Monday, February 24, 2014


Akhtar Mohi Ud Din. ( 1928-2001 )

In 1980 , I worked as Teller in the Bank and was posted in Lal Chowk, Amira Kadal Branch . Those were the days when customers would be mostly dealt by Tellers through personalized service. They never felt the need to go to supervisors or the Manager sitting behind .The tellers were the face of the Bank in terms of polite and personalized service .
One such customer who would come straight to me or to my colleague Roshan Lal Haku was well known kashmiri short story writer Akhtar Mohi Ud Din( 1928-2001 ). He was always in hurry and would say something that would make me and my colleague Roshan lal Haku happy for many days . A dialogue , a Brief Story , a kashmiri proverb or some personal anecdote .I would offer him Tea while he stood talking . He drank it partly , talked , collected his payment and would leave saying LASSIV ( May you live long ).No other colleague in the Bank knew who he was . I always felt that he was a sincere and open hearted person .

“ We actually belong to village Frisal , Pulwama . My father married in city and shifted to Batmaloo. I spent my childhood and youth in Batmaloo. I studied in Islamia school Maisuma , National School and S P college. ”

“ How can I repay the debt to Som Nath Zutshi’s wife, a goddess and for me a sister in need . Do you know she single handedly did all the post delivery care of my wife once. Where in this life can this debt be repaid? ”

“ I remain ever grateful to Prof. Jay lal Kaul for encouraging me to write in kashmiri . In fact when I had just started writing , he arranged a reading session in S P college for me and treated me like a Great writer . From him , I also learnt a lot . He was a real gem of a person who had a great command over English and kashmiri . ”

“ Amongst friends , Shamim Ahmed Shamim always wanted me to write in Urdu . He was very happy when my urdu story was published in English translation in New York Herald Tribune and also awarded second prize in this short story competition. Shamim is a reliable friend who thinks much ahead of his time. He is very sharp. You have just to tell him the contours of any issue, he will come back to you with all the details .And amongst politicians , late Sadiq sahib was a real connoisseur of literature ”

“ I regard Krishen Chander as a great writer .His stories and style is definitely a class apart. But when it comes to writing stories based on Kashmir , he has not done justice. He only talks about the hills , valleys , beautiful women and romance . He never lived in kashmiri society . He never wrote on issues connected with kashmiri Society as such .We have similar issues and social problems that one comes across in various other societies in northern or southern parts of the country .”

“ Is Shambu Nath ji ( Late S N Kaul from Bandipore kashmir who was a saintly officer in the Bank ) fine . Convey my Namsakar to him. I am in a hurry this time else would have gone up to meet him “

So would Akhtar Mohi Ud Din say to us .

Even after my transfer and promotion from lal chowk branch , I met Akhtar Mohi Ud Din in some functions . I saw him three or four times last being possibly in 1988. And then one day in 2001, when I was posted in Amritsar Punjab , I came to know about his death from a Newspaper . Kashmiri language shall not get another crafty story writer like Akhtar Mohi Ud Din .

I had been reading his short stories since my college days . I always liked his narration and realistic representation of situations and characters .His stories probably evolved from his own surroundings. These stories carry the feel and throb of the living style of ordinary people in kashmiri society . Read him in original kashmiri or translations , he leaves an impression.
My friend Jaswant Singh Saggu from Jalandhar is a great fan of Akhtar Mohi Ud Din’s short stories. Once he discussed “THE MAD WORD ” a superb story of Akhtar Mohi Ud Din which he had read in English Translation .I suggested him to read stories like Daryaayi Hund Yezaar ( Red silk salwar ) and Dand Vazun available in English translation . Sathh Sangar ( seven hill tops ) and Sonzal ( Rainbow ) are two books that contain most of his well known short stories published in 1955 and 1958 respectively . Sath Sangar won him the prestigious Sahitya Academy award in 1958 .

His experimentation with new style and form is visible in some stories lke Lassu Valdi Mahmood ( Lassu son of Mahmood ) , Aadam Chhu Ajeeb Zaat ( Man is a strange creature ) and Gaahe Taaf ta Gaahe shuhul ( Sometimes sunshine and sometimes Shade ). Aadam chhu Ajeeb Zaat was also rewritten as a play for Radio Kashmir .

Doad Dhag ( Sorrow and pain ) written in 1957, was his First attempt to write a kashmiri Novel. Many critics call it a love and lust story woven essentially around three characters FATIMA , RAJA and ABDUL GANI a Munshi with Shamas Ud din A Namda trader .But Prof .Jay Lal Kaul clarifies :-
“ This novel is a painful reflection of the society that we live in. Reading it makes you together sad and happy apart from sharpening your social consciousness ”

Akhtar Mohi Ud Din wrote another Kashmir novel Zuvv Ta Zolaan which was also well received in kashmir’s literary circles .

My friend Sri  M.Yusuf Bhat  from Mumbai  informs me that a movie was planned on   Akhtar Mohiuddin's  short story "Adam Chhu Ajeeb Zaat " .


The recent issue of MIRAAS , a literary magazine published in English from New Delhi , carries Akhtar Mohi Ud Din’s short story “THE HOURI OF PARADISE ” ably translated to English by Prof . Neerja Mattoo . I have been reading Prof. Mattoo’s translations and I salute her for being apt and profoundly to the point . Like Prof. Jay Lal kaul ,her language is also simple and direct .

( Autar Mota )


Hailing from Srinagar city ,  Sri M Yusuf Bhat ( who is a pass out from FTII Pune ) has been in film Industry  in production, direction ,  editing and various other areas for about four decades. Sri M. yusuf Bhat and Mrs Reema Nath ( Daughter of veteran actor  sapru or Sri D K Sapru ) jointly produced the 1995 blockbuster Yaraana . The movie was directed by David Dhawan. The story and script for the  movie was written by Mrs Reema Nath . 

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Monday, February 17, 2014



                                ( Music composer Khayaam with wife Jagjit Kaur  )
                                                                  ( Poet Sahir...1 )
                                                                       ( Poet Sahir...2 )
                                                           ( Poet Sahir...3 )
                                                             ( ( Poet Sahir...4)
Tum Apnaa Ranjh o Gham Apni Pareshaani Mujhe De Do 

This Gazal by urdu poet Sahir Ludhianavi was sung in a husky voice  by Jagjit kaur for a  1964 movie titled  "SHAGOON ". Khayyam composed the music for the movie  and  suggested the name of his wife Jagjit kaur  as singer for the GAZAL.  Certainly , Both khayyam and Jagjit kaur immortalized sahir's words .Here goes the Gazal and my English rendering ...

Tum Apnaa  Ranjh o Gham Apni Pareshaani Mujhe De do
Tumhey Gham Ki kasam Iss dil ke Veerani Mujhe De Do

Mein Dekhoon to sahi Duniyaa Tumhey Kaisey sataati hai
Koyee din ke liye Apni Nigehbaani Mujhe De do.. 

Yeh Maana Mein Kisi Kaabil Nahin Huun In Nigaahon Mein
Bura Kyaa Hai Agar Yeh Dukh Ye Hairaani Mujhe De Do

Woh Dil Jo Maine Maanga Thaa Magar Ghairon Ne Paaya Thaa
Badi Kaif Hai Agar Uskii Pashemaani Mujhe De Do

( Sahir Ludhianavi )

My English rendering of the Gazal would be as under :-

Pass on your sorrows, sufferings and troubles to me …
Swear on your unhappiness,
Pass on this lonesomeness of your heart to me

Let me see how this world dares to trouble you any more ,
For some days just give yourself to my watchful care..

Agreed that I am just worthless in your eyes,
But what wrong is there if you pass on your pain and worries to me.

The heart that I sought for myself but was granted to others ,
Still a great pleasure if you pass on the regrets of that heart to me.

( Autar Mota  )
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Thursday, February 13, 2014


 Photo  December 2013


The Hand prints on both sides of the entrance belong to some Royal ladies who were forced to perform SATI after the death of their Husbands . I am also informed by a writer that women were forced to perform this despicable act . No religious scripture justifies  or supports it . Women were generally made unconscious by being forced to take opium. They would weep , wail and cry and run away quite often. In a funeral procession , drums would be beaten so loud that the screams of these hapless women got drowned in the din  .In villages Sati statues were erected to give this detestable practice a religious colour . This practice was more prevalent amongst Rajputs rulers .
 Thanks to British Rulers who put the   first ban on this horrible practice in some areas of the country in 1829. It was  followed  by a total ban in entire India by an Ordinance issued by Queen Victoria in 1861.

The Indian Sati Prevention Act 1987 comes down heavily upon those who aid, abet or even "glorify" the act of sati. The punishments are also very harsh .

. Mardon Ke liye har Zulm raavan, aurat ke liye rona bhi khataa
 Mardon ke liye laakhon seje, aurat ke liye bas ek chitaa
 Mardon ke liye har Aish kaa haq aurat ke liye jeena bhi sazaa
Mardon ne Banaayi jo Rasmein un ko Haq ka Farmaan kahaa ,
 Aurat Ke Zinda Jalney ko Qurbaani Aur Balidaan  Khaa
Kismat ke badley Roti dee, Aur usako bhee ehsaan kahaa.............
Aurat Ne janam Diyaa mardon ko……

( Sahir ludhianavi  )

( Autar Mota 13.2.2014)

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