Sunday, October 19, 2014




( Photo sandeep Mota )

Santorini is one of Greece’s most beautiful islands. It is known for its exceptionally dramatic views and the old-fashioned town of Thira. Not only the exceptional sunset views, Moonlight is also  a special attraction for Tourists going to Santorini. For its dazzling moonlight, santorini is also known as Moon land.

To these  photographs , i add lines from a long poem of Urdu poet Ali sardar jafri...

Hai Raat Ki Raahon Mein
Taaron Ka safar Jaari..
Aur Baad e Biyabaani
Sarmast o gazal Khwaan hai
Har Zarre ke seene mein
Ek Sham e Farozaan hai
Har Khaar Ke naize pe
Khwaabon ka Gulistaan hai ….

Sadh kaafila Pinhaa Hai
Sadh Kaafila Paidaa hai
Awaaz e jaras lekin
Iss Dasht mein Tanhaa hai
Sadiyon se issi Surat
Hai Hukme safar Jaari
Farmaan e Sitam jaari
Elaan e karam Jaari……….

Kal Subah ke daaman mein
Tum Hogay na hum hongay
Buss Reit Ke seene par
Kuchh Naqshe Qadam hongay
Saaye mein darakhton ke
Phir log baham Hongay
Kiss Des se Aaye ho
Kis Des ko jaana hai
Aey waqt Ke mehmaanon
Aey shamm e Tamanna par
Jaltay huve Parwaanon
Aey Sokhta Samaanon…
( Autar Mota )

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PRAKASH TANDON (1911-2004 )

Surely  you may not be familiar with this name. Those who are, may not have adequate knowledge about his contribution and background.

He was Chairman cum Managing Director the first Swadeshi Bank known presently as Punjab National Bank. Before that he was chairman of State Trading Corporation and First Indian Chairman of Unilever ( Hindustan Lever Ltd. ). He made HLL truly Indian not only in name but also in spirit. There was a genuine realisation in London, and a sense of pride in Bombay that Indians could manage the company. He was also on the Board of Directors of Food Corporation of India ,Hindustan Steel , Hindustan Aeronautics and Reserve Bank Of India .

He also taught at universities in Berkeley , Boston, California , Chandigarh , Delhi and Ahmedabad. He happened to be a founding Director of IIM Ahemdabad . Once while addressing the IIM faculty he said

“The essence of management is the ability to sort out the relevant from the irrelevant. If you have to plough through reams of case material and exhibits for tomorrow's classes, you must train yourself to read selectively and fast - take what is strictly worth remembering, and discard the rest.”

Wherever he served , he left his imprints . He brought freshness, efficiency and unique organizational culture in many organizations which he entered in any capacity . As individual , he lived a simple life and lived  in  his own  DDA  flat at Vasant Kunj.  He would be  often seen  driving  his own Fiat Car .

I need to say something more about this Gem of a man ..

Born in 1911 to a wealthy Punjabi family , Prakash Tandon graduated from Govt college Lahore as science student but suddenly shifted to Commerce, went to UK and returned as qualified Chartered accountant in 1937.

While Prakash Tandon was proud of his Punjabi heritage, he never promoted  Punjabis.  His closest associates in the Hindustan Lever Ltd. were Maurice Zinkin, a Britisher, and R. Ramaswamy, a Tamil Brahmin. His preferred successor was Vasant Rajadhyakshya, a Maharashtrian. He applied this principle to all other organizations that he headed. The success  story of of DALDA ( Hydrogenated vegetable oil which became a cheap substitute for Ghee in the Indian Kitchen )    was solely scripted  by Parakash Tandon  due to  his innovative marketing  skills infused in Hundustan Lever Limited .  

He revolutionized the Financial sector In India especially Banking by his Guidelines that came to be known as Tandon Norms . These fundamental Guidelines on Working Capital finance together with a scientific Methodology for working out credit requirements of Industrial enterprises have been put to use by every Financial institution in the country . Most of my friends in the Banking sector must be familiar with his Methods of lending based on Current Assets , Margin and well defined Holding Norms for Raw material , Stocks in process , Finished goods and receivables . Industries and Banking sector in India remain indebted to this genius for these basic Guidelines on Working Capital Finance . He was a pioneer in management education in India.

A lover of fine Arts , Prakash Tandon was a connoisseur of Urdu Poetry , Ancient History , Music and classical Literature . It was always a real treat to listen to him on any subject under the sun. His ideas were original and innovative and he would speak for hours extempore . The three books authored by him which comprise his autobiography – Punjabi Century , Beyond Punjab and return to Punjab – are regarded as Modern Classics . These Books have been published by Penguins as Punjabi Saga .

His admirers were to be seen in all segments of the society . Some names that come to my mind at the moment are Playwright Balwant Gargi , Punjabi writer Kartar Singh Duggal, Dr Mulk Raj Ananad , Actor Devanand , Ram Nath Goenka , J R D Tata , Shreyans Prasad jain , Dr Manmohan Singh and Dr. A M Khusro.

His book BANKING CENTURY , published by Penguins in 1989 is an interesting story about a Public sector Giant known as Punjab National Bank . A story about how the idea to start a swadeshi Bank at Anarkali lahore was conceived and given practical shape in 1895 by three Gentlemen ( Sardar Dayal Singh MajIthia , Babu Kali Prasun Roy and E C Jesswala . A sikh , A Hindu and a Parsi ; All the three were followers of Bengal’s Brahmo Samaj ) highly motivated by a Nationalist leader lala Lajpat Rai.  It is a grand story of three dreamers  who could have little realized that a two room office at Anarkali Lahore would  finally  grow  into a National Bank with more than 6500 branches spreading from Leh to Kanyakumari and Kohima to Kathiawar . He worked as Chairman cum Managing director of the bank for three years and inducted more than 1000 young Management Trainees who rose to become Executive Directors and Managing Directors of various Banks in the country.

Half of this Book takes the reader on a journey through Babylonian , Roman, Greek , Chinese , Egyptian , Persian , Arab and Indian Civilization examining the evolution of finance and Trade in these cultures .The Book also explains interestingly how Finance and trade evolved itself in Ancient and medieval india through Hundis and traditional sahukaars . The story of Seths , Multanis , Marwaris , Banias , Nattukottai Chettis , Chettiars , Nagar Seths ( City Bankers ) finally settles down at Birlas , Tatas , Goenkas , Jains etc. In between You also come to know that founding families of Levers , Krupps , Duponts, Dunlops , Bayers , Lavals , Thomsons and Marellis have disappeared while much of the Indian Industry is still managed and controlled by families who , often owning a fraction of equity wield total power and control.

You are also updated about the Arya samaj movement of Punjab , Brahmo Samaj Movement of Bengal ,Tribune Newspaper in its formative years , Lahore The Grand city of Punjab , Darshani ( Payable on demand ) and Dekhanhar ( payable at sight ) Hundi syetem in indian Trade and commerce , The East India company , Mughals , Maharaja Ranjit singh’s rule , The sikh Misels ,Zamindari and Jagirdari system in India ,Indian Railways , Irrigation canals in Punjab , Barter system in Indian Trade , Journey of Currency from Metal Coins to paper Notes in india , Post War Economic Recessions in the world , Arrival of Post offices in India , Partition of the country with rebirth of Indian economy , Nehruvian Industrial and economic policies , Social control and Nationalization and the final phase known as financial Sector reforms.

From this book I came to know that Mahmud of Gazni , who invaded India 14 times had issued gold coins in 1007 AD each weighing 180 grains and bearing Kalima and the name of Khalifa Al Qadir B’Illah , on whose behalf he conducted the wars and invasions . In india , he did something unique in history ; he issued coins with sanskratized Kalima ; “ Ayyaktamekam Muhammad Avatara samvati 418 Mahmudpur “ followed by the name of the issuer , Nripati Mahmud with a motif of Hindu Deity . He had renamed Lahore as Mahmudpur .

From this book I also came to know that from Kings to common man , every person would borrow from Nagar Seths and discharge Hundis . Prakash Tandon informs that during the Sepoy uprising of 1857, Seth Amirchand of Bikaner and Seth Mool Chand of of Ajmer financed British Government .Bhama Shah , the oswal Banker , financed the maintenance of 25000 men of Rana Partap for many years to enable him to carry on his wars against Akbar .
The house of Jagat Seth were hereditary Bankers to Nawabs of Bengal. Jagat seth was instrumental in the overthrow of Nawab Siraj Ud Daula and setting up of Mir jaffar as Nawab . When Mir Kasim became the New Nawab of Bengal , he ordered Jagat Seth to be thrown into Ganga from the Bastions of Monghyr Fort.

About this book Prof A M khusro adds

“ In the history of Money and Finane , there are few works which claim greater depth , erudition and elegance than ( this ) fascinating Book “

About Parakash Tandon , Dr Ashok Ganguli Former Chairman HLL adds ..

"He established standards and norms for corporate conduct, governance and social conduct that have now become popular and fashionable around the world."

Some quotes of Prakash Tandon that come to my mind are ..

“ Room at the top is always Vacant ”

“ Recruitment , training and cadres must be built on continuous basis in any organization . Overlooking this may land any organization into Managerial Crisis. ”

“ Greatest tasks have been performed by men using simple Common sense “

“Managers are functional entities and not Bureaucrats . They have to keep their doors open .”

“ Age plays a key role in the process of taking a decision .Beyond a certain age, managers tend to tread the safe and secured path. Quite often , their movement along these paths may prove disastrous for the organization.”

I conclude this post with some lines from “Naya Aahang “ a beautiful poem composed by well known modern urdu Nazm poet late Akhtar Ul Imaan …

Loghaat Alfaaz ka ek dher hai Lafzon pe Mat jaana ,
Naya Aahang Hota hai Murratab Lafz o Maani Ka,
Meray haq mein Abhi Kuchh Faisala saadir Na Farmaana
Me Jis Din Aaoonga Taaza Loghaat Hamraah Laaoonga…...........
( Akhtar Ul Imaan )

The dictionary is nothing but a heap of words ,
Be cautious and discreet ,
A fresh design is in the offing to define everything anew,
Pray, Don’t pass any judgement at the instant .
The day I come my lord ,
I shall bring along with me the NEW LEXICON…
So long so much……

( Autar Mota )

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Not many people know that   Naushad Ali ( popularly known as NAUSHAD in Hindi film World) was also an accomplished urdu poet.He published a book of Urdu poetry titled " Aathwaan Sur "("The Eighth Note").I quote his couplets........
Aabadiyon mein Dasht Ka Manzar Bhi aayegaa,
Guzrogay shahar se To Mera ghar Bhi aayegaa
Achhi Nahin Nazaakat e Ahsaas Iss Qadar ,
Sheesha agar Banogay to Pather bhi Aayegaa...
Abhi Saaz e Dil Mein Taraane bahut Hain
Abhi Zindagi ke Bahaane Bahut hain
Teray Dhar Se Baahar Bhi Duniya Parri hai,
Kahin Ja Raheigay Thikaane Bahut Hain.
Hain Din Bad- Mazaaqi ke Naushad Lekin ,
Abhi Teray Funn Ke Deewane Bahut Hain

Hum Doston ke Lutf o Karam Dekhtay Rahe.. 
Hotay Rahe Jo Dil Pe sitam Dekhtay Rahe ..
Har shaam Ek Khwaab Sehar mein Guzar gayee ,
Har subh ek Shaam e alam Dekhte Rahe ..
Khaamosh Qahqahon mein Bhi Gham Dekhtay Rahe.. 
Duniya na dekh Paaayi Jo Hum Dekhtay Rahe .
sab Kuchh Sare Bazaar e Jahaan chorr Gayaa hai ..
Yeh Kaun Khuli Apni Dukaan Chorr gaya Hai ..
Sau Qaafile Iss Raah se aaye Bhi gaye Bhi ,
Ab Tak Me Vahin Huun Vo Jahaan Chorr gayaa hai 
Eik Be Qaraar dil se Mulaqaat Keejiye 
Jab Mil Gaye Hain Aap To Phir Baat Keejiye .
Nazron se guftagu Ki Hadein Khatm Ho Chukeen
Jo Dil Mein Hai Zubaan se Vohee Baat Keejiye 
Na Mandir Mein sanam Hotay na Masjid Mein Khudaa hota 
Hameeen Se Ye tamaasha Hai Na Hum Hotay To Kyaa Hota 
Zamaane Ko to Bus Mashq e sitam se Lutf lena hai ,
Nishaane par na hum Hotay to koyee doosara hota...

( Autar Mota ) 

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Monday, October 13, 2014



JEEVAN ( 1915-1987)

His father died when he was barely three years old. He had twenty two brothers and a sister . His mother died when he was born. So Omkar Nath Dhar ( 24th October 1915 -- 10th June 1987 ) who came to be known as Jeevan in films , was brought up by uncles and Aunts. He had his early education in Srinagar and Lahore. 
Jeevan's father was Wazir e Wazarat of Gilgit during Maharaja Partap Singh's rule and the family had Business interests in Srinagar  and Lahore .

Fascinated by films , he ran away from his home when he was 18 . With just twenty six rupees in his pocket , he landed in Bombay. Failing in his efforts to get some role in films , he joined a film studio ( Owned by Mohan Sinha ) as Reflector Boy . His job was to carry the light reflectors and focus them as per the directions of the cameraman / Director. He saw Diwaker Divecha( Highly skilled cameraman of Sholay fame ) also working as Reflector boy. And then sometime in 1935 , Mohan Sinha offered him a role in his film “Fashionable India “ and thereafter there was no looking back for this talented artist. Offers kept pouring in from many reputed film makers. Some of his memorable films are Kanoon, Mela , Taraana , Ghar Ki Izzat , Sab se Bada Rupaiyaa , Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya ,Roti, Jeet , Laawaris , Do Phool , Phool Aur Pather , Gambler , Shareef Badmaash , Aaj Ka Mahatma ,Deewar,Amar Akbar Anthony,Johny Mera Naam,Kohinoor,Dharmatma, Taj and Bulundi etc. He acted in more than 350 films and as NARAD MUNI in more than 60 films .

Jeevan played villain in a large number of  Hindi films during the 60s and 70s. His unique nasal twang  , Body language and dialogue delivery placed him in the category of elite artists of Hindi cinema . Almost all his negative roles ( performed in his inimitable style ) as Cunning Munim or Lala , Deewan sahib ,Mamaji , Village Sarpanch, Landlord etc. were widely appreciated by cinegoers . 
As artist , he was extremely Punctual and discplined . Essentially a family man , he was a close relation of another kashmiri artists D. K Sapru or Sapru. Infact for quite some time , both families lived as neighbours at Bandra . 

He was devoted to his family , a loving husband and an affectionate and liberal father . His children studied in Boarding schools . His son Kiran Kumar graduated from FTII Pune and joined films . Kiran married Noted Gujrati Actress Sushma Verma . His second son Bushan kumar ( Jeevan Bushan ) also joined films .
Jeevan liked good food and enjoyed his quota of two pegs of whiskey ( One large and another small ) everyday. He Liked kashmiri Kahwa which he would prepare for his wife and children as well. 

He loved cooking his own food and going on picnics and hunting expeditions with his family and friends . Kashmir remained his first love  though his engagements in Bombay left little time for him to make desired trips to the place of his birth. 

 Dilip Kumar , Cinematographer Diwakar Divecha , B R Chopra and Manmohan Desai were  his close friends .

Dividing  his time between family and studio , he  rarely attended film parties . He was an avid radio listener and would never miss listening to BBC News and Chhaya Geet from AIR. 

This October , jeevan would have been 99 . He died a contended man . Peace be to his soul...

( Autar Mota 13.10.2014 )

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014




Chikki is a popular Indian sweet made basically from jaggery Syrup ( having Minimum water content ) and Ground nut . In Punjab , ordinary Chikki is known as PATTI. Chikkis are popular in many Asian countries including Pakistan , Bangal Desh and Nepal. It is also a popular sweet or tradittional candy of some latin American countries especially Brazil. 

A variety of chikkis are made in Maharashtra especially Lonawala, Khandala , Mahabaleshwar and Pune using almonds , cashewnuts , coconut, Dried Rose petals , Pistachios and flavours .I was informed that MAGAN LAL (A Gujrati Trader )introduced innovated form of Chikkis in Khandala and Lonawala area . This is precisely the reason that most Chikki shops in Lonawala bear his name .I tried Chikki in Mumbai, Khandala and Lonawala. To me Lonawala Chikki is perhaps the best . My choice would be the crispy Rose Kaju chikki sold @ Rs600 per kg.

Next time you plan a visit to Lonawala or Mahabaleshewar , just taste a piece of Rose kaju chikki …..
( Autar Mota )
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In their poetic compositions, Almost all Urdu poets have focused on the natural beauty of kashmir . They have written about its Water falls , rivers , seasons , gardens , flowers , Lakes , fruits , Tress and other objets that please the naked eye. A few of them were also moved by the poverty and living conditions of the inhabitants of this beautiful valley . And Makhdoom is one such poet .

 Makhdoom visited kashmir possibly thrice .  His last visit was  during the summer season of 1969 . After his  first visit to kashmir , Makhdoom Mohi Ud Din wrote a matchless Blank verse ..I add the poem to his photograph…..

Raah mein Sarv Milay,
Raah mein Shamshaad milay ,
Sab Giriftaar e Chaman ..

Shaam e Gulmarg Millli,
Subh e Pahalghaam Mili ..
Raah Mein Hanstay Rahay Laal o Nasreen o saman ,
Gungunaatay huve phoolon ke Badan Miltay Rahay ..
Dil Ki afsurdaa kali,
Aaissi Vaadi Mein aa kar Bhi Na khilli ..
Dil Ke Khush Honay Ka samaan ,
Gul O Laal o Nasreen o Saman …

Jhaadiyaan Dard Ki ,
Dukh ke jungle ,
Jin Mein Bahaa kartay hain dil ke Naasoor ,
Koh e Gham,
Naag Ki Maanind Siyaah Phunn Kholay
Har Guzargaah ko Jaatay hain….

Raat Hi Raat hai Sanaata Hi Sanaata hai ,
Koyee saahil Bhi Nahin ,
Koyee kinaara Bhi Nahin,
Koyee Jugnoo Bhi Nahin ,
Koyee sitara Bhi Nahin …..

Meri Iss Vaadiy e Farda ke Khush Par taayir,
Yeh Andhera Hi Teri Raahguzar ,
Iss Faza mein koyee darwazaa Na Dehleez na dhar ,
Teri Parwaaz hi Ban Jaati hai samaan e safar ,
Daaman e koh mein soyee Nazar Aati hai ,
Teray Khwaab ki Zareen sahar ……..

( Autar Mota )

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SUNSET NEAR SANTORINI IN GREECE ..(  All Photographs by  Sandeep Mota September 2014 )

As the evening sun drowns itself in the sea water near Santorini , Cameras click all along the hill cottages .Tourists visit this place to see a new township created over ancient volcanic eruptions and more specifically the Sunset from hills around the sea .All the buildings of this small town with a population of about 15000 souls are white in colour . Tastefully white washed . 

Hotels remain packed to capacity . Santorini is visited by tourists from all over the world who come to Greece .The place is emerging as a favourite Honeymoon Destination for young married couples.
Visitors come to see Santorini’s Deep blue waters and beaches with white, red or black sand or volcanic pebbles. Exceptional quality wines produced from Grapes grown in Volcanic ash soil ,Fantastic Rock formations around the sea and bewitching lunar landscapes are also major tourist attractions of Santorini . 

Some islands in the southern Aegean sea make up SANTORINI ‘s Municipal area .The islands are Santorini, Therasia , Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana. Santorini and Therasia are inhabited  while the rest islands are uninhabited. Santorini has a Climate that is closer to Hot Desert type with two main seasons ; April to October is the warm and dry season and the cold and rainy season lasts from November to March.
There are no rivers and accordingly water is scarce commodity in this area .The soil is full of volcanic ash and suitable for selective crops . Santorini got its independence from the Ottomon rule in 1821 and became a part of Greece in 1830. 
Some excavations have established the area as a prominent site of ancient MINOAN civilization . Possibly a major volcanic eruption during MINOAN period wiped away this grand civilization from this area .
Santorini was also a part of ancient Egyptian , Greek and Roman Empires.
To reach santorini from Athens , one can use many modes of transport. A ferry ride is equally enjoyable. Ferries run four to five times a day and take about 4 hours . Online advance bookings are usually done by tourists for this ferry ride.Restaurants, cafes, bars and Decks are available for any class of Travel in a Ferry.

On Economic front ,Greece is struggling to come out of  its gloomy position created by high External Debt , High Taxation , Dependence on Subsidy support from European union, Recession , Unemployment and  Stagnant Labour Market .At the moment and Tourism is the backbone of the economy.
Eastern Orthodox Christianity is recognized as the "prevailing religion" in Greece.

( Autar Mota )

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