Friday, May 31, 2013



These views were taken by me in September  at Naseem Bagh, srinagar kashmir  . The Mazaar of sheikh Mohd. Abdullah and Begum Akbar Jahan ( Wife Of Sheikh Mohd Abdullah and Popularly Known as Maadr e Mehrbaan or kind mother )  is on the bank of  Dal Lake  ( Boad Dal ) and about half a killometre from Hazrat Bal shrine of srinagar  . Late Sheikh Sahib Hardly needs any introduction .This place is also opposite to  Old REC ( Regional Engineering College ) campus Gate . This old REC campus is now a Part of University of Kashmir . Srinagar REC is now NIT with its new Campus at Nigeen just close to Hazrat Bal shrine. A beautiful park has also been laid nearby and in fact this Mazaar is located at the corner of this Park only. This place is about 8 kms from Lal Chowk srinagar . I add a poem of Syrian progressive poet  late Nizar Qabbani ( 1923-1998 ) to this small post..

(I Conquer The World With Words)

I conquer the world with words,
conquer the mother tongue,
verbs, nouns, syntax.
I sweep away the beginning of things
and with a new language
that has the music of water the message of fire
I light the coming age
and stop time in your eyes
and wipe away the line
that separates
time from this single moment.
 (Nizar Qabbani)

31st May 2013 .. Time 11.25 PM Good Night 

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013



Photo Autar Mota
Place  Shivpora Bund srinagar, Kashmir
Time .. May 2013.

This photo somehow brings a feeling of uneasiness ; This uneasiness can not be explained by me. May be a visual discomfort or may be simple  fear . There used to be a BONNIE GOAFF in DAV School Rainawari . you could find a cat or a dog suddenly jumping at you if you went inside or moved very close to it . I was always afraid of going near it.
And with this word FEAR ,some lines from a Poem of Noted kashmiri Poet Farooq Nazki come to my mind. He has also used the word “BONNIE GOAFF ” to describe FEAR in his KASHMIRI poem” Naad Laayey “ OR “ I shall call you ”. This is my favourite poem . The Poem appeared in ‘Koshur samachar ‘published from New Delhi possibly around 1993 .I do not remember the year correctly . It could be even 1992.That is when I first read it . I add select lines on FEAR from this poem :-

Chhu Khoaff Daarien Barrun Awezaan,
Chhaa Aanganuss Munz Naqaab Laagithh Balaayee Praaraan,
Chhaa Byaar Phyaangaan Bonnie Goffie Munz,
Khoakhir Gaameit Aaiss Lafaz Ta Aaluv ,
Jawaan Maswal harithh Peimutch Aaiss ,
Pashunn Foalithh Aaiss Gulaal Aamit
Magar Khamaan Ouss hawaa yithh-kaein
Poahhuss Andhar Sseahh wasaan Gaamuss Andher
Taa Tchhaaraan shikaar Boachh Hoat…………..

( Farooq Nazki )

Fear dangles from doors and windows,
While the masked devils wait for us in the courtyard .
The cat kept mewing in its burrow dug in the chinar tree trunk,
Stammering for words , how could we cry ,
The youthful iris (flower ) fell to dust ,
Tulips grew wild on mud roofed house ,  
And frighteningly blew the wind like a hungry Lion
that comes down to the village in Mid January
( from the forest after the winter snowfall )
And goes wild after every prey .

This poem represents the painful period of Early nineties in Kashmir valley . A period of fear and fright. The poet does not focus on fear and fright alone . He also conveys the suffering of one and all either within or outside the valley . The poem ends with an optimistic note when the poet concludes “Chhu Naavie vaaviy Nivaan Batheiss Kunn “ or “ It is the storm alone that carries the boat to the safety of the bank “ .
Farooq Nazki weaves a tapestry of emotions and thoughts to convey his anguish with what happened during that dark period . I rate it as a finest poem that touches all kashmiris wherever they be .The poet intensely misses those who had to leave the valley and also conveys their pain and suffering in this long poem . I quote select lines :-

Dapaan Tim Aaiss Khaaemaa Diy Diy
Achhunn Andher Khwaab Tchoorie Thhaawaan ,
Magar shabuss Aaiss Gulaab Thhaawaan Shaandha Nendhir Kaanchhaan ,
Soruff karaan Aaiss Geer Khaaemunn,
Taa Poashaa toorein Gatchhaan Dumm Ouss ,
Kaaer Fier Fier Vuchhaan Bietch Aaiss ,
Zameen shoalaan Ta Aasmaan Ouss Naar Chhakraan ,
Naa Ouss Baatie
Naa Ouss Aaluv ,
Naa Poash Pooza
Naa tsraar Boad Doah .
Me yuthh Naa Roakukh
Me Kuthh karrien Chhum.
( Farooq Nazki )

They lived in tented Barracks,
Hiding Dreams in their eyes ,
Keeping a rose flower near the pillow at night ,
A rose for the sleep to visit them ,
Snakes encircled While scorpions raised their head to have a look inside these tents ,
And the tender flowers felt choked .
The earth turned a furnace for them
while the sky rained fire balls .
Not a song do we hear now,
None calls us by our name now,
None worships the deity with flower petals,
None witnesses the celebrations at Tsraar Sharief ,
Don’t stop me ,
I need to out pour my feelings ………………………………

Every line from this poem is a mini Poem. I quote
1 Kamiss Khabar Kar haruud Watithh Guvv bahaar rooshithh
( Who knows when the Autumn wrapped itself up and when this spring went away displeased )
2 Shinaai Baagus Pagaah Pholunn Gul
( This deserted garden shall tomorrow bloom with flowers)
3 Rattuss ta Khaakuss gamietch Kuneii dathh
( Human blood has mixed with dirt to form a lump )
4 samay Tchalithh Guvv Ta Aalivaai Moash
( As time moved fast , We forgot names as well )
5 Grakaan ragunn Munz Kruhuun Vushunn ruthh
( Black blood boils in our veins now )
6 Yimuvv Qadam Kaddie garauvv neuburr
Tim Na Aayee feerithh Naa tchhaaend Soantan.
( Those who stepped out of their homes ,Did neither return nor did this spring seek their whereabouts )
7 Gulaal Barra Gayee
( Suddenly Tulips turned dust and vanished )
8 Barrun Ta Daarein Wujood Chhaavithh
( Our existence too hangs on these doors and windows )
9 Naa chhhoavv Soantaai Naa booz Cheurgish
( Neither did we notice the spring nor did we listen to chirping birds )

( Autar Mota ) 28.05.2013. 11.30 PM Good Night .
 *English rendering from kashmiri by Autar Mota
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Monday, May 27, 2013







(I Come and Stand at Every Door )

I come and stand at every door
But no one hears my silent tread
I knock and yet remain unseen
For I am dead, for I am dead.

I'm only seven although I died
In Hiroshima long ago
I'm seven now as I was then
When children die they do not grow.

My hair was scorched by swirling flame
My eyes grew dim, my eyes grew blind
Death came and turned my bones to dust
And that was scattered by the wind.

I need no fruit, I need no rice
I need no sweet, nor even bread
I ask for nothing for myself
For I am dead, for I am dead.

All that I ask is that for peace
You fight today, you fight today
So that the children of this world
May live and grow and laugh and play.
 (Nazim Hikmet )
(This is my  favorite pro peace and anti war  poem  . Several artists have sung this poem.. Incidentally I first heard this poem as a song .So touching that I kept listening it  again and again.
"When children die they do not grow" extremely  moving words .
Can we save humanity from the perils of hostilities that eventually lead to death and destruction ? Can we give children Peace and cheerfulness ..)
(It's This Way)

I stand in the advancing light,
my hands hungry, the world beautiful.

My eyes can't get enough of the trees--
they're so hopeful, so green.

A sunny road runs through the mulberries,
I'm at the window of the prison infirmary.

I can't smell the medicines--
carnations must be blooming nearby.

It's this way:
being captured is beside the point,
the point is not to surrender.

(Nazim Hikmet) —

*NAZIM HIKMET (1902-1963 ) ...

  Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963 ) has always been my favorite poet. I wish I knew Turkish to know him a little better . Nonetheless the translations of his poems that are available in the Market or on Net , demonstrate his passion for life, his country and Marxism .

His mammoth reach through his poems is something unique. If he is read in Moscow , he is also read in London , New York, Cape town , New Delhi , Dacca , Lahore and anywhere and everywhere . Readers call him a poet of Humanity ,compassion and a passionate believer in the human race in spite of being imprisoned and separated from his wife, son and his dear country by Turkish rulers. He was stripped of his Turkish nationality in 1951 because of his communist views and  despite a ban on his poetry which remained operative till  1965, Hikmet has been  one of Turkey's best-loved poets.

His loveliest poems were written during the prolonged imprisonments and the period of exile after he fled Turkey in the early 1950s.
His dexterity as a poet and his life as a person, have made him into one of the brightest stars of Turkish and twentieth century world literature. One thing that I found common in the poetry of Darwish of Palestine and Nazim Hikmet of Turkey is that both of them never surrender their profound faith in humanity.
About this great poet Pablo Neruda
"Thanks for what you were and for the fire / which your song left forever burning",

Hikmet was also supported by Jean-Paul Sartre and Pablo Picasso. Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk is all out in support of Hikmet.

Here is a poet whose books in translation found lovers and readers in many countries though banned in his own country. I quote from his poem :

You're my bondage and my freedom,
my flesh burning like a naked summer night,
you're my country.
Hazel eyes marbled green,
you're awesome, beautiful and brave,
you're my desire always just out of reach."
( Autar  Mota )
26th May 27, 2013… Time 11.55 PM … Good Night ..
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Sunday, May 26, 2013






Samkhee    ta   Vaenizeuss   shaar   kenh  Nazraana  Diemuss  Kyaah
Dapizeiuss Su Tyuthhuyee Noann Ta Chhoan Dewaana Diemuss Kyaah…………..

“Should that Love meet you ,
Then just convey some couplets from my poems ;
What else do I have to offer ?
Tell Him that I continue to be Open ,Empty handed
And unwise ,
So  what do I possess to offer .”

( Autar Mota )
26th May 26, 2013… Time 11.30 PM Good Night .

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Saturday, May 18, 2013



                                                          (Boys of CMS  School Fatehkadal near the School Ghat )

          ( C E Tyndale Biscoe ,  a Christian Missionary,   came to  Kashmir  in 1890 AD  to  spread modern  education through CMS Schools located at  Fatehkadal  in Srinagar city , Sheikh Bagh in Srinagar city  , Anantnaag and Baramulla .  He also fought for removal of many social evils and wrong practices from the  Kashmiri society .The first bicycle that came to Kashmir was brought by CE Tyndale Biscoe  .  During those early days, whenever any   Kashmiri saw him on his bicycle , he or she   would run away calling it a Djjin. or jin.  And some years later, bicycle became a  preferred  mode of transport in Kashmir .He left Kashmir in October 1947 . )
                                          ( J M Ray Principal CMS Tyndale Biscoe School, Srinagar)

            ( Master Zinda Kaul and Shanker Kaul ( sitting on chair third from left with a stick in his hand ) with students of Kashyapa Girls School, Srinagar  ... Photo source Prof. Arvind Gigoo )


Downtown area or the most densely populated region of Srinagar city (having various historical monuments ) comprising of localities known as Alikadal , Zainakadal, Sarafkadal , Bohrikadal , Wattalkadal, Safakadal ,Dabtal, Bulbul-lanker, Nawakadal Jamalata , Khanyaar , Baba-Demb,Kawdara – Budhgair , Gurgari Mohalla, Nowhatta, Nawa Bazar ,Malchimaar ,Wazapora , Rajourikadal , Khankaah e Sokhta ,Sekidafar etc. has produced many bright and talented men in recent past who left their mark in various fields or professions . Men like Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, Durga Prasad Dhar ,Khawja Mohammad Maqbool Pandit ( Wazir e Wazarat and father of Shri Mohammad Shafi Pandit IAS Ex .Chief Secretary ), renowned Unani medicine Practitioner Hakim Ahmed Ullah ,Dr Hafiz Ullah ( died in an air crash ),Shiv Narain Fotedar , Shri J N Kaul or Papa Ji ( associated with SOS schools ), Ahmed Ullah Shahdaad ( leading Pashmina trader of the state . This Shahdaad family had their business interests in Yarkand and china) , Sufi poet Ahad Zargar ,Anand Kaul Bamzai( scholar) , R C Kak ( prime minister ) Moti Lal Misri ( communist leader ), poet Fazil Kashmiri , Shamboo Nath Gurkha ( journalist ), Jia Lal Saraf( Sanskrit scholar who translated Panchastavi to Kashmiri ),Mohammad Abdullah Tibetbaqqal ( renowned Sufiana musician ), Maulvi Abbas Ansari (Shia cleric) ,Laxman Joo Tickoo ( architect of Banihal Cart Road ), Akhtar Mohi ud Din (Kashmiri writer from Sekidafar) Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq , Jamal Siraj ( carpet exporter ) , Dr Ali Jan , Dr K L Chowdhary , Mohammad Shafi Pandit ( IAS), Ram Chand Tikoo ( cricket player ), Prof M S Want ( HOD English Kashmir, University), Prof.R N Kaul , Prof. Arvind Gigoo, Prof A N Dhar (professor emeritus English and HOD Kashmir, University) ,Prof T N Bhan and many more names come to my mind. Poets Ghulam Nabi Firaq (Bohri Kadal ) and Rehman Rahi (Wazapora ) are also from downtown Srinagar . Ghulam Mohammad Bhat and Noor Mohammad (oldest book sellers in downtown )were from Pandhaan, Nowhatta. The list is endless . But one man from this downtown area who was generously praised and appreciated by Europeans was Shanker Pandit or Shanker Kaul.

Shanker Kaul was born in Kaul family that lived at Sehyar Mohalla located  opposite to Rehbab Sahib in downtown Srinagar . In 1892, he joined CMS School, Fatehkadal as a student and later rose to become Headmaster of this school. In his book ,’ Kashmir Under Sunlight And Shade’ , Tyndale Biscoe pays glowing tributes to Pandit Shanker Kaul and  writes this :-

“ I must express my thanks to my headmaster, Mr Shanker Pandit, B A , who has allowed me to draw upon his knowledge of the ancient history of Kashmir, and of the various rites and ceremonies, both of Hindus and Mohammedans, with respect to birth, death, marriage, etc. What my friend Shanker does not know concerning his country is not worth knowing. He remained headmaster for 40 years in the school. A very successful teacher in the classroom , but as a leader in all social services for the welfare of his country , he was superb .He led the boys for social service during some wild fires in Srinagar city . He again led them during the epidemics of cholera in Kashmir . He was seen with boys of our school creating embankments when Jhelum overflowed and created havoc in srinagar city .To speak of Shanker Kaul’s life and the enormous useful work and the brave deeds he performed would fill volumes .I can not count and tell you how many poor and innocent Kashmiri girls he rescued from some impure devils . He even worked among lepers .He joined our crusade against child marriage and was a pillar of support for widow remarriage movement . So much was this great soul loved by citizen of the city irrespective of religious affiliations that he was made honorable member of Municipality even when he was Head master of our school. “

 About Shanker Kaul’s role in enactment of Widow Remarriage Act ,Tyndale Biscoe writes this:-

“On a May morning in 1928 at six-thirty, Shanker Koul, Headmaster of the C.M.S. school, Srinagar, led his school staff and 100 old students, all Brahmans, to a house where two Brahman bridegrooms, who were brave enough to face the music, were ready to march to a house a mile distant, where two young Brahman widows were also prepared to face the ordeal. Shanker Koul had arranged with three Brahman priests to perform the marriage ceremonies. But their courage had failed and they bolted. So one of our school staff, a Brahman priest, a brave fellow, married them . This marriage caused a great uproar in the city. But like all storms, this one blew itself out in time. Shortly afterwards, Shanker Koul led a deputation of old school students to His Highness the Maharajah to ask him to enact a State Law, permitting the re-marriage of Hindu widows. But their request was refused. Undismayed, two years later, he tried his luck again with the help of Mr. Wakefield who was Secretary to His Highness, and this time his request was granted. The remarriage of Hindu widows became law in Kashmir, but the Brahman Sabha refused to accept it. The President, however, of the Yuvak Sabha (grandson of a late much-feared President of the Brahman Sabha who was a great enemy of the C.M S schools) persuaded his party to put an end to the persecution and cruelties perpetrated on Hindu widows, and so at long last brought victory! I never expected in my lifetime to witness this miracle. “


                                                           ( Shanker Kaul on left )

He is the person who led the first attack on Taashvaan (prostitution centre at Fatehkadal ) along with boys of his school freeing some poor and innocent girls. He was a lover of Persian poetry and a devotee of Goddess Sharika.  He would go do Hari Parbat (  on foot  everyday at 4 am )  without fail even under heavy snow falls during winter season. Apart from Hindu sacred scriptures, Shanker Kaul had thorough knowledge of Bible and Holy Quran . Peace be to his soul.I  conclude this post with lines from a Gazal of Majrooh Sultanpuri ....

Jis taraf Bhi Chal pade hum aabalaa paayaan e shauq

Khaar se gul aur gul se gulsitaan bantaa gaya

Mein akelaa hi chala thhaa Jaanib e manzil magar

Log saath aaatay gaye aur carvaan bantaa gaya


(Avtar Mota )

For this write up, I am confining down town Srinagar  to areas below Fateh kadal and excluding Rainawari .

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Sunday, May 12, 2013




“O Jenaab idhar se kidhar gustaa hai . Idhar Parvez Sameul Kaul Sahib nahin hai. Woh baahar gayaa hotaa hai. Aaj school bandh hai.    ” said the gate keeper when I entered the Mallinson Girls School from Amirakadal side or from the main gate of CMS Tyndale Biscoe School . For going to Mallinson Girls School , I had surely to enter  from the Forest lane Gate .

And now something about this school that pioneered female education in Kashmir .

Credit for promoting female education in Kashmir should go only to missionary ladies like Miss Violet  Fitze  ( She started first Girl’s Primary School at Fateh Kadal in Srinagar city in 1912  although the missionaries had started educating girls in a small two-room school opened at Fateh Kadal in 1895) and Miss Mallinson who joined this school in 1922 as principal and served till 1962. Miss Mallinson  left Kashmir  in 1966 or  1967 and went back to London. In fact she was more familiar in Kashmir  as most of her Girl  students rose to key Positions in different walks of life. She was tall, graceful and could speak fluent Kashmiri.  She returned to Kashmir on a private  visit in 1973 . During this visit ,  she   was  publicly felicitated By Miss Mehmooda Ahmed Ali Shah,  her student and the then principal Women's College , Maulana Azad Road, Srinagar.

            ( Miss Mallinson.. Photo Source Mrs. Nusrat Andrabi )

Long back i was informed by an elderly Kashmiri Pandit from Fateh Kadal locality that Both Pandits and Muslims in Kashmir had opposed  modern female rducation initially. The  missionary ladies faced many difficulties in spreading girl education in Orthodox Kashmiri society . One particular incident that he talked about is worth mentioning over here .
                            When the missionaries found that rolls were not picking up in the Girls School, they decided to invite some European ladies as guests for a prize distribution function inside the two room school at  Fateh kadal  , Srinagar thinking that this shall encourage more girls to come to the school. When the guests arrived , a shopkeeper outside the school shouted in chaste Kashmiri that Englishmen had come to kidnap Kashmiri girls . Hearing this the people from the locality assembled outside the school building and advised the girls to run for safety by jumping from the windows .When the guests entered ,they found no student in the school.


                                                       ( Old School Building ) 

( My  Thanks to Publishers of the  Book “Kashmir  in  sunlight and shade “ for this photograph  showing  Jhelum Ghaat near  C M S Girls school at Fateh Kadal  Srinagar  )

Miss Mallinson was always seen on her bicycle in Srinagar city . Sometimes purchasing groceries from the Bazaar , Sometimes visiting her sick students and sometimes addressing groups of women about hygiene and cleanliness. She was always busy and thoughtful about how best she could contribute to spreading education amongst girls in Kashmir. She stayed at Sheikh Bagh where she would be seen washing clothes, cleaning her room and cooking her own food. She is reported to have personally visited most of the localities in the downtown area and addressed women against child marriage and superstitions. And she is singularly responsible for introducing swimming, dancing and mountaineering in the Mission School and taking the girls out for camping and trekking something unusual and daring during those days . In 1938 and 1940,  Kashmiri girls scaled Mahadev peak ( 13000 feet ) under her guidance only. All credit goes to this pious lady for adding a large number of educated women to Kashmiri society. Fateh Kadal school finally shifted to Sheikh Bagh in 1962 and is presently known as the  Mallinson Girls School.

Miss Mallinson had told her close friends that after her death her skeletal remains should go to the school laboratory . She would often say

“ My dear girls ,may you learn more from me when I am no more .My bones are meant to teach you physiology ”

And this pious lady died in June 1984. Can we emulate her ? Not so easy because urdu poet  Dr.Kaleem Ajiz  from Patna writes ….

Ishq har shakhs ke buss kaa nahin Pyaaray Jaao
Yeh samandhar hai Kinaaray hi Kinaaray Jaao
Yuun To Maqtal Mein Tamaashaai Bahut Aatein hain
Aao Uss waqt ki jiss waqt Pukaaray Jaao.
Koyee Rastaa koyee Manzil ussay Dushwaar nahin
Jiss jagah Jaao Mohabbat Ke sahaaray Jaao

 ( Avtar Mota )
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