Tuesday, December 3, 2013




Sometime around 1978 or 1979 ( I am not sure ) i accompanied some officials from the Bank who wanted to meet Shri Nand Lal Wattal the then Editor Daily Khidmat ( Urdu Newspaper published from Srinagar ). Khidmat had its office in a building that was very close to Hotel PAMPOSH near Jhelum Bund . It could be approached properly from Regal cinema lane or from a small Gate which opened on Jhelum Bund Walkway. We went by Jhelum Bund gate . Sometimes you prefer to enter some building or house from emergency exit or backdoors. And that gives you a choice of avoiding queries from familiar faces and onlookers at the main entrance .
After leaving Wattal sahib’s room , we came across kashmiri Humour poet Late Makhan Lal Mahav. He was walking with a bundle of English Newspapers in his hand . He too worked for Khidmat Newspaper and would translate News / Features from National papers for publication in Khidmat. He was sharp and knew many languages that included Sanskrit , Persian , Urdu , Hindi and English . He would tell anecdotes of his association with Arya samaj which had influenced him in his youth .His satire was incisive .
He was known to all of us as he used to come to the bank and entertain some select employees with his poetry . He took  us inside his room and said ..

“ Valaa sa Autar ji Beh dama Ta gutch Faizyaab Myaani qalaam saaet .Myaani checki Maa Aayi Pounsa .Chaay Tcheyivaa. Kyaa Booziv . Teiz kina Naram”

“ Come Autar Ji Sit for a moment and be benefited from my poetic largesse . Has the bank received the payment for my Cheque under collection? What shall you listen ? Light or spicy ?”
I wanted to rush back to office as some serious official work was pending for my attention. He insisted that we should sit for five minutes and so we did.
He informed that he had written a long poem in the shape of a dialogue between two lovers . The male is bald and the female calls him “Khareyaa ” Upon this the male clarifies his status that he is a bald not a khoarr . And he said something like this

“ *Khaaer Gayee Alagh ta Alagh ha Guvv **Traam Nigaaro
Kharrie Rathha kashuun Ta Traam chhuyee Aaraam Nigaaro
Traamus Anaan chamak me vuchhuaai teelvaarie Teel
Kharrie Kyaa karrieuss ha Rogan e Badaam Nigaaro ...”
( Makhan Lal Mahav )

“ *Khaaer is one thing and Baldness is another thing my Love!
Khaaer is bleeding and itching and Baldness is a comfort love !
The bald shines even with oil taken from the kitchen oil pot.
What can expensive Almond oil do to a person suffering from “khaaer” ?

Another couplet that I heard from him reflects the sad state of poverty in kashmiri households.  As far as I remember ,the couplet goes as under

Ganaiyuss Voazum Hyaathh aayee ***Lakshmishori sienn Paaav
Chhakkie Russ Addein ta Roazi Addien sienn Falietch Graav
( Makhan lal Mahav )

Look ! Lakshmishori has brought 250gms of mutton from the butcher on credit ,
To some family member she shall now feed the gravy
 While others shall complain that they were not given a piece of mutton….

His popular kashmiri poem  " The poet and his wife" goes as under …




( Makhan Lal Mahav )

The poor poet's wife says to her husband
"Hell with your poetry ,
You simply waste ink and paper .
There are no food grains in the kitchen,
what shall i cook for you and your five children?
Ever Busy in your own world ,
come out of the room now .
Oblivious of your family responsibilities ,
what has this poetry given you ?
Feel ashamed of your deeds now .
Get up and go to the market
buy me immediately 10 or 12 kgs of rice ."

The poet retorts back

"What has happened to you ,
You have disturbed the peace of my mind.
You foolish women !
you made me to lose an excellent idea for the poem.
Worried am i now ,
How shall i recollect the same ?
what the hell you remember rice at this moment?
Why you vomit when good ideas come to my mind .
Get lost . Don't ever come again
near me you Rabid bitch."

   ( Makhan lal Mahav Reciting his poem in a Mushaira . Stalwart Poet Dina Nath Naadim is on his right side )

Media personality Sh.M K Raina Ratnakar Adds:

" Mr Makhan Lal Mahav , a native of Dal Hassan Yar was a regular visitor  to me when I worked as Programme officer in Radio Kashmir , Srinagar and so was Khazir Magribi  . Though porn poetry in Kashmiri was his forte , he otherwise also excelled in humorous and satirical poetry . Highly talented which Mr Mahav was and equally talented was Khazir Magribi also. Mr Mahav  worked for " KHIDMAT " and Khazir Magribi  would publish his daily probably by the name " CHATAN ". Both excelled in humor and satire of such sort which very less poets of that time even attempted ."

About khazir Magribi ,Dalip Kumar Koul (son of Makhan Lal Mahav ) Adds:

"Magribi sahab was very simple and affectionate, never without a smile on his face. He never missed an opportunity to evoke humour and never excused even himself. One day he came to my home as he had to go somewhere with my dad. I came out and there he was with his characteristic mocking smile. " Mol katyu  chchuy?"(where is your father) asked he. I replied that he was inside and his smile broadened, "gatsch  vanus su  vyoth mashter chhuy tsandaan." (Go and tell him that fat teacher wants to see you.) Trying to restrain my laughter I ran inside ."

Well known Journalist Zafar Meraj writes:

"I knew Mahav sahib and used to see him almost daily while on way to Khidmat office. Those Daya there was no boundary wall between Khidmat office and Residency quarters where office of daily Aina with which I was working was located. He was senior to me and I made it a point to offer my respect whenever I would see him . We also had real good time when we both travelled to many northern states along a press delegation. The tour was organised by I &B ministry. Ramesh Chander editor of Hind Samachar joined us from Jallandhar and he also relished Mahav sahib's humorous poetry while traveling to Jaipur in train. One thing however I want to say that Mahav sahib was not accorded the respect that was due to him as a poet and journalist. Even people from his own community did not treat him well and used to crack jokes on him. May Allah bless his soul."

Anybody who was somebody in Bureaucracy,  Media, Politics  and other professions  knew him and  listened to his Poetry . Some took  him to Ahdoo’s Hotel and relished his poetry with Kebabs  and Tea.  Sometimes he would be seen in coffee house and    Kailsh Cafeteria Amirakadal .His friends and   admirers  who enjoyed his  Humour poems   failed to  see the shadows of want and need looming  large in his personal life.  None came to his rescue on this front.

Some well wishers also  advised him  to stop writing  poetry altogether and focus on serious work especially journalism .He was quite capable for that but circumstances forced him to remain complacent with his insufficient earnings from  Khidmat Newspaper  .

 Poetry apart, He was sincere and honest to the core.    Peace be to his soul.

( Autar Mota.... 3.12.2013 )

1 *Khaaer is a disease of hair scalp which manifests itself with red crusted swelling accompanied by itching and occasional bleeding .Khareyaa or Khoarr is used for the person who has this scalp disease ..Kharu is a common caste  amongst Hindu  and Muslims  of  kashmir.

2 ** Traam literally means copper . In kashmiri language it is satirically used for Baldness .

 3 ***Lakshmishori used to be a popular   name amongst  Kashmiri Pandit women .

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