Friday, November 25, 2016

VERINAAG SPRING AND KASHMIRI POET RASOOL MIR

                   

VERINAAG SPRING  KASHMIR... ( SOURCE OF RIVER VITASTA / JHELUM)

(Photo Autar Mota )

VERINAAG SPRING   AND  KASHMIIRI  POET  RASOOL MIR

 Kashmiri Poet  Rasool Mir  is extremely  skillful   when he touches Love and romance in his poetry  . He adds Kashmiri hue to it. By Hue I mean the  colour  of native springs ,  Gushing  streams , Flower filed  Gardens  , Meadows , Birds  and  friendly  animals  seen around hills and meadows of Kashmir  .  His Lovers do not live in isolation . They are   a part of   overwhelming nature  around them. I quote Rasool Mir  …

“Vaerinaag  i Nearaai Ba  Aa-ga’yey
Achhawal ke Posh Shaeri Laa-ga’yey
Vuchh Manzliss Munz Rachhuth Duchha Moori’yey
Valaai Kastoori’yey
Poe’r Maai Traav Neeri-yey    ..”

( Rasool Mir )

My simple english rendering would  be as under ......

At Verinaag Spring     ,
I will  go  to usher you in ,
Your  Forehead ,
 I  will  decorate with flowers from Achhabal Garden ,
In the cradle of My Bosom,
I will  hold you,
 My tender  Vine,  My Love !
Come over !
Come this way  You Kastoori ( Musk Deer ) ,
Put not your carefree feet in these meadows ..

( Avtar Mota )

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

WELL KNOWN PAINTER JAGDISH SWAMINATHAN ( 1928-1994) AND OCTAVIO PAZ ( 1914-1998) ..


                                                                                           

                              

JAGDISH SWAMINATHAN ( 1928-1994) AND OCTAVIO PAZ  ( 1914-1998) ..

I feel privileged to have seen J. Swaminathan and heard him speak once . He looked like a Sadhu or Baba .No one could imagine him to be a painter .Long Unkempt hair, Chain smoker , Carefree lifestyle yet a fine conversationalist. He had enormous knowledge of world literature and Art. Later I came to know that he was among India's foremost modern artists. I was told that he was also associated with communists for some time but soon felt disillusioned and moved away.

He  went to The Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland to study Modern Art .

Apart from painting ,Swaminathan wrote Poetry and established himself as a serious art Critic and a  writer.

Influenced by Rich Tradition of Tribal Art ,Swaminathan incorporated many  symbols such as the snake, the lingam, lotus, Trident (Trishula,), sun, Wild , Birds , Animals , Alphabets  ( Ka ), and the swastika, in his paintings. Quite often , he applied the pigment on to the canvas directly with his Fingers to achieve the desired effect. He also used Beeswax, sand, linseed oil and Natural Dyes  as the Mediums to Express his Creativity.

I vividly remember a news item that appeared in some leading National News papers in 2006.This news created sensation in the world of Art. At that time, Swaminathan's work 'Bird and Mountain Series' went for a whopping Rs.25 million at an Art Auction by Triveda.

J. Swaminathan as he was known world over, was a close friend of Mexican Poet and Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz ( 1914-1998 ) . Paz was an anthropologist , Art Critic and Philosopher apart from being an Influential Poet.

Most of us do not know that Paz was posted as Mexican Ambassador to India sometime in 1962 ( 1962-1968 ). Here in India ,he developed a deep and serious Interest in Indian Art , Literature , Buddhism and ancient Scriptures . All this influenced his Poetry later. Read it and you shall come to know what I say.
And Among various friends that Paz cultivated in India , J Swaminathan remained closest . Paz even wrote a poem dedicated to Swaminathan. Under the influence and encouragement of Octavio-Paz , Swaminathan started a journal on art called Contra 66.
Another person who became closest friend of Paz was Sham lal from Times of India.
 In an Interview , Swaminathan once said  : …


“ It would be a misguided belief to expect that an artist could change the whole society within his lifetime. In that case he should give up his work and devote himself solely to bringing about social transformation. Other than the marketplace where else does the artist have a dialogue with society? The easel and the painting will remain an artist's personal property and not the people's and that's the truth.”


“I had very strong romantic inclinations within me. I kept Jigar [Moradabadi] Saheb in high esteem. I even set out to write his biography....”

Sometime later a story on his Art and work at Bharat Bhawan Bhopal where he brought the Tribal art of Central India into contemporary focus .
From 1981 to 1990 , He was Director Roopankar ( Art Museum ) At Bharat Bhawan Bhopal .


( Autar Mota )
                                                                                       

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THE STORY OF THE TREE , THE FRUIT AND THE POETRY OF JIGAR MORADABAADI


                                                                                     

THE STORY OF THE TREE AND THE FRUIT ....

A  flowering sprout is life and verve of  a Tree. Connected to the core and the root,  It is  a part of the Tree’s   inner being and  the    living matter  .  It  grows purely on account of its  strong link and connect with the Tree  .  How can it be separate   ? No, Never.  And then this sprout grows to become a flower  sucking vital nutrients from the TREE . It also enjoys bounties of nature ;   Refreshing  raindrops , energizing  Fresh air and rejuvenating  sunshine. Life  enters playfully in the flower.  It adds  Fragrance and Graceful  colours to it. Gradually ,The flower opens up and grows to become  a Fruit .  And Once a fruit, it starts  drawing  more nutrients and food from the tree . Stronger  turns  the  connect  with the  Tree’s core and living matter. At times ,  the  onlooker  fails to create a distinction between the fruit and the tree. For every outsider ,  The tree is the Fruit and the fruit is the tree.

But as the fruit starts ripening , it starts to draw lesser and lesser Nutrients from the core . A strange disconnect begins . The same tree , the same fruit , the same Nutrients but the fruit begins to feel that its stay on the tree is  TRANSITORY. It  gets convinced about its journey .  Now   it knows  that it has  to move away  from the branches and the tree. It  knows  about the arrival of the FALL  or the AUTUMN  season when the tree itself shall become a  Naked Faqeer  disowning the branches , leaves and everything around .

A tale of desire, acquire, live together and  then separate.

Meeting and Parting..The underlying truth of every  relationship.  Desire, Acquire, live and move away is Sprouting, flowering, fruits and ripening. Now apply it to Love .Apply it to spiritual attachment or  to worldly  love. Same mill.same grill.

Does Jigar Moradabaadi convey these feelings ?Can his poetry posted below be interpreted in this way as well? Does the  consciousness of impending separation   in love make the poet to  speak out his heart ? Has he possibly felt the transitory nature of his beloved's  company ? I add my favourite lines …

Vahii hai  shahid o-saaqi magar dil bujhtaa jaataa hai
Vahii   hai shamma-e-dil Roshani kam hoti jaati hai…

Vahii  Maikhaana-o-Sehbaa  vahii sheesha Vahii  saagar
magar Aawaaz-e-nausha - nosh Madh’am hoti  jaati hai

Vahii hai  zindagi lekin 'Jigar ' ye haal hai  Apnaa
ke Jaisay  zindagi se zindagi kam hoti jaati hai…

My  Simple English rendering of the above  lines  of Jigar would be ......

My beloved remains same,.
same is my cupbearer too ,
Why then O Heart you appear  sinking ?
The   candle of light within    ,
 continues to burn ,
Yet it looks as if ,
dimmer and dimmer goes its glow
with every passing moment.

The Tavern remains same ,
And same are my companions  inside ,
 Same are the wine glasses and the cups ,
Why   then is  the  noise of
wine   consumption  within
Turning Quiet day after day ? ..

“O Jigar “  Same is    your Existence ,
Unchanged  yet on a   different stage ,
As if , Life moves away from  Life ,
more and more   gradually

( Autar Mota )


PS

On this post,  that first appeared on my Facebook Page , Dr Shashi Sheshkhar Toshkhani wrote in his comments  as under;

"After reading your post these lines of a poem by Garcia Lorca came to my mind: "Woodcutter, cut my shadow / Deliver me from the torture of beholding myself fruitless."

                                                                 



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Sunday, November 20, 2016

THE EPHEMERAL GLIMPSE AND POET JIGAR MORADABAADI...



                                                                                





THE EPHEMERAL GLIMPSE AND POET JIGAR MORADABAADI...


THE EPHEMERAL GLIMPSE ...

Those who have momentarily glimpsed the Eerie world of grace are struck. Struck with Amazement and Unbelief. So much is the height of this disbelief or incredulity that by the time the onlooker gains understanding ,composure and original stability , the ephemeral exposure is all over.

Only a rare breed, who are well prepared for this appointment , get time to see the inner mind. The mind that is at rest inside this Abode of Grace or Spendour ( Hareem e Naaz) . All Others busy themselves by looking at Patterns , Carvings , Curtains , Doors and windows of that Abode of Grace. Alas ! All these things form only a part of the peripheral Grace of that Abode of Splendour (Hareem e Naaz..)

The few high-minded , who have momentarily glimpsed this altogether different world ( Jahaan e Digar) , have also observed that the Grace and beauty of the mind that is known to reside within, changes at every passing moment of that time . Newer and Newer as also brighter and brighter appear the dimensions . These dimensions are beyond  the Grasp and also beyond the means of a general onlooker to take hold of .

The onlooker is simply struck with what he is looking at . He keeps looking at it in all directions . At that moment , What else is there to look at ?



And urdu poet Jigar Moradabaadi says all this in his couplets….i quote him...
Unki Hareem-e-Naaz kahaan Aur hum kahaan,
Naqsh-o-Nigaar-e-Pardaa-e-Dar Dekhtay Rahay…
Har lehza Shaan-e-Husn Badalti Rahi Jigar
Har Aan hum Jahaan-e-Digar Dekhtay Rahay…
Kyaa Dekhtay Hum Unn Ko ?
Magar Dekhtay Rahay…..


( Autar Mota )


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TWO FRIENDS AND TWO PAINTERS AT BARODA



                                                                               





TWO FRIENDS AND ALSO TWO EMINENT PAINTERS ... G R SANTOSH ( 1929-1997.. FROM KASHMIR ... ) AND SHANTI DAVE ( BORN 1931.. FROM GUJRAT )
AT BARODA 1963......

Noted Artist Vijay saraf Meenaghe from Jammu Adds:

“ Rare picture  of great artists. I had participated in National Artist Camps with Sh GR Santosh at Jammu, Srinagar (Chashma Shahi 1988) Ladakh (1994).At Ladakh I got an opportunity to discuss many sensitive aspects on art and his personal struggle which remained an important inspiration source for me till now. Master in colours and forms,  Humble and saintly figure,  I remember when I had one man show of paintings at Shridharni Art Gallery , he came one  hour earlier  to inspire me and appreciated my paintings. At that time I was surprised  when he told me after one and half hour that he was having 101 degrees   temperature. A rare creative genius and a dedicated painter of our J&k State”


( Autar Mota )



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A STAGE, AT WHICH, MAN TURNS INDIFFERENT TO PAIN AND PLEASURE



                                                                           


WHEN PAIN AND PLEASURE ARE ALIKE ...

( Photo Autar Mota )


Poet Jigar Moradabaadi also feels so …


Ab to yeh bhi Nahin Rahaa Ahsaas
Dard hotaa hai ya Nahin Hotaa ..
Dil Ko Kyaa Kyaa Sukoon Hotaa Hai
Jab Koyi Aasraa Nahin Hotaa..
Woh Hamaare Kareeb Hotay Hain
Jab Hamaara Pataa Nahin Hotaa…


( Autar Mota )

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NEITHER DAWN NOR DUSK .. A TIME WHEN , TO ME, EVERYONE AROUND IS MY OWN, WHILE , FOR YOU, EVERYONE IS A STRANGER ..



                                                                                      



“TERA KOYEE APNAA NA PARAAYA KOYEE MERAA “..........
( Photo Autar Mota )

To This photo i add lines from a poem of Faiz Ahmed Faiz ..

" Is waqt to yuun lagtaa hai, ke ab kuchh bhi nahin hai.
Mehtaab na suraj na andhera na sawera.
Aankhon ke dareechon mein kisi husn ke chilman.
Aur dil ki panaahon mein kissi dard ke dera.
Shaakhon mein khayalon ke ghane peid ki shayad.
Ab Aa ke karegaa na koyi khwaab Basera.
Mumqin hai koyi Veham Thaa Mumqin Hai sunaa Ho
Galiyon Mein Kissi Chaap Ka Ik Aakhri Pheraa ....
Ek Bair Na Ek Mehar Na Ek Rabt na Rishta
.........................................Tera Koyi Apnaa Na Paraaya Koyi Mera ...........
( Autar Mota )


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Friday, November 18, 2016

ONIONS , POTATOES ( GANDA -OLLU ) AND KASHMIRIS



                                                                         
                                                                          



ONIONS , POTATOES ( GANDA -OLLU ) AND KASHMIRIS


It is believed that  onion originated from ancient Egypt . And by now ,  It has been in cultivation  for  about 7,000 years .

Potatoes are said to have been grown for domestic consumption in some Latin American country . From Latin America , Spanish settlers brought potato to Europe sometime in 16th century .  From Europe , portuguese introduced potato to Indians  in 17th century. They called it 'Batata' and it is still known by  the same name in Mumbai ( Maharashtra ) . Later British traders introduced potato cultivation in  Bengal where it came to be known as ALU. By the end of the 18th century, it was cultivated in entire north India . In Kashmir , potato cultivation was introduced during the Dogra rule .

Nilamata Purana is silent about potatoes and onions . In Rajtarangini, Kalhana also does not confirm usage of onion in kashmiri kitchen or cuisine . There is a mention in 8th Taranga verse 143 ( Palandu ) but read in context , it is like a herb or medicinal item and presented to guru along with incense and some other herb. May be some outsiders were carrying onion as a medicine or special herb for kashmirian kings or royal families but population as such was unaware of its usage in cuisine or kitchen till 14th century.


To kashmiris , both potato and onion appeared Alien , Not like their own native green leafy Haak . Possibly Onions and Potatoes arrived in Kashmir very late. Usage of onion in cooking was unknown to the people of Kashmir till 14th century . I don’t know why Kashmiris were unkindly fascinated by this combination of two words Ganda (onion ) and Olluv (potato) .


For many centuries, kashmiris treated both potatoes and onions  as something thrust on them. Although onions gradually found acceptance in muslim households , potatoes had to face some unkind treatment from a common kashmiri . The common refrain from use of potatoes was expressed by kashmiris as under :

‘ Traeth yimun Olluvun .Beyyi Ossuaai Na Kenh Aetti ’

To hell with  these Potatoes . Couldn’t you find anything else in the Market ?’

Kashmiri Pandits also use potatoes  extensively during religious fasts.  Although Kashmiri Pandits   relish DUM-ALLU ( Prepared from Boiled and Deep fried potatoes ) as a special dish in every feast yet they remain   inimical to its general use .  The common sentence heard in Pandit households goes as under :

‘Kyaa Chhukh Olluv Khyvaan .Sienn Paava anizihey ’

‘ Why are You eating these Potatoes . You should have bought a Paav ( 250 gms ) of Mutton. ’

The disdainful attitude towards potatoes came to surface when Sheikh Mohd Abdullah was nicknamed as Olluv Bub ( Potato Father ) by Kashmiris . Sheikh Sahib had advised kashmiris to eat potatoes when rice crops failed and a drought like situation prevailed in Kashmir during his rule . This fact has also been recorded by V S Naipaul in his Travelogue “ An Area of Darkness ."

While People in plains make bulk purchases of potatoes and onions and store them, a kashmiri generally buys need based quantity . Kashmiri muslims prefer to use the Shallot variety of onions known locally as Praan . They use Praan extensively in their cuisine especially in Wazwaan.
Gradually, Kashmiri  Pandits have also brought  onion to their kitchen .Though they do not use it for preparation of their core or traditional vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes like Yakhni , Rogan Josh , Mutsz ( Keema or Mutton Balls ), Haak , Dum Allu , Pullav ( Biryaani ), Rajmash ( Kidney Beans ) , Tchaaman Kali ( Yellow Cheese ), Vozij Tchaaman ( Red Cheese ) etc, It is liberally used in salads , pickles and indian style vegetables cooked by them .

When I was young , I would be surprised to see that carpenters at work would usually bring a dish of onions and potatoes with them . For sometime, this dish got associated with carpenters . Many times , when some kashmiri saw this dish in a fellow kashmiri’s Tiffin , He would instantly comment ,

‘ Kyaa sa Tche kyaa az Chhaana Seinis Pyaath Votmut ’
‘ What Happened , Why have you come down to a Carpenter’s dish today ? ’

And the disdain for potatoes and bulb onions would also get reflected on streets . If a crowd of idlers could not find a suitable nickname for a simpleton  walking on the road , they would just call him,

‘ GANDA   OLLU ’
‘ Onion and Potato ’

Sometimes you would get surprised as to why a particular person is being hooted on his back by a strange nickname ‘GANDA TSOOR’ or ‘ Onion Thief .’ The person had remotest link with either onions or thieving .

And quite often I have heard Kashmiris saying,

‘Aei't Ho, Ba Chhu'ss Vaenni Heissuv. Mey Chuvv na vaenni Ganda Russ.’

‘ You Beware, I am still in my senses. I have not drunk onion juice as yet.’

Here onion juice or Ganda Russ meant Liquor or some intoxicating drink.


I found that boiled / fried potatoes mixed with chop fried onions is a popular recipe in many European countries . Germans just love this recipe of mashed potatoes ( after boiling or deep frying ) mixed with chop fried onions laced with herbs or spices .

It has now been established that Both onions and shallots contain Allicin, which helps lower blood sugar levels in diabetics. Shallots have a milder taste and odour than onions, so shallots are more commonly eaten raw.

Presently Bulb Onions are extensively grown and used in Kashmir. And production of bulb onions far exceeds the production of shallots ( Praan ). To meet Demand , Onions are also imported into Kashmir . While Demand for Potatoes and onions has surged , I am not sure about the past disdain that kashmiris used to give to these two items .

( Avtar Mota )



         
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FIVE COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF BAD LEADERS


                                                                                       


Autar Mota feels  that all bad leaders demonstrate at least five common Characteristics..  


(1) SUFFER FROM TUNNEL VISION..
Poor Vision , Tunnel Vision , vacillating vision or nonexistent vision in a leader creates suffering for the people whom they lead. A good Leader aligns his followers with a clear and achievable vision. Bad leaders generally enter dim tunnels dragging their followers also to darkness. Leaders who can not see it , probably won’t find it.


(2)….UNABLE TO LEAD  THEMSELVES  ..
  Great  leaders  demonstrate Transparent Integrity and Inspiring Character . At personal level,  seldom do these leaders live   in their own comfort zones . Bad leaders are prone to rationalize disreputable conduct that makes them fall prey to their own undoing. A leader who fails to lead himself eventually fails to lead his people to happiness and Prosperity .


(3)……UNABLE TO PRACTICE  LOVE , HUMILITY AND EMPATHY..
Every good leader has a separate compartment in his Heart that is full of Love that he practices . Examine failed or Bad leaders ; You find that a lack of Love , misplaced Love or misguided love visible and practiced .Empathy , Kindness and humility are signs of strength of a leader not weakness.


(4)…..FEEL NOT ACCOUNTABLE TO PEOPLE WHOM  THEY  LEADS..
A  Good leader  never   engages himself  in blame game. He owns  responsibility  for his actions .  Arrogance makes a bad  leader  believe that he is not accountable to his people . Good leaders take the blame and give the credit – not the other way around.


(5)…….DO NOT TAKE THE CHALLENGE OF A SOLUTION..
Bad leaders are always a part of the problem. They feel that they get elevated and projected by problems only. Never do such leaders take the challenge of a solution. They believe that a solution may lower their personal stature and relevance .


( Autar Mota )




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