Thursday, July 31, 2014





This Painting shows a Kakear ( One who used to serve Hookah to customers)

Sometimes only Dua salaam , sometimes a handful of rice and sometimes a coin . That is what the Kakear ( Roadside mobile HOOKAH shop ) got who offered people Hookah puffs in the BAZAAR. Kakear was a part of the kashmiri society . He carried a bag across his shoulder in which he would keep three or four tongs , a pouch of fresh Tobacco and some charcoal in a Kangri nearby. This was a mobile Hooka shop that existed in a BAZAAR . They would also be seen in Fairs and gatherings outside shrines.Pay something and have a puff. Not in cash . Pay in kind as well. He would cater to poor and the working class who could not carry the Hooka along .

Kashmiri Pandits were also addicted to HOOKAH. A HOOKAH was the first thing that was kept ready in the morning by the Daughter in law generally for her father in law. Sometimes the son would perform this duty . It had to be cleaned , a kangri had to be kept ready with burning charcoal , the tobacco box had to be kept full and a measured quantity of water had to be put inside the HOOKAH water tank so as to produce proper gurgling sound . Excess water would neither produce the Gurgling sound but would invariably enter the mouth on puffing . 
Once The eldest family member had his puffs , he would keep the HOOKAH aside and leave for his daily work . Young boys would also take a puff secretly . It was followed by Puffs from womenfolk in the afternoon .

Kashmiris were addicted to Tobacco through this HOOKAH or JEJEER.

With the arrival of Cheap cigarettes and overall development and progress in many spheres ,Kakears or kakouris (as some people called them ) suddenly became non existent from kashmiri society sometime around 1975 or 1976.

( Autar Mota 31.07.2014 )

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014




(Photograph by R.E.Shorter 1911 . The  Tailor Master is  at work with his SINGER FOOT PEDAL SEWING MACHINE while a group of Pandits are seated on the shop front and busy in gossiping and posing for the photograph  )

According to Walter Lawrence (  From “Valley of Kashmir “ published in 1895 ),

"The vast majority of the Pandits belong to the Karkun class and have usually made their livelihood in the employment of the State. But as State employment became harder to obtain and the numbers of the Pandits increased, the Brahmans of Kashmir sought other occupations.  Briefly, it may be said that a Pandit may follow any trade or occupation except those of the cobbler, potter, corn-friar, porter, boatman, carpenter, Mason, or Fruit-seller etc.

Pandits have been known to adopt the profession of Acting and Music, and a Pandit now in my employment was once a cavalry soldier in the army of His Highness the Maharana of Oodeypore ( Udaipur ).  As time goes on these intelligent and quick-witted people will no doubt take to new occupations. But  the present   Karkun Pandit regards the pen as his natural destiny, and though many have taken to agriculture and many more are looking to land as a means of employment and subsistence, they would infinitely prefer to spend their lives as clerks in some office. The Pandits of the villages consider it no degradation to follow the plough and to carry manure; but the city Pandit, who has not severed himself from the literary atmosphere of the capital, is inclined to look down upon the Brahman agriculturist, and though he will take a wife from the villages he will not, if a man of any position, permit his daughter to marry into a village family.
 The future of the city Pandits is a matter of some anxiety. They have not the keen trading instinct of the natives of the Panjab, and may neglect the chances of commerce which easier communications with India should now offer. "

From the above statement of Walter lawrence , it appears that Pandits had no hesitation towards taking up Tailoring as a profession in 19th century .

 I have also  heard that  cinema Actor  A K  HANGAL ( 1914-2012 ) , Born in a kashmiri Pandit family  of Peshawar , started his early  life as a Tailor  ; But then  this kashmiri Pandit Family had migrated out  from Kashmir valley long back  and as such  was far away from the mainstream and Core Kashmiri Pandit society .

For sure , Kashmiri Pandits had some aversion towards  joining any  Business  activity   .  A job that required a pen in hand or meant  writing work was generally  sought after  by them .That is why no kashmiri  Pandit was an Artisan  . By artisan I mean carpenter , Tailor , Masson , Blacksmith,  Papier Mache Artist , Shawl embroider , Carpet  weaver  ,   Plumber etc . etc. During my childhood , I could see just one Masson , One carpenter  and some drivers    from kashmiri Pandit community.  

Although many    Pandits  had  Bakery ( Kaandhar vaan  )  shops  or worked as  professional  cooks   but for marriage  within the core kashmiri Pandit society ,   these men could not get a match. Accordingly , Most of them had to get married to Girls from nearby hilly areas of  Kishtawar , Bhaderwah and Ramban  

You can see  from the above photograph clicked in 1911 that there were Kashmiri Pandit Tailoring shops in Srinagar city ..  I am informed by elders that there was a problem for Boys engaged in this business when they had to look for a match to get married . Kashmiri Pandit society considered this business as something inferior and later shunned this occupation altogether .

But then again ,Some time around 1940 , Lamboodhar Nath Tikoo , An educated and enterprising kashmiri Pandit , belonging to an affluent and infuential family, surprised his community members when he opened a tailoring shop under the name and style of “ NAVYUG TAILORS ” at Habba Kadal Srinagar. Pandit Kashyap Bandhu , A reformist leader amongst Kashmiri Pandits during those days, personally attended  the opening cermony of this shop at Habba Kadal. To attract VIP and European customers , the Business location was immediately shifted to Amira Kadal in srinagar City . 

Son of an Engineer who had built BC Road during Maharaja's rule, Lamboodhar Nath went to Bombay to study engineering but returned to valley after learning professional Tailoring . He would cater to VIP customers and was much in demand for stitching stylish suits, Tweed coats and  fashionable shirts. Very soon, NAVYUG TAILORS opened another branch at Residency Road in Srinagar city. Pandit Triloki Nath Tikoo , a young kashmiri pandit with modern outlook , joined his brother Lamboodhar Nath Tikoo in this venture from day one . For Tikoo brothers , it was also a step towards reforming the community and motivating youth for starting such like business ventures that were tradionally shunned . Tikoo family was from Reshi Peer Mohalla in downtown Srinagar .

Pandit Laxman Joo Tikoo ( Father of Lamboodhar Nath and Triloki Nath  ), felt sad and disillusioned at the venture of his sons . Lamboodhar Nath had to start an urdu Newspaper “ NAVYUG “ simultaneously to protect his father from recurring satires from relations and friends for this Tailoring venture looked down upon by orthodox kashmiri Pandit society during those days. Young Nand lal wattal ( who later joined as editor of Urdu newspaper Khidmat ) from Rainawari was brought in as Editor of this news paper . Tailoring Business of Tikoo brothers was directly hit by the second world war as most of their European clients had to move  out of kashmir . The tribal raid of 1947 dried up almost all the residual clientele of  NAVYUG TAILORS .The News Paper had to be closed down for various reasons . "NAVYUG TAILORS " also pulled down its shutters permanently after sometime .

Some Muslim Boys, who worked as Apprentices at these shops , became excellent Tailor masters and opened independent tailoring shops in Srinagar city  .

( Autar Mota 30.07.2014  )

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done in  1854  By william Carpenter  )


William Carpenter ( 1818-1899 ) was a Visual artist from England who travelled extensively in India . He also visited Kashmir possibly three times during summers of 1853 , 1854 and 1855 AD . He stayed in India for about 7 years and kept himself busy in travel and paining .

WILLIAM CARPENTER was a master in drawing Water colour Landscapes . His water colours show life in Amritsar city , Devotees inside Golden Temple , Bazaars of Delhi , Benares Ghats ,Mosques , Forts , Rural life of India , Sadhus , Meditating men, Jain Temples , Forts of Rajasthaan ,Havelis , Jama Masjid of Delhi , Portraits of Indian rulers ,Jharokhas and so many other scenes and structures that relate to India . The Victoria and Albert Museum bought over 280 of his paintings. His water colours are being exhibited in various galleries world over .

He also painted shrines and landscapes in Kashmir . In 1853 ,he made a Doonga trip to Kheer Bhawani shrine via Nalla Maar and drew some fantastic landscapes .  He also visted various shrines  of Kashmir including Makhdoom  Sahib’s  Ziyarat at hari Parbat  and painted its  inside view .  I add his water colours ( two  ) showing morning scene at Kheer Bhawani shrine Tulamula with kashmiri Pandits taking a bath( before entering the Sanctum sanctorum ) and therafter sitting inside the shrine under Chinar Trees  .The paintings have beeen done in 1853.
And now his water colour ( done in 1855 ) showing inside view of  Ziyarat of Makhdoom Sahib in srinagar city.
       And below lies his water colour ( done in 1854 ) of Shah e Hamdaan Mosque in Downtown Sringar city ..
And a water colour of Beautiful Nigeen Lake of Kashmir done by the Artist in 1855

William Carpenter was a bachelor .His mother Mrs Margret carpenter was also a Portrait Artist .

So friends Water colour tradition is not New  ; It had a glorius past with some Grand Masters creating wonders ...

Rekhtay ke tum hi ustaad nahin ho "Ghalib "
Kehtay hain aglay zamaane mein koyee Mir bhi thhaa.....

( AUTAR    MOTA   30.07.2014 )

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Friday, July 25, 2014


  Dadar , Mumbai                                                                 

Mumbai is simply rains these days .Nonstop downpour since 15.07.2014 .9AM .

Dadar west is a mix of rain washed old buildings , high rise apartments , crowded middle class Bazars , spacious shopping stores and some shopping Malls. Crowded roads , speeding buses and everytime available Taxis painted in black and yellow ; Pay roughly 19 rupees per km for your taxi ride. So cheap by any standard when compare with what we  we pay for hiring an  Auto Richshaw in Jammu or Srinagar  cities . Paid Rs180 from Jahangir Art Gallery Fort to Dadar  via Marine Drive , Haji Ali and Praba Devi route .No auto Rickshaw is allowed within the core city.

Life moves as usual in Rains. Every person carries an umbrella with him but almost every person has wet clothes .The executives who come down from their offices to get inside their cars , students pouring out from school buses, ladies shopping in Markets , People moving on roads , Vada Paav and Sandwich sellers , Flower sellers ,Banana sellers, Coconut sellers, commuters pulling themselves out from local trains and Traders on footpaths are drenched but unmindful. Possibly getting wet is not a serious issue for a Mumbaikar.

The high tide (15 feet) near Marine drive that originated from the angry monsoon sea, swept away two persons yesterday.Some buildings collapsed .Flooded Juhu Airport turns into a Lake. The six lakes (That supply water to the city ) namely Modak sagar,Tansa, Vihar,Tulsi, Upper Vaitarna and Bhatsa are getting filled by the downpour. Water water everywhere and so much water to drink . i am informed that the water supplied by Municipality is safe and fit for drinking . our neighbour in Dadar has been drinking it for many years now. He believes that it is better than the so called packaged drinking water sold in the market.


Sandeep Mota Stays in an apartment that is close to Dadar Railway Junction ,Kabutar khaana ,Shivaji Park, Old Jain Temple ,Portugeese Church, Peer Bagdadi Mosque ,sidhi Vinayak Temple ,Fresh Flower Market and sabzi Mandi. Could not find Nadru , Haak or Monji (Kadam ) .Yes too much of something like kashmiri Wosta Haak and Torraai or kashmiri Torrail.



Bhure lal ,the man who irons clothes using a 2 feet by 5 feet wooden plank on foot path , sleeps below the plank at night.Badar ud Din , the denter in a Car workshop sleeps over the plank .If the rains disturb them,they sleep on the steps leading to'Banglore Ayyangar's Bakery' shop .Badru and Bhure are from Eastern UP. Bhure gets 4000 rupees per month and he has to iron around 250 clothes per day. We paid @ 5 rupees per cloth given for ironing.Ram Dhan ,The owner of the wooden plank and the so called Ironing shop is also from eastern UP .He brings clothes from nearby apartments on his bicycle .He also delivers back ironed clothes using his bicycle. He has to pay rent for using footpath space apart from paying electricity bills .RamDhan speaks fluent Marathi.

Acting as night watchman, Ram Dhan sleeps inside the shop of Joseph kabaadi. Joseph kabaadi has a shop nearby in the lane. Joseph has a toilet as well inside the shop that looks like an old shabby living room full of old newspapers , books and broken plastic pieces. Stuffy and filthy. Ram Dhan ,Bhure and Badru pay ( Rs200 each per month ) to Joseph kabaadi for allowing them one time ,that too early morning , use of toilet . Joseph comes to his shop at 10.30 AM and locks the toilet . And the life moves on.......
This is Mumbai..         
 ( Autar Mota 16.07.2014 ) Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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It was a proud moment for me yesterday when I saw some original Pahari Miniature paintings of NAIN SUKH the greatest master known as Picasso of Pahari Art  inside CHHATRAPATI  SHIVAJI  MAHARAJ  VASTU  SANGRAHALAYA , KALA GHORRA , FORT  , MUMBAI .

My special thanks to SABYASACHI MUKHERJEE ( Director Chhatrapati shivaji Maharaj Vastu sangrahalaya Fort , Mumbai ) and his wonderful team in preserving about 50000 rare artifacts so elegantly inside what was formerly known as PRINCE OF WALES MUSEUM MUMBAI with a section devoted to Pahari Miniature Art. The Museum has wide collection that includes paintings, stone scluptures depicting Gandhara style of Art, Coins, Bhuddist Tankas ,  Ancient Assyrian Stone reliefs, Pottery relating to Mohan jo Daro and Harrapan period, Decorative Glass work, Precious Manuscripts, Ancient jwellery, Silk and shawls,Arms,Bronzes, Terracottas etc.etc. This museum has some finest scluptures depicting the ART OF GANDHARA relating to Ist to 3rd century CE.. The images have been procured from GANDHARAN sites like SAHRI BAHLOL, TAKHT I BAHI and JAMALGARHI.
Sir Rattan Tata and Sir Dorab Tata have also gifted many private antiquities to this Museum.Some private collections of Sir Akbar Hydari and Seth Purshottam have also been gifted to this Museum. Sir Henery Cousens brought most of the excavations of Mirpurkhas(Now in Pakistan ) to this Museum. Treasured collections of Nana Phadnis (1741-1800) were also brought to this Museum. It is now a Trust or an autonomous body unaided by the  government .

I came to know from a reliable source  that an original Pahari miniature of Nainsukh was auctioned for $2 million last year. His patron, Raja Balwant Singh ( Younger Brother of Maharaja Ranjit Dev of Jammu ) of Jasrota kingdom of jammu , was a man of meagre means, but a passionate connoisseur of the arts and Nainsukh created a magical, fantasy world for him.

When Nain Sukh was left at Raja Balwant singh' s court by the artist’s father , the Raja hardly knew that he had a gem that would not only shine for ages but would also brighten up his name as a Grand Patron. His work has remained unparalleled in Pahari Miniature Art .When Raja Balwant singh died , Nain sukh along with his four sons moved to Guler Kingdom .


It is now established beyond any shade of doubt that Kashmiris are the originators of Pahari school of Art. A family of RAZADAN ( RAINA ) Brahmins from Kashmir who were artists, moved out of Kashmir sometime around 1660 A.D. when they found no patronage to their work in valley and settled in various Rajput Hilly kingdoms  on both sides of river  RAVI. The family Head PANDIT SHIV RAINA ( who later came to be known as SEU RAINA was a master of PALA STYLE OF ART ) joined as artist in the kingdom of RAJA DALIP SINGH OF GULER . NAIN SUKH (Nana ) AND MANAKU ( Manna ) where his sons who later on revolutionized the Miniature Pahari Art by joining various hilly Rajput kingdoms. It is also believed that the next generation of this group of migrant Brahmins from kashmir did not move towards plains of the country in view of Death and destrucion created by Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Abdali's invasions.

While Shiv Raina was an artist , other RAZADANS or RAINAS who were Brahmins and who also migrated out from kashmiri valley , took up employment in the Durbars of various Hilly Rajput Kingdoms . Some amongst these migrant Pandits  , who were well versed in Hindu scriptures, were employed as Raj Purohits by various Pahari Rulers .The Raj Purohit of Basholi Kingdom was a Kashmiri RAZADAN who was granted sufficient land by the ruler . Even to this day, this RAZADAN family owns land in and around Basholi town. Again the Raj Purohit of Haripur was a  Raina Brahmin   from kashmir.

 These Razdans / Rainas of kashmir settled themselves in  Sujanpur Tira , Nurpur , Haripur , Chamba , Kangra , Bilaspur , Hamirpur , Basholi , Jammu , Jasrota  ,Mandi , Kulu , Palampur  and other hilly kingdoms of Himachal and nearby  Jammu and Uttrakhand .

 My friend and writer Dr R K Tamiri has done extensive study and research work  on movement of these  Razdans  / Rainas from Kashmir  to Himachal Pradesh .This research took him to a village named as  Rainabari  near  Baijnath in Himachal  Pradesh  . Rainabari turned out to be a biggest settlement of Rainas from Kashmir who trace their lineage to Rainas/ Razdans  of Rainawari in kashmir . Accroding to Dr R . K . Tamiri,

“ I was always wondering as to where had  about 1500 families of Rainas from  Rainawari suddenly disappeared  sometime in seventeenth century .My questions were fully answered  when I went to Himachal and traced some of these Rainas  especially my  pilgrimage like visit to Rainabari village Near Baijnath . The village is a large cluster of Raina  families  that have settled themselves in this  peaceful place after their migration from kashmir in 17th and 18th century . Even Satyarthi Raina , Grand father of Suresh Raina ( Cricket Player in Indian Team ) is from Rainabari in H.P. These Rainas proudly trace their origin to Rainawari in Kashmir Valley . They have discarded many  kashmiri customs but they still like Dum Alu and Saag. Surprisingly I found many  inscriptions in sharda ( A script  used by  kashmiri Pandits ) like script on  some old stone slabs in Baijnath . ”

It could possibly be correct that  Pahari Miniature Artist  Seu Raina migrated  from  Rainawari in Kashmir  valley ?  A news for Rainawarians .

Like Nainsukh , Manaku too is responsible for spread of Pahari Miniature art in North India .Manaku had two sons, Fattu and Kushal who were also masters of Miniature pahari Art . Manaku’s grandsons named Madho, Malak and Kashi Ram were also artists of repute. Here is a Prtrait of Manaku done by Nain Sukh . This portrait is on display in  Chandigarh  Gallery of  Art .


 (Written above the portrait in takri script  *Manaku musawar misar " Also a digit 3 is written in  Takri  script. In Persian script with pencil above on the right says: Manaku musavvir pisr-i Seu musavvir (* The painter Manaku, son of the painter Seu*) Below right a two line script in Devnagri: Seu de putar vada Manak chhota Nainsukh(the sons of Seu: the elder, Manak, the younger, Nainsukh*)

This art was further spread in Hilly Rajput kingdoms by RANJHA and NIKKA who were talented sons of NAINSUKH. Infact Nain sukh had for sons Ranjha , Kamu ,Gourhu and Nikka and all of them were Master Artists .

Harku, Gursahai ( son of Ranjha) , Atra, Saudagar, Chhajju, Gokul ,Sukhanu , Sutanu and some more miniature Pahari Artists from this RAZADAN / RAINA family tree were also patronized by Feudal Lords and rulers of Pahari states .Other prominent descendants from this family were Rajoul, Bhupinder, Parkash and Chandulal Raina .  In fact Chandu Lal Raina of Kangra , a master Pahari painter, was the last descendent from this Raina / Razdan family tree who died in 1994. It is reported that his son Anil Raina is also trying hard to keep this Art alive .

Six Generations of Great Seu Raina ( Shiv Raina ) produced about 45 Master Artists that contributed  immensely for development of Miniature Pahari Art in various  states of what is presently known as Himachal Pradesh . The rulers of these states certainly extended  exceptional patronage to these Artists .


NAIN SUKH , trained by his father Pandit Seu Raina ( Shiv Raina ) ,made use of special colours that he himself prepared using mineral and vegetable sources . He also extracted his colours from flowers and spices . Gum , water , handmade paper and Glass rubbing techinique to give shine was also employed by him in his work. He was a master who has used soft but firm strokes and minute details in his Paintings . His observations was sharp that is widely reflected in his work.
He has drawn stout figures of men who wear colourful turbans and Jamas ( Loose Coats ). His women wear jewellery , anklets and armbands . They have sharp features . He is again a grand master when it comes to painting RAM LEELA , RAAS LEELA , SUDAM KRISHNA , RUKMANI KRISHANA , RADHA KRISHANA , GOPIS , MUSICIANS , ELEPHANTS , BIRDS , FLOWERS , DURBAR SCENES ,SCENES OF MONSOON ROMANCE , RAJA ON A HUNTING EXPEDITION , RAJA WITH HIS RANEES, WOMEN DANCING MUDRAS , RANEES ( QUEENS ) IN PALACE , COWS etc. etc.

 Apart from above , he has also painted his patron Raja Balwant singh of jammu in various poses and moods . Never has any Master Artist so devotedly  documented  activities of his patron as Nain Sukh has done  for Raja Balwant  Singh of Jasrota , Jammu  . I came across a painting wherein this  Raja is shown  sitting in a Tent at Nagrota  and puffing his Hookah .
 Another portrait shows   Raja Balwant Singh dressed in a jama  ( Loose Coat ) with a shawl  in his lap . He has also a  matching  serpech  on his Turban   and is shown  writing a letter to his nephew   Raja Amrit Pal  of Basholi  . A Hookah  is in front of him while a dagger lies close by .The artist has even copied the contents of the letter   written in Takri ( very close to sharda script of kashmir ) script.
Like a true Suryavanshi  Rajput , the Raja starts his communication by invoking Sri Rama’s Blessings . The usual “ Jai Deya ”  (that is still exchanged by  Rajputs of jammu  when they see or meet  each other ) also finds mention in the Text in Takri. I quote the translation..

“ Salutations to Sri Rama . To My honoured Bhanja  Amrit Pal from Balwant. Please accept my Greetings of JAI DEYA . May Sri Rama Protect you ; That would give our hearts great Joy .Your letter has reached  and apprised of the situation . Sayeed Khan wrote to you separately……. ”

 It is believed that Nain Sukh had direct access to Raja purely on account of his Art and never did he seek any special favour for himself or his family from his Patron .

Prof. B N Goswami eminent Researcher ,Historian and Art critic has personally seen Nain Sukh's Hand written entries in Pothhis of Pandits/ priests at Haridwar . Nain sukh took Ashes of Raja Balwant singh to Haridwar and made an entry in the Bahi khaata or Pothhi of a Pandit or priest at Ganga .He has himself signed this Pothhi giving the date and purpose of his visit to Haridwar. In a corner of the page, he has also added a small but impressive Drawing showing Bhagirath supplicating before Lord Shiva and Parvati to bring the Ganga to earth.

Dr. Eberhard Fischer, Senior Director of the Museum Rietberg, Zurich (1972-2006) who is an authority on Pahari miniature Art , opines that Nainsukh's art is a WORLD HERITAGE to be preserved at all costs and by all means. Dr. Fischer has also produced a film on Nainsukh’s life.

I am informed that Apart from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya ( Mumbai ), Nain Sukh's paintings are prominently displayed inside Kolkata Museum, London (Victoria & Albert Museum) and Zurich (Rietberg).

So long so much on NAIN SUKH………..

( Autar Mota 20.07.2014 )

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