raised as Muslims. His daughter became a noted Pakistan television artiste, Sahira Ansari, who later married a colleague, Rahat Kazmi. Rahat and Sahira Kazmi are well-known television artistes. Shyam’s son Shakir should be somewhere in Pakistan or elsewhere in this big wide world if all went well for him thereafter. I have seen the video film of Dilip Kumar’s first visit to Pakistan. In it one sees him spotting Sahira Kazmi in the audience and saying that he was glad to meet the daughter of his friend (Shyam) after all those years.
While researching for today’s article, I managed after a considerable effort to trace a nephew of Shyam, Vikram Chadha, all the way to Pune, Maharashtra. Vikram is a lawyer. I phoned him from Stockholm and had a long conversation. I learnt that a nephew of Shyam, Bimal, works for The Indian Express and a younger brother, Harbans, lives in Chandigarh.."    Unquote

 After Manto moved to Lahore, he wrote an essay " Murli ki Dhuun" on his friend Shyaam . In Bombay ,Shyaam , Shahid Latif, Raja Mehdi Ali Khan and Manto shared accommodation .Manto and Shyaam lived together in Poona as well for some time. Manto calls him fun loving , opeN hearted and a  man with roving eye for  good looking women.

Manto writes ,

“ Post Partition, After I shifted to Lahore permanently , It so happened that one day I received a letter from Owners of TEHSEEN PICTURES Lahore . They had received a direction from Mumbai that Rs 500/= was to be paid to me immediately . In fact Actor Shyam had passed on this direction. I believe my friend and actor Shyam had come to know about my financial Problems .I was paid 500 rupees by Tehseen Pictures and tears welled up in my eyes . After Partition , Shyam once came to Amritsar for promotion of his film. He also paid a visit to Lahore . I rushed to meet him. He was in Lahore , which had turned thousands of miles distant from Amritsar . And Shyam also visited Heera Mandi along with his friends . Shyaam was a lover of beauty. I believe death must be beautiful else Shyaam would have never died . ”
I end this 

( Autar Mota )

Autar Mota's photo.Autar Mota's photo.

Creative Commons License

CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

Sunday, October 4, 2015




Recurring floods , famines , cholera epidemics  and lack of opportunities   drove many kashmiris towards Plains of the country  since early years of   nineteenth  century  . though some trickle had started much earlier. Amritsar, Ludhiana , Sialkot and Lahore   remained the  preferred Destination of these migrant  kashmiris.  Again after  Maharaja Ranjit Singh invited  shawl weavers and kashmiri Artisans  to Punjab, another group of people from kashmir migrated out and   settled   in Ludhiana  and Amritsar for development crafts and    Shawl Industry . As time passed , this group ensured education of their children who eventually  moved to various Jobs and vocations . From amongst this group of kashmiris , Punjab had some proud nationalists who were at the forefront of country's freedom movement . This group also produced some  reputed Lawyers , Poets , Playwrights , writers  and even wrestlers of world  renown. Amritsar remained a favourite destination of and concentration of kashmiris . Even Shamas Fawuir, the tallest Sufi poet from kashmir,   had also moved to Amritsar for some years but decided to return to his native place . Agha Hashr kashmiri ( Playwright and poet ) too would  frequent Amritsar before partition.

Kashmiris who moved to Punjab were mostly  from Kulgam , Anantnaag , Shopian and other areas of south kashmir that used to be worst hit by floods and famines .And it is believed that Wrestlers of kashmiri origin belonged to a family tree that had migrated from  Anantnaag district .   These Butts, Mirs, Dars, and Lones moved to many cities of Punjab for settlement and after partition of the country , they moved  mostly to Lahore,   which city ,  owes its special cuisine   to this sect of kashmiris
Apart from Sufi Tabassum ( Urdu  poet , scholar and Translator  ), Sadat Hassan Mantoo ( Noted short story writer of the subcontinent  ) ,  Saif Ud Din Kitchloo ( Veteran Congress leader who opposed creation of Pakistan ) , Nawaz Sharif Butt ( Present Prime Minister of Pakistan ),  Abdul Majid ( Co founder of communist party of India at Tashkant in 1925 ) ,Amritsar was also home to   some prominent  World Wrestlers of kashmiri origin .And one such Wrestler  named Ghulam Mohd Butt Aka Ghulam Bux aka GAMA Pahalwan , rose to become world wrestling champion  or Rustam E Zamaana . He  was an illustrious son of  another noted wrestler Aziz Butt or Aziz Bux Aka Aziza Pahalwaan. And then Imam Bux Pahalwaan, Ida Pahalwaan , Azam Pahalwan, Aslam Pahalwaan , Akram Pahalwaan ,  Hamida Pahalwaan  , Hassu and Goga Pahalwaans  also  belonged to  this  kashmiri family Tree   from Amritsar.

As per Dr Amandeep a research scholar from Guru Nanak university Amritsar :-
“There is a new dimension to anti colonial consciousness among Kashmiris living in Amritsar just before the partition of the country . The notable amongst them are Abdul Salam Rafiqi, Dr Saifuddin Kitchloo and Abdul Majid. Abdul Majid, a Kashmiri was one of the founders of the communist party of India in Tashkent in 1925. Dr Kitchloo, the hero who inspired struggle against Rowlatt Act, went on to play a leading role in Indian National Congress movement..In 1891 the number of Kashmiri Muslims in Amritsar was 21, 261. It was one-third of the total Muslim population and one-sixth of the total population of Amritsar. By the last decade of the ninetenth century a few Kashmiri families had become rich enough to influence the politics of the Amritsar city. Among these families were Shaikh Ahmad Sadiq, chairman of the Amritsar Muncipal Committee, Shaikh Sadiq Hasan, a member of the Central Legislative and Punjab Legislative Assembly for Amritsar, Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq, a member of Punjab Legislative Council from Amritsar.The strongest opposition to Rowlatt Act passed by British Rulers in march 1891 was organised and led by Dr Saif Ud Din Kitchloo in entire Punjab.  With Satyapal, Dr Kitchloo surcharged the people of Amritsar emotionally on Ram Naumi day i.e. 9 April. For the first time in the history of Amritsar, the Muslims had joined the traditional Hindu festival. It was the Hindu-Muslim unity which was disturbing for the authorities. Dr Satyapal and Kitchloo were taken into custody and deported to Dharamsala. The move proved self-defeating. "


 The story of  GHULAM  MOHD  BUTT  OR GAMA PAHALWAAN ( 1882-1960 )  would be incomplete without mentioning the name of  Raja Bhawani Singh of Datia state ( presently In MP ).Raja Bhawani singh in particular patronized GAMA's father  Aziz Bux Butt , a well known wrestler of his time . Unfortunately Aziz Bux Butt died when Gama was too young and it was his maternal uncle Ida Pahalwan who took GAMA under his care and trained him initially .Apart from Ida Pahalwan , GAMA also received initial training from his uncle Buta Pahalwan. Buta was also from a kashmiri family of Amritsar .It may be mentioned over here that Raja Bhawani Singh Ordered closure of all  offices for a week including Courts when Aziz Mohd Butt or Aziz Bux Pahalwan ( father of GAMA ) died suddenly   .

Barkat Ali who has written a brief Biography on GAMA informs us ,

“Aziz Baksh’s death left a deep impression on his young son. Gama was, in fact, not told of his father’s death for almost a year, during which time he is said to have gone searching for him through the neighborhood lanes where he and his extended family lived, following the routes he had travelled while being carried on his father’s shoulders in hopes of meeting him along the way or finding him at a friend or relative’s house. Being regularly  told that his father wanted him to become the world’s greatest wrestler, Young GAMA  assured his trainers that he shall do so by hard work and discipline . This also gave GAMA  a deeply rooted, driving ambition to be the best  that his father wanted him to be . That also made  10 year old child GAMA to win his first  Exercise competition  organized by Maharaja of Jodhpur . It was a competition of DANDS ( Push ups ) and BAITHAKS ( Free Squats ) participated by senior wrestlers from various states .“
GAMA’s mother also hailed from a family of kashmiri wrestlers of Amritsar . His biographers have described GAMA as " Simple , truthful , almost illiterate and a clear headed person who called a spade a spade."
Before 1947, GAMA won wrestling competitions at Gwalior, Bhopal, Tikamargh, Datia, Indore, Baroda, Amritsar, and Lahore . Around 1909 he gained recognition as Indian champion when he defeated his famous rival Gulam Mohiuddin( another well known wrestler of kashmiri origin ).And then in 1910,he pinned the mighty Rahim Sultaniwali in a wrestling bout at Allahabad. Rahim Sultaniwali was a renowned wrestler of Punjab who  belonged  to a kashmiri family from Gujranwala.
Renowned wrestling promoter R B Benjamin brought him to England in 1910 where he threw challenges to almost all wrestlers of the world . This tour was co sponsored by Sharat Kumar Mishra, the Bengali millionaire for whom it was a way of demonstrating the strength of Indian physical culture right in the heart of the British Empire . It was in England that he became a world wrestling icon. After defeating Raheem Bakshi Sultaniwalla ( Six feet 9’’tall ), Gama became a symbol of strength and masculinity in the entire subcontinent. But after defeating the greatest wrestler of his time, Stanislaus Zbyszko ( from Poland ), Gama became the world champion and the title of Rustam-e-Zamana was conferred on him. This feat he performed  when Maharaja of Patiala organised a wrestling competition between GAMA and his Polish Adversary . I shall add a little more on this famous Gama - Zbyszko    wrestling bout .

In  January 1928, Maharaja of Patiala arranged a Grand bout in Patiala that involved GAMA and his Polish opponent  Zbyszko. In fact a special stadium was erected at Patiala  to accommodate the spectators  . Before a 10000 strong crowd that included Maharaja of Bharatpur , Nawab of Bhopal ,  Senior British officials  like Harcourt Butler and  Leslie Scot ,Maharaja of Kashmir and Royals from Patiala family.  To the surprise of all , Gama threw Zbyszko to ground in flat 42 seconds and won the title . The crowds turned jubilant.  Even Maharaja of Patilala personally came down to embrace GAMA and gifted him his own Pearl  Necklace and a silver mace. . GAMA was also granted a annual stipend of 6000 rupees from Patiala Darbar. The Hindustan Times issue of 31st January 1928 carried  Headline as under..
Even Gandhi ji  made mention of GAMA’s  victory  as a contributory factor in creating Nationalistic feelings across the country  at that point of time .
When prince of wales visited Lahore in 1922, he personally witnessed a wrestling bout involving GAMA . So much was the guest pleased with GAMA’s style of wrestling that he offered  him thirty pounds and a silver mace .
GAMA defeated anybody and every body in wrestling bouts in India and abroad . From Rustam e Punjab he moved to become Rustam e Hind and finally Rustam e Zamaana.GAMA also defeated Jesse Paterson from Sweden in a professional bout before formally Retiring in 1952.

Gama also created a  record in weight lifting. In 1902,While in Baroda  for a wrestling Bout , GAMA lifted a stone weighing about 1200 Kgs  that was lying in Nazarbaug Palace Mandvi .This particular stone lies preserved in a Museum in Baroda with a Note with regard to its lifting by Great Gama . The stone was shifted inside the Museum with the  use of a  Hydraulic Machine . 

During his active period as wrestler , Gama was consuming twenty liters of milk, half a liter of clarified butter or what is known as Desi Ghee , about 2 kgs of Dry fruits and four kilograms of fresh fruit per day. In Jodhpur , he was under the supervision of his Guru and wrestler Madho Singh who had recommended this diet to him. GAMA was also fond of kashmiri YAKHNI. He was put on five hundred DAND and BAITHAKS and a rigorous two hour exercise schedule (that included weight lifting as well ) per day by his GURU.

GAMA is known for introducing DAND ( Push Ups ) and BAITHAK ( Free Squats ) for wrestlers . Even Bruce Lee copied GAMA’s style of DAND and BAITHAK and meticulous daily exercise schedule .
Renowned Indian Wrestler Dara Singh  ( 1928-2012) also adopted GAMA’s exercise  schedule , diet and DAND  BAITHAK  . And Dara Singh rose to become RUSTAM  E HIND . Dara singh moved to cinema in 1952 and could not focus on wrestling  alone .
 Paying grand tribute to him as a lovely human being , a prominent Journalist from England writes ,
“ He stood like a rock outside the colony of his Hindu neighbours, facing down a violent mob during Partition riots. That is how a wrestler should be ”

 Prof.Joseph S Alter  author of “ The Wrestler's Body: Identity and Ideology in North India” says,
“ Gama embodied strength and self-determination in the years when India was struggling for independence.”

According to Percy Longhurst, another wrestling journalist,

“The Indian system of training… has results beyond the development of great strength; it creates most remarkable powers of endurance while at the same time increasing agility. Gama, Imam Bux, Ahmed Bux – all when in action, impressed by the cat-like activity of their movements, the feline readiness with which their muscles responded to the demands of the moment, which is one of the attributes that make for the winning of falls.”

And GAMA’s son in law was none other than Dr.Hafiz  Butt the well known kashmiri physician of Lahore . And Mrs Kalsoom Butt or Kalsoom Nawaz sharif ( wife of Pakistan’s Present Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Butt ) is the  daughter of Dr Hafiz  Butt .

Life was not so easy for Ghulam Mohd Butt or GAMA PAHALWAN ( 1882-1960 ) after he migrated to Lahore ( Pakistan ) post partition . He found no patrons like Raja Bhawani singh of Datia or Raja Jaswant singh of Jodhpur or Maharaja of Patiala who patronized wrestlers .
He died in Lahore's  Mayo Hospital from multiple complications like Hypertension , Cardiac complications , Asthma , Arthritis and other ailments .

 After meeting  Gama for the last time in Mayo Hospital bed , Wrestling journalist , Walter Steinhilber wrote ,

"The chief physician led the way through what seemed miles of antiseptic reeking corridors - ward after ward. At last we were ushered into a cold, dark and dank cot-crowded room. And here, wrapped in a blanket, squatting on his high hospital bed, I found the 'Great Gama' in the flesh. A body that was ravaged by arthritis. "
During his illness , GAMA needed money badly for his treatment . Financial Support came from some mysterious source who was later identified as seth G D Birla ( Industrialist ) from India . Seth Birla also assured Gama of monthly pension . This gesture moistened the eyes of GAMA. This philanthropic gesture acted as a catalytic agent and  thereafter ,   Government of Pakistan also paid for his treatment  at Mayo hospital  . Seth  G D Birla was  a great Fan of GAMA.

It may be pertinent to mention that another wrestler who rose on the wrestling Horizon of the world along with GAMA was BHOLU PAHALWAN ( 1922-1985 ). Bholu also belonged to a Kashmiri family of renowned wrestlers from Amritsar .After 1947, he decided to move to Lahore . The real name of BHOLU PAHALWAN was Haji Manzoor Hussain  . Bholu was a nephew of great GAMA.

The legend of GAMA continues to  live in all the Wrestling AKHAARAAS  of the subcontinent.
( Autar Mota)

Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

Friday, October 2, 2015





"Jaayeingay kahaan soojhtaa nahin
Chal padde magar raasta nahin

Kyaa talaash hai kuchh pataa nahin
Buun rahein  hain dil Khwaab dum Ba dum.."

My simple English rendering of these great lines of late Kaifi Azmi goes as under ...

 " Where should we go ? Unable to decide .
Unable to find a   path ,still we set off for the journey.
What do we seek  ? We know nothing.
And  moment after moment ,
This heart keeps weaving  dreams  alone ....."

( Autar Mota  )
Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

Thursday, October 1, 2015



Salma Siddiqui
(Photo by Dr Liaqat Jafri Mumbai 2014)

My thanks to Prof. Liaqat Jafri from Jammu for giving me three issues of Urdu Magazine BE-LAAG.My interest in the Magazine is the lovely literary articles that Dr Liaqat Jafri writes in his capacity as Editor Gosha e Adab ( Editor Literary segment)
Read 2 issues only. One with a detailed interview of poet Nida Fazili and the September 2015 issue that has a wonderful interview of Salma Siddiiqui wife renowned Urdu writer late Krishen Chander(1914-1977). Both interviews done by Dr Jafri personally.

Kashmir comes up repeatedly in Krishen Chander's work. But he brings Poonch , Bafliaz and other areas also  in his stories . In fact he was born and brought up in Poonch  and wanted to die peacefully in his birth place..

As per his will , After his death in 1977 , A part of his  Ashes  ( Astiyaan ) were immersed in Poonch river with due official arrangements . As a matter of fact Wajahat Habib Ullah ( IAS ) , the then DC of the town  personally carried the Kalash of the Ashes for immersion in river Poonch . Again as per his will, a portion of his Ashes was  Buried inside the Fountain Garden in Poonch  town that has now been renamed as krishen Chander Park.


          ( First page  of the Article by Dr Liaqat Jafri in  urdu Magazine BE-LAAG with Dr Jafri's photo  )

Here i upload some excerpts from Dr Liaqat  Jafri's recent interview with Salma Siddiqui...

" Salma. Saari duniyaa ghoom liya mein ,Lekin Kashmir se achhaa kuchh bhi nahin"

Krishen Chander

"1947 ke baad ka zamaana dangon ka zamaana thhaa.Hindu Muslim munafarat apnay urooj par. Donon eik doosary ke khoon ke pyaase aur aissay mein Delhi ke eik Hotel " RAJDOOT" mein Zindagi ka risk le kar me aur krishen Din guzaar rahe thhay. Donon mazhab ke log hamaƤri talaash mein Thhay"

Salma Siddiqui.

"Agar surankote (near Poonch) mein Kissi sahib se zameen lease par le kar eik kachaa kotha tameer kiyaa jaaye, to iss ki laagat kyaa hogi.Mein Aakhri saans Poonch mein Lena chaahataa hoon"

Krishen Chander.

" Jenab me to athiest hoon.Kyaa Hindu kyaa Muslim meray Liye sab baraabar.Agar hain to sab mazhab achhay hain .Varnaa koyee bhi nahin.Mazhab to eik Hi hai INSAANIYAT."

Krishen Chander

" Inn Hi mulaaqaaton ke dauraan Eik martabaa Ali Sardar Jafri ke saamne krishen ne mujhe shaadi ke Liye kahaa. Salma agar tum inqaar karti ho to me tumhein Bahut barri sazaa doonga......Mera Kalam kabhi koyee. Tehreer nahin likhegaa "

Salma Siddiqui to Dr Liaqat Jafri.

" 23 November 2014 ko Naseer Ud Din shah ne apni theatre team ke saath Mumbai ke Prithvi Theatre mein "Poonch ke Jo Eik Shahar Thhaa" drama khelaa.Mujhe bhi poori industry ke saath dekhnay kaa ittefaq huva.Yeh vohi drama thha Jo uss ne 23 -24 November ko jashn e krishen Chander ke havaale se aap ki daawat par Jammu mein khelnaa thhaa."

Salma Siddiqui to Dr Liaqat Jafri.
          (A memorial dedicated to the  writer inside krishen Chander Park in Poonch town.  Photo Source ..BELAAG magazine  )

"Poonch Meray Liye Bahut hi khaas hai.khaas oss Liye ki yeh Lafz krishen ki zubaan se baar baar sunaa hai. Pehlay roz se jab me krishen ke saath thhi.Aur phir shaadi ke baad woh mujhe apni family ke saathh Poonch le gaye to mujhe woh jagah nihaayat pasand aayi. Khaas toar par mujhe Poonch ke havaale so Jo manzar Ab bhi Yaad hai woh vahaan ke Shahar ke beechon beech behnay vaala dariya. Mujhe paani aur dariya se Bahut Dar lagtaa thhaa lekin wahaan ja ke mujhe yeh lagaa ki dariya to Bahut mohabbat karnay vaali shai hai. Aur krishen Ji ka kyaa kahoon. Hum jab Poonch pahunchay to unhonay juun Hi apnay Poonch ke dariya ka kinaara chhuva to bagair kuchh Sochay samajhe kapday pehnay huve Hi dariya mein chhalaang lagaa di."

Salma Siddiqui to Dr Liaqat Jafri.

“ Dekho Liaqat , Bachay ki Vilaadat ke baaray Maa se ziyaada badaa Gawaah aur kaun ho saktaa hai ?  Krishen ji ki Paidaaish  Poonch ki hai. Krishen ke Vaalid Poonch ke uss waqt ke Dogra Maharaja ke Zaati Physician Thhay. Unn ko Bharatpur Rajasthaan se Khasoosi tor pe  Poonch bulaaya gayaa thhaa. Krishen ki Maa uss waqt Hamal Se thhi. Krishen Hamal mein Thhay. Ittefaaq se Maa ji ke rishtedaar bhi Poonch se thhay . Woh chaahati thhi ki yeh sab muamalaat Doctor sahib ki dekh rekh mein  Poonch mein hi tai pa jaayein .Issi liye woh bhi doctor sahib ke peechhe peechhe Poonch Aa pahunchi . Maa ji ne Mujhe khud yeh  theth poonchi zubaan mein kahaa hai “ Beshaq paida hoyaa si ithhay Poonch, ithhay Poonch , Hor kithhay ?”

Salma Siddiqui to Dr Liaqat Jafri.

(Autar Mota )

Creative Commons License

CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015




( Photo Autar Mota )

  To this photo , I am adding My short story " THE FINAL SAMASKAARA " . This story appeared in three parts on my Facebook Page . All the three parts are uploaded for the readers . To be read in continuity ….



When Shanta ji died of a sudden and massive heart attack , there was no one in the house . Pran Nath , her husband had gone for an evening walk. That day , Jammu was extremely hot and Humid . Walking back to his home , Pran Nath kept thinking ,

“ This is August and next month is September . That is the end of this Hell like season over here . I can withstand that hot and dry climate of June but not this irritating humidity of August . How many times shall you go under the shower ? How many times shall you change your sweat soaked clothes ?This is a real Hell for us .”

On his way back, he had bought two Ice creams for himself and Shanta ji and these were meant to be relished after the Dinner . Even when the ice creams showed signs of softening , he was tempted to enter into some discussion with Ram Krishen President Colony Welfare Association whom he met just near his house. They probably discussed some procedure for conducting Next election of the colony Welfare Association . After that he went to Bodh Raj’s chemist shop nearby and bought two strips of Arbital H for elevated Blood Pressure . Shanta ji and Pran Nath were diagnosed with mild Hypertension and had been put on medicine. In fact , It was Shanta ji , who had reminded him about buying of these tablets as they had no stock for their morning consumption.
Over with it , he straightway headed towards his house .

Ignorant about the calamity that was waiting for him at home, he pressed the door bell but there was no response . He pressed it again for a longer duration but there was again no response . He then dialed his landline number but no one picked up the receiver from the other side . It was something unusual as Shanta ji would normally be in lobby watching her favourite Aastha channel. Now he turned suspicious and called Aashu , his Neighbour’s son , whom he requested him to climb the boundary wall and open his main gate from inside .

Once inside the house, Pran Nath came to know as to what had befallen him. For him, Life had taken another turn suddenly and unexpectedly . . He visualized that this unfortunate development shall permanently affect his immediate and future life. Suddenly the ice cream , the BP tablets , Dinner , evening walks ,Colony elections and even his sleep meant nothing to him . He thought as if he lay buried under some debris that had suddenly come from a huge concrete wall .He also thought that he could come out of this debris by action and courage only. .

Sweating profusely , He sat under the ceiling fan and telephoned their domestic maid Kaanta , Ram Krishen (Colony president ) , his sister and brother in law and also Shanta ji’s brother settled in Delhi informing them about Shanta ji’s sudden Death. Thereafter he dialed Sanjay’s (his son) mobile number but the back message from the system informed that he was out of reach . Sanjay lived in Canada. He sent messages through SMS, VIBER , FACEBOOK and SKYPE to Sanjay asking him to speak back immediately in view of some grave exigency .

Kaanta and her son arrived first followed by Ram krishen . His sister and brother in law also joined later.

It was 9.30 PM and a hectic activity started in the house . While Pran Nath kept waiting for Sanjay’s call , Ram Krishen , Kaanta’s son and Pran Nath’s brother in law shifted all the furniture from the drawing room and the Lobby into the lawn. Ram krishen was directing and helping in this work . They also furnished both the rooms with simple carpets so that maximum number of Mourners that were expected to visit the house in the morning could sit . One room they prepared for the ladies and the other for Gents. Shanta ji’s body was made to lie upon open floor with a white sheet over it . An Earthenware oil lamp was kept burning near the body . Ram krishen brought a Bhagwat Geeta audio CD from his house that he inserted into the CD player and switched it on to Play mode . For Pran Nath , it was an unusual night . Instead of TV News , the Lobby resonated with SHLOKAS from BHAGWAT GEETA . That was needed to be done immediately.

Without informing any person , Ram Krishen went to Gian Singh’s Provision Store nearby and bought 15 Kgs of Potatoes , 5 Kgs of P Mark Mustard oil ,5Kgs of Pulses , 50 Kg Gunny Bag of Sharbati rice ,5 Bottles of Rooh Afza , 5 Kgs of sugar , 10 kgs of Atta and some spices . Neither Gian Singh asked for the money nor Ram krishen paid it as Gian singh had come to know what had happened . He then telephoned his son sonu and told him,

“ Open our store room . There are 5 filled Gas Cylinders . Bring one HP cylinder over here and take the empty one from this place . I have kept the empty gas cylinder near the main gate . “

After that Ramkrishen said to Pran Nath,

“ What about the Cremation now ? It is hot and extremely humid. You understand . Whatever had to happen has happened , now we have to send her off in a proper manner enumerated by Shastras . Shall I fix up with a Guru Ji ? We better go for a contract for all the days . I mean the cremation , immersion of Ashes ,10th day , 11th day and 12th day Samaskaara . Did Sanjay ji call back. ? “

And at that moment , Sanjay called from Canada . Pran Nath informed him about what had happened so suddenly. He also advised him to fly immediately for the cremation and other rituals. Sanjay informed his father that he shall call back after checking up everything.

Sanjay was the lone child of Pran Nath and Shanta ji. He had been living in Canada for the last 15 years . Initially he had moved out of India for a job in Singapore But finally he migrated to Canada and settled over there along with his family. His wife was a teacher in a Canadian Government school and they had two children .

After so many years , Sanjay was planning to Visit Jammu in November to celebrate DEEWALI with his parents . He had already booked tickets for himself and his family who were also travelling with him . He had conveyed this to his mother in July and since then Shanta Ji had been busy buying something or the other for the her son or his family .

A Month before her death Shanta ji had told Pran Nath ,

“ Find a day and come with me to Khajuria Jewellers at Jain Bazar . Nirmala ji told me that he is a reasonable Gold smith. I want to Exchange some old jewellery . Don’t worry , No fresh buying . I want to give all my gold to Sanjay’s family in a graceful manner .This GUNUS ( Heavy snake shaped Gold Karra ), two chains , three rings and two Katchhakars ( Golden Bangles ) that I have kept in locker are of no use . What for do I need all this . When I die , you may not be able to deal with it . I shall keep a small Dejjhur , one chain that Lakshmi’s parents have gifted to me , one ring and one Katchhakar ( Bangle ) for my use . After my death , handover the Golden chain to Lakshmi and donate the Rest to the Shamshaan Ghat committee. This president has been collecting donation every month for Shamshaan Ghaat( Cremation Ground ) . It needs funds . “

Pran Nath had felt bad with this conversation but had accompanied Shanta ji to Khajuria jewelers . Shanta ji had exchanged her old jewellery and bought sleek Earrings for kittu ( her grand daughter ) , a gold chain for Ranil her grandson and small almond shaped Dejhurr for Lakshmi ( Her daughter in law ). She had also given her own Pashmeena Saree to Ghulam Nabi Dar, a shawl trader known to them for the last 30 Years . Ghulam Nabi Dar also kept visiting them in Jammu after the widespread militancy forced them to move out from Kashmir valley . Shanta ji trusted Ghulam Nabi like her own brother who in turn had made two beautiful shawls of her old Pashmeena Saree. These maroon coloured shawls were embroidered with Tila Thread ( Golden thread ) . Shanta ji wanted to give both the shawls to Lakshmi. For Sanjay , she had bought a Gent’s Dussa ( Shaw Type Blanket ) from Ghulam Nabi . She had about twenty thousand rupees with her that she saved from the money that Pran Nath gave her for monthly Kitchen expenses . This money she had spent on all on these purchases .

Apart from that ,she would tell Pran Nath everyday to bring one thing or the other which she carefully stored in their Refrigerator . This one thing or the other included , Almond kernels , Varimuth ( Black beans consumed by Kashmiris ) and even Rice powder .

Just some days before her death , Pran Nath had asked her

“What for have you bought these Pashmeena shawls and jewellery for children ? What is the use to them at this moment ? . “

To this she had replied ..

“ Who knows I may not live to see Ranil’s Mekhla ( Yageopavit or Sacred Thread ceremony ) or Kittu’s Marriage ? And then what is the purpose of keeping all this in locker when it is of no use to me . You are also paying rent for the locker. This is August now only September and October are left . November they shall be here. I shall keep them in a Box inside this house only . Where do I go ? . I shall hand over this Amaanat to Lakshmi. And then You are a pensioner now . How much can you pay during these days of inflation ? Our medicines , Telephone Bills , Electric Bill , Grocery , Maid’s salary , Milk Seller’s Monthly Bill, Vegetables , Fruits , Gardener’s salary, Petrol expenses and so many sudden expenditures. At least let me support you indirectly. O God! I shall be seeing my grand children after 5 years now. .Kittu must have grown taller now. And this naughty Ranil , I am told , uses a Bicycle now ? I am worried for his slim physique that I saw in the photo ? Let him stay with me for 10 days only, I shall feed him daily with Rogan Josh , Yakhni , Fish and tasty dishes. His father too had problems with Eggs and milk . . I have also told Gh Nabi to bring one Box of special Ambri apples from Kashmir before Deewali. I shall give them fresh juice every day . Let them be here and I shall see what best I can cook for them. God ! If they speak to me in English , how shall I understand what they want . I am sure they must be conversing in Kashmiri . After all they are the Children of a father who himself is so rich in Sanaskaars and family values . “

It was 11.30 PM and Pran Nath’s mobile started ringing. Sanjay was on the line…
( …. continued ……)

( Autar Mota )



“ Daddy , I have booked my tickets and I shall be leaving by early morning flight from Ottawa . I should be in India day after tomorrow. I have a ticket for a 2.30 PM flight from New Delhi to jammu and I am told that this is the last flight . And thereafter , From New Delhi , there are no flights to Jammu . Let me see what best can be done to reach Jammu as early as possible . Sushil Mahajan , My friend who resides at Trikuta Nagar Jammu , is coming to you . The rest , he shall talk to you in detail . I have sought his assistance till I join you . Courage Dad , You are a Great Man and I know it.”

The moment Sanjay’s call was over , Pran Nath received a call from Shanta ji’s brother in Delhi . He informed that he had already engaged a taxi and was about to Leave along with his wife. This was followed by a call from Sushil Mahajan (Sanjay’s School friend ). Sushil and his brother were on their way to Pran Nath’s house. Sushil also informed him .

“ Daddy ji , You may be knowing how distant this Canada is from Jammu . Last time I had a worst experience when i went to Canada and stayed with Sanjay. So tiring a journey and then you are not sure about the arrival time of these flights . We have fifty fifty chances of Sanjay making it to Jammu day after tomorrow before 4 PM. Let us not take a risk and put all to inconvenience .As discussed in detail with sanjay , We need to keep Aunty in Mortuary for the final rites . Jammu is extremely hot and humid and then we are not sure about exact time of cremation . I am coming with the Mortuary Van and once Sanjay arrives , we shall bring the body in half an hour . Though this is very late time to open mortuary but I have already sounded the Mortuary caretaker .I believe I am clear. “
That was something Pran Nath never expected . But then he had no time to analyse merits and demerits of this decision. During the periods of such grave crisis , one tends to go by the natural flow of events . He also decided to go by Sushil Mahajan’s suggestion that looked practical and supportive at that moment.

When Ram krishen heard it , he turned serious and said ,

“Is she a stranger suddenly that she cannot be kept in this house ?That means the poor lady is to be kept in Cold storage like a vegetable or perishable commodity . This is not our Sanatan Dharma . This is not the proper way to conduct Final Samaskaara. This is not enumerated in our sacred Texts and Shastras .We kashmiri Pandits do not go by these short cuts . Who will keep her on the Grass mat in the Mortuary ? Her body needs to be kept facing particular directions ? Who shall recite Bhagwat Geeta in the Mortuary for her ? Who will keep the earthen lamp burning in the mortuary ? We can keep her on Ice slabs if we have necessarily to wait for Sanjay . You should have told Sanjay that you are performing the Final Samaskaara tomorrow and he could have joined us for the 10th day kriya . It is not proper to shift a Dead body from the house and then again bring it back . After all you are dealing with a soul that has yet to attain salvation through the Kriya Karma . “

Pran Nath heard every word that Ram krishen spoke. These words appeared reasonable to him. But he had no desire to convey his agreement or disagreement on the issue . May be he had stopped applying merits and demerits to suggestions at that moment . Whatever came first , he would have agreed . Now that he had already given his consent to Sushil Mahajan , he could not retract .
To Ram krishen he simply said ,

“ Ram krishen ji I fully agree with you. But Shanta ji was not my wife alone . She was Sanjay’s mother also. Let Sanjay decide what is best . I am here to facilitate his decision 
. ”
“ I understand . I get it. You are right and this is not the time for all this discussion. Fine , It is your family decision. I believe there is a vehicle at the gate . Let me see . It must be the mortuary van” so saying , Ram krishen came to the main gate of the house .

Sushil Mahajan and his brother had come with the Van. Sushil Mahajan’s brother , Ram Krishen , kaanta ‘s son and Pran Nath’s brother in law carefully lifted Shanta Ji’s body and placed it inside the Metallic trolley of the Morturay van. In the stillness of that night , the Van sped towards temporary parking place of Shanta ji .

It was 12.30 now. Ramkrishen sought permission to leave and assured to come in the morning . Pran Nath also asked Kaanta and her son to take rest and requested them to come in the morning . They lived near by.He then told his sister and brother in law to take rest inside his bed room. His sister Insisted that he should have something . She opened the refrigerator and saw apples and a papaya inside .Pran Nath said ,

“ Bengaashi ( His sister’s name ) , I don’t feel like eating. Do I need to seek permission? As and when I feel like eating , I shall have it myself. Please take rest . It shall be a hectic day tomorrow . I shall sleep here in the Lobby Bed “

After Bengaashi slept, for the first time in his life , Pran Nath felt something missing in the house . For the first time in his life , he felt that the house he had built with so much attention and care may prove a burden now.

“ Should I sell the house and move to Canada to stay with Sanjay’s family ? Why Not ? Sanjay will be more than happy with this decision. Children too shall feel happy. May be Lakshmi may not like this decision; But then she will never express it openly . I think I should not look negatively on this issue . She has always been nice to me . No! No! I should not sell the house . That would be the most foolish decision , if, at any point of time , I decide to come back . where to go then ? The house needs to be protected as a memorial of Shanta ji and not to be sold even if I stay anywhere . And then what shall I do over there . Who knows me in Canada ? Even if Lakshmi has no problem with my presence in her family , I may feel cut off at this stage of life . Can i ask freely for my repeated Tea cups , Choice dishes and other things from Lakshmi the way I used to ask from Shanta ji ? A Women may adjust in a joint family after the death of her husband but a man can not do so after the death of his wife . I believe everyone has these issues and i can’t be an exception. O God! Why do I think of these issues at this moment . Time shall take care of every thing.

And then these New concrete houses that we build , have a brief life span. Not like our old houses where families lived and flourished for centuries. At the most, these structures provide time bound utility to the generation that builds them. This too for a part period of their lives . Thereafter these structures turn sick even if regularly put to repairs and renovation. And Once children grow and leave for their professional courses and subsequent jobs , a whiff of loneliness starts spreading on these walls and floors . The noise , laughs and prattle that children create suddenly changes into silence that rules like a dictator . But then the woman in the house keeps the kitchen fire burning which actively engages the remaining inhabitants. May be that burning fire wards off loneliness and desperation in one way or the other. Who shall ask me to bring vegetables now ?
Who shall wait for me at the dining Table ? The feasts and fasts within this house are over now . Will Kaanta resume her work in this house ?
This woman Shanta ji , from an unknown family , a total stranger , came to my life 40 years back and became a major factor for unity and strength in this household. For me she knitted a compact circle of relatives and well wishers and nurtured this field with her attention , affection and care .
Does a wife become mother finally ? I believe so .

She had been looking after me like my mother Raajrani . Cooking for me, washing my clothes , looking after me in my sickness and then standing like a rock to protect me from any Emotional onslaught.

If Sanjay has decided to come all the way from Canada , it is because of the sanskaars which his mother passed on to him. What lay there in me for him to get inspired ? I have possibly been careless to my family . Wasn’t I more bothered about my office and bosses ? O God ! How mean of me . ”
His mind was in a great whirlpool of thoughts. These thoughts kept flooding his mind . He felt restless but did not feel like smoking .

“ let this flood wash me fresh . Let this tide sweep my being .I should not suppress it by smoking .” he thought this as he opened the door of the refrigerator to drink water .

He then tiptoed to his bed room to close the door that had been kept open . Bengaashi was snoring while his brother in law was in deep sleep .

“ Doesn’t he get disturbed ? Does familiar noise work like soft jingle bells that could lull you to sleep ? He must have slept first and thereafter Bengaashi must have started snoring . This man is careless about this sister of mine . I am told that this snoring is medically treatable . There must be some cause for this condition . O! Why do I think on these issues at this moment ? For me , there are thousands of issues that shall surface as more critical now . “

Thinking so ,he felt confused .

Outside his house , nothing but dead silence prevailed . A stray Dog bark or a distant vehicle horn tore the stillness of this unusual night for Pran Nath . It was 1 o’clock now. This was the time when Shanta ji would generally get up from her sleep to have a glass of water. She would invariably pull up the white sheet over Pran Nath’s body so as to cover it completely. Pran Nath had a bad habit of changing poses in sleep and inadvertently throwing the white sheet away from his body. She would also adjust the Fan regulator keeping it one step below the top speed at that time of the night. Some times she would say to her husband ..

“ Treish Maa Tcheiyiv ? Would you like to have water ?”

Feeling restless ,Pran Nath went inside the kitchen and saw that Shanta ji had kept two vegetable Bowls near the Microwave . She had cooked Bamatchoonth Ta Waangun (Brinjals and Quince fruit ) and Daal Nadur ( Moong Dal with Lotus stems ) . The knob of the rice cooker had come to warm position automatically after the rice got well cooked inside . He switched off the power supply and kept the vegetable bowls inside the refrigerator. He was undecided as to how he should deal with the cooked rice at that moment .

Thereafter he went to the roof top and found that the water in the overhead supply tanks was almost at bottom level.

“ We need the water in the house . Many people are likely to visit wash rooms tomorrow. I must lift it this very moment from the underground storage tank. This electric supply is also not reliable in Jammu . And then this Electric Motor is so noiseless and powerful . Just 45 Minutes more and i shall take some rest ” He said to himself.

As he stood on the roof watching the water filling the upper supply tank, he looked at the small Chinar tree that shanta ji had planted in their lawn. The tree had poor growth but looked pretty green and magnificent . Such trees may survive in alien lands but they grow and flourish in their native areas only .Shanta Ji knew this simple fact but she was fond of these Chinar trees. She had paid three hundred rupees to the gardener for this Chinar sapling. The Guava tree was full of ripe Guavas . The marigolds in the flower beds below looked sullen in moonlight .Shanta ji would be after the their Gardener for proper care and of flower beds .Though the Gardener’s salary was just 200 rupees per month , he took about 600 rupees extra every month from Shanta ji for the flower saplings , Manures and insect sprays that he got for the lawn . Every day Shanta ji would pluck three or four Marigold flowers for her morning Pooja.

“ Shall this chinar , Guava tree and these marigold flowers Go waste now ?Unlike the wild vegetation, these Garden plants grow under the care and attention of a human being only ? ”

After coming down from the roof top, Pran Nath opened the drawer of the Lobby Almirah to look for the family Album for a suitable photograph of Shanta ji. He also decided to prepare a draft of the Obituary intimation to be got published in the News paper .As he leafed through the album pages , every photograph came alive with connected event . Shanta ji as bride, Birth of sanjay , Sanjay’s Yageopavit , sanjay's marriage , Shanta Ji Dancing in Sanjay’s Mehndiraat , Shanta Ji with sanjay’s family and So many marriages of close relations that Shanta ji had attended . This Album leafing had some relieving effect on him.

When he got up , it was 4.30 AM . Life had just woken up in Jammu . The vegetable sellers had started carrying their loads to the wholesale Mandis of the city . Horse driven Carts, Pickup Vans , Auto rickshaws were speeding through the well lit vacant roads . For him , it was a different morning. Noiseless and silent . But very shortly , the noise of the Mourners was about to crack the stillness of his house . He was restless but had to wait .
( ……. continued … )

( Autar Mota )



At 8 AM Shanta ji’s brother and his wife arrived from Delhi . They declared their presence by Mournful Shrieks the moment they stepped inside Pran Nath’s the house . Bengaashi moved forward to console Sheela ( wife of Shanta Ji’s brother ). Shanta Ji’s Brother also cried ,

“ Ye kossa Traeth Peyyii Aessi ? Why has this lightning struck us ?”

While Pran Nath was narrating to them how suddenly it all happened , kaanta and her son arrived and hurried towards the Kitchen. Bengaashi guided them as to how and what they should do . Bengaashi also advised Pran Nath to take his bath and sit in the room prepared for the Male mourners who were expected to pour in shortly . She also gave similar advice to Shanta ji’s brother and his wife sheela .

Groups of mourners kept visiting Pran Nath right from the morning to express their condolences . Relatives , Neighbours , Friends and acquaintances poured into the rooms prepared for mourners . Male Shoes and ladies sandals kept outside at the room entry directed the mourners to respective rooms . The mourners would Sit in silence for some time and then pick up some communication threads .

Ram Krishen also sat close by for the whole day . Many times , he would give his final Punch lines in these discussions. …

“ Yi Guv Mahraa Mahaa Kaal . Baakaai Gayyii Bahaan’a . Vaenn Chha Heimatt Heann.Yi Chhuv Na Vuchhaan Raathh Ha Saa ardaah Vuhur Jawaan Guvv Matadoruss Tal . Garrie draav Tutionuss.Traeth Tchheinin Maaliss ta Maaejji “

“ This is Mahaa-kaal sir .The rest are causes . Now one has to be courageous. Don’t you know yesterday’s Matador accident that killed a young boy of 18 years. The poor boy had gone for his Tuition classes . See what a tragedy befell his parents “

Some times one could misunderstand these mourners . They behaved more like gossip mongers than real sympathizers .Once a mourner settled with initial expression of sorrow and sympathy , he would not hesitate to start a discussion on current Political situation or newspaper headlines .One by one these mourners would seek permission to leave while others kept entering . Some went closer to Pran Nath seeking to know if he needed any specific help. Some sought to know the date and place for performing of 10th Day ritual .

Kaanta”s son kept serving cold water and Rooh Afza drinks to all .Two Pedestal fans were also placed inside the rooms to keep them airy and cool.

It was 2 PM now and the mourners had left leaving Pran Nath’s family alone. Bengaashi immediately asked kaanta to start serving lunch . She told her ,

“ Balaai lajjiss Baisahabuss (Pran Nath ) Yu Chhu Raata Pyaathaa Faakaai . Zinda Zuvuss chhaa Kenh Vaataanaavun. Karivv Jal jal. Pakaan Aasun “

“ It pains me to see Baisahab ( Pran Nath ). He has not eaten anything since yesterday. To Live something has to be eaten . Finish up with this lunch business now . People must be coming ’

Reluctantly , everybody ate simple Rice and Daal that Kaanta had prepared after washing all the utensils and collecting fresh water from the PHE supply tap.

Ram Krishen also went to his house nearby to have lunch with his family .After he returned , he found Pran Nath fast asleep in the room. Pran Nath had probably felt a little comfortable with the food that he had after almost 24 hours .Ram Krishen did not disturb him but went to lobby where other family members were taking their meals while Kaanta and her son were serving them . Ram Krishen then turned towards Bengaashi ,

“ What are the children doing ?”

“ Seema ( Daughter) is married and settled in London while Abhishek ( Son ) is serving in IBM Bangaluru . Now my worry is only His marriage and then we plan to go to Haridwar . We have bought a one room Flat over there. It is exactly on the banks of river Ganga . May be just 2 kms away from Har Ki Pauri “

“ What are your children doing ?”

“ I have already married my Daughter and she is settled in Ghaziabad with her husband who is Manager in a Private company . They have a parental house and he is the only child . Sonu , my son has completed BE from Pune and was serving with TCS at Mumbai. He resigned from the job and has appeared in some competitive Examination . These children know better what they have to do. He says that he has to do some Masters . I do not know what is that .His mother is so happy to see him around . Left to me , I would like him to take up some employment in the State Government or go for KAS so that he could remain nearby .His mother is a sugar patient and I have also retired now . I would like him to get married as early as possible and settle with his own family. This house and this New car that I bought can at least be put to some use if he is around. He does not discuss his future career nor do I insist . I am happy that he is with us . ”

“ Very Social and affectionate like his father . He has come three four times since morning for help and support to us “ Added Bengaashi .

Some male mourners then entered the room. Ram krishen rushed to awaken Pran Nath.It was hot and Humid . Bengaashi asked kaanta to serve the mourners cold water and Rooh Afza Drinks .Thereafter she advised Kaanta and her son to eat while she went to the room where lady mourners were expected to arrive .

The lady mourners had a different method of expressing their grief. Some wept , others cried loudly some just took out their Handkerchiefs and started wiping their dry eyes and sighing and making sad facial expressions . They discussed Lakshmi and her parents who resided in Singapore .
Some ladies said,

“ Lakshmi should have come with her husband . After all Shanta ji was her mother in law .”

Some women also discussed the mode , method and suitable day for Chhallun (washing clothes after death in the family ) , Hontch ( Ashotch or uncleanness created by death ) , Punn-Daav ( Symbolic Thread to be tied to ears by ladies after death in the family ) , Ritch Vaar ( Good day during mourning period ), Teel Dyunn ( Deep Daan ritual after death in the family ), Maasvaar ( Monthly ritual after the death ) , Shadd’moss ( six monthly ritual after the death ),
Tarpan Ritual and so many other rituals of Kashmiri
Pandits .

As and when any close relation of the would enter the ladies room , the women in mourning would start symbolic expression of grief till the incoming mourner settled down .
The rooms were busy with mourners for the full day . Pran Nath had no time to go to washroom or toilet. The unending stream of mourners kept him tied to a place in the room for almost full day .
Next day there was a crowd of mourners . People expected Sanjay to arrive and Samskaara to be performed . That made everyone to visit the family. Men had to sit outside open chairs as the room for male mourners was packed to capacity .

It was at 1 PM next day when Pran Nath received a call from Sanjay . Sanjay had reached Delhi and was waiting to board his Jammu flight . After sanjay ‘s call. Pran Nath received a call from Sushil Mahajan . Sushil probably had a detailed discussion with Sanjay the moment he landed in Delhi .

“ Daddy ji , Sanjay shall be in the house at 4.45 PM maximum. So you be prepared for that . I am coming at 4.00 PM along with the body and Shastri Ji . We shall be performing Anteshti ( Cremation ) Samaskaara by Vedic method as Sanjay shall be here only for five days .I have also talked to Shastri Ji from Arya Samaj. My brother shall be bringing him to your house at about 3 PM along with all the requisite SAMAGRI ( items needed for the Cremation). He shall also bring loose Fresh flowers and some garlands . You just get the Wooden Bier collected from the Cremation Ground near your house . Leave the rest to me. I also need to speak to Your neighbor Ram krishen Ji, if possible.”

Ram krishen also spoke to Sushil Mahajan and carefully listened to all that he said. The moment he dropped Sushil Mahajan’s call , he turned to Pran nath ,

“ So we are not performing the final Samskaara by Sanatan Dharma way or by Our age old customs . He has already decided to conduct the cremation by Arya Samaj way. Just Four days and all is over . He will do Cremation today followed by immersion of ashes tomorrow and then a Hawan and Shanti Paath on fourth day. That is all. No Pind Daan rituals . No Shraada . No 10th day , 11th day and 12th day . What about the Maasvaars and other rituals? Will her soul get peace and liberation by these short cuts ? How time has changed for us . Now we are going for the Uthaala and Rasam Pagri . So let me go to the temple and get the Bier. “

It was sharp 3 PM when Sushil Mahajan’s brother brought Shastri ji from Arya Samaj along with the requisite Samagri ( items needed for cremation ) and flowers . Ram krishen had already brought the Bier and out of sheer curiosity, he opened the SAMAGRI bag. He was surprised to find a Desi ghee tin of 5 kgs along with about 1 Kg of sandal wood sticks and dry fruits .Before he could say anything , Shastri Ji from Arya Samaj requested  every body present to come closer and listen to him just for five minutes. And then Shastri ji said,

“ Have you decided to perform Anteshti by Arya Samaj method ? There should be no controversy or doubt over it as most of the kashmiri Pandits think that the Samaskaara ( Ritual ) performed by Arya Samaj Methd is not as per Sanatan Dharma and as such have some misgivings about it .I need to clarify this to all of you so that you understand things in proper perspective.
As per our ancient Texts or Vedas we need to perform 16 Samaskaaras . These arte GARBHDAAN ( performed for the continuation of human race on the planet ), PUNSAVAN ( performed after Pregnancy for the physical growth of the child), SIMANTONNAYAN ( performed after 6th months of pregnancy for the mental growth of the child ), JATKARAM ( performed to welcome the child to the family), NAMKARAN ( performed to give the child a suitable name ), NISHAKARMAN( performed when the child is of four months . The child is taken out Ji of the house and given exposure to nature ) , ANNA PRAASHAN ( offering first solid food to the child ), MUNDAN ( shaving the head of the child ), KARNAVEDH (Piercing lower ear lobes of the child ), UPANAYAN ( Yageopavit or janew or sacred thread ceremony ), VIDYA AARAMBH ( starting the education of the child ) SAMAVARTAN ( preparing the child to shoulder responsibility independently ), VIVAAH ( marriage ), VAANPRASTH( passing on family responsibility to children . this is done after the age of fifty ), SANYAASA ( withdrawing from family life and shifting to self realization and meditation) and finally ANTESHTI ( The last and final samaskaara performed at death )
ANTESHTI is the last and most important Samaskaara performed so that the five elements that this Human body is composed of return to their origin while the soul remains immortal.
Our Vedic Samaj believes in performing the cremation in a proper way like a HOMA to purify any impurity created by the death . That is why we use pure Items like GHEE and SANDAL WOOD . Many kashmiri pundits are surprised when I perform Anteshti by Vedic way. We Arya samajis collect the ashes next day for immersion in a river . This is followed by a HOMA on fourth day inside the house wherein  VEDIC Mantras are recited . Nothing after the Shanti-Paath is over. You may feed poor and destitute on that day and start your normal activity . We do not perform Pinda Daan etc. But Arya Samaj believes that if some one meant so much to us , We should not forget him altogether . Accordingly , once in a year , a day is reserved for the ancestors and a Homa is again performed on that day with recitation of VEDIC Mantras . Arya samaaj believes in cherishing the memory of the deceased rather than suffering in his memory both physically and financially . This is how our saints and sages performed the final Samaskaara . Why are kashmiri Pundits not accepting it when their society direly needs it. They are scattered all over within the country and outside it as well. Even one family is scattered . Children do not live with their parents . Your children rush from various corners of the globe for this final Samaskaara . Can they leave their work for 15 days ? I am not against the way you do your rituals . After all these are being done as per SANTAN DHARMA .But this method of performing rituals will vanish with this generation. So do you agree to my performing the ANTESHTI by Arya samaj way over here ?”

Every one was impressed with this lecture of Shastri ji. Pran Nath nodded his head in agreement.. Ram Krishen was silent .Ladies started side talks and then Shastri ji , sushil Mahajan’s brother and Ram krishen started decorating the funeral Bier with flowers and garlands .

Sushil Mahajan brought Shanta ji’s body from the Mortuary exactly at 4 PM and left for Air port to receive Sanjay.

Shanta ji’s body lay Stiff , cold and pale .The ladies gave it a bath with lukewarm water and kept reciting the Sanskrit shloka ..

“ Khshantavyo Meparaadha . Shiv Shiv Shiv Bho , Shri Mahadev Shambho “

Thereafter the women put the coffin over Shanta ji’s body after closing all the exit points like ears , nose , mouth , eyes and Urine and excreta etc .Bengaashi kept one golden finger ring with the body and removed rest of the gold ornaments delivering them to Pran Nath .
Sanjay and Sushil arrived at 5 PM. The August sun was still hot and humid . Sanjay was Under jetlag but kept erect and calm. He touched his mother’s feet and bowed in silence and moved away allowing shastri ji to finish .That was all he did. Ram krishen expected him weep or burst in emotions. At that moment ,Pran Nath felt tired and was possibly thinking

“Does death disconnect ? Is human relation linked with mind and not the Body ? Obviously A mind that no longer exists has no relations or links whatsoever .To reconnect with body alone is to invite terror and fright .”

Pran Nath ,Sheela and Bengaashi put a shawl over the Bier carrying Shanta ji . Pran Nath also put a shawl over the Bier that Ram Krishen had purchased and handed over confidentially to Bengaashi.

As they decided to lift the Bier ,Ram Krishen intervened and said ,

“ Shastri ji , Wait for 10 minutes . Let us perform the final Vishnu Astuti before we depart for cremation “

And then Ram Krishen made every one to recite Vishnu Astuti in sanskrit. Together they recited
“ jai Naryan Jai Purshotam
Jai Vaaman Kanssaare…
Udhar Maamsuresh Vinaashan
Patitoham Sansaare…
Goram Harmum narakiripo
keshav Kalmash Bhaaram
Maan Anukampaya Deenam Anaatham,
………….. Kuru Bhav Saagar Paaram ..
…………..Kuru Bhav Saagar Paaram“

Next day , A Notice in the newspaper informed every relation and family friends in Jammu about the Shanti Paath on 4th day .After the Shanti Paath was over , Sanjay had some time to talk to his father .

“ What do you plan daddy Now ? Are you satisfied with this Arya samaj ritual ? In case not , I have no issue if you go for 10th day and all other rituals but I have to leave day after tomorrow. I have some official commitments that need my presence . I shall be immediately transferring about 3000 Canadian Dollars which is about 1.50 Lakh Indian rupees in your account that you may need .Apart from that ,I would be happy to see you with us in Canada as soon as you can manage. I shall be worried about your welfare now. I have also told Sushil Mahajan for a Cashless Medical Insurance policy for you. He will himself do it and you need not pay him. I shall settle myself. That is very important. Please stop driving this Scooter now . Drive car only . Your reflexes are not as sharp as they used to be when we were kids and then this two wheeler is always risky. You must keep your activity schedule . I believe this woman Kaanta is ideal support . Let her continue . I shall fix up wither for cooking your Lunch and breakfast . Even if she charges 4000 rupees  per month , we have to go in for that . I may send you monthly about 400 Canadian dollars which is about 20000 Indian rupees . I believe that is fine . Bengaashi is also here and I think things shall get managed for some time . But I want you to come over to Canada finally.”

Pran Nath felt relieved with these words of affection and care . For the first time in his life , his son had talked so intimately with genuine concern . Ram krishen’s eyes were moist He felt like weeping. 

He felt like smoking at that moment . To himself he said ,

“These human Tears are a strange phenomenon. They trickle down more with sudden happiness than pain or grief . And how strange , this sudden happiness makes you to weep and smile at the same moment . “

About three months after Sanjay had left for Canada , I visited Pran Nath’s House with a prospective Tenant who was a Bank officer. Pran Nath had requested me for getting a suitable tenant ( for his house ) who would execute a lease agreement and who had a transferable government Job. I found Ram krishen in the house and he appeared in low spirits . He was perhaps discussing something serious with Pran Nath . Looking at me , he decided to leave and sought permission from Pran Nath . 

When he left , Pran Nath turned to me and said ,

“ Don’t you know Autar Ji what has happened ?

“ What has happened  ?”I said

“ This poor Ram Krishen also faces my fate now. His son Sonu left for Sweden in September . Sonu had cleared GRE with a very good rank and accordingly got admission in Masters course for two years on hundred Percent scholarship. This sudden development has totally unnerved poor Ram krishen . He was asking for Telephone Number of Arya Samaj Shastri Ji. He wants to write a will and mention Shastri ji as executor of the will . He is very serious to ensure that his FINAL SAMASKAARA is performed by Arya Samaaj Method only . ”

(……….. Concluded … Autar Mota )

CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Creative Commons LicenseBased on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.