Tuesday, April 30, 2013




(Children playing sazaaloang or Hopscotch in a village in kashmir .A photograph of 1911 AD.)

To poor , Mother earth appears indifferent . This is not so . This indifference is always benign. She comes forward with everything .The birds , dancing Brooks, Shady trees , Green valleys and above all her own surface . She appears to say
“ Come child! Draw your dreams on my Body and play your games. Here am I . ”

This game is played world over . In India, hopscotch is also known as Stapu, or Ekhat-Dukhat (meaning one two houses) and in Kashmir children used to call it SAZAALOANG . The game has a similar principle all over that player must hop on one foot and must throw the marker in the right square. This mostly is a girls' game in India, though some boys also play it in many areas . It was a favourite game of children in kashmir . All of us have played it at some point of time during our childhood. 
It is widely believed that ancient Romans started this game wherefrom it travelled world over. To this photo i add a quatrain ( 4 Lines ) composed by me in kashmiri..

Prabhaatan Voal me Beyi Atlaas Zakhman
Ta Shaaman Burr mitchier Gham Koothireiv Zunn
Ba Tchaas Baagus Ta Poashuv Be-Rukhi kar
Dohay kar Graav Hardunn ’ Chhukh Ta Katie Chhukh’
( Autar Mota )

These mornings , Clad my wounds in silk .
And the evenings , Just opened storehouses of sadness .
I stepped into the garden and flowers turned indifferent ,
While this Autumn, at all times looked for and hunted me .

( Autar Mota   11 PM , 30.04.2013...  GOOD NIGHT .)

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Monday, April 22, 2013





Though Dr Bernier ( 1625-1688 )  Physician to Mughal  King  Aurangzeb had   visited Kashmir  ,  it was only  Dr William Elmslie (1832-1872)  who established the first Allopathic dispensary in Kashmir.In fact he was the first Medical missionary in Kashmir . He was followed by two   dedicated brothers Dr Arthur Neve and Dr Earnest Neve  who stayed in Kashmir for about 3 decades during later half of 19th centaury .These doctors  and their Allopathic Medicines  brought much needed  relief and happiness  to  the local population as a result of which   Local Hakims lost their brisk practice and earnings  .A group  Hakims went to Maharaja and impressed upon him the superiority of Ancient Unani system of Medicines  over what they called as Firangi Dawaasaazi .They asked Maharaja not to grant any favours to  outsiders.The Maharaja just gave a patient hearing but encouraged the Allopathic doctors to expand their practice .

In 1882 ,Dr Arthur Neve arrived in kashmir  and thereafter in 1886 , he  was joined by his brother Dr Earnest Neve    . These  doctors  travelled extensively across entire length and breadth of Kashmir   and  Ladakh. Besides writing several medical papers published in The Lancet, Dr Arthur Neve (1859-1919 ) authored following Books
1 "Kashmir Ladakh and Tibet" (1899),
 2 "Picturesque Kashmir" (1900),
3 "Thirty Years in Kashmir" (1913),
4  "The Tourist's Guide to Kashmir, Ladakh, Skardo &c" (1923).

Dr Ernest  Neve (1861-1946 )also  wrote some  Books such as ..
1          "Beyond the Pir Panjal. Life Among the Mountains and Valleys of Kashmir" (1912)
2          "A Crusader in Kashmir" (1928)This book covers  the story of his brother's life and work.
3          "Things Seen in Kashmir" (1931).

  Dr Arthur  Neve  and his brother  performed 30000 surgeries in kashmir  which included 3651 Eye operations , 864 operations for Tumors and 579 Bone operations apart from treating patients of Kangri cancers  , Syphilis , leprosy and small pox. DR ARTHUR  NEVE  fought the terrible outbreak of cholera and famine  in Kashmir during 1883.

Dr Arthur Neve  would  start  his  day at 8 AM and  was   at the Mission Hospital till 10 PM attending to patients , performing surgeries and moving in wards . Never had kashmiris seen such care, attention , compassion and dedication from their own local Hakims or Vaids . Their Hospital at Dal gate srinagar   was later converted to Chest disease Hospital. They would also frequently visit Baramulla , Anantnaag and other towns  to see patients . Many elders from Rainawari have confirmed that  Dr Earnest  Neve would personally coming down from the  Hospital  to present   shikara Ghats at Dalgate to carry very sick patients himself to the  Hospital. Most of the patients would come in small Boats though some used to come on Tongas during those days .

“  we lacked funds . A few string charpoys in the hospital were hopelessly insanitary   .Once I had to perform a formidable abdominal surgery  that needed strenuous cleanliness ,I decided to do it at my own house away from tainted Air of the Hospital. ” Dr Arthur Neve .

( Vaccination in kashmir was started by Neve Brothers )

Walter Lawrence ( who spent more than six years in Valley  when Neve brothers were deeply entrenched in  serving kashmiris )  also  makes a mention of their work in his Book  “valley of Kashmir” published in 1895

“If I had had   the privilege of listening to Dr Neve before attempted to write my poor chapter on Physical History in The Valley of Kashmir, I should have been able to write with much greater effect. From what I have seen myself, I can testify to the great accuracy of Dr Neve’s account. I think this is a good opportunity, before this great audience, for letting you know what the work of the Medical Mission in Kashmir is doing. I lived six years in that country and know the road from Kashmir to Gilgit and Ladak. Wherever I went there was only one question. The people did not want to see me but they wanted to know when Neve Sahib was coming – Neve Sahib who brought comfort and healing wherever he went. Working with very little help, working in a very small way against every hindrance, against the Brahman influence, the two Neves (Arthur Neve and Ernest Neve) have won everything to them and now they have a grand hospital in Srinagar and when the Neves are not going into the villages, the villagers are coming in to the Neves.”

Prof.  Rais Akhtar , Emeritus Scientist and recipient of Leverhulme Overseas and Henry Chapman Fellowships  has also documented work done by Neve brothers in Kashmir . I quote Prof. Rais Akhtar

 “ In many countries hospitals were established within colonial motives but in Kashmir first a dispensary and later a Mission Hospital were established by the Medical Missionary Society in order to provide modern medical care to the population without much disturbing the availability of the indigenous system of medicine. In many countries hospitals were established within colonial motives but in Kashmir first a dispensary and later a Mission Hospital were established by the Medical Missionary Society in order to provide modern medical care to the population without much disturbing the availability of the indigenous system of medicine. Despite the practice of the Unani system of medicine, allopathic medicine when first introduced into Kashmir became extremely popular among the people. The missionary doctors who worked in the dispensary and hospital, and particularly Arthur Neve, were committed to serving the population and were devoted researchers who published their results in internationally reputable journals – The Lancet, the British Medical Journal and the Indian Medical Gazette. Arthur Neve also wrote Kashmir, Ladakh and Tibet (1899), Picturesque Kashmir (1900) and Thirty Years in Kashmir (1913). Arthur Neve died suddenly in Srinagar of a fever 5th  September 1919. The Maharaja of Kashmir ordered a  State Funeral. The mourners included people from all  classes, races and religions who united to pay tribute to  their well-beloved and disinterested friend who had done so much for Kashmir and its people. The Obituary in the Geographical Journal in 1919 noted: ‘He probably did more than any one who ever lived towards the amelioration of suffering for various native races of that country among whom his reputation was extraordinary.’

Dr Arthur Neve also finds mention at Page 24  in the  Book …  “ Trans-Himalaya: Discoveries and Adventures in Tibet ’ By Sven Hedin.
“ Dr Arthur Neve is one of  the man I most admire . he has devoted his life to the Christian mission in Kashmir and his hospital ..... There he works indefatigably day and night and his only reward is the  satisfaction of relieving  the suffering of others . ”

       ( Dr Arthur Neve surrounded by patients at Mission Hospital , Kashmir )
The service rendered by Dr Arthur Neve  to ameliorate the pain and suffering of local population  after the terrible earthquake of may 1885 has no parallel anywhere .
And kashmiris forgot these noble souls  altogether  . No memorial . No Hospital in their   name .  And I believe  No one knows these names in Kashmir . Dr  Arthur Neve died  in 1919 in  Kashmir after being  suddenly   struck down by fever.I end this post with lines from an  Gazal of urdu  poet Ahmed Faraz .

Shola  Ba Dil Aatish Ba Jaan Phirtaa Rahaa  Woh Be amaan
Varnaa  Saba  Zulfon Mein Thi Varna ghataa kaajal mein thi ..
Kyaa  Kyaa hawa chalti  Rahi  Yeh  Lau Magar Jalti Rahi
Kyaa zoar uss Aandhi mein Thaa Kyaa Baat iss Mashal Mein Thi….

 ( Autar Mota )
22.04.2013 TIME 11.45 PM  ... GOOD NIGHT 

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Sunday, April 14, 2013






 Once  you leave Kokernaag ( District Anantnaag , Kashmir , J&K )and move towards the mountains   , you come to a place called VAILOO .  In case you take the right turn from Vailoo , you reach Ahlam  , the last habitation in this area. It is also known as Ahlam  Gadole .  Gadole is a main village near Ahlam.  Gadole has some kashmiri speaking population. Thereafter you confront    Gujjars and Bakerwals only . They may speak broken kashmiri but they are not kashmiris.  They were nomadic tribes  and  lately these groups have  constructed small houses in this area.  
                        ( A Thatched   Roof House In sagaam Near Kokkernaag )
Ahlam is now  a settlement of nomadic people just 6 kms away from Gadole. After Ahlam , the mountain  passes traversed on foot , lead you to Kishtwar district. We were informed that now a Tunnel is being dug Near Ahlam that shall keep all weather connectivity of Anantnaag town with Kishtwar .  So no more to use Simthen pass if the Tunnel comes up .Smithen  top   remains snow bound in extreme winters.


And if you take a left turn near Vailoo , you come to the NH1B leading  to Simthen Pass .
.I remember having come to this place with our college excursion in early seventies . Nothing has changed except  linking of this area throuh NH1B leading to Kishtwar. Daksum lies on this NH1B.

DAKSUM ( Altitude 2438 Metres )  is a scenic spot located in the dense forests. This scenic spot falls on the Anantnag-Sinthan-Kishtwar road. A gushing stream flows through Daksum which is rich in trout fish. It is a forest retreat girdled by mountains.  If you Travel on NH1B that connects Anantnaag Town of Kashmir with Kishtwar Via Simthen Top ( Altitude 3748 Metres) ,  You pass through Daksum ( just 36 Kms away from Anantnaag ). One can call it  a sleepy forest  resort with some houses and a Government Rest House . The rest house is not properly maintained at the moment . When we visited the area on  9th April 2013 , there was no caretaker  . The  path and the steps leading to the rest House from main road was broken and the Garden around it was not maintained at all. Some villagers had put clothes for drying on the rest house fencing. Narcissus or yemberzal had grown unattended in the garden.
We went  close to  Simthen Top which is 31 kms from Daksum. It was spring time . Snow had not vanished from the mountains . A lady at Daksum had  suggested us to proceed . She added that regular bus service shall  also be started shortly to kishtwar as the snow at Smithen Top was being cleared.
 The road from Kokernnag to Simthen  is blacktopped and in good shape . Gushing water stream   , Majestic pine trees , silence with occasional chirping of  some birds on  pine tree tops makes you feel in the lap of mother nature .

It was cold in April . We needed woolens. We kept the car windows open to let fresh cold air enter in . Where is the pollution ? Where is the sweltering heat of the plains ? Where is the noise of the city roads ?Life had dropped all its demands of existence  that it usually  makes in cities and towns .

I end this post with  lines from a Gazal of renowned urdu poet  Firaq Gorakhpuri

Jee mein Aataa Hai Tujh Ko Pukaraa karuun
Rehguzar Rehguzar Aastaan Aastaan..
Boo Zameen se Mujhe Aa Rahi hai teri
Tujh Ko kyon Doondiye Aasmaan Aasmaan
( Firaq)

( I feel like calling you and you alone
At Every path and inside  every shrine .
 I smell your fragrance from the land underneath  ,
Then why search  you in the sky above )

( Autar Mota  5 PM.. 14.04.2013 ... Sunday... Good Evening ..)

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Saturday, April 13, 2013





I do not know why am i coming to the movie 27 Down again and again. I wish the talented director had lived to add his part of creative output to the Parallel Cinema that emerged during seventies and early eighties .

I am informed that Avtar kaul was not only the director of this movie , he had also arranged Finances from NFDC .He wrote the script and dialogues. Personally selected the talented cast comprising of M K Raina ( 1970 Batch NSD Graduate and a man from Theatre) , Rakhee Gulzar , Sadhu Mehar ( He shifted to Oriya cinema) , Om shivpuri, Rekha sabnis and Sudhir Dalvi. He arranged the music from Bhuban Hari ( Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Bubaneshwar Misra ). I saw this Black and White movie again recently from the rescued version put on DVDs by NFDC.

The film came out at a time when Amitabh Bachan had begun his rise to stardom .Shyam Benegal had set free his ANKUR on us. Amol Palekar's Rajnigandha had created a demand for new cinema .And Manoj Kumar had come with Roti kapda Aur Makaan , a new variant  of entertaining cinema .  

I liked the storyline ,screenplay and the dialogues .I am informed that Avtar Kaul made it a point to shoot inside Bombay local trains and crowded Railway stations to give the movie a realistic feel. The frames shot at Bombay’s VT station and inside the crowded Local train give a sense of kinetics to the shots. Such shots give you a feeling of commotion within and outside .


You confront silence also . I believe this silence is corollary to settlement in a relation.. In a relation if attitudes are identified and reflexes established to deal with them , not much needs to be actually talked about . Silence then engulfs togetherness . This phenomenon one observes in this movie . I confess being guilty of not having seen this grand movie seriously on a previous occasion.

No character in this movie makes the usual filmi or impressive gestures .


“ Phir koyee pull hai Kya ? Shayad Pull hi hai ”     
“ Has another bridge Come ? Looks like a bridge only “
( A dialogue from the movie )

A routine traveller seeks to confirm his assessment by the thud and sound of the train that he is used to.. This traveler has been crossing bridges daily without reaching Anywhere .

“Loag Ek Din ya ek raat ke baad Kahin pahunchtay hain , par mein to ek khayal ke baad Duusray khayal pe pahunch jaata huun ” from the movie .

“People reach some destination after a day’s or night’s journey . But I continue to leave one dream to enter another .”

Fathers generally choose their own profession for their children ignoring the preferences and likes of the child. In a sense it is forced upon the child. Here in this movie the hero Sanjay faces this from his Father.
Anna ( Sanjay’s father ) is a train-driver and works for the Railways. One day his train meets with an accident and his right leg gets paralyzed. When Sanjay grows up, Anna wants his son to join the Railways as a Ticket Checker.  Sanjay on the other hand wants to carry forward his artistic career but his father, decisively wants him to join Railways .His father believes that such a job shall give security and a handsome salary . And a good salary with a secured job would mean an ideal life for his son. Put to passionate pressure from his father ,Sanjay takes up the railway job. Annoyed and discontented with a monotonous life he feels, he is heading nowhere until he meets Shalini.

“ Din Raat Bhi Agar meri duty Lagaa dein To Mujhey Koyee Eiteraaz nahin ”
( If they put me on round the clock duty , i have no objection to it . )

 Sanjay ( M K Raina ) measures life in train sounds and distances .The demands of conformity affect his relation with a young woman Shalini ( Rakhee ).

Sanjay befriends the commuting typist Shalini.They meet often and explore having a relationship. Thinking that Shalini wants to marry him, he accompanies her to meet her grandfather and two children. He is shocked when Shalini introduces him as a married man, working as her co-worker. Sanjay, in disbelief  wants to know   why Shalini lied about his martial status and employment with the Railways.
 Sanjay's father  comes to know about this relationship.He  puts pressure on  Sanjay to marry a village girl  chosen by him. When sanjay faces his father Ana ( Om shivpuri ) who tells him what future holds for him,  Just two words slip from his tongue..
“Par Ana ( Then Ana ) "
  This village girl  resembles the buffaloes she brings as her dowry. Sanjay escapes in yet another train journey but when he  meets Shalini again, he finds they have nothing in common any more.

“ Loag hain ki ek jagah se doosri jagah tak jaatein hain . Mein hoon ki kahin se chal kar kahin bhi chalaa jaa Rahaa huun ”
( People start from one destination and reach the other . Look at me . I start from any place and go anywhere )

The unexpected Zoom Ins , Zoom Outs and freeze frames give a moving visual sense to this film. Avtar Kaul learnt this technique possibly  during his apprenticeship with Ivory Merchant production BOMBAY TALKIE ( Sashi kapoor , Jennifer Kendal , Aparna Sen and Utpal Dutt ) . Avtar kaul  also worked as Assistant to James Ivory .Had he lived , he would have certainly made films that would have been middle of commercial and Art cinema.

The film won National Awards for Best Film  and  Cinematography in 1974...

I am adding some lines from  a poem HISTORY  by noted Bulgarian  Poet Nikola Vaptsarovto this write up. ...


History, will you mention us
In your faded scroll?
We worked in factories, offices –
Our names were not well known.
We worked in fields.
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.
( HISTORY is a famous poem composed by noted Bulgarian  Poet Nikola Vaptsarov 1909-1942 )

( Autar Mota ) 13.04.2013 .. GOOD  DAY..

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Thursday, April 11, 2013




( Bach Ke Rehnaa )

Shahar jungle hain Ab ….
Lag Rahaa hai Ki Ab Aa gaye Bhediye ,
Chhoad jungle ,Andheron ko Aur Gaar ko ,,
Har Jagah Pe hain aur har shehar mein hain Yeh .
Raah mein Moad pe Yeh Milangay tujhay ,
Inn schoolon ko jaati dagar pe hain yeh ,
Tere Daftar mein aur har safar mein Hain Yeh,
Tere Aangan mein aur tere Ghar Mein hain yeh,
Bach ke Rehnaa Meri laadli tu sadaa,
Shehar Jungle hain Ab……
( Autar Mota )

( Be careful )

Our cities have become a jungle now.
It looks as if the wolves have come down,
Leaving the forests ,caves and darkness .
You find them at every place ,
You find them in every city now ,
You  find them at the turn of every road  ,
You  see them at paths that lead to schools.
They are in offices and in every journey you may undertake,
Look ! They are in your courtyard and inside your home as well.
Be careful  my darling Girl,
Protect yourself.
For Our cities have become a jungle now……


(Sab Gunahgaar Hain )

Bhediye jab sadak se uthaa le gaye
Adhmari ho ke phainki gayee raah mein.
Khoon Behtaa Rahaa Shehar Bedard Thhaa
Laash Ban ke sadak se uthaayi gayee.
Yeh samaaj jis mein bastay hazaaron khudaa
Aaj kyon kar rahaa marsiyaan marsiyaan.
Kuchh siyaasi Madaari bhi Hain Bheed mein
Vote lenay chalay dekh Jalti Chitaa .
Hum Ko Iss Soag Kaa Koyee Haq Hi Nahin
Sab Gunahgaar hain

( Autar Mota )

 ( we  are all culprits )
The  wolves dragged  you from the road ,
And  threw you back  bleeding , and almost dead on the highway.
Blood kept oozing  ,
The city dwellers turned indifferent
Till you turned  like  a corpse to be removed .
Pity this society !
Pity the  gods that live in this world !
Why beat your chests in sorrow now  ?
And  now some political jugglers joining the mourners ,
seeking votes from a burning pyre .
None of us deserves to join your mourning  Girl,
We are all the culprits......


(Chaahti Hai Madad )

Har Baday shehar mein Betiyaan Bachiyaan 
Sehmi Sehmi Hai Kyon Kyon Pareshaan hain
Hotelon, Daftaron aur dukaanon mein Yeh 
Apnaa daaman Chhupaati bachaati Huyee 
Kahin *Strauss Kahn hai Ya hai **Kanda Kahin
Bhediyon se Yeh Khud ko Chhupaati Huyee
Devdassi , kaneez aur Nun Bhi Bani 
Bhediye Aa Gaye har Panaah-Gaah mein 
Aaj Phir Ro Rahi Haath Uthaaye Huve 
Chaahti Hai Madad………………………….

( Autar Mota )

(She Looks for Help )

In every city or metropolis ,
Why are our daughters and girls,
Frightened to live and unhappy to move around .
 Working in hotels ,  offices ,and Business centres ,
Why have they always to protect themselves  ,
Somewhere they come across a *strauss Kahn,
And somewhere else  a **Kanda ,
Always worried in saving herself from wolves .
What  if she turned a Devdassi , a maid or a Nun,
the wolves entered   every refuge.
And again today ,
This daughter  ,
Raisies her hands towards sky now
And weeps for Help..

• Dominique Strauss kahn former head of IMF was charged with allegedly Molesting a Hotel employee in New York in 2011.
**Gopal Kanda a former Minister from Haryana faces complicity and serious charges of  Exploitation of women in Geetika Sharma suicide  case.

( 4)

(Haq Milegaa Tujhay )

Kyaa wajah Aajkal Maa, Behan Betiyaan
Shafakhaanon mein hain ya kachahari mein hain
Ho koyee mulk ya ho koyee bhi samaaj
Haq o Insaaf Paanay ko tarsay hai yeh.
Naam inn ke to laakhon hain kyaa kyaa kahoon
Kal *Malala thi aur Aaj Hai *Damini
*Ashley Judd ho ya ho *Mackenzie Phillips
Zehar peeti Rahi Zulm Sehtee Rahi
Aasmaan Bhar Gayaa Dard se Tere Ab
Haq Milegaa tujhay……

(Autar Mota )

( You Shall Get Your Due)

Nowadays  ,Why do we come across our Mothers , daughters and sisters
Either in Hospitals or in courts .
Be it any country or any society,
Why are they  harassed for their rights and justice ?
How Many names should I count and put forth ?
If She is Malala over there  ,
She is   Damini over here .
She may be Ashley Judd or Mackenzie Phillips
She gulped the poison and went through suffering.
Your pain  is tearing apart the silence of the sky Now . .
Girl you shall get your due ..

1 Malaala Yusufzai faced bullets to speak for education of girls.
2 Damini is the assumed name of Delhi Gang Rape victim
3 Ashley Judd is a Hollywood actress who has  survived Brutal Rape. .Mackenzie Phillips has also been a victim


(Tuu Akeli Nahin )

Gham o Gussa hai Mumbai Mein Banglore mein
Delhi mein bhi Hai Aur hai Lahore mein
Asia kaa har eik Shehar hai Ghamzadaa
Hai pareshann Europe bhi Aur Africa
Baazuvein Uth gayeen sarhadein Mitt gayeen
Dard Teraa Deewaron ko Bhi daa Gayaa
Cheekh Teri se ab Ro padaa U N O..
Ladli Tere Gham mein karodon hain Ab
Tu Akeli nahin…….
( Autar Mota )

( You are Not alone now )

Anger and grief sweeps  Mumbai and Banglore
It also looms large  in Delhi and  Lahore
Every city in Asia is  mournful ,
Europe and Africa are equally   under  distress .
Behold ! The arms that rise in togetherness  ,
Behold !The Borders  melting now
Your suffering demolished all segregating Human walls  ,
Your cry brought tears in U N O  .
Darling  Girl  ! Now millions are in  lamentation  from your   pain.
 you are not alone  Now …

( Autar Mota ... 11.04.2013 ..10.45 PM Good Night )

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                                         ( spring visits a cherry tree in kashmir )

                                       ( Spring visits Tulip Garden of kashmir )

                             ( Spring brings Yemberzal or Narcisus flowers to kashmir )

                                      ( Majestic Tulips in kashmir 's spring season )

         ( A navreh Plate filled for THAAL BHARUN Ritual  in a kashmiri Pandit family )



Photographs  Autar Mota

Sethaa Pathhaa kaalie akh vassie samandhar
Sati Hundh ouss Athh Nakhaa Loall Maaleun
Tavaai assis vanaan saari satisar
Kohuss pyath Baal Teintalein Thhoangein Pyaath
Basaan Tappa Reish Soaraan Dayya Naav Har Dham

( Lines from Opera Vitasta By Dina Nath Naadim )

This land of ours , A vast lake in ancient times,
With sati’s adorable homeland nearby .
And for this reason also known as SATISAR,
On peaks and mountain tops around the lake ,
Lived venerating Rishis meditating day and night …

Navreh is a welcome to soanth or the spring season of Kashmir. You have a blooming Kashmir in SOANTH. The Almonds ,Apricots and the Mustard fields. Mountain peaks reflecting snow.. Kashmiris would say goodbye to winter and welcome life with flowers everywhere .

For kashmiri Pandits , it is celebrated as the first day of 5000 year old SAPT RISHI LUNAR Calendar . Kashmiri Pandit children would generally put on new clothes. Apart from this, the day would begin with BUTHH VUCHHUN Ritual. Once you got up from the bed in the morning , Mothers or elders would ask you to first see a plateful of rice with a photograph of family deity ,Almanac ( Jantri ), coin ,pen , Yemberzal or narcissus flowers , walnuts , curd , milk and a herb ( Vaai Gandir ) . Looking at this THAALI or PLATE was a must immediately after getting up in the morning . It is considered auspicious for the family . The Plate or Thaali is kept at a central place in the house . The ritual of filling the thaali or plate with so many items is called THAAL BHARUN.

A somewhat similar festival called NAVROAZ is also celebrated since ancient times in
IRAN and parts of Central Asia, Caucasus and Northwestern China. Novroaz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in the Iranian calendar. Originally being a Zoroastrian festival, and the holiest of them all, Navroaz is believed to have been invented by Zoroaster himself, although there is no clear date of origin. The ritual of Thaal Bharun or filling of the plate by kashmiri Pandits is somewhat similar to the Iranian ritual of Haft Sin.

Gates of Akbar’s Hari Parbat fort in srinagar, kashmir were opened today and accordingly people would go inside the Qila( Fort ) apart from visiting Badaam Vaari , Sharika Temple, Makhdoom sahib’s Ziyarat and Gurudwara Chhati Paadshaahi. Is it so now?

Agar Doahan Assi Hisaab Bozuv,
Doah Yimay Aiss Evaan Sonteik,
Shuhul Havaa Ous Hanth Bremijin,
Vachhuss Divaan Sar Te Daal Maraan,
Bepuchh Bahaaruss Harud Vanaan Aous,
‘Kapas Vovithh Chha Badan Valaan Khaah’ ,
Mushuk Valith Aav Vaav Sountuk,
Ditchin Bashaarat.
Yimav Qadam Kaed garav Neubar,
Tim Na Aayee Phirithh,
Na Tchhaend Soantan .

( Farooq Nazki lines from Poem Naad laayeiy or I shall call you back )

Should we revisit our days gone by ?
Spring would visit us similarly.
This spring breeze would frolic similarly
With the bosom of flowering buds .
As usual Autumn would envy
and satirically tell to unreliable spring .
“ Earth does not Use the apparel should it grow cotton”
Bathed in Perfume ,
The spring has once again come this way ,
To spread its colours .
Alas! Those who stepped out of their homes and hearths ,
Did neither return,
Nor did this spring seek their whereabouts .

( Autar Mota )
11.04.2013...Good Day 

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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\.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013



 Photo autar Mota 

The sky  just poured down heat only. The fields had dried . So had the springs and streams . Hot winds blew all over . A Lonely sparrow  felt emaciated with heat. But then the clouds appeared suddenly. Thunder and winds . The rain danced down wearing Ghungroos  . Music was in the air . Leaves clapped in Happiness. Trees whistled joyfully    . 
 ""Lo! Here comes our darling rain""
And i  add my Poem Baarish to these thoughts and the photograph.

( Baarish )

 Door Peid pe chidiyaa baithee garmi se jhulsaayi  re
Taal talaiyaa sookh gaye sab Loo chalti harjaayi  re
Ab ke Rama Kheit jaleingay Aisee Garmi Aayi kuch
Haad ke Daanche na ban jaayein kaisi bipidaa Aayi re
Tabi achanak badal Umdaa aandhi aayi Zsoon zsoon zsoon
Bijli Kaundhi Tad Tad Tad Tad Kaali Badri chhaayi re
Aur achanak Goonghroo Baandh ke barsa paani chhan chhan chhan
Paton ne taali maari hai seeti baaji Hiss Hiss Hiss
Ghar Aangan mein Jal hi jal hai Aao chidiya Fuur fuur fuur
Haraa samandhar Gopi chander Bolo Machali kitnaa Paani.........

( Autar Mota )
10.04.2013... Time 1.00 AM Good Night 

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\.

Sunday, April 7, 2013




“ Where from have you come ? You look like a European . Please sit . I need to talk to you .”

This is what V Shantaram had told the young boy in 1944 who had come all the way from Jalandhar to Prabhat Studios Poona . Shantaram , Babu Rao Patel and Sheikh Fatehlal were the partners of Prabhat Studios at that point of time.

Looking at his face and after the usual introduction ,V Shantaram signed the blue eyed handsome Daya kishen Sapru for a role in his next movie RAM SHASTRI.. The character of a Peshwa played by him was well noticed and the movie turned out a big hit.. He was signed as lead hero by the Company on a monthly salary of Rs3000/= highest ever paid to any hero during those days . It was a hefty sum that enabled him to live a princely life during those days .It was somewhere around 1945-46.

Films started pouring in later .He acted in Romeo and Juliet ( opposite Nargis . Nargis’s Mother Jaddan Bai was all praise for Sapru. The film was produced by Nargis’s brother Akhtar Hussain . ) ,Jhansi Ki Rani ,Kalapaani , Hum Hindustaani , Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Mujhe Jeene Do , Leader and Shaheed . Who does not remember his role as Majhale Sarkar ( Chaudhary ) in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. Again as Zamindaar in Mujhe Jeene Do , he became quite popular. We saw him in some wonderful roles in Naya Daur , Prem Pujari ,Jewel Thief , Krodhi , Kudrat ,Dharm Veer, Dream Girl, Zanjeer , Pakeezah and many more such films .It was a period when story writers would create a character for him in the story or script. He was seen either as a Zamindaar or a Police commissioner or a Judge in most of his later films .
In Total ,he must have acted in more than 350 films and out of which he played lead role in more than 50 films. He also played lead roles in some Gujarati and Punjabi films.


Saprus are Sarswat Brahmins from Kashmir known as kashmiri Pandits who belong to DIPAT SAMAN AUPAMANYAVA Gotra or the lineage of an Aryan Rishi .This clan of kashmiri Pandits actually belong to village SAPREIN in present day Kulgam district of kashmir and could be safely called as aboriginal kashmiris . some other prominent Saprus are Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru , Jagdish Narayan Sapru ( Prominent Businessman of the country ) Sahaj Ram Sapru Revenue collector during the rule of Afghan Governor Azim Khan ( 1809-1819 ) and Dr Allama Iqbal Urdu poet and Islamic scholar ( He too belonged to a sapru family from kulgam that had converted to islam )

Daya kishen Sapru belonged to a well off family from Kashmir and his father was employed in Maharaja’s Treasury . That made the family to move to Jammu and Lahore during winters. Daya Krishen was born at Jammu and had his early education at Jammu and Lahore .Fluent in Punjabi , he was also proficient in Hindi , Urdu and English .From his childhood days , he would love music and singing . He could easily play on his Harmonium.

Before moving to PUNE , D K as he was known amongst his numerous friends lived at Jalandhar cantt for some time where he took up the job of a contractor .He had four brothers and two sisters and D K happened to be the fourth child in this joint family.


D K Sapru met Marathi actress and IPTA activist Hemvati and they fell in love. They married in 1948 .Hemvati was a noted Marathi actress who also worked at PRITHVI Theatres. She acted in SANGAM with Ashok Kumar and Nalini Jayant in lead roles. She had also worked with Dev Anand in MOHAN ,Mubarak and Renuka in Ghar Ghar Ki Kahaani and Raj Kapoor in Jail Yatra . A play named Deewar had Hemvati and Raj kapoor in lead roles and the play became quite popular on stage during those days. 

After marriage , Hemvati played the role of a caring wife and an affectionate mother in her family. After marriage,She possibly acted only in one movie PATITPAAVAN a home production of sapru family. 
      ( Hemvati Sapru , Actress    caring wife and Affectionate Mother )

                        ( Preeti Sapru( centre ) with her Husband  )
Sapru children are also in films . To quote their elder daughter REEMA is a well known script writer while second daughter PREETI is a successful Punjabi actress while their son Tej is a noted film and TV actor. The brother and sisters are closely attached to each other . They too live by the family values that they inherited from their father .
             ( Reema Sapru /Reema RakeshNath , talented screeenplay and story writer in Bollywood  )

 ( Tej sapru at the birthday party of Preeti's daughter. Affectionate Mamu and uncle to children )


D K Sapru  had numerous friends in the film industry . Most of his childhood friends were from Jammu , Lahore or Jalandhar . In films he was very close to Guru Dutt, Dev Anand , Mohan Sehgal, Rehman, P L Seth , Jaan Nissar Akhtar , Sheikh Fatehlal ,Chanderkant Desai,Prakash Mehra , Vijay Kaul,Vasant Rao Painter and some more well known names from the cinema . He was also close to actor Chander Mohan wattal and his own cousin JEEVAN ( Omkar Nath Dhar ) both of whom were kashmiri Pandits .In fact JEEVAN and DK built houses adjacent to each other at Bandra .


Inspite of his hectic film schedules , D K was always a family man. He loved to spend time with his children and family . The family lived at parel, Juhu Tara Road and Bandra . His house was always full of family guests comprising his parents , brothers and sisters. To his nieces and nephews , he played
a caring uncle and Mama . He was a caring brother to his sisters who were very close to his family and children. He never spent money on horse races nor was he fond of liquor or parties .Oh yes he liked smoking.
He is known to have helped his brothers and sisters in all possible ways he could . To his inlaws also he played the dutiful role of a caring son in law .

D K Sapru also acquired good and working knowledge of Homeopathy and was seen reading Homeopathic books quite often during his spare time. He then started practicing this school of medicine and would treat everybody without any charge often Buying medicines and distributing them free.


Sapru also committed a folly of producing films . One can say that he was misguided by some selfish friends .Though he had learnt some lessons from his first home production Patitpaavan , a movie that earned him a few thousands only yet he took up another production project '' Bahadur Shah Zaffar''' and brought in a large star cast that included Sudesh Kumar , Chand Usmani ,Shyama , Rehman ,Jeevan, Ulhaas ( M N kaul ) and Nirupa Roy .He pooled in all his resources and raised loans for the project mortgaging his spacious new Bunglow .The movie did not sell on Box office . That landed the family in great trouble. The house had to be sold to repay debts . Reema was sent to Lucknow for higher Education where she lived with D K ’s sister . Sapru knew that Reema was too much attached to the house and would feel deeply hurt .Inspite of his financial crisis , D K ensured that his children get best education . Preeti Studied at St. Joseph’s High school Mumbai so did Tej get a good schooling .


Sapru turned diabetic during his later life. Inspite of is failing health he decided to make a last attempt to produce another film JEEVAN CHALNE KAA NAAM. By Now Reema was a trained screen play / script writer . She wrote the script and the family signed in Sanjeev Kumar , Rekha , Shashi Kapoor . DK fell ill suddenly and had to be hospitalized for about an year . The project was abandoned. D K was also operated upon for a malignant growth in his shoulder and finaly died of a heart attack at a young age of 63 years in 1979. His favourite child Reema was already married at that time . And by then he had also turned a grandfather .

Permit to end this write up on Sapru or the forgotten star of yesterdays with some lines from an urdu poem kal Aur Aaj composed by Prof. Ale Ahmed Suroor of Lucknow.. Prof Suroor lived in kashmir till his retirement and was an Urdu scholar and an authority on English poetry as well. . He himself was a sensitive and serious Urdu poet . I am a great admirer of his poem Kal Aur Aaj . This learnt professor continues to have a large fan following in Kashmir where he taught in his capacity as s senior faculty member of Kashmir university .

Chaandani kaif_asar Rooh_Afzaa hotee thi,
Abr Aataa thaa to badmast bhi ho Jaate thhay.
Din me shorish bhi huaa karati thhi Hangaame bhi,
Raat ki godh me munh Dhaanp ke so Jaate thay.

Narm Rau Waqt ke dhaare pe Safiine thhay ravaan,
Saahil-o-Bahr ke Aaiin na badalate thhay kabhi.
Naakhudaaon pe Bharosaa thhaa Muqaddar pe yaqeen,
Chaadar-e-Aab se tuufaan na ubalatay thhay kabhi.

Ham ke tuufaanon ke Paale bhi Sataaye bhi hain,
Barq-o-Baaraan mein vohi shamein jalaayein kaisay.
Ye jo Aatish_kadaa Duniyaa me bhadak Uthaa hai,
Aansuon se ussay har baar bujhaayein kaisay.

Kar Diyaa barq-o-bukhaaraat ne mahashar Barpaa,
Apane daftar me litaafat ke sivaa kuchh bhii nahin.
Ghir gaye Waqt ki Berahm kashaakash me magar,
Paas tahazeeb ki Daulat ke siva kuchh bhi nahin.
( Prof Ale Ahmed Surooor)

In simple English above lines can be put as

The moonlight used to be enjoyable and soul satisfying ,
The clouds would make us joyful and free of worries .
Days would be noisy and eventful,
And the Night would lull us to sleep in her lap.

Our ships would glide on soft waves ,
Never would the rules of the ocean or beaches change .
We moved ahead trusting fate and the paddlers ,
The sheets of water would never pour out storms for us .

We who have been brought up and put to grief by these storms ,
How can we lit those candles again in this lightening and storm?.
This fire that is engulfing our world lately,
God! How can it be doused with tears alone every time?

This lightening and the heat created,
Appears like the day of the last Judgement in our world,
And now in our dealings nothing exists beyond politeness .
Trapped we have been by this merciless time and the struggle ,
But for the wealth of our culture,
we have Nothing to put on display in these bare hands .

(Sunday 7th april 2013 , Time 1.30 PM.. Good Day .)

(My special thanks shall always remain to Reema Sapru ( Reema Rakesh Nath) as I have used some details from her interviews as  inputs for this write up. I also remain indebted to this Grand Sapru family for allowing me to use some family photographs. Grateful .. )

CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Creative Commons LicenseBased on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.