Monday, February 25, 2013



Autar Mota visited Gangtok ( Sikkim ) in  2011. This land of Lepachas , Bhutias and other migratory population essentially Nepalis( Mostly Hindus . Nepalis  with small but powerful Trading communities from Bihar , Rajasthan , UP and West Bengal) is presently the most preferred destination by tourists to escape summer heat and dust of the plains . It rains almost every day. You also enjoy sunshine almost every day. You see clouds every day . Sometimes dancing in the main Bazar of the Town . Sometimes near the Hills and quite often over the vast skyline. With maximum daytime temperature hovering around 24 degrees Celsius ,we could feel the cold climate even during peak summer season . Yes cold breeze makes you to pull out a shawl or a cardigan from the suitcase especially during morning and evening time.


Beautiful Assembly building on hill top Gangtok approached by a cable car as well. There are 32 MLAs in Sikkim Legislative Assembly .Sikkim State has a population of about 6 lakhs and almost entire state is hilly. River Teesta is considered as lifeline of Sikkim.. Sikkim has about 75 monasteries, the oldest dating back to the late sixteenth centaury . The per capita income stands at Rs 11,356, which is one of the highest in the country. Literacy in Sikkim is 69.68%, which breaks down into 76.73% for males and 61.46% for females.Sikkim has the third highest per capita alcoholism rate amongst all Indian states, behind Punjab and Haryana. Nepali is the lingua franca of Sikkim. There has never been any communal violence in this part of the country.


 Roughly 30 kms from Silliguri on Silliguri - Gangtok highway , lies an important bridge across Teesta river known as CORONATION  BRIDGE. The road from   this bridge goes  to  Bhutan, Assam , Manipur and Nagaland etc. . John Chambers, the last British executive Engineer of the Darjeeling Division Public Works Department (PWD), carried out the design, drawing and planning of the bridge. It was named to commemorate the coronation of  KING GEORGE VI in 1937 and was completed in 1941 . The foundation stone of the bridge was laid by JOHN ANDERSON the then Governor of Bengal in 1937. The bridge has been built on the CANTILEVER system. Since it was not possible to obtain support from the Teesta river bed due to the depth and current of water, the entire bridge was supported by a fixed arch, which had its two ends fixed on rock layers on either side of the river.   

 Isn’t this like the kashmiri Bread ( Kaandhur Tseot ) ? The man came at 5 AM and kept calling PHALLEY! PHALLEY ! . I asked the Hotel waiter what does he sell. “ Sahib Phalley ! Nepali Bread " With sizeable presence of Nepalis in the state , Locals too have adopted to various traits of Nepali way of life. Pawan Chamling present CM has also a Nepali. Buddhist influence is visible every where predominantly in construction of Buildings and religious places. You have the day break at 4.30 AM in north east . People sleep at 10 PM and get up at 4.30AM . It is all visible at4.30 AM...

Nepali style of Rangoli to welcome guests .kashmiri Pandits too make Rangolis on auspicious occasions . They call it  as Vyoog .

 Prayer wheels form an integral part of the Budhist Worship . Lama Lendup at LINGDUM Monastery Sikkim informed me that Mantra recitation is the essence of Budhist meditation hence mantras are also written on wheels that are moved by hand , water and wind. Mantras are also written on cloth displayed as Prayer Flags atop buildings . The Prayer wheels or MANI WHEELS usually contain the Mantra OM MANI PADME HUM. It is believed that when the wheel is turned or rotated , the effect of the Mantra spreads in the environment . I had seen the hand held Prayer wheels . I had also seen the fixed Prayer wheels rotated by worshippers . Just 10 Kms from Gangtok enroute to the famous View point, I saw this Prayer wheel run continuously by water of a streamlet


 O! Kanchenchunga! Yes one has to wait for the Glimpse of the Mount Kanchenchunga to emerge clear from clouds . Sometimes for a week’s time . We too had to wait for two days . Clouds cleared it for just half an hour and then again eclipsed it . Every body from the Hotel rooms started clicking the magnificent view. I am told that more clear view can be captured from Darjeeling . Kanchenchunga is the third highest mountain in the world ( Height 28,000 feet)



  It was a great experience to visit and be in the monastery for about three hours ."Om Mani Padme Hum", "Om Bajrasatwa Hum" and such other prayers are inscribed everywhere in tis monastery . yes on the walls, over the doorways, along the beams .


Lingdum is just an hour's drive from Gangtok.Stepping inside the monastery grounds, you are simply awestruck to see the Main Building's architecture , Murals , paintings , statues , adornments and of course the location of the sprawling complex set in the background of green hills.
I can only add a couplet of  Hazrat Shah Niaz , a sufi saint poet from Punjab.

Soorat e Gul Mein Khil -khilaa ke hansaa
Shakl e Bulbul Mein Chah -Chahaa Dekhaa…
Kahin Hai Baadshaah e Takht Nashin
Kahin Kaasa Liye Gadaa Dekhaa.
Dekhtaa aap Hai sunay Hai Aap
Na Koyee uskaa Ma sivaa dekhaa ……….
Yaar Ko Hum Ne Ja Ba Ja Dekhaa……………………………

( *Hazrat Shah Niaz )

Amidst flowers in bloom , saw him laughing merrily ,
And again Saw him like a Nightingale singing melodiously…….
At times appearing like a monarch in power
And at times a mendicant with a begging bowl.
He alone is the onlooker and also the listener ,
saw none other than him all over here …..
 In every arrangement I saw that beloved only .

(Autar Mota ..25th Feb 2013..Time 11.45 PM .... Good Night 

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Saturday, February 23, 2013




I  drove from Jammu to Bassi Pathana ( Sirhind ) on 17.02.2013 to attend a marriage function  . Drove from  Jammu by Car  and returned at 11 PM covering a distance of about 740 Kms to and fro. Drove via Hoshiarpur , Ropar ,and Morinda . Driving on main highways in Punjab is a pleasure especially on roads built by ROHAN AND RAJDEEP TOLL WAYS LTD under public private partnership. Even if one has to pay heavy tolls at various places ,the roads are worth it . This applies to Hoshiarpur – Ropar Road as well.

I noticed that river sutlej is almost sucked into Punjab for irrigation and Power Generation . The blue waters of Sutlej canal flow majestically near Ropar town .
Tractor loads of Sugarcane from fields were being driven to sugar Mills. Yes the sugarcane crop was also being harvested. We were held up near Mukerian Sugar Mill. Some of the tractor drivers were waiting in a queue for their turn to enter the Mukerian Sugar Mill to offload the sugarcane stock since last two days. Sleeping and eating in makeshift shelters on the Road.
Lush green Wheat crop ,The sugarcane fields and the yellow Mustard flowers caught my attention during this long drive.

KINNU the poor man’s orange was everywhere in Punjab. Sold On Highways at Rs20 per Kg. One kg means five good sized juicy fruits. I bargained and got 5 Kgs for Rs75. I always find Kinnus More juicy and cheaper than oranges .

The Bajaj Tempo is still visible in some areas of rural Punjab . I remember these three wheeled vehicles plying in Jammu and later in Srinagar city during early seventies. Kashmiris would call it Gaggur ( RAT ) . It was a transport of choice in Jammu city at that point of time .Since the manufacture of this vehicle has been stopped by Bajaj Auto Ltd. , I do not know how spare parts etc. are being managed in Punjab .


Since Fatehgarh sahib Gurdwara was close by to the marriage venue, I decided to visit this place along with some friends from Punjab. Yes Fatehgarh sahib ,the place of Martyrdom of two minor sons of Guru Gobind singh Ji along with their pious Grand Mother Mata Gujri Devi ( married to Guru Tegh Bahudar Ji ).

“ Mitter Pyaaray nu ,
Haal Mureedaaan Da Kehnaa ..
Tudh Bin Roag Rajaaian dhaa oudhan
Naag Nivasaan Da Rehnaa …
Sool Sooraahi Khanjar Piyaala
Bing Kasaaiyaan Dhaa sehnaa……….
Yaarare Saanu sathar Changaa
Bhath Kheriaan Dhaa rehnaa ..
Mitter Pyaaray Nu ,
Haal Mureedaaan Dhaa Kehnaa…
………………………..Mitter Pyaaray nu ,
Haal Mureedaaan Da Kehnaa…………..
( Guru Gobind singh Ji )

Tell that adorable  Friend   ,
Tell him the predicament of his disciples .

“ Without You , these costly Blankets look like sickness,
And the in house comforts appear like snakes …………

The water filled pitchers torment
While the cups resemble sharp daggers.

Your neglect has been like the misery
inflicted by a butcher’s knife on poor animals ……………….

O Adorable Friend !
Your straw bed( Death bed ) is more comfort giving than living in these expensive houses ”

Tell that adorable  Friend ( Lord )  ,

Tell him the predicament of his disciples .

This is how this great warrior , saint and poet poured out his pain once he came to know about the killing of his pious mother Mata Gujri Devi and two innocent minor sons sahibzada Fateh Singh and Sahibzada Zorawar Singh ( 9 years and 7 Years ) by Wazir Khan Governor of Sirhind in December 1705.

It is worth mentioning that a strong protest was lodged with Mughal king by Sher Mohammed Khan, Nawab of Malerkotla against this inhuman act of Wazir khan adding that it was against the glorious tenets of Quran and Islam. Guru Gobind Singh ji on learning this kind and humanitarian approach profusely thanked the Nawab of Malerkotla and blessed him with his Hukamnama, Kirpan etc. In recognition of this act, During 1947 riots when Punjab was in flames, the State of Malerkotla did not witness a single incident of violence; it remained a lone island of peace in Punjab and the Muslim population of the town stayed back in India .

A magnificent Gurdwara has come up at the place where two sons and their Grand Mother were cremated . This Gurdwara is known as Fatehgarh sahib Gurdwara . just 10 Kms from Bassi Pathana if one goes from Hoshiarpur- Ropar - Morinda route . And close by to Sirhind town if one goes from the other route ie; Jalandhar – Ludhiana – Sirhind. We went by Ropar to attend the marriage function at Bassi Pathana near sirhind.

Other two sons of Guru Gobind singh namely ji  sahibzada Ajit singh and sahibzada Jhujar singh alongwith Pandit Kirpa Ram died in Dec 1699 AD fighting Mughal forces at Chamkaur sahib .

It is also worth mentioning  that Pandit Kirpa Ram Dutt son of Pandit Aru Ram Dutt resident of Mattan Kashmir was a kashmiri Brahmin who led the delegation of 500 kashmiri Pandits from Mattan Kashmir to Anandpur sahib Punjab to meet Guru Tegh Bahdur ji  during Mughal rule . So much was Pandit Kirpa Ram impressed by Guru Gobind Singh Ji that he along with some kashmiri Pandits stayed back at Anandpur sahib and imparted Knowledge of Sanskrit language and Vedas to Gurr Gobindh singh ji . He converted to Sikhism and remained with Guruji till his last breath.

Inn Putaran ke kaarnay -Waar Diye suut Chaar
Chhar Moovay Te Kyaa huvaa – Jeevit kayee hazaar.

( Guru Gobindh singh ji )

( For these sons ( His followers ) I sacrificed my own four sons,
What if four were sacrificed , at least thousands continue to live ..

Guru Gobind singh ji had profound knowledge of classical music both vocal and instrumental and also knew 9 languages including sanskrit , Persian , Khadi , Brij, Marathi and Punjabi. Qazi Peer Mohammed taught him Persian.This scholarly Qazi also remained a long companion of Guru Gobind Singh ji.

Guru ji would paint and sculpt as well. Sometimes he would play on Sitar or Mridang or Tabla but a siraanda ( A string based musical instrument ) was his favourite. His siraanda lies preserved in Rawalsar Gurdwara In Himachal Pradesh . As a poet he also wrote a poem praising Tegh ( jai Tegham ) sword . For him a sword was representation of Goddess Durga and Chandi .

Jai Jag Kaaran srishti Ubharan
Mum Prati Paaran jai Tegham”

And what boon does he seek from his lord ?
Deho shiva vur mohe Aiho Shubh Karman se kabh hoon na taruun
( Guru Gobind singh )

( O shiva ! Grant me this boon  that I do not hesitate from performing Good deeds .)

And the shabd ( Hymn) that is so close to Human values goes as under ,

Sach Kahoon Sun Leho sabhai
Jin prem kiyo Tin Hi Prabh Paayo……………………..
( Guru Gobind singh )

( And shall I tell you the truth , Then listen ..
Only those who have loved could realize the Lord. )

I need to mention that the soul touching Shabd " Re Mun Aiso kar sanyaasa " from the movie NANAK NAAM JAHAAZ HAI sung by Asha Bhonsle is a composition of Guru Gobind singh ji only.  This shabd was a favourite of urdu poet   Sahir Ludhianavi. The words  made him serious and   moistened his eyes .

The deeds of this great saint and warrior have been praised eloquently by swami Vivekananda . Swami ji hails him as a great saint and social reformer who made serious attempt to unite and integrate India and free the society from the division of caste and race.

"Some are Hindus while others Muslim.
of the latter some are Shias and
others are Sunnis. Man's caste should be
considered as one" (Manas ke
jaat sabhai ekai pahchanbo ”)

(Guru Gobind singh from Akal Astuti)

Jo Hum Ko Parmeshwar Uchar Hai
Tay Sabh Narak Kund Mein Par Hai
Mai Hoon Param Purkh Ko Daasa
Dekhan Aayo Jagat Tamaasa…….
( From Vichittar Natak by Guru Gobind singh ji )

Those who address me as God
Shall fall into hell fire .
I am just a servant of that great Lord ,
fated to visit the earth to see this drama of existence .

( Autar Mota )
23rd Feb. 2013 ime 11.30 PM … Good Night                                      

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Sunday, February 17, 2013



For this post i have uploaded some views of Walnut wood carving items from kashmir . The items made from walnut wood are now exported to European countries , Australia and USA. Domestic market too is gradually opening up in view of various qualities of Walnut wood. This wood  is not attacked by Termite and is hard and durable. Workmanship by artisans adds value and charm  to walnut  furniture ,Table lamps , bowls , spoons , Forks , Beer Mugs , cigar boxes, toys, trays, table-tops, handkerchief boxes, Jewellery boxes,   Panels  and Decoration items.

The carvings on walnut wood is done by   highly skilled Artisans known as Wosta  or Naqaash  . The design represent a  Lattice Work J( Mughal style Jalli work  ), chinar leaf motifs  ,  Lotus  ,  flora and fauna of Kashmir , Hindu Gods especially Ganesha  and  also Dragons in Chinese style. The wood carving can be deep engravings or shallow carvings   depending upon the item  .  Lotus and Dragon need deep carvings  while flat surfaces need shallow carvings .This work also bears influence of ancient  stone carving of Kashmir  . The best and widespread  wood carving  put in use in Kashmir is visible in  Traditional  Khatambandi Ceilings .

This traditional craft was certainly introduced by King Zain ul Abdin. How great are the artisans of this land i can not explain you ? Just see their workmanship to believe me . Should they touch wood , they make it stunningly lovely and decorative . Should they touch paper , they make it gold. Should they bring needle close to cloth , they weave gardens .They are the poorest paid in this commodity market even when they own hands that make many rich and wealthy.

Zamaane ki ye Gardishe jaavidaana ,
Haqeeqat ek tu Baaki Fasaana .
Kissi Ne Dhosh Dekha Hai Na fardaa ,
Faqat Imroz hai Tere Zamaana .
( Allama Iqbal )

O this permanent wheel of Existence ,
Thou art the only reality , rest are Fables .
Who did see his past or fututre ?
Thy world is simply the present alone 

 (Autar Mota )

17th Feb 2013 , Time 00.35 AM .... Sunday. Good Night .

Thursday, February 14, 2013




( Bakshi Ghulam Mohd with Vinoba Bhave Ji In Kashmir )

                                  ( Bakshi Ghulam Mohd with Vinoba ji at Baramulla )




Vinoba Bhave was well known  freedom fighter ,Gandhian thinker, philosopher , social reformer,a saint and above all a compassionate human being. Vinoba Bhave's most notable contribution was the creation of the Bhoodaan (land gift) movement whereby acres of fertile agricultural land was donated by rich landlords to the poor and landless in villages across the country. Acharya Vinoba Bhave (1895-1982), the founder of the movement, walked about 70 thousand kilometres in 14 years and received about 42 lakh acres of land in donation for landless farmers. It is worthwhile to mention that in 1951 when he visited Telangana villages ( ridden with the armed uprising of poor landless ) and addressed the rich landlords with his Bhoodaan message, one farmer handed over 100 acres of fertile land to Vinoba Bhave there and then. He visited Pakistan where a rich landlord donated 15 acres of land to poor farmers of his village when he addressed a group of rich farmers over there. His visit to Chambal ravines made many dreaded dacoits including Maan Singh, Ram Avtar, Lachchi Pandit, Daku Lukka and Tehsildar Singh surrender and lay arms at his feet.

He was a Sanskrit scholar who is also considered an authority on Upnishads, Vedas and more specifically the Bhagwad Gita. His commentaries on Mahabharata, Manusmriti, Ramayana, Bhagwad Gita, Quran and Bible are worth reading. These commentaries exude positive vibrations and bear the stamp of a scholarly mind. Vinoba  was proficient in Marathi, Hindi, Urdu, Gujrati, Bengali, Punjabi and many more Indian languages. He also had a fairly good working knowledge of French and German. Vinoba's knowledge of the Quran made many Maulavis blush when he would correct them in their Arabic pronunciation of certain words.

Vinoba's book ' The Essence of Quran ' is a great effort to unite the hearts of men. He learnt Arabic to compile this book. Gandhi Ji would often ask Vinoba to explain verses from Bhagwad Gita, as well as chapters from the Quran, revealed at Mecca. Many Muslim visitors to Gandhi Ji's Ashram, especially Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and Maulana Azad were amazed at the depth and the clarity of the religious knowledge of Vinoba. About his book 'The Essence of Quran ', Maulana Masoodi, a scholar and leader from Kashmir once said this-:

“ Even if a committee of experts were formed to do this sort of work on the Quran that Vinoba Ji has done, it would take them years. ”

Vinoba Bhave visited Kashmir during the summer of 1959. On August 2, 1959, he entered the Kashmir valley via Gulmarg after visiting Poonch. He came to spread the message of Bhoodaan. He stayed in J&K state for about four months and during this period, he visited Sopore, Baramulla, Bandipore, and Handwara in North Kashmir. He also visited many places in the Anantnag district as it existed during that time. He visited schools, and colleges and addressed many gatherings spreading the message of peace, unity, Bhoodaan and Sarvodaya. He returned via Banihaal and travelled on foot for 21 days addressing people who thronged to see him at Banihaal, Ramsoo, Ramban, Chenani, Batote and Udhampur.

Under the caption ‘In the Beautiful Land of Lalla (Kashmir)’ ,this is what Vinoba Bhave writes about his visit to Kashmir :-

No words could describe the joy I felt when (in May 1959) I entered the state of Kashmir. Some Muslim brothers came to Pathankot to meet me, and nothing could have been better than the gift which they brought me. It was a beautiful copy of the Koran, and I took it as a blessing on my entry into Kashmir. I told the people there what I hoped to do.  ‘I want to do three things: I want to see, I want to hear, and I want to love. I want to use, here in Kashmir, the whole power of loving with which God has endowed me.’ During my travels I usually covered nine or ten miles each day, and it was my custom to eat something in the early morning before starting my walk. On the day I entered Kashmir however I gave up eating one meal. My stomach does not allow me to eat double at the second meal when I have given up the first, so I cannot make up for what I have missed. Still, I thought, I will fast a little and so purify myself. So I gave up one meal in the name of Kashmir.To enter the Vale of Kashmir one must cross the Pir-Panjal pass. Before I reached it I was held up by rain for six days in the market town of Loran. I decided that if the rain continued and we could not cross the mountain range, I would take it as a sign from God that I should not enter Kashmir itself, and I would return to Punjab. I am guided by such signs, and made up my mind that if I could not cross the Pir-Panjal range I would not go by any other route. But in the end the rains stopped, and I was able to cross the mountains and go ahead.

A man came one day to give me land because his wife had told him to do so. She had seen a photograph in some newspaper which showed someone giving me a hand to help me over a difficult stretch of road. The picture made her feel that when a man is taking so much trouble to help the poor, it would not be right to refuse him land. That woman, who was inspired by that picture to do something for the poor, was she at all wanting in culture? In my view, her human stature touched greater heights than that Pir-Panjal which I had crossed at an altitude of 13,500 feet ! I am happy to say that every group I had the opportunity to meet, political, religious or social, large or small, all of them felt me to be one of themselves, to whom they could open their hearts and speak their minds without misgiving. They trusted me and told me what they thought, so I was able to get what I wished, and hear what I wanted to know.

My third aim was to love, and during those four months I know of no occasion when anything but love entered my mind. By the grace of God, my wish to love was fulfilled. The people there reminded me three or four times that Shankaracharya had once come to Kashmir on the same kind of mission as mine. I agreed with them that my mission could be compared with his in its purpose, but I cannot be compared with him. He was a great master; I am a mere servant, a slave of Allah. I claim no knowledge, but I do claim to practise the little that I know. I myself am nothing, but the mission on which I have come is not nothing, it is something which offers freedom not only to Kashmir, but to India and to the world as well.

When I entered the state of Jammu-Kashmir I was given a book, an English translation of the sayings of Lalla. Lalla lived six hundred years ago, but even today the people have not forgotten her. In the meanwhile many rulers have come and gone, but which of them do the people remember? Everyone remembers the name of Lalla, the Saint, the great Soul. “ ……..(source……Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal And Gandhi Research Foundation)


Vinoba's vision was a new social order or a non-violent society based on love, compassion and human values. Sarvodaya, as he explained, was a society in which the good of everyone was achievable. His spirit, his endurance, patience, humility, scholarship, devotion to public causes - all these qualities amazed anyone who met him. Untouched by publicity and attention, Vinoba had continued his efforts for a just and equitable society. Vinoba Bhave  spent the later part of his life at his Brahma Vidya Mandir ashram in Paunar in Wardha district of Maharashtra. In November 1982, Vinoba fell seriously ill and  died on 15 November 1982 after refusing food and medicine for a few days by accepting "Samadhi Maran" / "Santhara" as described in Jainism. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1983.

I conclude with a quote of Vinobha Bhave :-

“ A man of steadfast wisdom has three combined traits inherent to his personality. Recognize him by these traits which are knowledge ( Gyaana ), feeling ( Bhaava ) and activity ( Kriya ). These traits are complementary to each other and not antagonistic. He deals with any issue through this rainbow of traits .”

( Avtar Mota )

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