Thursday, April 24, 2014



Photo Autar Mota

I am adding four lines of  Saint Kabir to this photo.


Gagan ki Aut Nissaana hai Bhai
Jin Laaga tin jaana hai bhai 
( Kabir )

 (Hidden away and ahead of the Sky is the target
Those who are struck , know it well.)


Jo deesay so to hai Naahee
Hai so Kahaa Na Jaahee

( Kabir )

What is seen can never be the truth
And what actually is can not be expressed .

( Autar Mota 24.04.2014 )

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 “ Kashmiri Afsaane or Anthology kashmiri short stories .”
ISBN 978-81-237-4176-5

Published By National Book Trust India
Nehru Bhawan ,
5 Institutional Area
Phase II,Vasant Kunj
New Delhi

Edited by Mohd Zamaan Azurda
Urdu Translation of Stories by Bashir Akhtar
Price Rs70/-

I purchased the Book recently from Book seller in CP New Delhi . This is the third print of the Book done in 2013 . The book has been initially published in 2004.

The Book almost covers all the leading names amongst kashmiri short story writers . The variety of kashmiri short stories included in the Book gives the readrer a grand peep into kashmiri society and culture . The writers included in the Book are Akhtar Mohi Ud din ,Amin Kamil , Autar Krishen Rehbar , Ghulam Rasool Santosh , Bansi Nirdosh ,Taj Begum Renzu ,Deepak Kaul , Dina Nath Naadim ( Jawaabi Card ),Rattan Lal Shant , Rasool Pampori , Som Nath Zutshi , Sham Lal Sadhu , Shams Ud din Shamim ,Sofi Gh. Mohd , Aziz Haroon , Ali Mohd Lone , Gh Nabi Baba , Gh Nabi Shakir , Farooq Masoodi , Mohd Zamaan Azurda , Noor Mohd Roshan,Hriday Kaul Bharti and Hari Krishen Kaul. 
I believe that short stories written by Umesh kaul , Shanker Raina, Gulshan Majeed, Ghulam Hassan Taskeen , Iqbal Faheem and many more  names should have also been in this collection . That would have been a Bonus and  a great variety for the reader . Nonetheless I salute the editor and the translator for this great effort .  My best wishes and special thanks  to the  translator  in particular (who himself happens to be a noted kashmiri writer ) for having done  a beautiful job . My  thanks to NBT India  also for making this  book available to readers  at a price that is unbelievable .

Friends who can read urdu, must read these stories . . I have also written to NBT India to publish the Book in  English and Hindi ( After  Translation )   for a vast section of readers ( Not familiar with Urdu ) in the country who continue to remain unfamiliar with the trend and style of contemporary kashmiri short story. 
Can you please join me in conveying similar feelings to Director National Book Trust India ?... Pl quote ISBN 978-81-237-4176-5….

( Autar Mota 24.04.2014 )

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Monday, April 21, 2014



  (Photographs  Autar Mota  April 2014)



When I heard this Kabir Bhajan in  its soulful rendering by  Pandit Kumar Gandharva , I was convinced that it was not merely a Farmer’s song  as generally believed . Apparently a  song that   advises a farmer to get up and  look after his farm , save rain water  as dark  Monsoon clouds were moving  fast from west and     rain was expected anytime.

 As I read the  lyrics repeatedly   , deeper and deeper  proved   interpretation of the lines of this verse .  Kabir’s  “GAGAN GHATA GEHRAANI   ”  or  “ The sky is Getting overcast with    black clouds ” is  a powerful combination of    words , symbols and the Philosophy of  Naam Jappa .  Words that convey the  swiftness with which  Life keeps  moving  . And then the  spin of the  Kaal Chakra ( Wheel of the Time )  throwing  up a lot of uncertainty .Anything  expected anytime . Shall time  wait for us to get up and  act ?  May be our inaction  allows many things to slip away and  go waste  . So  why not get up and   take care of our  field or farm.  There is an imperative need  to  Fence it . Allow protective creepers to grow around it  so that no Deer or tempting animal slips in .  Four guards too need to be kept properly  at four corners of the field  to ward off  unwanted intruders .  Frequent removal of weeds and wild growth shall keep us focused on the crop alone .And then the  sowing , harvesting and carrying the grains  back   home  is bound to  finally  complete  our  farming  assignment.   Isn’t kabir’s farming field comparable to our existence ?

The four guards that kabir repeatedly mentions in his various verses  are   the four stages of life explained in Hindu philosophy . These are  called "Ashramas" and every man is  ideally  expected to go  through each of these stages  .

The First Ashrama - "Brahmacharya" or the Student Stage. This is a period of formal education. It lasts until the age of 25, during which, the young male leaves home to stay with a guru and attain both spiritual and practical knowledge.

The Second Ashrama - "Grihastha" or the Householder Stage. This period begins when a man gets married, and undertakes the responsibility for earning a living and supporting his family. At this stage, Hinduism supports the pursuit of wealth (Artha) as a necessity .

The Third Ashrama – "Vanaprastha" or the renunciation of  all physical, material and sexual pleasures Stage. This stage of a man begins when his duty as a householder comes to an end: He has  grown up children who  have established lives of their own.

The Fourth Ashrama – "Sannyasa"Total devotion  to God. He is a sannyasi, he has no home, no other attachment; he has renounced all desires, fears and hopes, duties and responsibilities.

Hindus also consider life as fulfillment and harmonizing of  four main  motives  which are Kaama  ( Pleasure and desire ), Artha  ( Material well being ), Dharma ( Righteousness, duty and order) and Moksha ( spiritual Liberation and  salvation ).

Hinduism has traditionally regarded four basic aims of life. These are called “Purusharthas”,

Paanch sakhi or  Five  friends are always tempting us in every path .  Five senses and five enemies   create Maaya Jaal ( Cobweb of Illusions  ) or put  veil over our vision . Five enemies or thieves listed by kabir  repeatedly are  kaam ( Lust  ) , krodh ( anger ), lobh ( Greed ) , moh ( Attachmnt )  or Ahankar ( ego ).  He also favours exercise of strict control over five senses . These senses relate to  sight , hearing, smell,  taste  and touch . Kabir believes that these five  come to us   disguised  as friends  . According to him  Great  sages and learned men too could not keep them away.

Kabir also uses Deer symbolically in his verses . A deer is a demon like Ravana of Sri lanka  who appeared  in disguise to lure Sita .

 Kabir has also  used the  word  “ AVADHOOT ” repeatedly in his verses .  He has again used thIS word in the Bhajan under discussion. And  Avadhoot is not to be confused with word SAINT.
As I understand it , An avadhoot is a totally unattached person who is free from narrow sectarian needs  and vision . He has risen much higher in thought and deeds and in a way he looks like a child  to people around him. He has also crossed the time barrier and as such appears to be not conscious of  the  present world around him. He roams free from any bondage . His acts are pure and innocent . He is  free from Ego ,  free from desires and is always  focused on supreme reality .
Avadhoot  is surely a realized human and his actions on the earth do not bind him to the karma principle of cause and effect.

And finally the  “ NAAM JAPAA ”  . WHAT  IS   NAAM  JAPA ?

 “ What has happened to you ? You do not go to the Temple  nor  you  join the religious rituals seriously . Growing up does not mean forgetting Almighty . Okay let it be your way . But what harm is in reciting the name of the Creator ?  Be thankful to your real father or God.    Can’t  you  meditate simply by  reciting ..

 “ Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna  Krishna Krishna Hare Hare ”

You can even   simply sit down , keep your legs crossed , close your eyes  and say 
  “ Ram  ,Ram ”  at least 108 times a day in one go .That much is enough . Do you know that Dacoit Ratnakara   became Valmiki Rishi by reciting  “RAMA  RAMA ”  only. Ratnakara began reciting “ MARA  MARA  ” which gradually changed to  “RAMA  RAMA ” .  Just recitation  of  words  “ RAMA  RAMA  ” transformed  a Hardcore dacoit  to   Mahirishi Valmiki  who later  wrote Ramayana  .”
This is how my mother introduced the concept of NAAM  JAPA   to me during  my school days.
She had learnt a  Bhajan  during her stay at Chambal  ( MP ) where my father was employed  in Gandhi Sagar Dam  . I vividly remember this    Bhajan which she  would often recite  and ask us to join in chorus.

 “Hari se Bad kar Hari ka Naam
 Meetha hai Iss ka Parinaam
Jis Sagar mein Bina suut ke Koodh sake na Ram
Uss Sagar mein dekho Bhaiyaa Koodh Pade Hanumaan
Le kar Prabhu ka Naam 
Hari Se Bad kar Hari ka Naam ”

  And as I  began to grow  , I found that the practice of  NAAM  JAPA existed in all cultures and across all religions of  the world. Quit often I would come across many Elderly Muslims  with a Rosary   beads in hand reciting  “ ALLAH  ALLAH  ” or at times reciting silently other  99  beautiful names of the almighty Allah  .
The rosary beads keep physical count of the number of times the name has been recited . I found  Bhudhist , Sikhs , Christians reciting name of the almighty in similar manner   . In fact one of the three pillars of Sikhism is the “Naam Japo” ( Contemplate God’s name ) apart from Kirat karo ( work diligently )  and Vand Chakho ( share  with others ).

 With Rosary beads in their hands ,the devout  Bhudhist keeps reciting  “ Om Mani Padme Hum  “
But then kabir lays Great emphasis on keeping  mind totally focused  during  NAAM JAPA   meditation.  Adds Kabir ..
Kabira Maala Kaath Ki, Kahi Samjhave Tohee
 Mun Na Phiravey Aapna, Kaha Phiravey Mohee
( kabir )

The rosary made of wooden beads openly tries  to teach you
“In case you do not move your mind in focused attention ,
Why  keep moving me unnecessarily .”

Moond Munddavat Din Gaye, Ajhun Na Miliya Raam
Raam Naam Kahu Kya Karey, Je Man Ke Aurey Kaam
( Kabir )

 Years have passed    after shaving the head
But still Ram is nowhere to be seen .
What shall the recitation of “ Ram Rama ” do
When the mind is focused elsewhere ?

Mala to kar Mein Phiray  Jeeb Phiray Mukh Maahi
Manuvaa to Dahu Dish Phiray Yeh to sumiran Naahi
( Kabir )

The Rosary beads move in the hand
While the tongue keeps moving in the mouth .
The mind is busy moving in  ten directions around  ,
This is not the way to meditate  upon  God’s Name ( Naam Japa ) ?

 I add the Bhajan and its  simple english rendering  done by me …

Avadhoota Gagan Ghata Geharani Re .

 Pachm Disa Se Ulti Badali,
Rum Jhum Barse Meha
 Utho Gyaani Khet Sambharo
Behe Nisrega Pani

Nirat Surat Ke Bel Banawo,
Beeja Bovo Nij Dhani
 Dubadhya Doob Jaman Nahi Pawe,
 Bovo Naam Ki Dhani

 Charon Kone   Char Rakhwale,
Chug Na Jaawe Mrig Dhani
 Katya Khet Meenda Ghar Laawe,
Jaaki Puran Kisani

 Paanch Sakhi Mil Kare Rasoi
 Jeehme Muni Aur Gyani
 Kahe Kabir Suno Bhai Sadho
 Bovo Naam Ki Dhani

Avadhoota Gagan Ghata Geharani Re  

( kabir )

Oh Unattached Being,
The sky is getting overcast with dark clouds ,

Returning from west,
These rain laden clouds have started pouring droplets.
 O learned Man !
Get up and look after your field
Else the water shall soon drain itself out . 

Grow   Protective Creepers  after watchfully  looking around  
and pay attention  to the voice within ,
scatter the Seeds of the Self-Grain ,
 Allow no wild plant of misgiving  to Set In,
 And  Sow the Grain of Naam (Naam japa )

  Place four  Guards around  Four Corners of the field ,
 Put off the Deer from eating away  the Grain crop , 
 And  carry back the harvested crop to the master’s house ,
 To  complete your farming .

 Look ! How five friends are cooking  ,
 The sages and the learned men are also busy in  eating .
 Says Kabir, listen you seeker ,
Sow the Grain of Naam  ( Naam Japa )

 ( Autar Mota 21.04.2014 )

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Reading Nikola Vaptsarov “ once again. Nikola Vaptsarov (1909-1942 ) was an Incredible National Poet of Bulgaria. Bulgarians love and adore him. I am Informed by a friend that many streets, Roads and Buildings in Bulgaria are named after him. He was a frontline leader in the communist Movement of Bulgaria apart from being a gifted revolutionary poet . Vaptsarov earned his living by working as a machine Engineer on a naval Ship and also as a Mechanic in a factory . He never published his poetry during his lifetime . It was all published after his Death.
During the second world ( 1939-1945 ) war especially after the entry of German forces into Bulgaria , he was caught , tried summarily and executed by the Nazi forces for his beliefs .

He wrote poetry after his factory hours .His poem HISTORY is my all time favourite . In this poem, the Poet seeks no rewards for poor factory workers or labourers. He is deeply touched by their struggle and hard life . He puts a simple question ; Shall they figure anywhere in the
History Books ? And then he wants that posterity should know at least that these Hapless and poor people also fought against the cruelty of the existence . I quote the specific lines ..

‘History, will you mention us
In your faded scroll?’
‘We fattened you with news,
And slaked your thirst so richly,
With the blood of slaughtered crowds?’
‘Was it a life worth noting,
A life worth digging up?
Unearthed, it reeks of poison,
Tastes bitter in the cup.’
For the hardship and affliction
We do not seek rewards,
Nor do we wan ^t our pictures
In the calendar of years.
Just tell our story simply
To those we shall not see,
Tell those who will replace us –
We fought courageously.

His Poem ‘ FACTORY ’ also concludes with a powerful message
You, factory,
Still seek to blind us
With smoke and soot,
Layer on layer.
In vain! For you teach us to struggle.
We’ll bring
The sun
Down to us here.So many
toil-blackened faces
Under your tyranny smart.
But one heart within you tirelessly
Beats with a thousand hearts.
Nikola Vaptsarov was an optimist and had an everlasting faith in life . His belief is substantiated by his poem FAITH . I quote …
(Faith )
Here am I-breathing, Working,
Living And Writing my poetry
(My best to it giving). Life and I glower
Across at each other, and with it I struggle
with all my power Life and I quarell,
But don't draw the moral That I despise it.
No, just the opposite! Though I should perish,
Life with its brutal Claws of steel
Still I would cherish, Still I would cherish!
Suppose round my neck they tie fast
The rope And they ask:
'Would you like one more hour to live?'
I would instantly cry:
Come, quickly untie
The rope, you devils!'

Vaptsarov was arrested tried summarily for his beliefs and then executed by the Nazi firing squad on 23rd July, 1942. I add lines from his last poem “On Parting ” written just before his execution. He has addressed the poem to his wife in quite a moving tone .
Sometimes I’ll come when you’re asleep,
An unexpected visitor.
Don’t leave me outside in the street,
Don’t bar the door!
I’ll enter quietly, softly sit
And gaze upon you in the dark.
Then, when my eyes have gazed their fill,
I’ll kiss you and depart.
The fight is hard and pitiless
The fight is epic, as they say.
I fell. Another takes my place –
Why single out a name?
After the firing squad – the worms.
Thus does the simple logic go.
But in the storm we’ll be with you,
My people, for we loved you so.
2 p.m. – 23.07.1942

( Autar Mota 21.04.2014 )
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                          (  Tented Accommodation on Sandy Banks of River Ganga Near Rishikesh.)


                                (   EVENING TIME VIEW OF RIVER GANGA NEAR RISHIKESH  )

.River Ganga covers a distance of more than 2500 kms in India . Not just another river that carries water down from the Gangotri Glacier in Upper Himalayas, Ganga ( also Known as Bhagirathi up above Devprayag) is a symbol of India’s civilization and Culture . Many small streams or large rivers join GREAT GANGA in its downward journey . Some major tributaries joining GANGA directly or indirectly could be named as Yamuna , Chambal , Ghagra , Gandhak , Kosi , Mahananda and Son .

Who can deny the influence of river Ganga and Benaras in kabir’s philosophical Verses ? And then Sidhartha or Budha too gave his first sermon at Sarnath near Ganga river .

Chiraag e Dair (The Temple's Lamp), A Persian Masanavi written as a praise poem for the city of Banaras and river Ganga , poet Mirza Ghalib believes river Ganga at Banaras as the place for man's ultimate salvation and freedom . The Masanavi has 108 couplets and verses . Number 108 is sacred to Hindus and has been mentioned in various ancient religious Texts .Ganga river too has 108 names duly mentioned in various ancient Texts . And Ghalib appears to be conscious of relevance and importance of this number .
According to Ghalib
Ganga is like a mother to Hindus. She nurtures, gives life, dispenses grace, must be worshipped and ultimately takes you back in the form of your ashes. ”

Referring to the settlement of Aryans along the Banks of River Ganga, Allama Iqbal added

Aey Aab e Rood e Ganga woh din hai yaad tujh ko
Utaraa Teray kinaaray Jab Carwaan hamaara .

(Oh, waters of the river Ganges! Do you remember those days?
Those days when our Caraawan halted on your banks?)

Sahir Ludhianavi wrote

“Kitaney Suraj Ubharey-Duubey ganga tere Dwaare ,
Yugon-yugon ki katha sunaayein tere bahatey dhaare
Tujh-ko chhod ke Bhaarat ka itihaas likha na jaaye..

Ganga Tera Paani Amrit ……”

The Great Shehnai Player Ustad Bismillah Khan used to call it “Ganga Maiyaa ” or “Mother Ganga ”reverentially. Conard Rooks ( 1934-2011 ) , well known American Film Producer and Director picturized it extensively in his well known movie Sidhartha ( 1972 ) .

Names of some prominent GANGA lovers that come to my mind at the moment are Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru ,Rebel poet Kazi Nazr Ul Islam , Urdu Poet Ali Sardar Jafri ,American Author Mark Twain ( 1835-1910 ), late George Harrison of Beatles ( His widow Olivia immersed his ashes in river Ganga as per his will ), Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore ,Mother Teresa , Sitar Maestro Pandit Ravi Shanker , Lal Bahdur Shastri , Siddeshwari Devi ( Khayal singer ) Samta Prasad ( Tabla Player ), Birju Maharaj ( kathak Maestro ) and Prince Charles .

( Autar Mota 2I.04.2014 )

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Friday, April 11, 2014



                                            ( Photo source . Wikipedia Veil or Ghoongat  )

(Do away with your veil ( illusion ) and you shall meet your beloved ( Divine Lord ) ”

When Bulo C Rani , Talented Film Music Director and singer of yesteryears ( Died 1993 ) was advised by Kedar Sharma ( Film Director ) to compose Music for the above Bhajan for his movie JOGAN , He brought in Geeta Dutt ( Roy ) to sing it in her Moving voice . The Bhajan turned instant Hit. The Movie was a box office hit of 1950 that earned a hefty net amount of 62 Lakhs for the producer Chandu Lal Shah . Through Geeta Dutt ’s ( Roy ) voice , these immortal words of kabir spread to the entire length and breadth of the country .
Lately , I heard these words once more ; Playback singer Sukhvinder sang this Kabir Bhajan with A R Rehman’s music for “ RANJHANA” ( A 2013 Hindi Movie ). The movie broke many previous records at the Box office .

It is pertinent to clarify that this is not a Meera Bhajan as generally  believed   . The words belong to Kabir .

Adds Well Known German Multi-instrumentalist Prem Joshua

“I fell in love with the words of Meera and Kabir after I got to understand their deeper meaning. I really felt like putting that onto contemporary music. My knowledge of Hindi is limited, but I got some really good English translations of their work which helped me understand their poetry . Kabir is a Great Philosophy . I love the lines “ Ghoongat Ke Pat Khol ”.We brought two great songs to our Album ; one “Aissi laagi Lagan by Meera and the second “ Ghoongat Ke Pat Khol “ by Kabir .


Ghoongat is a veil or a Headscarf worn by ladies to cover their head and face . The practice is still prevalent in rural areas and also in some joint families. Those who wear a sari, make Ghoongat from its one end to cover their face and head . It is a mark of respect for elders ( males ) by the woman who are supposed to follow this practice .
The Veil or Ghoongat that kabir is talking about is a bigger Ghoongat or The veil of ignorance . Unless the covering from the face is removed and eyes are made to see freely , the glimpse of the beloved can never be had. Never by peeping from within the veil. Never by removing the veil partly .

Kabir repeatedly talks about five impediments that put a veil on human beings or create a Maaya Jaal for them. He believes that the five impediments that veil us are Kaam ( Lust ) , Krodh ( Anger ) , Lobh ( Greed ) , Moh ( Attachment ) and Ahankaar ( Ego ). According to him the illusory veil made from these five threads has to be done away with to set the mind free . That alone shall help in seeking our reunion with the beloved . That alone shall clear all impediments  and set the mind free . Kabir believes that those who did it , may be one in a lakh or even lesser , finally realized that the colour of the blood that flows in the veins of human beings on this planet is only Red. Yes just one colour like the supreme master who too is a single entity . Kabir adds that Once the Veil or the Ghoongat is removed , the unstruck music within that keeps chiming day and night can be listened with delight. .

Here goes the original Kabir Bhajan with my simple English rendering

"Ghoonghat ke pat khol re,
Toko peev mileingay.

Ghat ghat mein wah saain ramataa,
katuk vachan mat bol re.
Dhan Joban kaa garva na keejai,
Jhoothaa *Panch Rang Chol re.

Shoonya Mahal mein diyanaa baari le,
Aasaa se mat dol re.
Yog yugati se Rang Mahal mein,
Peev Paayo Anamol re.

Kahai Kabir Aanand Bhayo hai,
Baajat *Anahata Dhol Re.”

(Kabir )

“Do away with your veil ( illusion )
And you shall meet your beloved ( Divine lord )
The lord resides in every living Creature ,
Why speak ill words against any one ?
Flaunt not this wealth and your Youth,
Deceptive is your Drum music that carries five notes.

Shake off not your hope ,
Light a lamp within and illuminate
this Palace like vacant space .
In the Colourful Palace within ,
You can meet your priceless beloved only
By Perfecting the Skill of meditation .

Kabir says by this practice ,
You attain supreme bliss
That keeps the inner music Chiming day and night .

(Autar Mota 09.04.2014 )


• Paanch Rang Chol … Kabir Frequently makes mention of FIVE in his verses . For him this Five is deeply connected with our body and being . Again as per Hindu scriptures , Human body is composed of Panch-Tatva or Five elements . These are: Prithivi ( Earth), Jal ( Water), Agni ( Fire), Vayu (Air) and Aakaash (Space). Again , Human mind is also deeply influenced five senses which are the senses of smell, taste, hearing, touch and sight . Kabir is of the view that these senses need to be put under control else they may drift the mind towards evil . Coming to above verse in specific , Kabir intends to convey that the Veil that we put on our head in this journey of life, has been spun from five type of threads . He believes that these threads blind us and do not allow us to see freely. According to him ,these threads are impediments . He believes that the five impediments that veil us are Kaam ( Lust ) , Krodh ( Anger ) , Lobh ( Greed ) , Moh ( Attachment ) and Ahankaar ( Ego ). According to him the illusory veil made from these five threads has to be done away with to set the mind free . That alone shall help in seeking our reunion with the master .

*Anhata Dhol . Or the Internal uninterrupted Music . This is linked to the Vedic Concept of ANAHATA NAAD or Unstruck internal Music Sounds or sound within the Body . Kashmir’s Shaivism also refers to ANHATA NAAD or Latent force as the state of spiritual growth caused by the awakening of KUNDALINI at the MULADHAARA chakra ( Close to the base of the spinal column ) when the internal music starts to reverberate somewhere near the Anahata chakra ( close to the level of heart ) .
Some Vedic Scholars have commented that hearing such subtle sounds or NAAD is a sign of spiritual growth in the middle of the Journey . It is not the end in itself . ANAHATA NAAD is also referred to as the cosmic sound within that is devoid of any external vibration. This is an ultimate Sound that transcends space and time, a sound that has no beginning or end.

( Autar Mota 10.04.2014 )

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Monday, April 7, 2014




Many people say  many things about Majaz . Let me quote some popular comments about this great Romantic , Revolutionary and Nationalist poet ,..










“ Like an arrow , he shot himself up , burst into luminous lights in the sky above and then suddenly vanished into that eternal darkness . But the sparks remain safely collected in his Books .He may not be physically with us today but the illumination that he threw in the sky above are with us and shall brighten up many dark nights of our life .I should not have said so . If I have said something wrong I seek your pardon. Yes i could not help to remain silent. I can not deal his absence in the usual way of respecting Death with silence alone.

( Firaq Gorakhpuri on Majaz’s Death )

Majaz lived in Mumbai for sometime. I am informed that he also worked with 'Bombay Information Bureau for a very brief period .It is also a fact that once a friend took him to Producer Director P N Arora with an intention to bring him into films. It did not mature somehow and Majaz returned to Lucknow. But Bombay influenced his sensitive mind . Marine Drive ( with its Arc of  lights looking like a  Queen's Necklace ) in particular shall always remain connected with the memory of Majaz.
                                      ( Photo Source :Wikipedia. Marine Drive Mumbai )
It is said that during the days when he had no work in this city of hope and lights, he would stroll down Marine drive or Chowpatti area during night and identify with the hurt and loneliness of the city. An Unfamiliar city , crowds , exploitation , hurt ,
illuminations and idleness created a magical effect on his sensitive mind leading to birth of his poem AWAARA .The POEM projected loneliness of an Individual set against  indifference of the Metropolitan culture . Something close to Albert camus's  "BENIGN INDIFFERENCE OF THE UNIVERSE " It caught fancy of millions who faced similar predicament. I quote ..

“Shahar Ki Raat Aut Mein Nashaad-o-Nakaara Phiroon
Jagmagaati-Jaagati Sadkon Pe Awaara Phiroon
Gair Ki Basti Hai Kab Tak Dar-Ba-Dar Maara Phiroon

“ Aey Ghame Dil Kyaa karoon
Aey vahashate Dil Kyaa karoon ”.

Jhilmilaate KumKumon ki Raah Mein Zanjeer-si

Raat Ke Haatho Mein Din Ki Mohini Tasveer-Si

Mere Seene Par Magar Dehki Huyee Shamsheer-si

Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoon,
Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoon ...?

I have personally experienced how Majaz would have felt when i walked along Marine Drive . For Majaz , A clear sky , the sea breeze , shining stars on the sky , all calm and enticing; Alas ! The helplessness and a turbulence within. And then the Moon suddenly rising above the Arbian Sea. . I quote ..

Ek Mahal Ki Aad Se Nikla Woh Peela Mahtaab

Jaise Mulla Ka Amama, Jaise Baniye Ki Kitaab

Jaise Mufliss Ki Jawaani, Jaise Bewa Ka Shabab

Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoon,
Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoon ...?

Yeh Rupahli Chhaanv, Yeh Aakash Par Taaron ka Jaal

Jaise Sufi Ka Tasavvur, Jaise Aashiq Ka Khayaal

Aah Lekin Kaun Samjhe, Kaun Jaane Jee Ka Haal

Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoon,
Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoon ...?

The poem was sung by Talat Mehmood in his melodious voice for a Hindi Movie Thokar released in 1953.Play the song any time and Majaz comes to life .

Progressive and liberal in outlook , Majaz was certainly much ahead of his time . Some are tempted to call him an atheist merely relying on his poem “Shauq e Gurezaan ” written in a different context. For sure he had an abiding faith in the presence of almighty God . I quote some lines from the poem ….

Mujh Mein tu Rooh e Sarmadi mat Phoonk
Raunaq e Bazm e Arifaan na Bana
Iss Zameen Ko Zameen rehnay de
Iss zameeen ko tu aasmaan na Bana
Raaz tera chhupa Nahin Sakta
Mujh ko tu apnaa Razdaan na Bana ..

Majaz was witty and had a sharp sense of humour. Many incidents about his sharp wit and humour have been written by various authors . I add one more narrated by my friend Adarsh Azadarora ( son of veteran Urdu poet Jagan Nath Azad ) . I quote

“An anecdote of Majaaz narrated by my father. On a visit to Pakistan, Majaaz, Sagar Nizami and Jagannath Azad were invited for a recording by Radio Pakistan. After the programme, the three needed to sign the contracts for the honorarium. Sagar Nizami worked in All India Radio and was familiar with the modest fees of All India Radio. Obviously Radio Pakistan was similarly placed. Nonetheless, on seeing the amount Sagar sahib straightened up in a huff and said "Mein is par dastkhat kar hi nahin sakta". He bent down again, read the figure again, straightened up again and repeated "mein is par dastkhat kar hi nahin sakta". When this exercise was conducted for the third time by Sagar Nizami, Majaaz said "Arre bhai, phir Angutha hi laga do!"

Punch lines From his poem “Unka Jashan e Saal-Girah ” were plagiarized for a Bollywood movie song . I quote specific lines from his poem ..

Chhalke Teri aankhon se sharaab Aur Ziyaada
Mehkein Teray Aariz ke Gulaab aur Ziyaada
Allah karey Zaur e Shabaab aur Ziyaada

Late Nargis was also a Fan of Majaz and his poetry . During a visit to Lucknow, she went to meet Majaz to get his autograph . Majaz returned disillusioned from Bombay and moved to Lucknow.The Ganga Jamuna culture of Lucknow attracted Majaz .
Majaz had very strong views on educating woman . He wanted them to be powerful and free from ignorance .The woman in Majaz's poetry was more than an entity of loveliness .He wished to see them as crusaders of uprising against exploitation and injustice.

" Terey Maathe pe ye aanchal bahut hi khoob hai lekin
Tu is aanchal se ik parcham bana leti to achha thaa
Teri neechi nazar khud teri ismat ki muhafiz hai
Tu is nashtar ki tezi aazma leti to achha thaa
( Majaz )

(The cloth covering your head is certainly a good thing,
How better it would be if you make a flag out of it....
Your lowered gaze is itself a shield of your purity,
Better it would be If you now raise your eyes and test the sharpness held within ).

Whenever  the students and alumni of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU ) sing the university song composed by the poet ,  Majaz comes to life................

“Ye meraa chaman hai meraa chaman, mein apne chaman kaa bulbul huun
Sarshaar-e-nigaah-e-nargis huun, paa-bastaa-e-gesuu-sumbul huun”
( Majaz )

Ali Sardar Jafri used this couplet as the title song of his famous television series, Kahkashan, broadcasted on Doordarshan during the early 90s.

Majaz had bouts of nervous breakdowns for which he was admitted to Raanchi’s Mental Hospital . In this hospital , he is reported to have met doyen of Bengal’s  revolutionary  poet ( Bidrohi Kobi ) Kazi Nazrul Islam . Majaz died in Balrampur Hospital in 1955 due to Liver Cirrhosis caused by his excessive liquor addiction.

Chhup gaye woh saaz e Hast chheid kar
Ab to Buss awaaz hi awwaz hai

He lies buried Inside Lucknow’s Nishat Ganj Graveyard .The Epitaph written on his grave reads ..

"Ab isskay baad subah hai aur subah-e-nau Majaz,
Hum Per hai khatam Sham-e-Garibaan-e-Lucknow.....".


In 2008 , Government Of India released a Postal stamp of Rs5/= to Honour Majaz . The function was attended by majaz 's sister Hameeda and Nephew (Poet and Film Lyricist )Javed Akhtar .In this stamp , you can see Lucknow’s Tile Wali Masjid , Part of the Imambara and the skyline of the city .  A   famous couplet of Majaz  that goes as under

 “ Bakshi hain hum ko ishq ne woh Jurratein Majaz ,
 dartey Nahin siyasat e ahle Jahaan se hum ”

is also written in urdu on this stamp.

After his death , Two Gazals written by the poet were found with some papers kept in a
Box . Here are possibly the Last two Gazals written by Majaz Lucknawi ..


Dil e Khoon Gashtaa e Jafa Pe Kahin
Ab Karam Bhi Giraan na Ho Jaaye
Tere Beemaar Ka Khudaa Hafiz
Nazre Charagaraan Na Ho Jaaye
Ishq Kya Kya na Aafatein Daaye
Husn Gar Meharbaan Na Ho Jaaye
Mai Ke Aage Gamon ke Kohe Giraan
Eik Pal Mein Dhuvaan Na Ho jaaye
Phir Majaz Inn Dinon Yeh Khatraa Hai
Dil Halaaqe Butaan na Ho Jaaye

Dard Ki Daulat e Bedaar Ataa Ho Saaqi
Hum Bahi Khwaah Sabhi Ke hain Bhalaa Ho Saaqi
Seena e Shauq Mein Woh Zakhm Ki Lau De Uthay
Aur Bhi Teiz Zamaane Ki Hawaa Ho Saaqi
Sakht-Jaan Hi Nahin Hum Khudsar o Khudaar Bhi Hain
Naavak e Naaz Khataa Hai To Khataa Ho Saaqi

( Autar Mota 07.04.2014 )


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