Monday, March 18, 2019




 Call it Guru ki Nagri or simply Ambarsar , You can not remain untouched by its charm , should you visit the city even for a brief period. Founded by Guru Ram Das ji,  Chandradhar Sharma Guleri’s story  “Ussne Kaha Thaa ” makes a  striking mention of its inner lanes and the language of  Cart or Tonga Drivers as they  move through city's  pedestrian traffic. And as a matter of fact, this story starts with  this description only . I must have read that opening paragraph more than hundred times.

  Apart from Golden Temple , Durgiana Mandir ,  Mata ka Mandir, Jalianwala Bagh, Wagha Border ,  Partition Museum  and many more historical places  , You need to visit the busy Lawrence Road , Hathi Gate , Hall Bazaar , Shastri Market , Katra Sher Singh , Katra Ahluwalia , Ram Bagh  ,  Company Bagh , Queens Road ,Landa or Chor  Bazar  ( Opposite railway Station ) and many more places to have a real feel of the city . A visit to Khalsa College could be satisfying . The main building of the college is an Architectural Marvel.

While in the city, You need to have special Lassi at  Ahuja’s lassi shop or Maah Ki Daal  or Makki ki roti with sarson ka saag at  "Bharaon Da Dhaba"   inside Hall gate . Come some day to relish fried fish at Makhan's Fish shop. Why not a lachha Parantha with  Palak Paneer at Kesari Dhaba? Try genuine Butter chicken at  Chawla chicken ( Original ) or so many other places  . Buy Papad Wadiyaan in old city or visit Shastri Market to buy Raffal or Pashmina shawls.Try Special jalebis at Sharma sweet shop. I would  carry home  Jalebis  from kanahaiya sweet shop on Lawrence road.  Taste that  delicious Gajjar ka Halwa at Novelty on Lawrence Road.   Try Pinni and  Besan ladoos of kanha sweets shop Lawrence Road . You will love the Mango Lassi sold at this shop.

  Through its many wholesale markets, the city continues to supply  Wool, Blankets, cloth, Tea, Tweeds  to adjoining States.

I don't know if home made Desi Ghee is still sold near Longawali Mata temple. I don't know if Deva Singh Sham Singh (a company) still exports Elephant brand Basmati rice. This basmati would release special fragrance in the house when cooked. I don't know if special Methi Mathi is still sold by the subsidised Sweets shop at Mata ka Mandir ( a replica of Vaishno Devi shrine) .I don't know if  Brijwasi shop  still sells tastiest Chaat Paapdi. I don't know if the reddi wala  opposite Railway Station  still sells delicious Chhole Bhature . I need to know whether famous Amritsari kulcha continues to be sold at Basant Avenue. I don't  know whether  my favourite "Jwala Jean store  ( Tailors ) on Malviya Road continues to stitch Finest shirts and Trousers . I don't know if finest surat Cotton cut pieces are still sold by shops  at Farid chowk. I don't know whether ' KOULA  SEED STORE '  in  Hall Bazaar still  sells seeds and Nursery plants ? The shop was owned by a kashmiri Pandit family .

Thanks to my friends from Amritsar  especially Puran Chand  ( Ex Chief Manager  PNB ) for introducing me to some really fantastic  non Vegetarian restaurants of the city  .  Chicken preparations,  Mutton  Seekh Kebabs , Mutton Chaamp , Mutton Tikka , Paya ( Kharode or Paachi Russ in kashmiri  ) ,  Keema Naan and so many other delicacies from the city are a real treat for those who like Non-Veg  food.,

I would buy old issues of TIME Magazine  for Ten Rupees from a shop adjacent to Haathi Gate . Quite often these magazines were not opened by the people who had paid annual subscription   and   were  supposed to read  these .  The shop owner  would always keep these unopened issues for me .

In Amritsar , Nobody  sleeps without food . More than 50000 people eat daily  inside the   free Langar  of Golden temple. A free Langar is also run by Durgiana temple Trust  . You find  a free Langar every day inside Ram Bagh Park . People  Eat   ,  Donate, Drink ,  help and smile .
I lived  near Kashmir Avenue  and always  wanted  to  walk  to my Bank branch located on   Lawrence road . I was never allowed to  do so. As I would  step out  to walk to my office , a scooter rider  or a man from the car window would  look at me and say:

“ Veer ji Kithe ja rahe ho. Be jaao  . Or  ..Brother where are you going ? Come  and sit .”

For some years, Two well known kashmiri poets Shamas Faquir and  Gh Ahmed Mehjoor lived in this city. Before 1947 , the city had sizeable kashmiri population. I came to know about a  kashmiri  graveyard  , a kashmiri mosque  and a kashmiri Pandit shivala.  This Shivala at Farid Chowk  is located at  city's commercial Hub.   And in 1947,  Mian Nawaz Sharif's   family also moved to Lahore from a village near  Amritsar city.

This great city has been  home to  or  birth place of so many talented people of the subcontinent . Sadat  Hassan Manto , Faiz Ahmed Faiz , Saif Ud din Kichloo ( eminent freedom fighter ), Madan lal Dhingra ( Freedom Fighter ), Gama Pehlwan , Bijli Pehalwan , Hassan Tariq  ( Well known  Film Director and Producer  from Pakistan ), Shakur Rana ( Well known Pakistani cricketer), Sam Manekshaw ,Mohan Rakesh ( Hindi Writer ) M D Taseer ( writer and father of Salman Taseer ), Sufi  Tabassum (  well known Poet and film Lyricist  of Pakistan ) ,Bollywood actor  Jeetendra,  Rajesh khanna , Wadali Brothers , Singer Mohd Rafi ,  fashion Designer Ritu Kumar ,Actor Akshay Kumar , wrestler Dara Singh , Wrestler Randhawa , Singer Shamshaad Begum , Geeta Bali , Film producer  Deepa Mehta ,Kiran Bedi ( IPS ) , Comedian Jaspal Bhatti , Cricketer Bishen Singh Bedi ,  Cricketer Madan lal , Singer Mahendra kapoor ,  Dancer cum actress  Mukhtar Begum ( Wife of Agha Hashr kashmiri ), Singer Narendra Chanchal, Zubaida Khanum ( Film Singer Pakistan ) , Dr Daljit Singh ( Eminent Ophthalmologist ) , Veeru Devgun , Stand up comedian  Kapil Sharma , Bharti singh ,Singer sukhvinder , Navjot Singh Sidhu , Abdul Hameed  ( Well known Urdu writer of the subcontinent ) , Vikas Khanna  (   Renowned  USA based Chef ), Bhai Veer Singh ( Poet and scholar ) ,  Singer Bhupinder   and so many people . The list  can have   more additions  . One name that I want to mention specially and  separately is  DEEPTI  NAVAL.

DEEPTI  NAVAL ( Born 1952 )

Deepti is  an actress , Painter , Poet , Trekker and a fine  Photographer . Born at Amritsar .  she moved to study  Arts in New York where her father had a teaching job . Graduating in Arts from reputed Hunter  College  , She returned to India in 1975  on an American  Passport to act in Films and started her career  from  Doordarshan .

Deepti is plus 67 yet as stunning as she was when she arrived in Mumbai. And in Sarees,  she carries herself with elegance, dignity and  poise . Her   western up bringing has added  a crystal clear sincerity and truthfulness to her personality. Her  smile represent her genuineness as a human being. Her silence is her strength.And she lived likes  to tread  paths even if none accompanies her. She believes in  journey . For her , it is the real secret of existence. About this belief , she writes in a poem :

"Bantay jaate nishaan
Mitatay jaate nishaan
Do Akele qadam
Na koyi rahnumaa
Na koyi humsafar "

Deepti has acted in more than 75 films and many TV serials.  'Thoda sa Aasmaan',  A TV Serial wherein she played a lead role ,  remains my favourite. Written and directed  by Deepti , the  TV serial  explored  the patriarchal Indian society and how it affects happiness of men and women . about this serial Deepti wrote :

 " Our motive was  not to encourage rejection of tradition and convention, but to create a balance between independence and established social norms, for a harmonious  living in today’s modern world."

I read some of her poems ; intense outpourings of a sensitive human being. I also saw her work as painter. Her painting      " Pregnant Nun"   was widely commented upon in many magazines. Saw her stunning Ladakh photography . Her sensibilities are reflected in all the mediums she is using for her creative work,

I believe   that the  magic of Deepti  lies  in her simplicity and warm  smile  that  makes her  instantly   relatable.

Inspite of amazing talent  ,   Unfortunately,  she   remains one of Indian cinema's underrated actors.  Why  so ?  I don't understand  .

Good health to you Deepti. Your  talent bubbles  in so many fields . You can contribute enough to bring smiles on human faces .

(Avtar Mota )

Like Maulana Azad ,  Dr. Saif Ud din Kitchlu  was a natiinalist leader who opposed the Two Nation Theory and the partition of the country.He remained steadfast in his commitment to secularism and shifted to Delhi after independence .He was son of a rich  kashmiri shawl Trader  settled in  Amritsar .

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