Wednesday, September 2, 2009


(  Top Photo…Som Nath sadhu and his wife Mohini Ji )

Who does not remember the soft spoken , upright and principled Aga Saeb of ZOON DUBB, a powerful and popular Kashmiri  morning time   radio feature broadcast from Radio Kashmir ,Srinagar  ?
As an actor , director and playwright he was simply versatile .And as person , simple , down to earth and affectionate . He also had practical and working knowledge of camera shoots .
Som Nath Sadhu joined Radio Kashmir in 1955 wherein he rose from a Junior staff artist to Station Director. People connected with Radio Kashmir, still remember his multifaceted personality. He would spend from his pocket and move in field extensively to make Zoon Dub, his daily radio feature , realistic and well grounded to the basic problems of people in the valley. Together with Mariam Begum , Pushker Bhan , Bashir Arif and Mohammad Sultan, he made Zoon- Dub scale new heights of popularity . Government of India awarded Padam Shri to him , Mariam Ji and Pushker Bhan. Outside radio ,he remained associated with RANGMANCH theatre . Makhan lal Saraf , Pushker Bhan,Brij Kishori,Bansi Raina,Bansi Parimu along with many personalities of Kashmir were associated with Rangmanch . Janaki , Lokut Boey( Younger Brother ),Ze Rang (Two Colours ), Shama Daan ( Candle Stick ) Sharaarat ( Mischief ) , Chapaath ( Slap ),Thekedaar ( Contractor ) and Nav noesh (New Bride ) are some of the popular plays scripted by  Som Nath Sadhu .
Every one in Kashmir knows the contribution made by  Som Nath Sadhu for the  expansion of listener base of Radio Kashmir, Srinagar  .. Born in 1935 at Malik Aangan,Fateh Kadal in Srinagar city ,he breathed his last in 1982 at a young age a  after surgery at AIIMS ,New Delhi for a serious illness. Som Nath  Sadhu was an illustrious son of an equally illustrious father late Shri Prem Nath “Pardesi “. PREM Nath Pardesi was known as Munshi Prem Chand of Kashmir in the literary circles of India. 
Honest to the core , well learned , gentle , forgiving , considerate and above all deeply attached to Kashmir and its cultural heritage,Som Nath Sadhu was far ahead of his time. He had a very sharp memory and  was perfectly grounded to the problems of the people in valley.

This is what Kashmiri poet Padama-shri Moti Lal Saqi writes about  his bosom friend  ,Som Nath Sadhu :-

"Pot nazraai dizihe
Tael taari ba vuchh-hai sarva qadas,
Modh maachh so soorat chaen ba rachh-hai chashman manz,
Vachha aanas thaav-hai khaal khanith,
Khabaraai ma thaavith kokun draakh,
Vaeni aasi adaarai maanz athan,
Daya-batah khyath vati ma treish lagi,
Satraath chha karnaai vaapas pheir,
Safaras neran vaali tse pruchhnaai draakh
Ta assi chhuna oush thahraan
Aess Parchhen gaamit
Assi breant gatchhan.."

( Moti Lal Saqi)

Why didn't you look back even once,
O traveller!
I would have secretly cast a glance at your tall frame ,
A cypress tree that you looked like .
That sweet face,
That pleasant demeanour,
I would have brought into my eyes
And shut them up..
In the mirror of my heart,
I would have engraved your  portraiture,
But you never talked about
the destination that you headed for.
O traveller !
The henna in your hands must not have dried yet,
Lest you feel thirst from the celestial food that you had just now ,
O traveller ! Do you feel it ?
The night of union, remains incomplete,
O traveller! turn back,
O traveller! return.
Never did you inform before parting,
Never does the  trickle of my tears stop  now,
You rendered me lonely,
I keep looking for you
in many faces around.
In the faces that look like you,
O traveller  ! )

( English tendering by Avtar Mota)

Som Nath Sadhu wrote  a wonderful travelogue in Kashmiri based on  impressions of  his tour to Indonesia and Malaysia .This travelogue was published  in early seventies  of the last century  by SOAN ADAB , a journal edited by Amin Kamil, the well known  Kashmiri  poet and short story writer   .
 My friend Farooq Nazki ( Noted Kashmiri Poet ) pours his heart out at the very mention of Sadhu sahib’s name .For him Som Nath Sadhu's Character had all the essential ingredients of a saint in action .. Farooq Nazki expresses deep anguish over the  loss of composite culture in Kashmir and how he misses Kamla ji ( Kamli ) mother of his friend Som Nath Sadhu . In a poem ,he writes this:-
"A dedication once more, 
Somnath Sadhu, for you ...
You Know? 
Your mother Kamli has run away from Kashmir, 
She took along with her silver plate, 
that you and I ate from, 
the food that she laid, 
She fled Kashmir, fearing me, 
You Know?" 
( Farooq Nazki )
Som Nath Sadhu also acted in two Kashmiri films Maenz- Raat and Shair e Kashmir Mehjoor. Those who knew him have only fond and cherished memories of this great son of the soil . I am thankful to Mohini Ji wife of Som Nath Sadhu for providing me some photographs of this great personality from their family album. I visited their house on 01.09.2009 for this purpose only. Sadhu Sahib’s personality is spread in length and breadth of the house at Jawahar Nagar . I could see a Tantric painting of his friend Ghulam Rasool Santosh hanging on the sitting room wall. I could also see the citation of Padamshri hanging in a glass frame along with photographs of Sadhu Sahib with Indira Ji and Shri V V Giri ex President of India.One can see photographs of Sadhu Sahib in the showcase , on the walls and  on the shelves affectionately preserved by his family in albums. Photographs of Sadhu Sahib in office , behind the camera , directing plays and In joyful moods during his Malaysian tour were also seen by me at the family’s Jawahar Nagar residence . His son , Rajeev ji works as duty officer in Radio Kashmir , Srinagar and is happily married to daughter of Shri Bansi Lal Mattoo ,a noted theatre artist of Kashmir and a resident of Rainawari . Bansi Lal ji is still associated with theatre and TV serials produced from Srinagar and Jammu. .



Permit me to end this brief write up with some lines from a poem of Majaz lakhnavi.
Kuchh Tujh Ko Khabar hai Hum Kya Kya ,
Aey Shorishe Dauraan bhool Gaye .
Woh Zulfe Parishaan Bhool Gaye ,
Woh Deedai Giriyaan Bhool Gaye .
Aey Zauke Nazaara Kya Kahiye ,
Nazron Me Koi Soorat Hi Nahin .
Aey Zauke Tassavur Kya Keejiye
Hum Soorate Jaanan Bhool Gaye .
Sab Ka To Mudaava kar Daala ,
Apna Hi Mudaava Bhool gaye .
Sab ke to Girebaan si Daale
Apna hi Girebaan Bhool Gaye

( Avtar Mota )


  1. Thanks for the great post! I have heard so much about Radio Kashmir from my parents. And I saw Menzi Raath many years when I was a kid. I checked it up on Doordarsahn archive site sometime ago and the film wasn't even listed.

  2. dear vinayak ji
    thanx . i also saw ur blog . you are on a good track. original. Be on yhis track only.

  3. Dear AKM,

    Hope this finds you hale and hearty.

    I was just surfing Theatre Kashmir news as I happen to be the only frontline professional theatre activist (NSD Alumni) permanently based in Srinagar and have recently completed my Senior Fellowship on Contemporary Kashmiri Theatre. and while surfing I got this article. Keep on writing on Kashmir significantly the Theatre of Kashmir.

    Bhawani Bashir Yasir
    Director EKTA School of Drama-cum-Repertory,

  4. Thanx . I shal keep up my committment to present true kashmir to the world through this blog . Your profession and activities interst me . shall seek more from you to present theatre of kashmir as well .Till then keep smiling . KASHMIR IS UNFORGETABLE

  5. Dear Bhawani Bashir Yasir ji
    Thanx and sorry for not making reference to your name in some of my posts . In fact i never knew that you have done so much . i intend to do a serious post on revival of thetre in kashmir with your efforts in focus. I just need
    1 Your photograph
    2 Plays conducted by EKTA in Valley
    I shall be grateful if you kindly mail them to me in my mail Box
    The rest i have seen from your profile.
    A K Mota

  6. Great souls never die. My memoirs with this family routes through Rajeev, who was my school mate and friend in DAV Jawahar Nagar,when Sadhu sahib went to Malaysia in 1980 or 1981, he brought for us the valuable REYNOLDS fine carbure pen ( in blue color)IT WOULDNT BE AVAILABLE IN INDIA that point of time, I still have it and some malaysian currency which was my hobby to collect.Such a great personality he was

  7. Dear AKM

    Hope this finds you hale and hearty.
    You can log on to my Facebook:
    Bhawani BAshir Yasir
    and have all photographs and other information
    Also see my blog.


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