Friday, March 27, 2015

FEARLESS KRISHNA MISRI FROM KASHMIR


                                                                              



FEARLESS KRISHNA MISRI
She is Krishna Misri ( Zadoo ).She was barely 14 when she got herself enrolled as a Volunteer in the Women’s wing of National Militia set up by supporters of National Conference to fight Invading Tribal Raiders during 1947. This resistance group was also known as Women’s Self Defence Corps (WSDC) . 
The slogan coined during those turbulent days was ….
“Hamlaavar Khabardaar Hum Kashmiri Hain Tayaar “ 

(“ Beware you aggressor , We kashmiris are prepared to fight back“)


For the first time kashmiri girls drawn from Hindu and Muslim households bore the arms and were trained in firing Guns to drive away Tribal raiders .krishna Ji was one such brave and fearless girl.The girls were trained to fire 303 guns , Stenguns and Pistols at Chandmaari and Later at Badaami Bagh.
.Krishna Ji’s brother, Pushkar Zadoo too enrolled himself in Men’s Militia and achieved Martyrdom along with Maqbool Sherwani , Master Abdul Aziz and Som Nath Beera .
At that crucial time , Maharaja suddenly left Srinagar and there was practically no administration.  It was reported  that the advancing Tribal raiders were  approaching Srinagar city via two routes ; one Bandipora -safapora road and the other Pattan- Baramulla road . The city had already plunged into total darkness with Raiders destroying Mohra Power house. The climate was getting colder day after day and winter was fast approaching.Fear and panic prevailed all over . Under this background , Volunteers from Men and women Militia marched through the street of Srinagar city along with guns , building confidence of the population terrified from reports about advancing Tribal Raiders . They Guarded Bridges , Roads and Vital Installations in the city and its outskirts .

These Volunteers also did enormous Social work in camps set up for the hapless refugees who Poured into Srinagar city to save their lives and honour . The raiders had almost destroyed entire Baramulla Town .Stories of rapes , Brutalities , Death and destruction in and around Baramulla town in particular were heard from all corners . These volunteers collected cash donations, Rations and Warm clothes for the refugees. Begum Sheikh Mohd Abdullah supervised all the social activities and relief work of Women’s Self Defence Corps .
Miss Mehmooda Ahmed Ali Shah ( sister of Dr Naseer Noted Physician of kashmir ) , Zainab Begum ( sister of Late G M Sadiq Ex. Chief Minister J&K )  were also associated with WSDC Militia . Freda Bedi ( Mother of Indian actor Kabir Bedi ) was also associated with WSDC Militia .

It worthwhile to make special mention of an illiterate but determined Girl from a Milk seller’s family of downtown Srinagar Named Zoon ( Zoona Gujri ) who too took to streets and led the march past of WSDC militia .A Contingent of Women volunteers Militia was led by Zainab Begum .

  And  Poet Agha Shahid Ali ( son of Agha Ashraf Ali ) has dedicated a beautiful English poem to Krishna ji . The Poem appears at Page 184 in Agha Shahid Ali's poetic collection " THE VEILED SUITE " ...
Krishna ji retired as Principal Govt college for women Srinagar and presently lives in Delhi..I conclude this post with a couplet of Allama Iqbal.....

Vohii jahaan hai teraa jis ko tu karay paidaa,
Ye sang o khisht nahin jo teri nigaah mein hai....


( Autar Mota )




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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

SPRING BREEZE AND KASHMIRI POET LATE MOTI LAL SAQI

                                                                       
                                                                          
ALMOND TREES IN BAADAAM VAARI GARDEN  OF KASHMIR
SPRING IS IN THE AIR
( Photo Autar Mota )

The birds have again come to sit on branches , the brooks again carry down the milky waters from lofty mountains ,the earth once more warms up to life , Trees wear Green apparel , Buds once more open up , Almond blooms are simply inviting , Bubbling are the water springs ,Fragrant is the air and look how Mustard fields wait for some one to arrive .

The VEENA within , wants RAAG VASANT to be played today…. Who shall sing “Ketaki Ghulab Joohi Champak Ban Phoole” ?

Adds the poet

“Beyii phyoor sontukk Vaav
Bahaar aav bahaar Aav
Parriyuv to kor paeraav
Bahaar aav bahaar Aav…..”

(The breeze once more comes this way ,
Here comes the spring! Here comes the spring !
The fairies too dressed themselves up,
Here comes the spring! Here comes the spring !)


Shall the spring Breeze wait for some one to arrive . And Poet Moti Lal Saqi makes passionate appeal to this fleeting spring Breeze . I quote ..

Zaanh Na ba karaai Graav Hataa Vaava Ratchha Praar
Nerithh Gayii Kumm Naava Hataa Vaava Ratchha Praar
Tiem Myaaen matchhiell Dost Rasseil Yaad tarahdaar
Chhaa vaara Kinna laegg Daava Hataa Vaava Ratchha Praar
 Raavien ma Kaansie Aalmus Munz Bar Ta Panun Braandh,
Gudhrun panun Kuss Baava Hataa Vaava Ratchha Praar ........................

( Moti Lal saqi )

O Breeze ! Never shall I complain to you , Just Wait a little More .
What makes you to rush so fast ? Just Wait a little More .
Those loving friends and the varied delightful memories ,
Are they well or have been sucked in by this hell fire ,
Let me know, O Breeze! Wait a little More .
Let none in this world lose his door and the front entrance ,
Tell me to whom should I convey What befell me , O Breeze ! Wait a little More.

But Alas! Destiny had something else under its sleeves.While the spring Breeze paid no heed , Saqi left for some other world without visiting the garden.

.During those last fateful days, he kept singing his immortal lines....

Bhariev taaf halmuss...Siri Losavunn Chuss ..
( A setting sun I am,Have as Much of sun shine as you can )..

And the breeze never sought his whereabouts......

( Autar Mota )

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

DR. ALI JAN OF KASHMIR


                                                                                 




DR ALI JAN
In Rainawari , we had Ram Joo Handoo’s chemist shop near Jogi Lanker Bridge . He claimed himself to be R M P . My father had an abiding faith in Ram joo’s degree , Diagnosis and Prescriptions . He would often tell me ..

“Ye Haa Chhu RMP. Tchhin tathh Balaai. Aeim Chha Ali Jaanus saet Hedroonie Kaam Kaarmetch.”
                                                 Or
“ He is holding R.M.P. certificate. Leave aside his certificate , he has worked with Dr Ali Jan at SMHS hospital Srinagar “
My father believed that Dr Ali Jan was the ultimate that modern medical science could provide to kashmir and any person associated with him could never be ordinary. This led him to believe in Ram joo Handoo's medical practice and prescriptions.
He would lay more stress on Ram Joo’s association with Luqman of Kashmir known as Dr Ali Mohammad Fazili or Fondly known as Ali Jan (1914-1988 ) MBBS , DCH, MRCP.
So he was . This I came to know when I saw his style of attending to patients and his sharp Diagnostic skills.I need to quote one incident..
Possibly in 1978 ,My friend Basharat Fazili's brother was sick for long with fever that did not subside even when treated by some good doctors . They were treating him for Typhoid . Worried , we managed an appointment with Dr Ali Jan in morning hours at his Magarmal Bagh Residence . No Test , no X’ Ray, Dr Jan,  after a careful examination. Told us  that the boy has water in his lungs and he be immediately admitted to Children's Hospital to drain out this water that was causing the infection and consequent fever. And that proved the correct diagnosis. .

No unnecessary Tests ,No un-warranted X’Rays , No expensive medicines and No second opinions .
In Bank ,my immediate boss, Late S N Kaul was Dr Ali Jan's greatest admirer. He would often say,.. ,

"He can feel the sickness in the eyes of the patient. He has uncommon and God given shifaa in his hands ". 

Many stories were in circulation about his god given and magical diagnostic skills.But for sure,He could swiftly diagnose through his own clinical examination and careful listening to what the patient said to him . A pioneer of Modern medical Education in valley . A messiah of kashmiris who did everything to establish modern Healthcare in Kashmir.

Kashmiris shall always remain indebted to this son of the soil who was also a lover of fine ARTS . Kak sahib ,the trusted assistant at his private practice venue ,once told me ..
“Dr sahib likes kashmiri music and songs especially Chhakri . He likes to hear Amma Sofi  , Hassan sofi , RaJ Begum and many more traditional kashmiri singers . He has a great taste for sufiana music of kashmir . He enjoys Indian film  Music  also . Dr sahib also reads a lot of Modern western fiction and Literature . Trout fishing is another great hobby with him. He listens to western classical music  as well  .”
Born in 1914 at Gojwara Locality of downtown Srinagar , he lived at Magarmal Bagh Srinagar and practiced at Polo ground (above the shop of M/S Ghulam Mohi Ud Din And sons Pvt Ltd. A leading export house ) opposite the then Gringdlay’s Bank Building. He did his MBBS from King Edward’s medical college Lahore in 1937 and completed his DCH and MRCP in 1951. In 1975 , Government of India honoured him with Padamshri . A Rotarian , he was also Vice chairman of the governing body of SKIMS Srinagar and a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences India. He was a close friend of Dr.P N  Chutani ( former Director  PGI Chandigarh ).
In October 1988, he passed away suffering from cancer of pancreas .
The story of Modern Health care in kashmir shall remain incomplete in case we do not include Dr Ali Jan's contribution .

Peace be to his soul......


( Autar Mota )
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Monday, March 23, 2015

PRAN KISHORE : A LIVING LEGEND WHO PIONEERED RADIO DRAMAS IN KASHMIR


                                                                                  




PRAN KISHORE
HISTORY, WILL YOU MENTION US IN YOUR FADED SCROLL ?

 Once Radio Kashmir Srinagar was taken over by Government Of India , a qualitative and quantitative change took place in its programs and functioning . More funds poured in and more Technical equipment and expertise flowed in . A group of talented persons like Qaiser Qalandhar , Pran Kishore , Mohan Lal Aima and many more joined to assist old stalwarts notably Ghulam Rasool Nazki and Prem Nath Pardesi . Pran ji was made producer of Drama section. His produced and directed radio Plays broadened the listener base of Radio Kashmiri Srinagar . 

I vividly remember how food was served to us at 8.30 PM and my mother would finish everything by 9.15 PM. Thereafter Every one in our family kept glued to the Radio in Hush Hush silence waiting till 9.30 PM when we would hear something like this ..
“ Ye chhu Radio Kashmir Srinagar . Raaetch haenz Saad’a Nuvv Baajeiye . Booziv Drama Lala Joo And Sons. Tehreer Ali Mohd lone Peishkush Pran kishore “
                                                                       Or
"This is Radio Kashmir Srinagar . It is 9.30 PM now. Tune in to our Drama “Lala Joo And Sons “ Scripted by Ali Mohd lone and produced by Pran Kishore ."
Some notable plays that come to my mind at this moment are ,

(1) Vyaathh Rooz Pakaan ( Drama series for which Akhtar Mohi Ud din , Ali Mohd Lone and som Nath Zutshi wrote powerful Radio Dramas . Ali Mohd Lone’s drama for this series was selected in the National Drama festival and won first Prize )

(2) Vaitaal Pacheesi ( From Kathaa Sarit Saagar translated by Ali Mohd Lone.Pran ji acted as Vaitaal )
(3) Bombur Ta Yemberzal ( Opera written by Dina Nath Naadim ) 

(4) Dr Faustus ( Translated by Prof. Rehman Raahi . Pran ji himself acted as Dr Faustus ) 
(5) Vitasta ( opera by Dina Nath Naadim ) 

(6) Lal Joo and sons ( Written by Ali Mohd Lone )

(7) Aadam chhu Ajab Zaat ( written by Akhtar Mohi Ud Din )

(8) Yeli Vattan chhu Khuur Iwaan ( scripted by Hari Krishen Kaul )

(9) Vaen kaemsinz Vaaer Chhi and Harud ( Scripted by Dr Shanker Raina )

(10) Myon Marrun ,Buss Akh Tamaah and DaaenThhar ( Scripted by Bansi Nirdosh )

(11) Agar Aash Soarrie, Kaaend Sahraav ,Jheel Bulaa Rahi Hai, Aadam Hawa Ta Iblees , Pash'a kiss Vatchhus Tal and Myaani Jigreikk Daaedi Voathh( Scripted by Ali Mohd Lone )

(12 ) Buut Ta Bulldozer ( Scripted by G R Santosh )

( 13) Shuhul Naar , Taant Kurr and kaejj Raat ( Scripted by Sajood Sailani )

(14) Vijvaav ( scripted by Som Nath Zutshi )

Plays scripted by Amar Malmohi ,Shamas ud din shamim, Rattan Lal shant, Autar krishen Rehbar , Shabnam Qayoom, Moti Lal kemu  and many more playwright were also produced or directed by Pran Kishore for Radio Kashmir .It is practically impossible to record all plays that he either produced or directed or wherein he himself acted .The list could be endless..

On account of his exceptional command over  English, Hindi ,Urdu and kashmiri language ,he translated many plays  from English , Urdu and Hindi to Kashmiri and ensured their Broadcast from  Radio Kashmir Srinagar . Many plays produced by him for Radio Kashmir Srinagar   won awards in National Radio Drama festivals. He even translated Stein’s Rajtaringini and presented it as a Radio Feature.

So many radio artists have confirmed to me that he was always  present during recording and Rehearsals of his plays . He would meticulously record each and every  dialogue to its perfection under a total professional environment inside the recording room wherein a focused silence was maintained . He would not allow any side talks and no body would dare to disturb his work not even his close associates like Kedar Sharma, P L Razdan or M. L Kuchroo .

 Jai Kishen Zutshi , who was also associated with Radio dramas and  who later shifted to Door Darshan, was a trained by   Pran Kishore only .

His Radio features on saint Poetess " LAL DED" and  Tallest saint of Kashmir's Reshi Order  fondly known as "NUND RYOSH " , remain unmatched to this day in terms of Production , script and presentation. For Lal Ded feature , he sought assistance from Prof Jay Lal Kaul and Master Zinda kaul. Both the features were broadcast through various AIR stations in India . Aab Ta Hayaat ( Water And Life ) is a radio feature that won him National and international fame. Not many of us know that it was presented before a mammoth gathering in Milano Italy. This Radio Feature was written and presented by Pran ji in his unique and impressive voice.

Pran Ji’s voice is an amalgamation of rainbow colours , thundering clouds and whistling breeze . Fragrant all over , Soft when needed and imposing when required. This voice was dubbed for many characters of kashmiri Feature film Maanzraat . Kashmiri version of this film was directed by Pran ji .
                                                                       
   ( Pran Ji shooting kashmiri Feature film Maenzraat at some outdoor location near Tangmarg  kashmir )
Stage adaptation of Poet Dina Nath Naadim’s opera VITASTA was also  superbly directed by him . The opera was performed in various cities of the country and it won rave reviews in print media everywhere . So happened with 'PIYA BAAJ PYAALA “ that he directed .
He started the annual JASHN E TAMSEEL Festival for Radio Dramas .Many kashmiri Playwrights touched heights of Popularity through their radio plays that he produced or directed . Many kashmiri Radios Drams featured in Akaashwani awards .
As Presenter, he is endowed with a rich imagination to do anything and everything that is required to create a good Drama , a good script and an unsurpassed production . A perfectionist to the core, he remains a nice and cultured human being for all who happen to come close to him.

Writing is another field wherein Pran ji excelled equally.  His  kashmiri novel “SHEEN TA VATTI PODH “ won him the Best Book award from Jammu And Kashmir Academy of Art Culture And Languages . This novel also won him A sahitya academy award .This novel is based on Gujjars and Bakerwals with Characters like Raj wali Khan , Reshma Qamroo, Peera , Laali , Maaja , Nooran Bibi , laal Khan , Mastaan Khan and Zorawar . Raj wali khan and Reshma are central characters of this wonderful novel. If you read the novel, you are bound to get surprised as to how Pran ji has acquired such in depth knowledge of life , customs and traditions of Gujjars and Bakerwals .
                                                                           
 ( A memorable photograph of  The Radio Kashmir Team .. Pran ji, Bashir Butt , Pushker Bhan , Quaiser Qalandhar ,Ali Mohd lone , Manohar Prothi, Jagan  Nath Saqi ,Kamal Ahmed Siddique, Som Nath Sadhu , Mohd sultan Pandit and many more  )

Post retirement , Pran ji scripted the successful Tele serials” GUL GULSHAN GULFAAM “ (Based on his Novel by same title)  , SAAYE  DEVDAAR  KE  and JUNOON  apart from many other assignment that he completed to perfection. He also set up his own dance drama troupe known as PRAGAASH PRODUCTIONS that went to many places including Hongkong spreading the fragrance of Grand culture of Kashmir. I hold two DVDs (as my prized possession ) showing recording of the Hongkong event . A galaxy of dancers , singers and musicians from kashmir were associated with this production troupe prominent being Ali Mohd Sheikh , Krishen ji Langoo , Mrs Prerna jailkhani ,Dalip ji Langoo, Saleha ji and many more . Pran ji has presented almost all the varieties of kashmiri Folk music , songs and dances in this presentation . In this recording , You get glimpses of Chhakri , Naat , Leela . Bacha Nagma , Hikkat , Sufinana, Hafiz Nagma and vanvun with commentary and clarifications by Pran ji in his commanding voice. Through these DVDs , for the first time , I heard “GOONGA NAWA” , a folk song from kishtwar , once quite popular in Kashmir .

                                                                                   

                                  ( Pran ji with GyanPeeth Awaedee Kashmiri Poet Prof. Rehman Raahi  )
                    ( Pran ji with Pushkar Bhan  a talented actor and writer who wrote the most popular  Hero Machama and Sindhbaad Machama series for the Radio kashmir   )
                                                                       
                                                        ( Pran Ji with Ustaad Bismillah Khan )                   
A widely travelled man , Pran ji remains an Encyclopedia of knowledge on Art , culture and history of Kashmir. Presently settled in Pune , Pran ji leads a somewhat lonely life after the death of his wife and life long Companion Shanta kaul. Shanta ji was also a Broadcaster par excellence .
                                                                             
          ( L To R Pran Kishore , His daughter , Broadcaster Uma Khosla and Pran ji's wife Late Shanta kaul )
                                                                         
                                                              ( Pran Kishore )
  Remembering his childhood   days  Pran ji adds
“” In 1943, a play named NEELAM was staged in S P College in which I and Qaiser Qalandhar acted . For this play , Prof.Raja Mohd Maqbool Changed my name from Pran Nath Koul to Pran Kishore . That day onwards , I remained Pran Kishore . I was born at Mallapora Habba kadal Srinagar . I have clear memories of Kashmir during those days. The Jabri schools, poverty ,simplicity and then an aircraft hovering over the sky and landing in Srinagar . kashmiris coming out on roads and looking towards the sky . The funny Ladishaah song created for this strange phenomenon happening over kashmir’s sky ..

Havaai jahaaz yeli aav Mulk e Kashmir 
Yimuvv Vuchh timav korr Toba Taqseer
Godeineythh khoat taathh Taraakh Wazir 
Athhuss kyaathh Aaeissus Natchaan jejeer

“ When the first aircraft flew over Kashmir ,
Every one who saw it exclaimed “Oh God ! save us “
It was Taraak wazir who first Boarded this aircraft 
With a dancing Hubble Bubble in his hand.|”

 I vividly remember the day when electric Bulb was switched on for the first time in our house in Srinagar city and the benefits of electricity were made known to us .The electric power for the same was generated by Mohra Power house .Prior to that , Maharaja’s Palace was only connected to electric Power .There used to be a turbine based Mini Power house on Jhelum Banks near the present day Old Secretariat that would supply electricity to Maharja’s Palace .This place is still known as BIJLI GHAR. Present Generation can not visualize how happy people were with this electric connection that was provided to them.

People had no wrist watches , Time pieces or clocks . Just the deafening sound of a Canon fired from Hari Parbat Fort made you to believe that it was 12 Noon. At 9 PM ,the city dwellers were informed about the time when the electricity was slowly dimmed and finally switched off to the entire city . It was immediately restored .I vividly remember how for the first time , city dwellers were supplied water from Harwan reservoir through a well laid out system of pipes .Water works Department was started during the rule of Maharaja partap Singh and it took them some years to complete this task.Once the work with regard to Building of the reservoir and laying of the pipes in the city was completed , an estimate about the expenditure was provided to Maharaja . The Maharaja was also advised by the British Engineer Incharge to levy tax on the people of the city and recover the expenditure . To this suggestion Maharaja replied ,

“ Water is God’s gift to Humanaity . You mean I should sell this and earn Money ? NO “
And free came the drinking water to city dwellers for the first time through Taps from Sarbandh at Harwan.
When I remember my childhood , Many historical event flash back from the reservoirs of my memory


Not many of us know that Pran ji is a good painter as well. He adds  ,

“If any one asks me what gives me more satisfaction , I would straightway say painting. I also like to enter kitchen and cook at times. Yes the non Vegetarian dishes of kashmiris . Painting could be a result of my close association with G R Santosh. I tell you Santosh would also cook kashmiri dishes and feel proud in entertaining his friends . Ali Mohd Lone , Me and Santosh would often cook and eat together kashmiri Non Vegetarian dishes .We would do it on many Sundays in Bani Prassun Batacharya’s Government quarter . Bani was a Sculptor who was also a Technical expert engaged by Government of J&K .
                                                                        
( L to R G R Santosh , Pran kishore and Ali Mohd lone )
( Sh M S Pandit IAS  looking at Pran ji's paitings )

Later Another group of friends was formed for this Non Vegetarian dish cooking and eating . Pushker Bhan called this group as cabinet Meeting. This group included Ghulam Rasool Qadiri, late Lassa Kaul, Poet Rafiq Raaz ,Avtar Krishen Rehbar and Bansi Nirdosh . However Ali Mohd Lone remained a special invitee as ever . We thought he was not from the so called cabinet of Pushker Bhan as he served in Cultural Academy at that point of time.”

I conclude this post with my Favourite lines from a poem of Bulgarian national poet Nikola Vaptsarov (1909-1942) ….

“ 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 want 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.


( Autar Mota )

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Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

PANDIT LABHU RAM JOSH " MALSIYAANI " AND HIS POEM ON KASHMIR.

                                                                           


PANDIT LABHU RAM JOSH MALSIYAANI ( 1882-1976)

Bahar e ulfat mein Ho gayaa jo gark
Chashmaa e zindagi mein Jaa Niklaa…
( Josh Malsiyaani )

He who drowned himself in the sea of love ,
Made his appearance in the water spring of Life ….


Read  books on  Balmukand "Arsh Malsiyaani" and his father  Pandit labhu Ram "Josh Malsiyaani" recently .Both father and son were well known urdu poets from Punjab . Came to know some more facts about Pandit Labhu Ram Josh . I share some as under  …

Josh sahib always wore simple clothes. A Dhoti , Kurta , Desi jooti and a Punjabi Pugree was all that he wore during summers . In winter season he would always wear a black coat over a shirt. He looked like a perfect farmer who had nothing to do with poetry. Though his son Balmukand Arsh Malsiyaani was a senior officer with Govt Of India , Josh never changed his living style when he lived with his son. He ate simple vegetables, Daal    and Chapaati , Never touched liquor and remained  a vegetarian all along his life . He smoked Hukka which he carried along with him while he was travelling away from his home. Quite often, during a mushaira , when Hukka was not permitted on the stage , he asked for the cheapest RED LAMP cigarette .Simple dress and simpler eating habits remained his lifelong companions .

His needs in life were almost nil and that is why he never complained of his poverty .He never got excited by praise in Mushairas but was always supportive of new and talented poets .He spent his time either playing chess or writing poetry .

He belonged to a family of  Brahmins that earned livelihood from Trading in GURR or JAGGERY. His father drank, ate and enjoyed his own life at Peshawar were he had set up his small  JAGGERY business believing that the family back home would live on charity or help from relatives . On account of this  attitude of his father, the family had to live in extreme poverty .Josh was attached to his mother since his childhood.
Josh felt disgusted with Trading profession as his father suffered heavy losses and the family came under  debt.  His father drank himself to death .
After the death of his father , Josh joined as a Persian cum Urdu teacher in a school to earn something for the family that was almost starving . Though a brilliant boy in his school , Josh could not continue his studies and learn English language due to unforeseen family circumstances . He, however completed "Munshi Faazil" and Adeeb Faazil " degrees .He served as teacher in Nakodar town near Jalandhar for almost all his life. 
In thought and deeds,he remained a Gandhian all along his life.
In 1940,he published his poetic collections in a book titled " BAADA E SARJOSH "
It is also a fact that he never encouraged his son Balmukand Arsh for writing urdu poetry. Amongst his pupils , Sahir Hoshiarpuri from Punjab carried forward his style . " Kaun Kehtaa hai Mohabbat ki zubaan hotii hai.. Yeh haqeeqat to Nigaahon se Bayaan Hotii hai " is a popular gazal of Sahir Hoshiarpuri sung by late Jagjt Singh.

Josh had taken lessons from Daag Dehlavi whom he met in 1902 . later he wrote poetry in Daag’s style . He belonged to Delhi School of urdu poetry . I quote some couplets
(Na- shagufta hi rahi dil ki Kali 
Mausam e gul Baarhaa aataa rahaa ..)


( Maut ki zadd se bach gaya jo koyee
Uss ko umer e daraaz ne Maara )



( Balaa se koyee Haathh maltaa rahay
Teraa husn Saanchay mein Daltaa rahay )



( karuun Sharah e Junoon kyonkar khiradmandon ki mehfil mein
Yeh woh Nuqte hain jin ko ahle daanish kam samjhatein hain)



( Teray Andaaz par Umar e Ravaan kuchh Shaq guzartaa hai 
Liye jaati hai tu mujh ko kidhar Aahistaa Aahistaa )



( Zindagi Kuchh Bhi Nahin Soaz e Mohabbat ke bagair 
aag Uss dil Ko lagay jo nahin khwahaan teraa )



( Gilaa Na Meharbaani ka to sab se sun lityaa tum ne 
Tumhaari Meharbaani ki shikaayat Hum bhi Rakhtein Hain)



His poem NAYA KASHMIR remains amongst the finest poems written on Kashmir..I quote some lines..

Aey tamaashaai bahut kuchh Tuune ki sair e Jahaan 
Ab Zaraa Kashmir mein aa Kar nayaa kashmir Dekh

Eik Muddat se hai Chashm e Gair lalchaai Huyii
Be Gunaahi ki Khataa Masoom ki Taqseer Dekh.

Sohbat e Sheikh o Birahman par nazar kar gaur se,
Aarti ko hamnawaa e naraa o Taqbeer dekh..

Ranjh o gham mein dekh iss ka hausalaa iss ka jigar,
Aafaton mein iss ke isstaqlaal ki tasveer dekh..

Tuune har taameer mein takhreeb dekhi hai magar,
Aey tamaahsaai yahaan takhreeb mein taameer dekh................


He was decorated with Padamshri by Government Of India..


( 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\.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

KASHMIRI MEHNDIRAAT ...A SPECTACLE OF HENNA , SINGING AND DANCE


                                                                              


A KASHMIRI MEHNDIRAAT
( Mehndi or Henna being offered to guests  during Mehndiraat function in a kashmiri  Pandit family )
(Photo Autar Mota )

KASHMIRI MEHNDIRAAT ...A SPECTACLE OF HENNA , SINGING AND DANCE

Mehndiraat happens to be the most important function preceding actual wedding in a kashmiri marriage ceremony. Mehndiraat function of Pandits and Muslims of Kashmir has a profound similarity of sentiment that runs over and above the religious divide. It is a symbol of shared culture, tradition and mother tongue.

The function revolves around applying Henna ( Mehndi ) to palms and Feet of Bride / Bridegroom in presence of Relations , Friends , Neighbors and other Guests .A sumptuous dinner is followed by night long singing , dancing and merriment in the bride/ bridegroom’s house. This singing ( Vanvun and Chhakri ) and dancing is purely Traditional that has evolved through many centuries . Quite often Professional Folk singers are also engaged . The professional singers are joined by a BACHAA ( A male who dresses like a female ) who dances on accompanying music. Presently female dancers have started replacing the male Bacha Dancer .The musicians essentially use TUMBAKNAARI, NOATT ( Matkaa ), RABAAB and HARMONIUM . As a matter of fact almost all the top professional singers from valley like Raj Begum, Zoon Begum , Ghulam Hassan Sofi , Ghulam Ahmed sofi ( Amma Kaandhur ) Ghulam Nabi Doolwal , Ali Mohd Sheikh , Pt. Gopi Nath Ji Bhat ( Gupa Bachaa ) and many more were great Mehndiraat entertainers.
                                                                              

                              ( Kashmiri Folk Singers in a Mehndi Raat Function )
Joined by girls , ladies and other female guests , the sister of the bride / bride groom’s father or the paternal aunt brings Mehndi ( wet Henna )in an open pot called Duull ( earthenware , Bronze or copper pot ) . She applies the Henna first to bride/ bridegroom while women sing the traditional vanvun . Thereafter she offers it to all ladies and guests who apply it fully or symbolically .Nowadays , a professional Henna Designer is also brought in who applies Henna artistically to ladies and Girls . The paternal aunt receives ZANG ( rice , salt and some cash) for this service . She is also paid some token money by persons who accept Henna from her . While this Henna function continues , women keep singing The Traditional VANVUN ( Folk songs sung in a group by women without musical instruments ) The Vanvun that comes to my mind at the moment goes as under…
Maaenz hai Laajikh Kaman Kaman 
Maaenzi Naman Mubarak ….
( Who is there who has not been dyed with Henna ?
Blessed be your Henna dyed Finger nails ? )

Maanzi Duullis Aaendh Aaendhi Khaasi
Vothhii vaen Maasi Loll Bharissey …..
(The Mehndi pot has many bronze cups around it ,
Get up you Massi ( Maternal Aunt ) and bless the bride /bridegroom with your love .)
Kaamraaz Shaharik Kaamdeevo
Aaakho Shaamaai sondhariye..
( O kaamdeva of Kaamraaz town ,
How nice that you have come to our beautiful lass )
Maaenz Aayii swarga ta beyii aayii paanaaii
Maaejji Kar meharbaaniye …..
( The Henna has come from heaven and has come of its own ,
How kind has been the Goddess to us ?)
Walter Lawrence in His Book ‘THE VALLEY OF KASHMIR “ mentions that apart from marriage ceremony , Mehndi Raat function was held by kashmiris Pundits and Muslims on Mundan ( Zarkaasaai) , Mekhla (Yageopavit ) and Khatanhaal ( Circumcision ceremony ) . In all these functions , Paternal aunt would apply Henna to child’s hands and feet.


The Mehndiraat singing is organized in a separate Hall or inside an Exclusive Shamiyaana wherein a separate enclosure is made for the folk singers . The Guests and the listeners are made to sit comfortably . Adequate beddings , pillows and quilts , sheets or Blankets are arranged for the Guests depending upon the type of weather and season. Guests are served Sheer Chaai ( Salted tea ) , kashmiri Kehwa and Lipton Tea throughout the Night . The singers are also offered Cigarettes or the traditional Hubble bubble ( Hukka or Jejeer ).
                                                                           

                                    (  Girls performing Hikkat Dance in a kashmiri  Mehndiraat function )
Apart from the Professional singers who enthrall the guests with numerous Chhakri songs , Gazals , Naats and Leelas , it is an occasion for women and married girls of the family to sing and dance . For married girls , It used to be an enjoyable function at parental house . A pleasant change from the daily chores of life at her in laws house . A time to meet cousins, friends , relations and childhood neighbors . In some families , the singing and dancing used to be done by ladies from amongst the guests or the relations of the Bride /Bridegroom . HIKKAT form of Traditional kashmiri dance was most popular with women in Mehndiraat functions. Though words may vary in vatchun Folk songs of Kashmiri pandits and Muslims , the sentiments expressed are almost identical . I quote some folk Vatchun ( Lyrical ) songs sung during these festivities …
(1)
Tche rostuyii Koh Me Guv Akh pal 
Valo Mo tchall Ba Maaraai Paan ..
( In your absence , every moment is like a giant mountain 
Come ! Don’t Move away now ! Here I kill myself otherwise .)
(2)
Az chum maaenzraathh pagaah Yenivoll
Kukilav Poatt Guli Voliye 
( Today is Mehndiraat and tomorrow the Baraat time 
This bird like girl has put silken thread around her arm )
(3)
Az haai vaaeti Maenz Tche Chandan Kullie Talaiye
Dandhan kar Mokhtaa Haar Yemberzalliye 
( Today you shall receive Henna underneath the sandalwood tree
Brighten your teeth like pearls O you looking like the Narcissus flower )
(4)
Haaer Vatchhum natchiney Ta saaer sonna Saenziye 
Haarii Gatchheum Dejihurr Su Ti Sonna sundhuye
( Wearing Golden jewelry ,
Here comes our Mynah like daughter to dance ,
Now she needs a Dejihurr but that too made from Gold.)
(5)
Rang Yendruss Tossa Kotum 
Tota Vothhum Yaarbal……
( I spun Expensive Tossa Yarn on that coloured Charkhaa
For my parrot like child who is now on way to the river for his Bath )
(6)
Sonna Daav Gaendim Taai Dil Gom Taazaai
Maenz Anni Poffi Maharaazus Lo ….
( Here I tie the Golden thread to myself 
Bring that Henna for the Groom O Parental Aunt . )
(7) 
Hiye me Gwo’d Deu’t Baag Neirvuniye 
( I nursed all those jasmine Plants before I left the garden )
(8)
Swarga Munz Khatchakhaai Ta Bargaa Baaejj Buniye 
Laala saebin Koorii Ta Raja Laalien Beniye ..
Shaahzaadus baagiey aayukh Deukaa draayukh Praeniye

( O You Girl ! Emerging from Haven, Like a grand leafed chinar tree ,
You a darling of your father and a blessed sister of a brother ,
Destiny betrothed you now to a prince ,
A prince who is Fair and handsome .)
(9)
Vuneukhtaam Soozinum Taem Manzimyaari 
Vaaen haai iyaa Paana baapaariye Lo …

( Uptil Now He had been sending the middlemen , 
Lo! Now he shall be coming over here in person .)
(10)
Qaaez sahibuss Zaaviel Athhaa haai
Khat Haai Lekhaan Khaana Maejjay 
( Look ! This Qazi Sahib has delicate hands ,
And here he writes Nikaahnaama of our darling daughter )
(11)
Rosha Valla Myaani Dilbaro 
Poshan Bahaar aav Yeur Vallo ..
( O You , Why upset with me ,
Come Love , Come here in these spring Blooms . )
(12)
Yaar haai Draam Ponpur Vattey 
Kong Poshan Rott Naalmatiye ….
( My love went towards Pampore ,
And there the Saffron Flower held him in embrace )



The above Vatchun songs were also sung in various other functions during a marriage festivity and not restricted to Mehndiraat alone.

                                                                           
                                       ( A Bacha / Male  Dancer in a kashmiri Mehndiraat function )

Of late , DJ system is now being brought into the Mahndiraat function for younger generation who likes to dance on its fast music and beats . The traditional musicians also plays a fast number or sings on a faster tempo to create a mood for younger generation to get up and dance . The dancer is showered token money by guests and the singing continues till wee hours . 
( 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\.