Friday, November 30, 2012






FIRST   WORLD WAR (1914-1918 AD )  brought untold miseries all over .  During that period  , Maharaja Partap singh ruled the state . The state supplied 31000 young recruits to the British Army for the war apart from a monetary  contribution of Rs1.11 crores .  During this war  prices of all essential commodities soared  very high  in the state . Kashmir too suffered from acute food grain  shortages  leading to skyrocketing of prices . Panic buying resulted in hoarding and black-marketing by  greedy food grains  traders locally known as GALDHAARS  .Maharaja was informed about some cases of starvation  Deaths in Kashmir .  A  special meeting of officers was immediately called by him  wherein ways and means to  bring down the prices were  discussed . 

Maharaja finally  advised   his  Revenue Minister Raja  Narinder Nath kaul  to control prices  by any means so as  to enable people to buy  food grains.  Raja Narinder Nath Kaul entrusted this job to  Salaam Shah  a  young and  his  trusted Tehsildaar  in Kashmir valley .  

 Salaam Shah opened Government  Shaali Stores    and  introduced  PUBLIC  DISTRIBUTION  SYSTEM   for the first time in Kashmir valley . A food  and supplies Department was set up .  For the  first time kashmiris started using a Ration Card or cheindi  . They also came to know terms like  Ghaat Munshi  or the Dealing clerk at the food Godown (   Mobile food grain Godowns were set up in Boats parked along  bank of river Jhelum ) ,Hamaal , Kanda Coolie  and Piece ( Ration delivery  slip cut from the ration card  after making payment to the clerk incharge at the Godown ).

 Salaam Shah and Raja  Narinder Nath kaul successfully implemented the PDS in Kashmir valley   . The price of shaali from the store was fixed at rupees five per Khirwaar while timber generally HATAB was supplied at eight Annas per Maund. Salaam shah proved a tough and strict administrator who also checked the price of  kashmiri Bakery Bread , Milk and Mutton . He fixed the price of  Mutton at eight Annas per seer  while milk was fixed at two Annas a seer . Galdhaars ( Grain Merchants ) , Butchers , Milk sellers were rounded up for charging extra rates . Novel punishments were given to them like Shaving Head , Cutting beard from one side , Dragging without shoes   through streets  and getting Greedy traders  paraded on Donkeys .   Raja Narinder Nath kaul  recommended  Salaam Shah for further elevation .Maharaja  also  took notice of his efforts  of this young man in checking prices of essential commodities in Kashmir valley and accepted the recommendations if his Revenue Minister for further elevation of Salaam Shah . This revolution was confined to Srinagar city alone . 

Salaam shah made all this   happen with his  sincere and untiring efforts  but he also earned  a nick name  SALAAM  SHAAHUN  SOCHH  .   

When ever  kashmiris  had  to  come to the ration stores they would  say :-

 “Kathh Taawanuss laageikh aiss . Ye guvv salaam shaahun Sochh ”

“ See what we have been made to go for . This is a pittance  from Salaam shah  ”

And who was this Salaam Shah . Noted kashmiri  Poet  Farooq Nazki informs

“ He belonged to the  well known and respected  Naqashabandhi family from Kashmir . He lived like an English man with his AUSTIN  CAR and  AMAR  SINGH  CLUB  membership. He played his badminton game every day  in the club.  A nephew of this gentleman namely Mohd Sayyed retired as  Director General of Radio Pakistan. Naqashbandhi family from Kashmir also produced poets like  Saad  ud din Saad . After the fall of Autocracy and coupled with some personal problems ,  Salaam sahib died as a lonely and sad  man . ”

Permit me to conclude this post with a Vaakh of  kashmir’s  saint poetess Laleshwari ( Lal Ded )

Gaal ga'ndiy-nyam bol pa'diy-nyam
Dapineym  tiy  yas yih routse,
Sahaza-kusamav puuz  karineym,
Boh  amalloun ta kas kyaah  mvotse
( Lal Ded )

They may abuse me or jeer at me,
They may say what pleases them,
They may with flowers worship me.
What profits them whatever they do ?
I am indifferent to praise and blame.

(  Autar Mota  )

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012



“Rokadaa Dene ka Bhai . Cheque  Veck Nahin  lene ka . Cheque ka Koyee  Bharosaa nahin . Woh Bank Ka Babu Baitha hai . Poochho oos ko agar hum Jooth Boltaa hai ”

So Said the Seth to some  customer  . And he was pointing towards me only.

I never knew his name . We never bothered to know whether he was a manager or a partner or the owner of the Hotel. Whatever he was,he was always in the Hotel . Always busy in managing  the affairs of the Hotel quite effectively.We used to call him simply "Seth ". He was gentle but firm. In money matters, he never compromised and always  conveyed his message in a firm and loud tone . I had also noticed one of his  peculiar communication styles   . He never looked at the face of his customers when they came to settle their bills .He simply  looked at their purses and the notes brought out for payment . it appeared as if he was preparing himself  for receiving mode . I mean cash receiving mode .When no customer was around his  counter,  he would  pull the  drawer of his table  and   count his cash  notes . He then kept them denomination wise under a tight Rubber band finally moving  to   read some Gujrati Magazine . He was possibly from SURAT ( GUJRAT )  in western India .

Ten tables with Sun-Mica tops kept in two ground floor shops  that were joined to make it look like a small Hall , a counter cum table for his own self and four Gujrati waiters who understood no other   language ; That made what we used to Call SURTI GUJRATI HOTEL AND RESTAURANT  . The waiters  appeared to be poor and from rural background . Seth would not allow his waiters to intermix with his customers beyond what they were required to do as per their assigned duties .They were prompt in service and kept running from kitchen to the tables in the hall .The restaurant would serve Masala Dossa , Plain Dossa , Idli , Wada , Sambhar , Upma , Poha  and   Gujraati  Vegetarian meals. Strict Thaali system existed for the Meals. Both  the  Papad  and the pickle in the  Thaali  tasted  good. 

Everyone in Kashmir would call this  restaurant  as “SURTI   DOSA  HOTEL”  .My friends in the Bank especially Basharat Fazili , Pranesh Nagri ,  Bushan Lal Raina "Johny ", Nanaji Bhan ,Tej Dhar , Ajodhia  Nath  koul , Mir Mushtaq , Showkat Ahmed , Ghulam Jeelani ,Arvind Mujoo , Ashok Padroo and many more would  frequent this place . We  also saw Prof Waheed , Advocate Ashok Bhan  , Prof Riyaz Punjabi  ( Two or three times only )  and almost all the Medical Representatives stationed at srinagar  eating Dossa quite often in this restaurant.  Noted painter G R Santosh would also be seen sometimes during summers  with his Friends  especially Artist  Bansi Parimu  . One day I saw later  Shamim Ahmed Shamim(  MP ) sitting in a corner table and enjoying a  Dosa with some friends  .

Many times , local customers   would  also  order for vegetarian Thaalis . Groups of young men , Tourists , college students , Lawyers , Professors, Artists  and  Theatre personalities would also  frequent this restaurant to eat Dossa as thin as a sheet of paper  served with   coconut  chutney and Sambhar .

 I was always impressed by the style and  professional attitude of the Gujrati  proprietor  . He had learnt some kashmiri words also .  Saying “WAARAI CHHUSS ”  in kashmiri meant  greeting and welcoming the regulars  . He was popular in the area .Though firm , he was fair in his dealings   and  a straight business man who had ventured to do business traveling  all the way from Surat to Srinagar  .The restaurant would close for winters from November to April every year  and during this time  Seth would go to Surat.  Regulars would keep vising from  last week of March  to see if Seth had returned    for  ensuing summer season.Many shopkeepers in the adjoining Lambert Lane would also come to eat Dossa at this restaurant. Tea and coffee was  served in small cups . We would take three small cups of tea  which practically were equivalent to one standard cup of tea served at other places.

 I was pained to see the plight of this restaurant when I visited the area  sometime back. Gutted and turned to Garbage .  Only Frame of the two shops that made the Restaurant could be seen Nothing more Except Memories .

Dosa is now sold at many places in Srinagar city but many friends    miss Surti's  Dosa, coffee and Gujrati Thaali . We equally  miss  the man  whom we fondly called “  SETH “.

Surti used to be a landmark location . Buried in debris now  ;  A Place that remains  unknown to present Generation . So shall it remain for the posterity .
 I conclude with a wish for Peace and peace alone as it  appears  in some lines poem   DUA ( Prayer ) of  poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz 

(Jinki ankhon ko rukh-e-subh ka yaaraa  bhi Nahin
Unki  Raaton mein koyee  shama Munawwar kar dhe….
Jin ke qadamon ko kisi rah ka sahaara bhi nahin,
unki  nazron  pe  koyee  Rah ujaagar kar dhe…..

Aaaiye Haath  Uthaayein Hum Bhi
Hum  Jinhein rasm-e-dua  yaad Nahin
Hum  Jinhen Soz-e-Mohabbat ke siwa
Koyee  buut, koyee  khuda yaad Nahin )

Whose eyes require the nerve to face the crack of dawn,
Some lamps be lit  for their Dark nights as well.
Those feet that keep moving without the support of a path ,
Let us put forth a way ahead for them as well.

Draw closer; let us too move up our hands.
 Yes we, who   forgot  the practice of prayer.
 Yes We, who remember nothing except Love’s enthusiasm ,
 Yes we , who remember Neither any Idol nor any God  Now.

 ( Autar Mota )                                                          

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Jammu Diyaan Kandiyaan Barkhaa Lagee Dii,

Te Dhaare Pavein De Aaley ,
O Shokiyaa Chambe Deyaa.”

(This song is  connected with Winter season and  has been often heard by me from people Living in Duggar Area..The male in this song prefers to go to Chamba while the female is convincing him that the winter season of Jammu is equally charming and he should not go .)

Duggar is an area that lies between Chenab( Chanderbhaaga ) and Raavi( Iraavati ). As a matter of fact this sweet language known as Dogri is also spoken in Kangra , Chamba , Hamirpur , Dharmshala and other areas of Himachal. Chanchalo and Kunjua are common characters in Folklore of Himachal and Jammu.The song “ Pal Pal Beyee Jaana Ho Jindhe ” is sung in almost entire Dogri speaking areas . Late Malika Pukhraj sang this folk song in a soulful Pahari tune . I also remember a dogri Folk song :-

“ Deaan Maaye Meraa odunoo, Mein Marwaa Gudunn Jaana , Lobhi Marve Dhaa ”

( O Mother please give me my Dupatta and digging instrument . I shall dig the land )

Here in this Duggar Land , noted Folk singer Ghulam Mohd sings the Popular Bhaint ( devotional songs ) in praise of mata Vaishno Devi Ji

“Jotaan Jagdiyaan , Mata De Darbar Jotaan Jagdiyaan"

This is the land of General Zorawar singh who marched to Tibet and annexed Ladakh to this state . It is also the birth place of musicians like late Ustad Allah Rakha renowned tabla player ( Ustad Zakir Hussain's father ) and Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma . Kundan Lal Sehgal and actor Om Prakash are a product of Jammu city only . The legend has it that King Jambu Lochan built a city on Tawi banks in 9th centuary BC . As per History , the city of jammu came under Dogra rule of Raja Dhruv Dev in 1730 A D . Kalhana also makes  a brief mention of march of king Laitaditya’s army in this area  in his Rajtaringini ;

“With the mass of rays of his military glory , which were of the nature of perfumed powder , he decorated Jambudvipa which was like a lordly elephant.”

( Taranga 4 canto 127 ).

River Tawi also known as Suraj Putri ( Daughter of Sun God ) passes through the heartland of Duggar . Originating from Kali Kundi Glacier in Bhaderwah area of Doda district , it travels a distance of 141 Kms upto jammu border and finally joins Chenab . It is not to be confused with Manawar Tawi . Manawar Tawi is a rivulet originating from Thana Mandi area in Rajouri District and Flows through Chingus , Nowshera and enters punjab ( Pakistan ) at Manawar  to finally join Chenab .So Tawi and Manawar Tawi ultimately join Chenab .The Culture of Jammu is infact the culture of this river only.The river divides the jammu city in two Parts .The old town sits on a hill top overlooking river Tawi and across the river the new town extends to several killometers in all directions.This river is a major source of drinking water for the old city . Three Major bridges have been built over the river near jammu city. One Joins Gumat with Bikram Chowk while the other Connects Gujjar Nagar with Bahu area . The third bridge is on the city bye pass near Nagrota .

Acting like a great tolerant mother ,this river which has been providing shelter and relief to many groups and civilizations to flourish on its banks is in utter neglect presently. Alas ! the river is vanishing fast . All drains of the city pour their filth in this river only. With Source Glacier also vanishing fast , the bed of the river is now almost visible during winters and summers as well .We heard from Shri Raman Bhalla and Shri Rigzin Jora ( both ministers in J&K Government )that an artificial lake is proposed in the river near Gujjar Nagar . we also heard that work on Cable car project connecting Baghe Bahu with Mubarak Mandi is going to start very shortly .Should that happen, Jammu shall also be on the tourist map.I end this brief post on River tawi with some lines from Baba Bulle shah.

Chal Way Bullehya Chal Oathay Chaliyay,
Jithay Saaray Annay.
Na Koi Saadee Zaat PichHanay
Tay Na Koi Saanu Mannay.

Come Bulle Shah let us go there,
Where everyone is blind.
Where no one recognizes our caste (or race, or family name)
And where no one believes in us…

( Photo And Text by  Autar Mota )
Tuesday November 27th , 2012 Time  11.20 PM … Good Night
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Tantrins of kashmir ( present day Tantrays ) were hilly Rajputs mostly employed in infantry by kashmirian kings . Tantrins were very powerful , brave and daring. On account of these qualities they were paid handsomely by kashmirian kings . Their presence in the Kingdom meant safety and security of the state . Tantrins were also conscious of their utility to the kingdoms which made them to indulge in court intrigues . Tantrins would punish some kings and favour others . Tantrin chiefs were also consulted by kashmirian kings on vital decisions of the state . Tantrins also took bribes and cash rewards from kashmirian kings and at times the kings would give them Hundis or commercial Instruments or duly signed promissory notes . In the event of Non payment of these Hundis on due dates, Tantrins would revolt and usurp the kingdom making the king run away in fear . Avantivarman and Sahi kings of Kashmir had a large number of Tantrins in their Infantry . I quote

“ In Pausa of the same year having failed to , through lack of funds , the sums due on the Hundis to the Tantrin , he fled in fear and tribulation ”

(Canto 302 Fifth Taranga Rajataringini of kalhana translated by R S Pandit page 211 )

“ with a view to confer imperial power on some worthy person , on one occasion , summoned for a consultation the ministers , the grandees , Tantrins .. ……. ”

(Canto 250 Fifth Taranga Rajataringini of kalhana translated by R S Pandit page 207 ) 

( Autar Mota )

 Monday ,26th November 2012 ….  Time 12. PM …… Good Night …            

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Monday, November 26, 2012




 Two views Near Ganderbal kashmir 
October 2011    
Photo Autar Mota                                                                             

I have come across a wonderful aspect of kashmirian society . This possibly relates to the period of 3rd centaury and continued till 11th centaury . I read it in a journal. I had my doubts . But after carefully going through Rajtaringini, all misconceptions have been cleared . I am indebted to kalhana . .

In Kashmir, any person who renounced worldly life would put on clothes made of bark of birch tree . A man who wore such clothes was supposed to have taken up religious or other pursuits cutting his connections with the society at large . Birch bark was quite popular in Kashmir and was also used as a substitute for paper even upto 19th centaury . I quote kalhana

“The cave residences were illuminated by iridescence of the crest jewels of numerous wandering holy men , drowsy with murmurs of breeze caught in their garments of Birch bark.”

( Canto 165 Page 65 IInd Taranga Rajatarangini of kalhana Translated by R S Pandit )

It now stands clarified to me as to what some elders meant when they would say

“Kyaa Saa Ammei Maa Voall Burzaa ”
“ What happened ? Has he worn garments made of  Bark of Birch tree ?”
( Autar Mota)
 Monday , 26th November 2012 ….. TIME 11.45 PM …. Good Night..

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Sunday, November 25, 2012



We know that bird feeding is an important aspect of kashmir's culture. In every kashmiri pandit household , the ladies still serve morning 's first preparation from the kitchen to birds .It is a pleasure to see these birds coming and flying away .You may be late in serving them but they come in strict punctuality .If the grains or food stuff is not there , they make noise and seek it .

In every Ziyarat in valley one comes across a space meant for feeding grains to pigeons .Men, women and children serve grains to pigeons . It used to be a great pleasure for us to feed pigeons at Ziyarat of Makhdoom Sahib on our morning visit to sharika Temple  Hari Parbat .These birds would get frightened once they saw a stranger . Once you were a familiar face , they would not fly away . I end the post with lines from a urdu poem  of  late Firaq Gorakhpuri ...

Mere Daar ul amaan Aey hareem e Nigaar
Hum Phirein Kyaa Yuun Hi Be Amaan Be Amaan .
Jee mein Aata hai tujh ko pukaara karuun
Rehguzar Rehguzar kaarwaan kaarwaan

 (Firaq )
( Text and photographs by Autar Mota ).... 
 sunday ..25th November 2012  Time 00.45 AM .. good night                                              
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Everytime i went there , the shrine was locked . This is  700 year old Mangleshwar temple of kashmir . Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the shrine is loc├Ąted at a place known as Namchibal near Fateh kadal in Srinagar city.  And Namchi was son of sage kashyapa of Kashmir. He was a cruel, cunning and powerful person.As per the legend, Namchi was defeated by Indra finally.And Indra had sought Lord Shiva's help in this task.

Due to collective efforts of hindus and muslims of the area,the gates of the temple were opened after 18 long years in  April  2007,A hawan was performed at the shrine after about two decades. 

Charaagon ko aankhon me mehfooz Rakhna,
Badi door tak raat hi Raat hogi.
Musafir hain ham bhi mussafir ho tum bhi,
Kisi mod pe phir mulaaqaat hogi .
( Bashir Badr )

Place the  lamps safe in thy  eyes,
The night  of darknes has to  spread far and beyond.
You are a traveller  and so am i ,
Surely ,We shall meet again at some corner.
(Autar Mota )

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Friday, November 23, 2012





A friend has asked me as to what is meant by GONGAL and KRAAV in kashmiri. I shall clarify both the words but I need to add that both the words are not in vogue at present . The prime reason being the income earning patterns which have undergone radical change both in rural and urban kashmir. We do not have a totally Agriculture based economy now . Even people from the rural areas seek jobs primarily for a living now. Let us go back to late 14th centaury Kashmir or the period of Nund Reshi . Since the economy of Kashmir was totally agriculture based , the peasants would celebrate two farming festival something similar to Baisaakhi and Lohri of Punjab . One festival was celebrated in spring while the other was celebrated in Autumn. The farmers would prepare TEHURR or rice laced with turmeric , spices and salt . This would be distributed in the village . Bidding goodbye to winter with GONGAL festival, the farming activities of the year would ordinarily start in spring .

KRAAV on the other hand was also a similar festival but celebrated in Autumn . It was just a thanks giving festival to mother earth after the grain was garnered . One festival complimented the other .Every farmer had to celebrate GONGAL and KRAAV as a satisfactory culmination of an effort . A good harvest and grains for the family was all that was Prayed or desired in spring and obviously thanks-giving to almighty in Autumn could not be ignored . These celebrations were thus efforts that could also be compared with spirituality . Hence sow good ( GONGAL ) and reap good ( KRAAV ) I quote a SHRUKH of Nund Reshi (1373AD – 1438AD) to let every one know the correct meaning of these words .

Aadamaa gaafilo Tsein Paanuss Tai
Vovmutt Tatiey Haa Lonukh Haav.
Toalnai Paap tai Punei Meezaanuss tai
Yuss kari Gaangal Sui kari Kraav.
( Nund Reshi )

O You Ignorant man !Realize thyself .
You shall only reap what you have sown.
Your good deeds and sins shall be weighed in scales ,
One who celebrates the GONGAL is bound to enjoy KRAAV.
( Autar Mota )

Friday , 23rd November 2012 .. Time 11.30 PM …. Good Night

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In May  1910 this man  Rajab Hamid was born in a lower middle class family in a remote village SATOORA in  Traal Kashmir .Totally illiterate and devoted to Sufism of Kashmir , Rajab sahib wrote a song that crossed all barriers of time and space . Apart from being echoed in every corner of the Valley , this song has also touched kashmiris in UK , USA, SAUDI ARBIA , MIDDLE EAST and the plains of INDIA. You had the cassettes previously and Now you have the CDs of this song selling in the market ;

Afsoos   Duniya, Kainsi   Naa  Loug Samsaar   Seeteey

Patau Laakun Vuchh Taa  Kumm Kumm Mazaar Vaeteey

( Alas ! This world never accompanied any one ,

Behold !How all the Great Men finally landed at the Graveyard.)

He was  brought to the world of  Sufi Mysticism  by  a great Sufi saint Abdul Gaffar Tantray of Midoora, Tral. This couplet is a testimony to his association with Gaffar Tantray:

Bae Tsaaran Yaar Nishatan Shalimaran

Su Aousum Tral Midoorai Choorey Ro'zan.

I searched my guide far and wide

But found him just in the backyard, Midoora.

His another Murshid and guide : Ghulam Rasool Fida, popularly known as Lassa  Khan Islamabaadi. Late Ghulam Hassan Sofi popularized his song AFSOOS DUNIYA  through his magical voice and every time he sang the song, he moistened his eyes  and turned sad. I am a witness to this fact . I am informed by friends that he also wept  like a child  while recording it for the first time .

 Alas !This   great poet  too faced absolute indifference from his people. He died in a state of abandonment and abject poverty. His family continues to reel under this poverty. No institution in Kashmir, though we have many who speak about culture and art, came forward to help him when he was alive, or his family, after his death.. Rajab Sahib has a lot of unpublished work Let some institution like our cultural academy take it initiative to preserve his art for our posterity .

Rajab sahib loved his Hubble Bubble ( Hukka ) and lived a simple life of a Dervish .He  left this world on 2nd April 2008.Peace be to his soul.

( Autar Mota )

FRIDAY 23RD NOVEMBER 2012 , TIME 11.20 PM …GOOD NIGHT                                                                    

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Dil ki tasalli ke liye,
Jhoothi chamak jhoothaa nikhaar
jeewan to soonaa hee rahaa,
sab samjhe Aayi hai bahaar
kaliyon se koyee poochhe to,
Hansatee hain yaa ke rotee hain
Aisi bhi baatein hoti hain.. .
.Aisi bhi baatein hoti hain.

So wrote Kaifi sahib for Bollywood Movie Anupama produced in 1966 .The song was set to music by Hemant Kumar for lata ji .What a great song sung to perfection by Lata ji ! The song was ably picturised by the director of the movie on Dharmendra and Sharmila Tagore .The words go straight to your heart.
Other four songs of kaifi sahib which are my favourite too are as under:-

Yeh Nayan Dare Dare ,
yeh Jaam Bare Bare
Zaraa Peene do .

Kaifi sahib wrote this wonderful song for Bollywood movie Kohra in 1964 for Biswajeet and waheeda Ji . The song was set to a soulful music again by Hemant Kumar.

Zara si Aahat hoti hai
To dil sochta hai
Kahin ye woh to nahin?
Kahin ye woh to nahin?

This song Kaifi sahib wrote  for bollywood Movie Haqeeqat  .Great  Madan Mohan created a moving and  beautiful tune for the  song sung beautifully by Lata ji.

Waqt Ne kiyaa
kyaa Haseen Sitam
Tum Rahe na Tum
Hum Rahe Na Hum.
jayeinge kahaan Soojhtaa Nain ,
Chal Pade magar Raastaa nahin,
Kyaa Talaash hai Kuchh Pataa nahin,
Buun Rahaa Hai Dil
Khwaab Dhum B Dhum.

kaifi sahib wrote this song for Bollywood Movie Kagaz Ke Phool in 1959.The song was set to music by great Mastero Sachin dev Burman and picturised on waheeda ji and Guru Dutt.The song was sung by Guru Dutt's wife geeta dutt. The song threw pain and agony of two lovers to the listener.

Jaane kyaa Dhoondtee Rehtee Hain
ye Aankhein Mujh Me
Raakh ke Dher Me
sholaa Hai Na Chingaari Hai

kaifi Sahib wrote this song for Shola Aur Shabnam in 1961 . Khayaam sahib scored music for this painful song .The song was sung to perfection by great master Mohd Rafi...

 And  late Kaifi sahib  wrote following lines on 18.09.1974 at Moscow for Shabana's Birthday. Bollywood Actress and activist Shabana Azmi is  late kaifi sahib's daughter ..

 Ab Aur Kyaa Tera beemar Baap Degaa Tujhe ,

Buss Ek Dua Ki Khudaa Tujh Ko Kaamyaab kare.

Woh Taank Dhe Tere Aanchal mein Chaand Aur Taare ,

Tu Apne Waaste Jis Ko Bhi Intekhaab kare ................

( Kaifi Azmi ,Moscow 18.09.1974 0

Kyaa baat hai Kaifi sahib! . You will never die till your poetry is recited and the  songs penned by you are heard.

Jism Ki Maut Koi Maut Nahin Hotee Hai,
Jism Mit Jaane se Ailaan Nahin Mit jaate.

( Autar Mota )
Tuesday 21st November 2012. Time 1145 PM .... Good Night .

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Monday, November 19, 2012


“ Jenab I belong to Dar Family of Rajauri .I am married in Raina family. Our families are from Kashmir . If you go to nearby  Thana Mandi , you shall find some Wani or Mir families . They too are from Kashmir . And again we had one Mr. Rawal as Executive engineer over here who had his ancestral Jaagir ( agricultural land ) in this area . Bakshi Family from Kashmir had their Jaagir in Thana Mandi. This area was known as Rajpuri in olden days . Mughals also traveled through this area to visit Kashmir. If you go via Loran , Bafiaz , Noori Chhamb and Behraamgala , you shall immediately reach Shopian. This route was also used by Sikh forces of Ranjit Singh to enter Kashmir where they defeated the Afghans in a bloody battle fought at Shopian town."
 Jenab visit CHINGUS just 24 Kms from Rajauri town. This was a Mughal Sarai. Mughals stayed at this beautiful sarai ( Transit camp ) enroute to Kashmir . In fact Noor Jehan buried intestines of Jehangir in this serai when the emperor died in October 1627 AD on their way back journey to Delhi from Kashmir . Noor Jehaan kept this death as secret from Delhi Darbaar to avoid war of succession She got the body of jahangir embalmed to protect it from decay . Once embalmed , the body was dressed and kept on a horse in a sitting posture to make every one believe that the emperor was alive . ”

 So Said  Mr. Fazal Rehman Dar ( In white kashmiri shawl ) in a group photo above. He  does not remember the name of his ancestor who had migrated from Kashmir to Rajauri in Jammu division . Mr Dar  is a well known name in Rajauri town and owner of our Bank 's building in the town.

I know that Mr Dar told us only well established historical facts. I also need to add that Word CHINGUS in Persian means intestines . History also tells us that Forces of Sultan Zain Ul Abdin ( with his army commander Jasarat Kholkhar )and his brother Sultan Ali Shah ( His wife was the daughter of a hilly king from Jammu ) fought a pitched battle for kashmir’s throne at Thana Mandi . Sultan Ali Shah was defeated and Zain Ul Abdin entered kashmir as a victorious king. This Sultan was later known as Budshaah or Great King in kashmir for his noble and just deeds .

 We also know that the present Mughal road passes through Bufliaz , Poshana , Chattapani , Peer Ki Gali , Aliabad , Zaznaar , Dubjan , Heerpora and Shopian . Mughals built many rest houses and Serais on this road . I also met many kashmiri speaking persons in this area who reported that their ancestors had migrtated to this part of Jammu some 200 hundred years back. I found some kashmiri poets in Rajauri area. Kaangri and pheran is also used by some people over here..Apart from Pahaari , Dogri , Punjabi and urdu , Kashmiri is widely spoken in this area. A sizeable population of Loran and Thana Mandi has kashmiri as their mother tongue. A road now connects this part of Jammu Division with Shopian town of Kashmir .Further Rajauri town is about 150 kms from jammu on jammu- Poonch road . Prior to 1968 , this area was a part of Poonch district .

Kalhana has repeatedly mentioned this area and its kingdoms as Lohaara ( Loran ) and Rajapuri ( Rajauri ) in his Book Rajatarangini. See the story of Rajapuri ( Rajauri ) in Taranga 8 canto 429, Taranga 6 canto 286,Taranga 7 cantos 1597to 1599,Taranga 7 cantos 1150 1152 and Taranga 7 cantos 588 to 590 and also in many other Tarangas of Rajatarangini .

( Text and photo by  Autar Mota )

Sunday 18th November 2012..Time 11. 55 PM ..  Good Night  

Last three photographs were taken at Chingus Mughal Sarai

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Sunday, November 18, 2012



Kangri ( (Fire pot used by Kashmiris to keep their bodies warm during winter ) is a part of kashmiri Psyche .It also continues to be so with people who are currently living far away from their motherland. I have seen kangri and Isbandh used in Bangalore, Gangtok and Delhi by kashmiris .Who does not burn the fragmented seeds called ISBANDH ( Rue seeds  ) in a kangri to welcome friends , guests and relatives to marriages or other auspicious functions . Some elders say that burning ISBANDH in a kangri wards off evil during festivities . Ladies bring out some seeds or ISBANDH from a decorated pouch , touch them to the forehead of the guest and put these seeds into the burning charcoal of the kangri to welcome the guests and wish similar happy functions in their families . The common dialogue heard at this time is

“ Poshtaa chhuyee “

“ Best Wishes for the function “

“ Vaarkaar Yetchunn Tchetie .Tchetie Laeginayee Kaaruss taar “

“ let God make it happen in your family as well. Let your affairs also get resolved"

Aey Aaab roodh e gangaa woh din hai yaad tujh ko 
Utaraa  tere  kinaare  jab  kaarwaan  hamaara 

 (  Text and photo by Autar Mota )  
sunday 18th November 2012 .. Time 11.40 PM .. Good Night                                             

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Many  Characters that  i happened to come across  while reading some books and  novels have remained etched in my memory .  Some of them are totally unforgettable . In this unforgettable category i am always reminded of four prominent characters . I am not commenting upon usefulness  of these characters  to society . That is another debate. But then some of  these fictional entities appear to me more  human and  impressive than many  in bones and flesh  .

The first  that comes to my mind is Gregor Samsa , a character created by  Franz kafka for his novel The Metamorphosis . Gregor is a traveling sales man who is the sole bread earner for his large family . And then one day Gregor wakes up to find himself   transformed  to a Monstrous insect .

Similarly Meursault created By Albert Camus for his novel OUTSIDER  remains another unforgettable character  . Meursault    suffers  more damage from the society for not weeping at his Mother’s funeral than for killing an Arab  (for which he faces a trial as well in a curt of law ) on a beach in Algeria  .Demonstrating  emotional detachment from his environment  , many events in the novel like a proposal for his marriage , death of his mother , his arrest  followed by the unjust trial  do not have any emotional impact on Meursault.  But then he is truthful and honest to core and  is prepared to pay the price  for  his mistakes .Lonely  and cursed  , he finds himself overwhelmed by the strange yet  benign indifference of this universe . People are tempted to call  him outsider but  as per Camus he is a man in love with sun that leaves no shadows .

Hori Ram   a character created by Munshi Prem chand for his novel  Godaan is again  unforgettable  . Hori is poor , decent , truthful and deeply in debt . Like any other poor farmer of the country he is also trapped in the vicious circle of rural indebt ness and exploitation . Crushed by the Zamindaari system  that existed in the country , Hori is put to tons of misfortunes for fulfilling his   desire to own a cow .  Supported by his wife  , Hori  Struggles to provide for his children. To sum up , Hori Ram emerges as a Starved and half naked soul  who waits for his  god to come to his rescue .  Touched by the  Hori’s plight this character leaves a scar in the mind. . Hori dies finally.

 Manto’s Saugandhi is another classical character that can not be forgotten . He created  this Character for his   story HATAK . The plight of Saugandhi  brings simultaneous hatred and sympathy in hearts of millions of MANTO readers . Till this society exists Saugandhi shall exist as  Manto's pen has immortalized her . Saugandhi the Bad woman . Saugandhi the kind and tender hearted  woman. Saugandhi the exploited . Sauganmdhi the lonely woman  .  Saugandhi the woman who has gone too far in her dull and aimless life  that she has lost  the distinction between Man and Dog. And a different  Saugandhi   who finally spits venom and fire  when she throws out her exploiter Madho from her  dingy and dirty room that happens to be her world.. 
 Manto has given total freedom to this Character to evolve itself and then attack the very society that created it. Saugandhi's  room defines her life . Cramped  and dull . Things like  her bed  , unpolished and stiff  leather sandals , face cream , Talcum powder , hair pins , lipstick, a parrot trapped inside cage  full of some rotten fruit pieces with   tiny  black mosquitoes , Oil lamp on the wall ,  A chair with shabby seat cover and an old HMV gramophone with rusty pins . Yes a photo  of lord Ganesha also hung  and decorated with  some  fresh and mostly  dry flowers . The room presents a picture of disorder . Yes disorder of her existence and living is  starkly  visible  through the objects lying in her room.

 Saugandhi also had her dirty pet dog living  inside this room . This  dog with   some skin disease/ rash   slept   under her bed or near the door on a shabby mat. Manto calls it Khaarish-Zadaa kutta . When Saugandhi attacks and throws out Madho ( Her Exploiter ) from her room , this dog too joins and helps her by barking and attacking Madho. Ram lal the pimp too  comes occasionally to this room  bringing a customer  for Saugandhi .Relation between Ram lal and saugandhi are pure professional .  But then Ram Lal too comes to the room to gulp down the left over liquor from   any bottle that some customer might have brought with him to Saugandhi's room  .


Yae saaen zindagi chhe zunn
shoaraaeib sinz kolaai………..
Dohaai su shaam Paaeit Ma praaetchh vuchh daggun taa Neil Daag
Dohaai magar rachhein chhe Aeissi madhuir Madhuir taa meith khwaab .
Su sounthh iyee taa Pholie yaa Bagh
Agar chhu az Kathish taa maagh .
Gaash Phoall taa Burr Mutchur
Burr Mutchur taa Raat Maaeish .
( Autar Mota )

This life of ours ,
Behaves like a poor drunkard’s wife.
Yes these wounds !
Every night we beat our chests in agony
Every night it orders us to hold dreams for a bright future .
“ spring shall soon decorate this garden ,
Worry not for this present chill and freeze up ”
Oh ! Oh ! This daybreak and the sunlight ,
Alas! our helplessness.
Let the door be opened now
to forget previous night’s torment .

( Text And Photo by Autar Mota )

 (sunday ,18th november 2012 ... Time 00.30 AM... good night  )

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Saturday, November 17, 2012




Al-Biruni (973_1049 AD )  celebrated  Mathematician and astronomer came to India   along with the Invading forces of sultan  Mahmud of Ghazni  In 11th Century AD.  He was an erudite scholar with interest in Religion , Culture and  Astrology  . His enquiry into  India Popularly known Tawareekh  Ul Hind   in Arabic is erudite and a classic of its kind  or a historic chronicle.
Al Biruni   was a Shiite  of Iranian origin and  a master of many languages including sanskrit, Turkish and Hebrew. Before his country Khwarizm was invaded by sultan Mahmud of Ghazni , Al-Biruni was close to many kings and kingdoms including Sahi Hindu kings of Gandhara. Tawareekh  ul Hind was written around 1030 AD during the reign of sultan Mahmud of Ghazni  and  has exhaustive notes on Mimasa ,Vedas, Upnishads,Puranas, Manusmriti, Tantras,Samhita, Astrology Astronomy and Indian Mathematics. Al-Biruni gives details of almost all the rivers OF INDIA including Chenab and Jhelum. He is very clear not only about the existence of river Sarswati but also about its path which he describes clearly.

One is amazed by the range of Al-Biruni's interests. He not only writes about religious and cultural aspects of India, he also writes about food ,dresses, games,law suits, weights and measures, pastimes, climates, superstitions  etc.Yes he is silent about politics. Perhaps that was not his interest in India. Some historians have called Al-Biruni as a person of Agnostic beliefs while the majority calls him a muslim by conviction with a deep rooted quest for universal knowledge. The literal translation of his name Al-Biruni is THE OUTSIDER.

Al-Biruni makes mention of writing a Sanskrit book for his  friend and scholar Sayavabala (A brahmin from kashmir page 268 ). From study of his book  ,Al Biruni seems to be fascinated by Kashmir and the scholarship of its residents . He goes on to write :-

“ Long before our time Vasukra the famous kashmiri Scholar took upon himself the task of explaining and committing to writing the VEDAS "

" varanasi and kashmir are the high schools of Hindu Science. Sidhamatrika originated from kashmir and the people of  kashmir use it. The most generally known alphabet of Hindus is called Siddhamatrika.Like greeks hindus write from left to right."

" In inner Kashmir , about three days journey from the capital towards the mountain of Bolor ,the idol of Sharda is much venerated and frequented by Pilgrims."

"In the mountain of Harmakata ( Harmukh ) the snow never melts nor disappears . Behind these mountains is the country of Machacin or China

 “The inhabitants of Kashmir are pedestrians . They have no riding animals . The noble among them ride palankis called HATT which is carried on the shoulders of men. They are particular about natural strength of their country and therefore always keep a strong hold on the entrances and roads leading into it. They do not allow any Hindu whom they do not know personally to enter their country , much less other people " 
" There is a book by Utpala a kashmiri scholar called Rahunarkarna  and another book called karanapata dealing with Astronomy " 

 "The city of kashmir covers a space of four FARSAKH being built along both banks of river Jailam which are connected with each other by Bridges and ferry boats .”

i conclude this post with an   urdu couplet  of poet  Faiz ahmed Faiz 
Ek Tarz e tagaaful hai so woh unn ko mubarak ,
Ek arz e Tamanaa hai so hum kartey raheinge
... ( faiz )
 This posture of indifference , Let it be her prerogative,
For me it always be my desire's entreaty  ..

( Text and photo by Autar Mota )
saturday , 17th november 2012 ... Time 1140 PM ... Good Night                                    

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