Sunday, July 16, 2017

"PRAN NATH BHAT" AN UNKNOWN ARTIST FROM KASHMIR


                                                                              
                 
                                       


NAIDYAR BRIDGE RAINAWARI ....A water Colour by Pran Nath Bhat..

This water colour decorates the Lobby wall of my house. Bought for Rs700/- from Pran Nath Bhat in 1995 .Pran Nath Bhat , an unknown Artist who is no more now. 

I came across Pran Nath in Purkhoo tented accommodation (for Kashmiri Migrants). He was illiterate, unable to express himself , extremely poor and survived only on Government Relief and Ration . He smoked Beedis .

" Late S. N Bhat  (Artist) was my uncle. I am from Badiyaar area from the Butt clan. I was a runner with Dwarka And Co Chemists Budshaw Chowk Srinagar. I have no money for paper ,colours and Brushes. I want to paint.I also knew Mohan Raina Artist. He would give me Some financial support apart from some paper and colours .I have not performed Kaah Nethar ceremony of my new born Children. What to do? I am a worthless man."

This is what he told me outside his tent in 1995 . I was working as Manager Of our Bank's Dumana branch.

And then We gave him a loan of 5000 rupees . 

After about a week I again visited Purkhoo camp of Kashmiri Migrants and met the leaders of the camp . A leader , Dwarka Nath by name came closer to me and started shouting:

" When has your  Bank started financing *Kaah Nethar ceremony? We will tell Lone sahib ( The then Relief Commissioner who was helpful to Kashmiri Migrants.) to take action against all."

I came to know that Pran Nath had bought water colours , brushes and Drawing paper for about 2000 rupees and spent the rest amount on Kaah-Nethar ceremony of his children. The leaders who complained to me had also enjoyed a sumptuous meal with fish cooked in Kashmiri style inside his Tent.To me, Pran Nath admitted everything and also revealed having bought a saree for his wife for Kaah Nethar out of the loan amount .

After about 10 days, Pran Nath came to the Bank with a bundle of about 15 Kashmir sceneries done in water colour .The first that was shown to me was Rainawari's Naidyar Bridge.

"How much for this?"

" This is all yours. Nothing sir.

I thought for a moment and then told him;

" I am paying 700 rupees. But this money will go in our Loan account. "

Maj Gen. Wahi Retired ( He lived at Barnai during those days) a respected customer of the Bank was also in my chamber that moment . He looked at these water colours and decided to buy  two  . Pran Nath was more than happy. I paid Pran Nath 400 rupees and the rest of the money was deposited in his loan account. I asked him to keep 5 water colors with me. Next day my Boss Mr RIS Sidhu( retired as Chief General Manager of the Bank) visited the Branch for inspection . He was a lover of fine Arts and an honest and upright officer .He bought one that had Dal Lake and shikara . Remaining four were bought by my relations and the Money so collected was deposited in his loan account. Within period of about two or three months, Entire loan amount with interest was repaid under this arrangement .Later , every fortnight , Pran Nath would come with 5 water colours that I passed on to my friends and relations for Rs 600 or 700 per water colour. Once the loan was adjusted, the sale proceeds were  be deposited in his savings Bank account.

I introduced him to some schools( To be employed as Drawing Teacher ) but because of his language and total lack of communication skill , he could not adjust himself beyond one month at any place .He spoke only kashmiri .A sample of his lingo:

"Iss ko tapaali . Ye zudd mondu Hai. Yeh Drawing Nahin hechhegaa"

" Hum Ayaalbaar Hai . Tankhaah waqtuss pyathh deitaa. Teel Tomul khatam."

" Idhar Jammu Garma Traeth , Naar , Dumm ta Gumma. Hum Mar gayaa . Hamaara Kashmir Fizaa"

After my transfer from Dumana , I lost contact with him. In 2004 , I headed Rehari Chowk branch and one day he appeared all of a sudden. He came with 5 water colors and wanted them to be sold for 5000 rupees . I directed him to meet some good customers and he got what he wanted. I also gathered that he was educating his children and had also got addicted to liquor.

At Rehari Chowk office, I believe I also requested Maj Gen Goverdhan Singh Jamwal Retired (PVSM)to help him out in sale of his water colours. I also requested Dr Dara Singh's brother ( who owned a Petrol Pump ) to buy his Water colors. Mrs Gayatri Jamwal ( Daughter of Capt Dewan Singh Ex.ADC to Maharaja Hari sigh) was also requested to help him out. She was a VIP Customer of that branch and spoke fluent Kashmiri.

And then one day I came to know that Pran Nath had breathed his last due to some incurable liver disease.I felt very bad . 

Ramesh kumar Butt , My colleague and son of late S N Butt( well known Artist ) confirmed later that Pran Nath was from their Clan. He also confirmed many other things that Pran Nath had conveyed to me.Everything that Pran Nath had spoken to me turned to be true on cross checking.

The painting hanging in my Lobby brings forth so many interesting anecdotes about this simple ,poor and shy man .

Peace be to his soul.

(Autar Mota)

PS

*Kaah-Nethar is the purification ceremony after Child birth. It was performed on the eleventh day after delivery when the mother left the confinement room. A Homa / havan was performed and the child was given a name. Prior to this, " Shran Sunder" or the post delivery bath ceremony was also performed. On Kaah Nethar day, relations were invited for a sumptuous meal.New clothes were also given to the mother of the child. Many Kashmiri Pandits still perform Kaah- Nethar ceremony that used to be performed without fail in every household .

In HINDU SAMASKARAS kaah Nethar is knowñ as Jatakarma or Birth Ceremony.

Creative Commons License

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\.

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