Friday, May 2, 2014




SARWANAND KAUL PREMI ( 1924 -1990 ).

A man with established secular credentials , A Gandhian in Thought and deeds and a man full of compassion for Humanity at large . Premi ji frequently quoted from Bhagwat Geeta and Holy Quran. 

A man who’s poem “Roodh Jheir ” ( Sudden Heavy Downpour ) impressed Poet Mehjoor , a man who joined Gandhi ji’s Quit India and then Quit Kashmir movement against Maharaja’s rule. Premi ji was also associated with Khidmat News Paper and Cultural front in kashmir . Not many amongst us know that Premi Ji wrote poems expressing his anguish over the arrest of Sheikh Mohd Abdullah in 1953 and also when the Holy Relic was removed by some miscreants from Hazratbal shrine in 1964. I have read some couplets from his masterly translation of Tagore’s Geetanjali and have felt the depth of the scholarship of the man. 

I remember a brief personal interaction with him at Mattan in 1987. Premi ji had come to meet somebody in Mattan town and after finishing his appointment , he stepped inside our Branch premises to meet Shri Sarwanand an employee of the Bank. Till then , I had only heard of him and not seen him. 

“ Ye Mahraa Chhu Master ji ta Beyi Chha kashir Shaiyree karaan . zaaen Hunn na or He is a teacher and a kashmiri poet as well. Don’t you know him?” said Sarwanand ( Bank employee) to me .
I offered him a chair and he drank a glass of water. I also asked sarwanand ( Bank employee) to prepare Kehwa Tea and bring some kulcha etc. from the nearby kashmiri Baker. Premi ji sat comfortably.
We had a local female employee Zeba who was a daily wager employed in the bank prior to my joining the branch . I had joined the branch in November 1986 as officer In charge in Assistant Manager Cadre . Zeba was extremely poor and lived with her family in a single room built with mud. Her single room dwelling had a thatched roof. Zeba had also met my wife in my absence and opened another front for her permanent appointment in the Bank. 
“ Zebuss Gaetchha Kenh kin Baeill Chhavunn Bewkoof banaaavaan or Shall Zeba’s issue be decided or you are just befooling her? ”
I had to attend to this query from my wife almost everyday at dinner time.

And Now Finding a saint like person inside the Bank, Zeba felt encouraged to seek his intervention as well. She told Premi ji 

“ Yemiss Manager Saebuss voneitaav Mahraa Myein Chith Sozeihay Hyor Dafatar . Ba Gutch-haa Mustaqal . Ayaal daar chhuss or Kindly tell this manager sahib to recommend my name to higher office for a permanent Post I have a family to support. ”
At this Premi ji intervened and looked at me 
“ Kyaa Sa kyaa chhu amiss Bichaari. Tuluss Qalam ta Karuss Khaaer . What is the problem with this poor woman ? Pick up your pen and do her a favour ”

To this I clarified that I had already recommended for her permanent appointment and the issue is hanging at Srinagar controlling office where from query after query is being received with regard the sweeping area of the bank premises . I also added that some unrelated issues are being raised to deflect the core issue of her regularization. . I further added that I also visited the office personally once for this issue but apparently no person is taking any decision over there .
“ Who has to decide her case ? ” Asked Premi ji 
“ Mr.Madan Lal Rekhi our Regional Manager ”
“ Give me his Number ? ”said Premi ji .

My mind was flooded with many thoughts ….
“ What can he do where I failed ?”
“Is he connected with people in the Bank’s Hierarchy ?”
“ What is the harm in passing a temporary assurance to poor Zeba . He appears to be doing that .”
“ Fine . I should have no issue in passing on the telephone number. Zeba may later say that I put some hindrance in her work ”
Accordingly ,I gave him the number . 
After just two or three days , I received a  telephone call from Our Regional office in Srinagar . Manager( HR ) was on  line and advised me to  send my recommendations afresh. He even dictated the operative part of the revised recommendations expected from me. I did the needful and dispatched my revised recommendatory letter . To my surprise , Zeba’s issue was settled within some days without any further query.She was employed on one half scale wages in permanent cadre with all facilities including Uniform, Medical Assistance , LTC Benefit , Bonus and Pro Rata loan facilities . 

Yes Premi Ji had done his job. I do not know how and when. But I came to know from some reliable colleagues that he had contacted Shri Girdhari lal Dulloo (from Rainawari ), a Senior Manager in the Bank and a saintly person. I never cross checked this information nor did I inform Zeba about it . That was the last and the only time I saw Premi ji . 

And Zeba is a Permanent employee of the Bank now drawing a handsome salary . She has married all her children and constructed a Pucca /concrete House at Mattan . She is a happy grandmother .God bless her family . 

Today is Premi ji’s 24th Death Anniversay .This pious and innocent man fell to the bullets of armed militants in his village in Kashmir . 

Lollus byol gali titi na sa bani zaanh
Zoon peyi chhali-chhali titi na sa bani Zaanh
Apuuz kenh kaal yudway rathi khassi
Pazarus niyaal galli titi na sa bani zaanh

( Sarvand Kaul Premi )

(“ Love shall die out in toto ? ”No , Not possible .
“Splitting into pieces ,The moon shall fall to earth ? ”No , Not possible 
“ Falsehood may survive for some time ?” Quite Possible..
“And truth shall vanish for good ?” No. Not possible .

As a tribute ,I have translated his short story “ Chalaak Groos ” or “Clever Peasant ”into English from Kashmiri. Premi ji wrote this story for children .


There lived a poor peasant in a village who had a large family to feed . Except a duck , he had no other wealth to show off. He did not touch this Duck for quite some time . But then the pangs of hunger are cruel. One day ,When he had nothing to eat , he decided to kill this duck for a meal. He looked around in the kitchen for some common salt and a piece of bread. Unable to find anything , he said to his wife 

“ Dear ! How can we eat this Roasted Duck without salt or a loaf of bread ? I think I need to carry this roasted Duck to the Zameeendaar ( Land owner ) and ask for some food in exchange .”
The wife nodded in agreement and said 
“ I think that is the correct assessment . Carry it and try .”

The poor farmer now set out towards the house of the land owner 

“Assalam U Alaikum . This is a small Nazraana from this poor fellow. You are a generous person . Favour me with some generosity .” said the peasant as he saw the Zameendaar .

“ That is a good gesture . I am really pleased . Surely! Surely ! I shall help you . But my help is subject to a condition . You shall have to distribute this roasted duck amongst my family members in such a way that each person gets a piece of his choice and is satisfied . In case you fail in doing so , you should not expect any help from me. And in that event , I shall only be awarding a punishment ”replied the Zameendaar . 

The family of the Zameendar comprised of his wife , two sons and two Daughters .In all he had to distribute the roasted Duck amongst six persons.

The clever peasant asked for a knife and then started slicing pieces from the roasted duck. He first cut a piece from head and offered it to the Land owner saying 
“Jenab ! You are the respectable head of the family and you need a piece from the head only .”
After that he cut a piece from the lower Back ( Bokhturr ) of the roasted Duck and offered it to the Wife of the Zameendaar saying 
“ Madam! You stay inside the house and keep yourself busy managing the family affairs Accordingly you alone deserve this piece .”

Thereafter he cut two legs of the roasted duck and offered them to the two sons of the Zameendaar saying 
“ You have to follow your father now . You have to walk on his footsteps .What ever he has been doing , you need to do it . That is why a am offering these legs to you. ”

After that he cut the two wings of the roasted duck and offered them to two daughters saying 
“ Once you grow up ,You have to fly away from your parental home. That is why I am offering these pieces to you . ”
The reminder was the best and fleshy part of the roasted duck that comprised of some best pieces from the ribs and a sizeable part of plump back and all internal organs etc. Addressing the family , the peasant said 

“ Now I am not in this house , so whatever is left shall be carried by me . ”

The zameendaar was happy with this distribution and smilingly offered some salt , bread and some eatables to the peasant .
This story spread in the village like a wild fire . And Another well off but greedy peasant also decided to visit the Zameendaar with Nazraana . He slaughtered five ducks, roasted them and set out towards the Zameendar’s house carrying the Nazraana in a bag.

Once he entered the Zameendaar’s house he said loudly 
“Assalam U Alaikum . . This is a Nazraana from my side for you . ” 
The Zameendaar repeated the same story and said 

”You shall have to distribute these five roasted ducks amongst my family members in such a way that each person gets a piece of his choice and is satisfied . In case you fail in doing so , You shall get nothing and I may be awarding a punishment as well.”
The greedy peasant kept playing with the roasted ducks but no way out emerged in his mind for a rational distribution thereof amongst the family members of the Zameendaar. Having failed , he started beating his head in defeat .

Looking at this the Zameendaar summoned the clever peasant and asked him to distribute the five ducks amongst his family members . The clever peasant now hit upon a distribution plan . He picked up one roasted duck and gave it to the Zameendaar and his wife saying 
“ Sir keep it. You were two and with this you have now become three . ”
He now picked up another roasted Duck and offered it to two sons of the Zameendar saying 
“ Look boys ! You are now three . keep it . ”
He then turned to toward two daughters of the Zameendar and gave them one roasted duck saying 
“ Take it my daughters. You have also become now three ”
And finally he kept the remaining two Ducks for himself saying 
“ look Jenab! I was single . Now with these two Ducks , I have also become three. ” 

The Zameendar became happy at this distribution and smilingly said to the clever farmer 
“ you are a very sharp and clever person . You took care of your own self also .” 
So saying , he gave some more presents to the peasant and sent him back.

( Translated from Kashmiri By Autar Mota )

(Autar Mota 02.05.2014 )
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