Monday, December 30, 2019

MY SHORT STORY ' BOOK RELEASE '


                                                                          


' BOOK RELEASE '.


" Are you going to the book release function today?"

"Yes, Behosh Sahib has spoken to me at least thirty times. I will have to show my face just for ten  minutes. He needs to create a gathering. Although I don't understand poetry yet going to such functions is good for a change. You meet many people. And then I will get my book free even if I don't open it later."


" Who is the chief guest ?"


" Behosh Sahib had asked noted scholar Dr. Kokroo to grace the function. Dr.Kokroo asked for a copy of the book before conveying his yes. After he read the book, he declined."


"Why? What happened?"


" Some people say that Dr..Kokroo told the author to do social service instead of writing poetry. Possibly he found no purpose in what Behosh Sahib had written. He felt it a sheer wastage of time. Dr.Kokroo refused to write the foreword to another book sometime back. He told the author to smoke Hookah instead of writing poetry. People generally don't go to him now for writing forewords to their books. They say he is dry. "


" What purpose was Dr. Kokroo looking for?"


" Purpose! I don't know. But when ex-minister Shastar Sahib was contacted, he readily agreed to chair the event. Shastar Sahib assured Behosh Sahib that he will bring about 25 party workers as the audience. These workers are now taken by him to many literary events where Shastar Sahib is invited as chief guest. They relish sumptuous tea and snacks. It is always a high tea event if Shastar Sahib is the chief guest. These workers make a good audience for media coverage although they know nothing about the event or the other participants or the purpose of the function. They come for clapping and crying Zindabaad. Now that Shastar Sahib is coming, the menu for tea has been upgraded. You will have Paneer Pakoda, pastry, and patties with the tea. For Dr.Kokroo, the menu was simple tea and Tiger brand biscuits."


" What is Shastar, caste or surname ?"


" Neither caste nor surname, It is a Kashmiri word meaning iron that is tough and useful. Neither Hindus nor Muslims can live without iron. So it is secular. Shastar Sahib was toying with the idea of using Traam (copper) or Sartal (brass)  or Loi (bronze )  as his pseudonym but then Abdul Aziz and Mohan Kishen clarified to him that these metals were not secular. They also advised him against Sonn ( gold) or Roff(silver) as these metals don't get identified with his vote bank. Shastar Sahib was also writing poetry when he was idle. That is why he adopted " Shastar" as his pseudonym. After his first innings as minister of state for forests, he forgot poetry but he continued using Shastar with his name. "


" What is the price of the book ?"


" Price is fixed for things that actually sell in the market. Who buys  headache ? Now only day-dreamers publish their poetry books spending their own hard-earned money. When Rehman 'Kazaaakhteer' published his first poetry book titled " Gagur Ta Gagraai ", he raised a GP fund loan of 15000. He was expecting to recover his cost at least but unfortunately, not a single book could be sold. Roshan Gulab wrote a highly recommendatory review for 'Gagur ta Gagrai' in Sunday edition of the 'Daily World ' newspaper but it didn't help at all. He distributed 50 books free in his book release function. Out of these 50, about 40 were found lying on the chairs when the book release function was over and the audience had left. The security guards found these abandoned books when they closed the doors of the hall where the function was held. They felt helpless in dealing with these books . The residual two hundred fifty books were sold by his wife to a Kabaadi ( scrap dealer ) for 100 rupees. From this money, she purchased some snuff or Naswar (Naas in Kashmiri ) and threw the packet on Kazaaakhteer' s face saying:


'"Put this snuff in your nostrils. They are blocked. Now that you have finished your GP fund and can not publish another poetry book, this snuff will help in releasing residual poetry  from  your nose."


Rehman Kazaakhteer's friend Omkar Nath 'Vasvaas' also could not sell a single book of his poetic collection ' Nar Ta Narparistaan'. He had invested rupees16000 in printing 300 copies of 'Nar Ta Narparistaan'. The money had been received by him as part payment of his money back LIC Policy. Finally, his wife threw all these books into the big household garbage bin kept by municipality near their house and told her husband:-


" Better you put on a female dress and dance as Bacha in marriage functions. You will earn better. This is the only way to recover sixteen thousands  that you wasted."

Reading about  many book release events in the newspapers ,  Pragaash Kashmiri  also desired to organize a grand function for his forthcoming debut poetic collection “Tang Ta Tangdaar”. He approached Kanwal Kashmiri with his manuscript . Kanwal Sahib did  neither write  the foreword nor say a clear no to Pragaash Kashmiri . Thereafter he approached Gulzar Gambhir but he was told that Gulzar Gambhir had the  reputation of a  non-serious poet although he was using Gambhir ( serious )  as his Pseudonym. Finally, he sought help from his friend Ramzaan Rimshi who owned " Culture, Agriculture and Literature Upliftment  Society”  a government registered  NGO . Since the government had put embargo on funding of NGOs , Rimshi had devised a new business activity. He was working as all in one undertaker for book release functions. He would book auditorium in the name of his NGO , arrange audience, arrange refreshments and bring some persons who praised the book and its author. It was a package like affair for a minimum fee of  nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine rupees. He saved about 5000 from every book release function.  The auditorium with PA system was booked in the name of his NGO cum Society for rupees 1000 while tea and Samosa would cost another 1000 rupees. About 3000 rupees were spent on expenses connected with   bouquets, guest speaker  and some gifts for the Chief Guest and the Guest of Honour. Ramzaan Rimshi was always in the lookout of  writers or poets who wanted to have book release functions. He made good use of his PR and his social networking for this new  business.


 Ramzaan Rimshi helped Pragaash Kashmiri to get a foreword written by Jan Sahitya awardee poet Farmaan Shahi. Although Farmaan Shahi Sahib was well known to Ramzaan Rimshi yet he was initially reluctant to write the foreword after he read ' Tang Ta Tangdaar". But then Ramzaan Rimshi prevailed upon him  and also assured Farmaan  Shahi Sahib that he will  get his cataract operated upon by Dr.Achh-Noor absolutely free. Dr, Achh-Noor is a young ophthalmologist and a cousin of Ramzan Rimshi. Very reluctantly, Farmaan Shahi Sahib wrote the foreword. This is what he wrote :


" I have been asked to write the foreword for the poetic collection  'Tang Ta Tangdaar" and I shall do my duty with all sincerity and truth . Many idle persons have suddenly moved towards the literary arena these days. Some are retired employees while a large number of them have come from the trade and service sector. They are naturally ignorant about the poetic nuances, rhyme, rhythm, meter, and flow. They are ignorant about the skill of writing blank verse. For them, writing is like throwing color on canvas or playing on sophisticated musical instruments with naive fingers. What they write looks like haphazard streams of water moving in different directions incapable of flowing together with a focus to form a river. Never shall these streams form a river to merge into the ocean of literature. This is a fashion writing more drawn towards projecting their personality rather than serving literature or the language that they chose to express these random and irregular ideas. Pragaash Kashmiri is a poet of this genre.  Taaham (But Still ), this effort is not totally bad for a beginner and he has at least served his mother tongue even in an insignificant way . "


When Pragaash Kashmiri read the foreword, he was disappointed. He went to Ramzan Rimshi and expressed his displeasure. Ramazan Rimshi asked him to focus on the last line of the foreword especially what was written after the word Taaham. According to him, all is well that ends well and the last line in the foreword was worth preserving.  Ramzaan Rimshi didn’t want to lose this book release event of “ Tang Ta Tangdaar ” . This function  would bring him an earning of five thousand rupees minimum apart from making some new contacts for business promotion .  Without informing Pragaash Kashmiri, Ramzan Rimshi went to Farmaan Shahi Sahib and said:


" Sir, I came here with high hopes but unfortunately I am disappointed. With your foreword, this collection is surely landing in the trash bin . Kindly revise your foreword, for my sake, please Sir.."


To this Farman Shahi Sahib said:


"  You better go  to Krishen Kashmiri or Shiben Taarukh or Hassan Kalwaal or Nazir Noor. They also write forewords. They will write what you desire. Go to Gaffar Sangarmaal. Pay him three hundred rupees and he  will sign on the  blank paper. You can easily fill up your desired text for the foreword. A foreword by Gaffar Sangarmaal will be ideal for this book. I have written what I felt after I read " Tang Ta Tangdaar". This book will land where it should be after it is  published  . I can't add wings to it by my foreword. I don’t  find any merit in forewords . Why don’t you  have your book release event without this foreword formality ?  You are a marketing man and you know all the techniques. So many libraries buy books that are never opened. This can be another such book. Forget my cataract surgery. Let my second eye also develop a cataract so that I am never asked to read and review such books.   "


(Avtar Mota)



PS
I am an admirer of good poetry in any language that I am comfortable with. It makes me happy. It relaxes my mind. I respect poets and writers. Poetry will continue to remain the finest form of human expression. I have many friends who are steadfast in writing what they feel even in the face of many constraints. I love them and have time and again come on my FB page reviewing their work with all my sincerity.
At the same time, let us admit that poetry is presently passing through a phase where it has lost major readership on account of so many reasons. The most important being that our society has started appreciating values of expediency and utility. We have started encouraging mediocrity in literature as well. This story is based on my personal experience after attending two book release functions recently. I don’t intend to present a sarcasm but simply mirror what I have seen and found around me. I feel it my profound duty to show where we have landed in the field of literature. Hence this story. This is a work of fiction. The names mentioned have no linkage with any person living or dead.


                                                       




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Saturday, December 28, 2019

EAST OR WEST , MOTHERS'S LOVE IS SIMILAR


                                                                        

                         

MOTHER AND CHILD.

"Tu meri umar bhi bhog bachuva
Tere kol na Lange koyi rog bachuva
Tu malla tu
Log panan theekaryaan
Badaam panne tu...
Log Paaan Bandiaan
Niyaan Kare Tu "



The child is ignorant about the massive protective cover that a mother throws around him/her till he/she is able to face the world alone. The apparel of this cover is dyed in a color that is undemanding. It carries indefinable love and attachment in its warp and weft.
East or west, a mother is similar. And noted Dogri poet Padma Sachdev too feels similarly in an above-quoted song sung beautifully by Lata Ji


" You may live my age too my darling,
No illness may ever visit you, darling,
My Strong child,
my love.
If other children play with pot-sherds and break them,
Let you play with almonds and break them.
Let the people quarrel,
While you get engaged in delivering justice ."

.(Avtar Mota)

PS

Pot shreds...I mean small broken pieces of baked clay pots.
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TINY WINGS AND A DESIRE TO SOAR



                                                                                    


TINY WINGS AND A DESIRE TO SOAR ........

To this photograph, I add lines from the popular Dogri song ' Nikkade Phangdu' sung by Lata Ji ...


"Nikkade Phangdu
Uchi udaan,
Jaaiye thammna
kiyaan shamaan,
Chananiya galein
kiyaan laaniyan....."



In English , I would say.

 
"Small are my wings,
high is my flight ,
‌How can I go up
to the high sky?
How can I hug the moon ? .."


(Avtar Mota)

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Sunday, December 15, 2019

LORD ! WE HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER...

                               


WE COME WITH EMPTY HANDS..TO YOU LORD, WE HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER EXCEPT LOVE AND SINCERE FEELINGS. ..

To this photo ,i am adding Subhdra kumari Chauhan's poem ' Dev Tumhaare kayi Upaasak'  .I heard this poem in my school. It remained with me all along my life

Deep dhhop navaid nahin hai
Jhaanki ka shringaar nahin,
Haai gale mein pehnaane ko
Phoolon ka bhi haar nahin..

Nahin daan hai nahin dakshina
Khaali haath chali aayi,
Pooja ki vidhi nahin jaanti
Phir bhi naath chali aayi..

Me unmat huun prem ki pyaasi
Hriday dikhaane aayi huun,
Jo kuchh hai woh paas yahi hai
Isse chadaane aayi huun..

Charnon par arpit hai issko
Chaaho to sweekaar karo,
Yeh to vastu tumhaari hi hai
Thukra do ya pyaar karo......

(Avtar Mota)
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O ILLUMINATIONS OF THE NIGHT SKY , TAKE THIS MESSAGE..


                                       

O  ILLUMINATIONS  OF THE NIGHT SKY , TAKE THIS MESSAGE...

Mahadevi ji was profoundly influenced by Buddha and his message. These simple lines carry a deep philosophical message...

"Karunamaai ko bhaata hai
Tam ke pardon mein aana
Hey nabh  ki deepawalion
Tum pal bhar ko bhuj jaana ..."

( Mahadevi Verma).

In English , i would say......

" The  compassionate ,
likes to  visit during darkness.
O illuminations  of the sky ,
put out your lights for a moment."

(Avtar Mota)

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DO NOT FEAR , BEAR OR IGNORE


                                 

DO NOT  FEAR , BEAR  OR  IGNORE ….

Long Back   a drunken  employee   physically assaulted   a very  senior , honest and courageous officer of  his  bank at  a  function organized in a hotel after banking hours .Such physical assaults outside the work place    were not uncommon in banks and   industrial undertakings .  Most of them went   unreported .  In the instant case , the bank decided to create  history .The bank management decided to deal this as a gross  misconduct  under the provisions of  Bipartite Settlement applicable in banks .The   employee  was dismissed after the conclusion of a proper   Departmental Inquiry .Aggrieved  with this punishment , the  employee  approached    a Court wherefrom he got the  relief of  getting his dismissal quashed on the ground that the misbehavior had taken place in a hotel and not inside the bank premises or at  the work place .  The court  held that  the provisions of the Bipartite  Settlement were  applicable to misbehaving employees  provided it had taken place inside the bank premises .  Aggrieved with the judgment  of the  court ,  the bank  management  appealed to other courts and  High court  in the legal hierarchy   where from no relief  was granted . The  bank filed an appeal in supreme court  where from a clear direction emerged .  It took the bank about 3 years to prove that the  venue  ( hotel ) engaged for the bank  function  was  an extension of bank premises in absence of any defined  provision in the Bipartite Settlement .I quote the operative paragraph of the judgement:

“  After careful scrutiny of records and  the provisions of the  Bipartite Settlements of the bank, this bench  has come to the conclusion   that the hotel in the instant case is an extension of premises   . Since the bank  paid rent for the official function and only bank employees and the customers  had  come for  Business development   function , every statute , ruling ,paras of  Bipartite Settlement governing misbehavior inside the bank  premises  applies to the hotel premises taken on rent for a business development   function  by the Bank .  Hence the action of the bank in dismissing  the employee after proper inquiry is lawful and  justified .”

 The order of the  lower court    was  accordingly set aside and the  punishment granted by the bank was restored. The message was clear and loud .  Misbehavior in any  shape of  outside the  work place was also punishable . After this judgment, i hardly heard any such instance of physical assault or gross misbehavior by employees outside premises at least in  Banking Industry   .

I have quoted this judgment  to bring home a point which our sisters , daughters and women folk need to know in respect of  sexual harassment at  work place.

  Sexual harassment  of women at the work place is a serious problem in the country . Had not the work place been broadly defined by the new provisions  , the victim of  the  Tarun Tejpal incident  needed to fight a long legal battle to establish that the Goa  Hotel or its lift was also an extension of work place .
The Sexual Harassment Act of 2013 ( Which also incorporates  1997  Vishaka case   guidelines of  supreme court    on this aspect ) goes    heavily in  favour  of  working  women as working place  now means actual work place or  Inside the bus taken to go to work place   or  for  returning from the  work place   and any   extension of work place   ( As in  the bank  case cited above ).

 As per The Sexual Harassment Act of 2013 ,sexual harassment also includes

(a) Explicit or Implied promise of preferential treatment in employment  on account of a sexual favour .
(b)  Explicit or Implied threat  of detrimental  treatment in employment  on account of a  denial of sexual favour.
(c) Humiliating treatment that affect her  work.
(d) Intimidation at work.
(e)  Physical contact and advances .
(f) Sexually coloured remarks .
(g)  Showing pornographic material/ literature .
(h)  Any Verbal conduct of sexual nature.

SO .

(1 )KNOW WHAT CONSTITUTES   SEXUAL HARASSMENT  AT WORK PLACE  UNDER THE NEW LAW.

(2) NEVER BE AFRAID  OF REPORTING ANY  IMPROPER  BEHAVIOUR . DO NOT FEAR, BEAR OR IGNORE ..

(3) DEMAND COMPLAINT REDRESSAL MACHINERY IN YOUR ORGANIZATION . IT IS MANDATORY AS  PER SUPREME  COURT GUIDELINES .SEEK  DETAILS OF THE  MEMBERS . AS PER GUIDELINES THE COMMITTEE MUST BE CHAIRED BY A WOMAN AND MUST HAVE A CIVIL SOCIETY REPRESENTATIVE. AT LEAST HALF OF THE MEMBERS OF THIS COMMITTEE SHOULD BE WOMEN . THIS IS APPLICABLE TO ALL ORGANIZATIONS , REGISTERED UNDERTAKINGS ,POLITICAL PARTIES , NGOs AND  TRUSTS .

(4) KNOW THAT THE EMPLOYER WHO FAILS TO COMPLY WITH  NEW PROVISIONS  FACES A  PENALTY OF RS 50,000/= ON ACCOUNT OF FIRST OFFENCE AND DOUBLE THE AMOUNT ON SECOND OFFENCE OR THEREAFTER. .THE LICENSE TO OPERATE CAN ALSO BE WITHDRAWN FOR REPEATED VIOLATIONS OF THE REVISED GUIDELINES  .

(5 ) DISCLOSURE OF THE NAME OF THE COMPLAINANT BY ANY PERSON OR ORGANIZATION  OR COMMITTEE  OR A  MEMBER SHALL  ATTRACT  ACTION  UNDER  THE  NEW GUIDELINES . YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO PRIVACY AS WELL.

DO THESE  LATEST GUIDELINES NEED ANY FURTHER AMMENDMENT  ?

 (1 )I think the room for conciliation needs to be scrapped in the  new provisions   . This appears to be a little detrimental to the interests of the  Women  . A  parliament member  from Kerala went scot free for his  misbehavior with a film actress in a function . The actress was made to withdraw her complaint after what was called a public apology  from the  MP. She had to approach a police station as the political party to which the MP belonged   had  not constituted any committee  as per supreme court guidelines for  redressal of complaints with regard to sexual harassment at  work. I doubt whether political parties across the country comply  with the new  provisions of supreme Court guidelines .

 (2 ) I believe  guidelines with regard to   the display  of statutory notice boards ( as to what constitutes sexual harassment and the punishments thereof as  also the names of  grievance redressal committee members and their addresses )   are still not complied with in most of the organizations  . A statute needs to be created for  punishments and fines for non display .  The display of these boards at  work places shall not only help  in warding off  culprits but also in  informing  and educating  women employees as also in  enthusing  confidence amongst them for reporting  acts of sexual  harassment .

(3 ) Where the employee is forced to go to a police station ( for lodging her complaint)  on account of  non existence of  the grievance redressal machinery in her organization  for   acts of sexual misbehavior with her    , the fine of rupees fifty thousands should go to the aggrieved employee only .

 (4 ) Government must also create a monitoring apparatus at national / apex level as also at state level to  monitor the disposal of complaints by women employees to their  employers .  This apparatus should have powers to deal with recalcitrant organizations . The law provides punishments  like withholding promotion ,transfer and  termination to be awarded to culprits  by the  grievance  redressal committee. Are these awarded ?

 And surprisingly, It is Manu only who is vociferous on punishing culprits who are unjust to women. I quote Manusmriti  ..

“ The gods, the Danavas, the Gandharvas, the Rakshasas, the bird and snake deities even give the enjoyments due from them only, if they are tormented by the fear of punishment.”
(  Chapter VII verse  23 )

“ The whole world is kept in order by punishment, for a guiltless man is hard to find; through fear of punishment the whole world yields the enjoyments which it owes.”
(  Chapter VII verse  22 )

“ They declare that king to be a just inflicter of punishment, who is truthful, who acts after due consideration, who is wise, and who knows (the respective value of) virtue, pleasure and wealth.. . A king who properly inflicts (punishment), prospers with respect to (those) three (means of happiness); but he who is voluptuous, partial, and deceitful will be destroyed, even through the (unjust) punishment (which he inflicts ).”
(  Chapter VII verse 26 and 27 )

“Offering presents to a woman, romping with her, touching her ornaments and dress, sitting with her on a bed, all (these acts) are considered adulterous acts (samgrahana).”
(  Chapter VIII verse  357 )

“. Those who rape or molest women or incite them into adultery should be given harshest punishment that creates fear among others to even think of such a crime.”
(Chapter VIII verse  352)

“ Be it the father, mother, teacher, friend, wife, son or priest, one who conducts a crime is punishable by the ruler.”
(Chapter VIII  verse 335)

I end this post with  lines from a poem of urdu poet Sahir Ludhianavi ,

Madad chaahati hai ye hava ki Beti
Yashodaa ki ham_jins Radha ki Beti
Payambar ki ummat zulekhaa ki Beti
Sanakhwaan e Taqdees e Mashriq Kahaan hain?
Jinhe Naaz hai hind par Woh  kahan  hain ?…………………………

 I have also rendered the above  lines to simple English  as under ..

“ Help !  ” cries this daughter of Eve  ,
The like of Yashoda ! A  Daughter of Radha !
From Prophet’s progeny ! A daughter of Zuleikha !
Where are you ? O you  who cry loud about the  purity of east ?
Where are you ? You who feel proud of the ways of the orient ?

( Avtar Mota )

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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

POET LYRICIST SAHIR LUDHIANVI, WAQT AND GRUNDIG TAPE RECORDER.

                                     
SAHIR  LUDHIANVI, WAQT AND GRUNDIG  TAPE RECORDER...

B R Chopra gifted a Grundig  ( German)   tape recorder to Sahir after Waqt touched  unprecedented height of   collections at box office .
In this photograph  ,  Sahir  is showing the tape recorder to his mother Sardar Begum.

Sahir had written songs for waqt. Songs like , ' Hum jab simat ke aap ki baahon mein aa gaye ', ' Din hain bahaar ke' ,  'Kaun aaya ki nigaahon mein chamak  jaag uthi'  , 'waqt se din aur raat' , 'Aey meri Zohra jabeen',  'Chehre pe khushi chha jaati hai ' , 'Aage bhi jaane na tu '  and  'Maine ek khwaab sa dekha hai' .

Incidentally the lines

'Maine dekha  hai ki gaate
Huve jharanon ke qareeb
Apni betaabiye  jazabaat
Kahi hai tum ne,
Kanpate hothon se rukati
Huyi aavaz ke saath,
Jo mere dil mein thi
woh baat kahi hai tum ne'

of the song  ' Maine ek khwaab sa dekha hai 'were  picturised near the central  cascading water  canal of famous Nishat garden of kashmir. Some intensely romantic verses were brought into this composition by Sahir. Sahir had also suggested  to BR Chopra to engage  Afghan musician   Abdul Ghafoor Breshna for composing  song' Aey meri Zohra jabeen'. And that proved correct. All other songs were composed by music director Ravi.
Breshna was a poet ,painter,singer , playwright  and fantastic musician from Afghanistan.

So long so much.....

(Avtar Mota)

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MY LONELINESS IS SPREAD EVERYWHERE.

                                 







MY LONELINESS  IS SPREAD  EVERYWHERE...

To this photo , I add lines from  'Soonapan '  a  Hindi  poem written by my favourite  Mahadevi Verma ....

Uss ki khoyi si chaahon mein
Ghut kar mook huyi aahon mein
Uss ki sirhaayi kampan mein
Kirnon ke pyaase chumban mein

Jaane kis beete jeevan ka
sandesha de mandh sameeran
Chhoo deta apne pankhon se
murjhaaye phoolon ka lochan
Unke pheeke muskaane mein
Phir alsaakar gir jaane mein

Aankhon ki Neerav biksha mein
Aansoo ke mit-tey daagon mein
Honthon ki hansti peeda mein
Aahon ke bikhre tyagon mein

Kan kan mein bikhra hai nirmam !
Meray maanas ka soonapan.....

(Avtar Mota)

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