Thursday, August 29, 2013




( It is believed that river Brengi which disappears at Dewalgaam in the limestone fissures, emerges and gushes out from the SOSANWAR hill to form Achhabal  water spring . Old name of Achhabal was Akshavala .It was founded by King Aksha who is believed to have  reigned over Kashmir from 486-326 B.C.. Kalhana  also records the name of the village  Akshavala .It was later extensively remodelled by the Mughal rulers in 1620 as a retreat for NUR JAHAN..)

The thick blanket of water laughed to its heart’s fill. Carefree and happy, it danced down the hill.Does it know who wept and for how much time? Does it know about the tear streams that keep coming down our eyes . I believe NO. And kashmiri poet Dina Nath Naadim too conveys this feeling in this couplet …

Paan Tchaadiri Gayee Aaiss Aaiss Neel
Tuss na khabar kaaem Kotaah Voadh….

( Dina Nath Naadim )

The Thick blanket of water laughed to its Heart's fill,

Never did it  know as to who other wept and for  how long…

( Autar Mota ........29.08.2013)

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013



                                            ( kashmiri Folk singers in a marriage Function )

                               THE  DUDDA PRACTICE  OF KASHMIR

It was a practice in Kashmir that some persons would invariably attend a marriage feast uninvited. This skilled class included young, middle-aged and old people. Ladies rarely indulged in this adventure. Every member of this select group was individually nicknamed as Dudda. A  popular Kashmiri axiom goes as under:-
‘ Akh dudda ta beyi maaji kyut bataah tok’  meaning ‘Himself uninvited guest( Dudda ) and then seeking a tiffin for his mother from the marriage kitchen ’
A Dudda was a normal person except that he had a compulsive trait of slipping without any invitation into a marriage crowd to relish a sumptuous lunch or dinner. A Dudda would make a safe entry into a marriage feast by joining Baratis ( bridegroom’s marriage party ) near the bride’s house. He would wait unnoticed for the Barat to arrive somewhere near the bride’s house and once he heard the ****conch shell   ( Shankh Naad or Shankh Shabd ) blown to declare the arrival of a bridegroom, he would immediately slip into the Barat crowd. No interaction and no communication, just slip in, enter, eat and leave.
I have personally known a school friend who was a compulsive practitioner of this art.  This particular boy would also keep a track of marriages in Habba Kadal, Srinagar area where his mother had her parental home ( his Matamaal ). Once away from Rainawari, he would relish marriage feasts uninvited with confidence. In Rainawari, he ran the risk of being located and identified as Dudda by friends and neighbours. He joined a good job in J&K State. I vividly remember my friend Kuldeep Machama informing me that he had personally seen this person joining a Barat at Zaina Kadalin Srinagar city as Dudda even after joining the government Job. That was some wedding function of a close relation of Kuldeep Machama. This was somewhere around 1977 or 1978. In 2012, I met this friend in Delhi and came to know that he had turned a diabetic apart from being hypertensive. I suggested some good physicians to him. I also wanted to ask him whether he still went for those old adventures but something prevented me from seeking a reply to this baffling question.
Once I was informed by an elderly relation from Habba Kadal that there lived a Dudda in his Mohalla known as Kashi Nath. Kashi Nath had developed a novel way of knowing clear details about marriage dates, lunch or dinner functions and the nature of feasts ( vegetarian or non-vegetarian) along with the expected number of guests joining the marriage feast anywhere in Srinagar city. Kashi Nath would sit in Kraal Khod ***Waza Baithaks ( Place where Kashmiri cooks lived  ) and gossip with the cooks over a Charminar or Passing Show cigarette to collect his data. Kashi Nath would only attend feasts in downtown, Jawahar Nagar and Rainawari where he could not be easily identified. Quite often Kashi Nath would also take his friend Pushker Nath for these uninvited adventures. Both Kashi Nath and Pushker Nath were government employees.

My friend Mukhtar Ahmed Handoo informs me that Dudda practice or what could be safely called as Duddaism tried to make an unsuccessful entry into Muslim marriage feasts. However, the nature and style of serving food to the guests broke its backbone. Muslim Duddas would often get identified and had to beat a hasty retreat.  The guests in a Muslim marriage feast are made to eat in large polished copper plates known as Traamis. Each Trammi is shared by four known persons. Everything is calculated and counted well in advance. Guests are made to sit on a well-carpeted floor and practically this is the time for close interaction between groups of four persons who are supposed to share a common plate. Food is never served in a buffet system nor to standing guests.
But contrary to what my friend Mukhtar Ahmed Handoo has said, I have lately observed Duddas gaining some foothold in Muslim feasts in Kashmir. Many friends from the younger generation often relate stories of having enjoyed sumptuous Wazawan feasts in unknown marriage functions. And I am sure if Muslims resort to buffet system, Duddas shall swarm into marriage feasts wherein Wazawaan is served.
In Kashmiri Pandit marriages, food is served in individual plates and the community has since switched over to buffet system. The host has no control over the number of expected guests. Everything works on estimates which vary grossly when guests arrive. So in this guesswork and estimates, a Dudda can easily walk in and remain unidentified.
Tej Dhar, my friend from Safa Kadal in Srinagar city informed me that two Duddas had once joined a  Ghar Atchun feast organized by his cousin’s family. They were located only after they had consumed the lavish non-vegetarian feast. The family had organized Ghar Atchun feast simultaneously for two marriages which meant guests from two newly connected families apart from their own guests. A buffet lunch was organized for about plus 250 persons under a Shamiana. It so happened that the host and his wife decided to give cash in envelopes to some  VIP  guests once they were leaving. When the turn of the Duddas came, the host looked at his wife asking her how theses were related and whether any amount had to be given to them. The wife too could not place them. The host then asked smilingly :
‘ Khyovaa kenh ?Khabar kyoothh oussukh ronmutt?’ meaning  ‘ Did you eat anything? Had the cooks cooked well ?’
‘Zabar! Zabar!’ meaning  ‘Excellent! Excellent !’
‘ Me chhu broant hue gatchhaan . Tohi kaetti pyatha aayiva. Ye chhunaa lifaaf deun…. ’ meaning  ‘ I could not place you correctly. Wherefrom have come ? Look, this envelope is also to be given .’

‘ Aeiss mahraa gayee mut-farkav munz . Yeli raazabai ta tohi pachhein hisaab aassiv karaan , tohee gandiv-na mutfark daah . Aeiss chhi timuv munz sirif  zaa. ’ meaning  ‘ Sir we are from the miscellaneous. When you and your wife were counting expected guest and noting them in your diary, you had noted ten miscellaneous guests. we are just two from that miscellaneous lot .’

And the Duddas quickly moved away while the host and his wife looked at each other. Dudda coming to *Ghar Atchun feast is a daring act. But then the Dhar family had invited a large number of guests for the feast and the Duddas went for the adventure only after careful groundwork in advance.
A popular Kashmiri story also refers to a marriage in the Mohalla where a **Dudda lived. His son decided to cook all the marriage dishes in the house and serve his father who was stopped from joining the marriage even when he had been invited. The marriage feast was held in the adjacent vacant plot which had been duly covered by a Shamiyana. The son made the father sit on a window and look at the guests below. When water was brought for washing hands, the son too brought water in a jug for his father. He also ensured that dishes are put in his father’s plate as per the order and system adopted in the feast being organized below the window of their house. The father could clearly see what was happening in the Shamiyana below. And then suddenly the father jumped from the window to join the guests crying:-
‘Ashok jiya . Yetti kateu chhe so tcheilla tcheill . Kun zon chhaa saal kheivaan. Me traaviy voth . ’
“ Ashok Ji! where is the crowd in the room and where is that pull and push ? can any person enjoy the feast single-handedly? I am jumping down ?
During my posting in Amritsar, I had a friend Balwinder Singh who sang Shiv Batalvi in a pain-filled but mellifluous voice. Balwinder was an officer in a public sector bank. He wore good clothes and liked good food. He was also fond of scotch but could hardly afford it. During marriage season, Balwinder would have his dinner frequently in posh hotels and marriage halls. He could not be seen during evenings for singing Shiv Batalavi to his friends during marriage seasons. My  friends would say that he had so many invitations since he was a very ‘ Social Person .’
Sometimes, Balwinder would extend these invitations to me also but I always refused because night marriages in Punjab used to be a mob affair. And then as a matter of principle, I never went to a function where I did not know the host personally or where I had not been invited. Add to this I could not withstand the disorderly boozing in these functions.
I always believed that Balwinder had some family problem as he would never join these marriage functions with his family. Sometimes, he would be joined by his friend who had some business in Katra Ahluwalia Bazaar in Amritsar. This particular friend of Balwinder had some business interests in Kashmir also. Balwinder had introduced him to me. This business friend of Balwinder kept visiting Kashmir quite often from 2000 to 2002. He would always bring some green leafy Haak ( collard greens )  or walnuts for me from Kashmir. I was obliged and grateful to him for these gestures.


                                      ( A Buffet Lunch in a Marriage function )
Then one day Balwinder came to my room at 8.30 PM uninvited. He appeared to be a little tipsy and said in chaste Punjabi:-

‘ Sir ji Aaj te chalo . Aaj na assi tagdaa jugaad kitaa hai. Machhi, chicken, kashmiri jakhni ( yakhni ), naan te naal vilayati daaru. Munde da rishtedaar Canada thhuun Jack Daniels , Johnnie Walker , Black Dog Te Cheevas Regal laaya hega . Aaj te tuut ke pe jaavaange . 800 bandeyaan di roti daa intezaam hega. Kaun poochada hega . Vudd jaavaangay te shuru . ’

“ Sir Ji, now come today. Today I have made a perfect jugaad for fish, chicken, Kashmiri yakhni, naan and I am informed that some close relative of the bridegroom who has come from Canada has made a good arrangement of liquor. They shall be serving Jack Daniels, Black Dog and Chivas Regal. Today I shall just be in gulping mode. They shall be serving food to 800 persons. Nobody shall ask ‘who are you?’. We shall just enter and start ‘
As he got up to leave, he wanted to know finally whether I was joining. Now that everything about Balwinder’s marriage invitations and ‘Social-Personality ’ was clear to me, I said I had a guest from Jammu who was expected to arrive shortly. I added that we had to eat together. That was a fact as well.
Away from my family, I was living alone in Amritsar near Kashmir Avenue. I would cook my food . Many friends in Amritsar would relish Yakhni prepared by me occasionally. That particular day, I had cooked  Vaarimuth ( Small-sized black beans ) and Basmati rice. I passed on a cup of hot black beans or  Vaarimuth to Balwindwer. He liked it and said that this ' Kaali  Rongi' ( as he called it ) was very tasty. Once he left, I switched on my TV set for news. Changing channels for Doordarshan news, I stopped at a channel wherein some religious person was holding his discourse on food. He said :-
‘ Bandhuvon ann ki chori koyee chori nahin hai. Jahaan bahut ziyaada ann hai agar thodaa sa kissi ne churaa bhi liya to paap nahin hai. Sarr janne se to achhaa hai na ki kissi bookhay pait mein chalaa jaaaye ”

“ Brothers, theft of food is no theft. If the  food is in abundance and a little is stolen , no evil deed is committed by the person who steals it. It is better than allowing it to rot. More better if it goes to some empty stomach ”
 I somehow concurred with the gist of the religious discourse. I also got convinced that the Dudda practice was nothing abnormal that we had witnessed in valley . It could be a universal phenomenon  and possibly a  lack  exposure  made us to lampoon a Dudda or laugh over this behaviour .

( Avtar Mota )



*Ghar Atchun is a get together over lunch or dinner held by Kashmiri Pandits. Parents and almost all close relations and friends of newlyweds ( both sides ) meet each other over a sumptuous meal usually a  mid-day lunch.

**Dudda  means an  uninvited guest in the Kashmiri language.

***Waza Baithak means resting place of Kashmiri cooks. Hindu cooks would confine their Baithaks in Kraal Kohodd area of Habba Kadal in Srinagar city  while Muslim cooks resided in Wazapora locality in downtown Srinagar city .

****Conch shells are blown by Kashmiri Pandits to declare movement and arrival of the Baraat along with the bridegroom into bride’s house. Conch shells are also blown on various auspicious occasions and religious ceremonies. Hindus believe that the sound of the conch shell drives away the evil spirits. The blowing of the conch or  Shankha" needs tremendous power and respiratory capacity. They also believe that blowing it daily helps keep the lungs healthy.


(All Photos Avtar Mota)

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Thursday, August 22, 2013



( Lotus Plant cultivation in Dal Lake of kashmir )

                                      ( Lotus Plant cultivation in Nigeen Lake of kashmir )

(  Fresh Lotus seeds being sold On Ashai Bagh bridge near Nigeen Lake in Kashmir )
( Fresh  lotus seeds after removal of the green shell )

                        (  Bundles of Lotus stems ( locally known as Nadroo ) being sold in a shop in kashmir ) 

( Above Photographs by Avtar Mota )



The lotus flower comes from a  freshwater plant ( botanical name Nelumbo Nucifera ) that has been cultivated mainly in southeast Asia, Mediterranean and also in some Latin American countries since ages.  In north and northeast areas of the country, it is essentially grown in lakes and ponds. Hindus, Buddhist and Egyptians consider the lotus as a sacred flower. The Mahayana sect of Buddhism believes that all souls come out from a lotus. The Buddhist Mantra ‘Om mani padme hum’ refers to the ‘jewel in the lotus’ which represents illumination or enlightenment. Buddhists believe that this mantra has great spiritual powers.

 In ancient Egypt, spiritual teachings held that the lotus represented the sun, and therefore is directly linked to creation and rebirth. This belief was reinforced from the way a lotus flower closes its petals at night and hides underwater but rising again at dawn and opening its petals. The ancient Egyptians believed that a lotus flower gave birth to the sun. The blue lotus, especially, is highly revered in Egyptian culture.

Hindus consider the entire plant including its seeds as sacred. According to the Purāņas, Brahmā ( creator of the universe ) is self-born in the lotus flower. In India, the lotus is known by various names like Pundarika, Padma, Kamala, Utpala, etc.

There is a popular saying in Kashmir ‘ Lembi Munz Pamposh ’ about lotus flower which means that if one has to be in the mud, he must remain above it and shine like a Lotus flower. The leaves of a lotus flower were also put to use in Kashmir as saucers for eating food.

The lotus stems are eaten as a favourite vegetable in Kashmir. Locally known as Nadroo,  these stems are sold as a bundle. One bundle roughly weighs more than one Kilogram. A Nadroo bundle is known as ‘ Geyid’ in Kashmiri. Extracted from lakes, Nadroo is extensively used as a vegetable in almost every Kashmiri household. Kashmiris cook these stems with turnips,  potatoes, fish, lentils, Haak and many other vegetables. Nadroo Yakhni or Nadroo cooked in curd is a favourite dish in a Kashmiri Pandit family. It is a much-loved dish in a marriage feast. Nadroo chips are fried and a pinch of common salt and red chilly powder is sprinkled over it to make  ‘Nadroo Churma’. Nadroo is also used for making Pakodas known as  Nadroo Monjji’ or ‘Monji Gooel ’ in Kashmiri.

  So popular was the lotus in Kashmir that children were fondly named as Pamposh ( lotus in Kashmiri ). We had many business houses with names as Pamposh Traders, Pamposh Hotel, Pamposh Travel Service,  etc.

Lotus seeds or lotus nuts locally known as ‘ Pumm-Buchh’ ( in the Kashmiri language ) are abundantly grown in lakes of Kashmir. You come across this stuff being sold by footpath vegetable sellers in and around Dal lake;  quite frequently on Boulevard  Srinagar and also near Ashai Bagh bridge ner  Nigeen lake in   Srinagar city. I saw this stuff being sold near Wular lake or along the footpaths of main Bazaar of Bandipore town which is situated on the eastern bank of this lake. I also saw ‘Pumm-Buchh’ being sold near Manasbal lake in Kashmir. The fresh variety of seeds held inside a green shell are soft watery white and sweet to taste. About twenty seeds are generally held on a spongy green bulb. Once exposed to heat and air, the shell of the seeds turns hard and black and the soft white seed inside dries up and changes its colour to yellowish-brown.
Lotus seeds are eaten raw. A good amount of dried lotus seeds are used by Kashmiri Pandits as Homa Samagri ( material for burning in sacred Homa or Yajna fire   ). These seeds are also put to extensive use in northeastern states of the country. In many Asian countries,  the seeds are dried and used in cuisine and medicines. The use of these seeds as medicine is quite popular in China. These seeds are also put to use in some Latin American countries. I found them being sold in Amritsar on footpaths just outside Ram Bagh park.

Chinese and Japanese use the paste of lotus seeds in bakery products especially in Pastries. It has been now established through clinical tests that lotus seeds act as antioxidants and help in reducing inflammation, fight ageing process and lowering hypertension. The practitioners of the Chinese system of medicine prescribe the seeds for well being of spleen, kidney and heart.


 In 2018, I  searched for the  Lotus stems  ( Nadroo )  in  Chinatown, New York. Collard Greens (Kaachhi Haak) was a bonus in this search. The search story goes as under:-

As we come out from the underground Canal Street metro station, we start moving towards   Chinatown. This Street lies close to  Little Italy or the  Soho locality. Coming closer to the HSBC building, we try to seek help from shopkeepers.

‘ Which side are the vegetable shops?’ I ask a smiling Chinese shop keeper selling many varieties of dried fish ( Hogaad), dried shrimps and dried mushrooms.

‘What? I  Don’t follow what you say.’ comes the reply.

We move ahead and speak to another Chinese boy selling fresh baby Coconuts on the street.

‘ You understand English’
‘Yeah ’
‘How much one coconut?’
‘ Two Dollar fifty cent ’
‘ Where are vegetables sold?’
" Two blocks and make a left.  So many.All good .’

We move towards the suggested destination. It turns out to be a Chinese restaurant. We feel disappointed. On footpaths,  we see some Afro- Americans selling low-priced goods to tourists. Goods like key rings, sunglasses, purses, bags, toys, wristwatches, caps, wall pictures etc., They keep crying:-

‘Hey, guys. This way. This way. You gonna buy everything solid. Everything gonna cheap, Yeah sir. Madam, you wanna purse. Here go five dollars.’

I come closer to a smiling man selling caps. He has every reason to welcome us as customers.
‘Buy sir.  Madam, I gonna give good caps. Good ones, take

‘ No. Thanks. We are looking for a vegetable shop. Can you guide us? We want to buy vegetables.”

‘ What? cooked dish! ‘

“ No, raw and fresh from the farm like kohlrabi, collard greens, tomatoes, cilantro, kale, pumpkin, gourd, eggplants,  carrots, potatoes, etc.  We wash, cut and then we put on the boil in the kitchen. We eat finally. That is what we want to buy.”

‘ O! I get it. You wanna go fresh produce store. Here you say vegetable,  they gonna guide you restaurant. They gonna think cooked dish.  Go one block and make a right.  There that market and many shops sell fresh farm produce. ’

We follow the suggested path and cross the footpath where Chinese women were selling fruits like double cherries, Mexican mangoes, apricots, watermelons, muskmelons, pears, apples, plums and bananas. Suddenly we find some vegetable shops. Fresh vegetables are on display on the footpath outside these spacious shops. We stop at a vegetable shop.  Variety of Collard greens.  Yes our
green leafy ‘Haak ’ in various shapes and sizes.

‘ What is this? ’
‘This is Jai-lan. Good. One  dollar fifty cents for a pound .’
‘ And that ’
‘Bok Choy ’
 ‘ Do you have lotus stem ?’
‘ What? ’
‘Long stem of a lotus flower. Tubes like inside when cut.  Grows in water. Used for making a dish. In China, also used for making medicine. ’
‘ Come, see inside the Shop.  ’

                          ( Lotus stems or Nadroo in a shop in Chinatown New York )

We go inside the shop. He opens a cardboard box. Something in Chinese is printed on the box. As he removes the grass,  we find   Nadroo looking like turnips. The man looks at my face. I smile and he smiles too.
‘ No  Stem. Say lotus root. Say ‘Lian Ou ’  next time here in this market.’

I was told by a Chinese family in New York that they love serving the lotus root in their cuisine. They also use other lotus products like lotus seeds, lotus leaf and lotus root powder to make different kinds of dishes and desserts.
( Avtar Mota )

Eating lotus roots raw can spread parasites or bacterial infections. Therefore, always cook( boil,  stir fry or deep fry ) lotus roots before eating or adding them to your diet.

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( Source :- Photographed by Autar Mota  from a Photo held by J&K Academy of Art Culture And Languages . As per Shri Shantiveer Kaul son of The poet  " The original portrait is   with shri  Shabir Santosh, as part of the legacy of his father.  Shri Santosh has  steadfastly refused to part with it."

A sample of Naadim's Poetry is also added to this portrait.The lines give a feeling of helplessness of an individual who is in wait till his last breath . An overwhelming feeling of imminent LOSS   but there is a cherished desire to see some one before all is over. . The final summit , a sunlit day and everything appearing crystal clear . Tears rain uncontrollably . What can one do ?The soul too has turned as restless as mercury on any surface . Why put Love to slander ?Helplessness sweating out from every pore and  drenching the body . What should be done ? Here Naadim crosses all barriers of language , religious thoughts and creeds that segregate Humanity . . A profound universalization of poetic thought……..

Wukh Voat Vizz Iyye Diyye Darshun Diyye
Layyee Hoat Moat Zeeshaan Ba Kattie Dharra
Gaashuur Saathhaa--- Noor Baraata
Num Num Srehh teilaan Me Aaechhi Dharra
Oush Chhunaa Kuunei Thahraan Ba Kyaah Karra
Paaridh Zunn Gaam Praan Ba Kyaah Karra
Loluss Ma Khassi haan Ba Kyaah Karra
Ruum Ruum Gaam Gumma Shraan Ba Kyah Karra …

( Dina Nath Naadim )

For those who do not understand kashmiri language , i have attempted to put the above  lines in simple english as under ....

The time has come ,
the moment too shall be approaching,
Shall he visit this way ?
 I believe he shall.
  He who happens to be   the  possessor of  splendor ,
Can i withstand his intense love and stature ?
A crystal clear   moment  drenched in floodlights  all over ,
Every nail in my body pains in  love
While the eyes keep  waiting.
And  tears rain  uncontrollably,
What should I do ?
This soul turning as restless as mercury on any surface .
This love may not be put to any  slander ,
What should I do ?
 And this body  drenched in sweats oozing from every pore in the skin ,
What should I do 

( Autar  Mota  22.08.2013)                 
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Monday, August 19, 2013



            While rearranging my books today ,  I came across a small booklet Titled  “Reminiscences  of Marx ” . The booklet has interesting articles on personal life of Karl Marx by Paul Lafargue (1842-1911 ) and Wilhelm Liebknecht( 1826-1900 ) .Paul was one of the founders of French socialist party while Wilhelm was a leader and  founder of German socialist party .some interesting anecdotes from the booklet are as under :-

To his friends and family karl Marx was fondly known as Moor . And Moor   was a heavy smoker who loved his Cigars .His room would always be full of  jars with  tobacco , cigars and match boxes .While he was writing DAS KAPITAL, he would tell his friends “ Look ! This book is not going to bring in any money to pay for my Cigars ” . He was quite spendthrift in use of  his match boxes . He would use three to four  match boxes per day  to light his cigars  .
In his study room he had kept photographs of his wife , daughters and Frederick Engels ( His friend and life long companion ).Frederick Engels was Marx’s Alter Ego.The room had books and papers  kept in disorderly position . The visitors were surprised as to how Marx could   locate his papers or manuscripts in this disorder .But this  disorder was apparent . And even while conversing , He would often stop to show a relevant passage or figure in the book itself. To visitors  he would often say “ These books are my slaves and must serve my will ”.He had scant respect for   format , binding and the quality of paper or printing of these books .He would turn down the corners ,underline passages and cover the margins with pencil marks .He had a habit of coming to these underlined passages and turned down pages again in order to refresh his memory which was extraordinarily vigorous and accurate .

 Marx knew almost all the European languages including Russian  .This talent he passed on to his daughters as well. He read Pushkin , Gogol and schedrin in original Russian .He  had  even started learning Arabic and Turkish . He would often say “ A foreign language is a weapon  in the struggle of life .” He  would spend good time in Reading poetry .Dante and Burns were his favourite poets . In fact he kept reading poets constantly selecting them from all the  European literature . He read Aeschylus in original Greek. He read  Novels as well and his Book shelf had books of Paul De Kock, Charles Lever ,Dumas , Walter scott , Cervantes and Balzac . All these books had passages underlined and corners folded  .He knew much of Shakespeare and Goethe  by heart .Quite often he would recite poems to his daughters .

Besides reading literature , Marx had another means of mental relaxation, Viz, Mathematics , of which he was exceedingly fond . Algebra gave him much needed relaxation . He would often immerse himself in this subject for relaxation. He would often say “ Mathematics is the soul of science ” He ALSO  wrote a scholarly and widely acclaimed paper titled  ‘INFINITESIMAL CALCULUS’
He would sleep very late often around 2 AM or 3 AM. and  would get up by 9 AM. After a cup of black coffee and reading his news paper , he would go to his study and get busy till 2 AM or 3 AM of next day breaking only for his meals and a walk .  The only physical exercise he took regularly was his walking. In the course of the day he would also sleep for just one hour on a sofa lying in his study. Sometimes he would forget even his meals and had to be summoned again and again by his daughters and wife to the dining room . He would eat his food hurriedly. He  was  a very poor eater. He would often say “ Thinking is a great food .Even the criminal thought of a scoundrel is grander and more sublime than the wonders of the heavens ”

( 6)
 Marx’s Saturdays and Sunday evenings were meant for the family. On these days Marx was a delightful companion to his friends and family. On both days , he was a loving father , a caring friend  who would be seen sparkling with wit and bubbling with humour , one who enjoyed a hearty laugh . His daughters loved him ardently and so did his wife and   Engels . To his daughters he was a playmate who  nicknamed him as MOOR .He would spend hours with his daughters making paper boats for them and  then play a sea war while burning all these paper boats .The girls would not allow him to work on Sunday and  quite often on Saturdays as well. The family would go on long walks with Tiffin and the girls would  keep listening lengthy stories from their father which he invented  with his rich imagination. He enjoyed becoming a horse   for the girls to ride on his back .
Marx demonstrated Noticeable  moral conduct in his personal life. He always encouraged and appreciated people with ideas .Envy , jealousy and vanity were unknown to him..He had a deadly hatred for meanness and artificial renown .  He expressed his opinions without any reservations and any one who came close to him was  influenced with his truthfulness. Throughout  his life ,  Frau Marx  remained his sole companion in truest and fullest sense of the word. They had known each other since childhood and had grown up together .Marx was only seventeen years old when they were betrothed .Frau had a royal lineage . Her brother was a minister to the king of Prussia and going  by these standards ,  Frau  had married a commoner .She was a woman of exceptional courage and patience and humility .Many  factory workers in their working clothes  would visit Marx family and all of them would enjoy Frau’s hospitality . She would personally serve them tea
 and food . She had a serene and cheerful temperament .

Marx and his wife were greatly attached to each other .Her beauty had been his joy and pride ;her gentleness and devotion had made it easier for him to bear the misery  inseparable from his troubled life as a  revolutionary  socialist .The suffering which brought Frau to grave also shortened the life of her husband .During her long and painful illness , Marx was worn out mentally by distress and physically by sleeplessness and lack of fresh air that he was used to during his daily walks . These were the predisposing causes of the fatal Pneumonia that he contracted. Frau faced death like a courageous woman . When she felt it was close at hand ,she said “ Karl , My strength is broken ” Frau often   called Marx as “ My Big Child .”
The family had another member named Helene who was a maid who remained a lifelong companion to Frau. Frau treated her like another daughter. Marx and Frau treated her with respect and dignity . Marx even played chess with her .The girls were very much attached to Helene and loved her immensely. The girls called her Lenchen. Helene also returned this love. Any visitor to this family was drawn to motherly love that Helene demonstrated .Quite often Marx  would obey Helene like a little child and rush down for his meals from his study.

Marx’s family grave is situated in High Gate Cemetery in North London. Not all members of the family are buried over here .
Jenny Von ( Frau Marx ), Karl Marx , Harry Longuet ( Their Grandson ) and the devoted Helene Demuth ( Lenchen )…..”

sadh kaafila pinhaa hai ,
sadh kaafila paidaa hai ,
awaaze jaras lekin
Iss dasht mein tanhaa hai ,
Sadiyon se issi soorat ,
Hai hukme safar jaari ,
Farmaane sitam jaari ,
Elaan e karam jaari .......

So Long so much………………..
( Autar Mota  )

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Sunday, August 18, 2013



Photo Autar Mota Aug.2013..

To these evening time views , I add a mini poem SHAAM ( EVENING ) written by me…

(Shaam )

Har eik Rang Ho Rahaa hai siyaah 
Ajab sukoot se lath-Pathh hai Hawaa
Daag Seenay ke Dhuul Gaye Hongay
Kaun Kehtaa hai Aadmi hai buraa

Yeh waqt Kyaa hai samajhanay ko umar lag jaaye 
Ke jaisay Maa koyee bachay ko goad mein Laaye
Yeh lo Aakaash mein har simt Parindon ka guzar 
Ab to har haal mein Doondeingay hum bhi ghar ki Dagar ………………..

( Autar Mota )
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Tuesday, August 13, 2013



 Photo Autar Mota August 2013.
I am adding  the A popular Poem of Faiz ahmed Faiz  to this photograph of mine....

Yeh dhoop kinara, shaam dhalay
Miltay  hain dono  waqt jahaan
jo raat na din,
jo aaj na kal
pal bhar ko amar,
 pal bhar mein dhuaan
iss dhoop kinare, pal do pal
honton ki lapak
baahon ki chhanak
ye mail hamaara jhoot na sach
kyon raaz karo, kyon dosh dharo
kis kaaran jhooti baat karo
jab teri samandar aankhon mein
iss shaam ka sooraj doobega
sukh so’engay  ghar dar walay
Aur raahi apni raah legaa………………………

( Faiz Ahmed Faiz )

My simple English version of this great poem  goes as under

This sunlight’s rim ,
This evening’s descend,
Where two moments convene  .
 This time , Neither day nor  night ,
Neither  present  nor the  future ,
A moment, everlastingly,
And  a moment, disappearing .
 And in this  sunlight’s rim,
For a few moments,
Our Leaping lips  ,
Our gripping  arms ,
Our  intimacy  at the moment ,
Neither true nor false .
Then  why this secrecy,
And  why blame somebody
And why utter a word of falsehood ,
 And  When in your ocean eyes,
This evening’s sun will lay down itself ,
The settled ones shall sleep peacefully ,
while  this  traveler shall move away  on his  path……..

( Autar Mota )

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Thursday, August 1, 2013





Rainawari area of Srinagar city has a glorious past .If it produced saints like Jeevan Sahib , Miyan Shah Sahib , Krishen Joo Kar, Zanana Zoi and Zind Shah Peer , it was also the birth place of Taba Ram Turki ( 1776-1847 ) and Bhawani Dass Kachroo ( husband or Kashmiri poetess Arnimal ) both renowned Persian scholars and poets  .Taba Ram Turki was a contemporary of Gani Kashmiri .

Saiyed Mohammad Madni who later came to be known ad Madin Sahib in Kashmir, had also settled peacefully in Rainawari before Sultan Zain ul Abdin made him to shift to his new capital Nowshera in Srinagar city . Pandit Keshav Bhat Jyotshi ,a profound astrologer and a Sanskrit scholar who is responsible for documenting Karm- kaand and various other religious texts for the Kashmiri Pandits also hailed from Rainawari. So did Jaffer Ali (recipient of many awards ) the well known papier mache artist belong to Hassanabad ,Rainawari.

Mata Bhagbhari, a saintly Kashmiri Pandit woman also lived in Rainawari . She  presented a hand woven Pashmina cloak to Guru Hargobindh Ji ,the sixth Sikh Guru on his visit to  the Kashmir valley. History informs us that during  the Afghan  rule in Kashmir ,  Dila Ram Quli  rose to become a member of the Kabul Darbaar. Dila Ram Quli  was also from Rainawari. Not only an able administrator ,Dila Ram Quli was a Farsi ( Persian ) poet as well.  Prof P N Dhar, well known economist and the then Principal Advisor to Mrs Indira Gandhi was also from Rainawari.  His father, Vishen Joo Hakim was the headmaster of Biscoe School .He worked with Tyndale Biscoe. This Hakim family lived at Surateng Mohalla  of Rainawari in close proximity to  the Mission Hospital .

T N Kaul ( ICS ) , Pandit Saligram Kaul ( engineer who fined his own wife for misuse of municipal water which was being used  by her for irrigating Kitchen garden . ), Pandit Prem Nath Thussoo (eminent educationist associated with Vishwa Bharti Institutions ), Dr B K Jalali ( well known surgeon from Kashmir ), Samsar Chand Kaul Ganhaar ( noted ornithologist ), Shridhar Joo Dulloo ( well known teacher who educated Ladakhis ), Ghulam Rasool Nazki ( broadcaster and Kashmiri poet ) ,Farooq Nazki ( Kashmiri poet and noted media personality ), Moti Lal Naaz ( Kashmir poet ) ,Ghulam Ahmed Sofi ( Amma Kaandhur, well Known Sufiana and Chhakri singer of Kashmir ),artist P N Kachru and artist  Gokul Dembi  also lived in Rainawari . Noted music composer and vocalist ,T K Jalali is also from Rainawari. Shyam Lal Saraf ( minister in Sheikh Abdullah's first cabinet after 1947 ) was also from Rainawari.  The illustrious Kak brothers , I mean the well known Journalist R K Kak ,  Journalist M L Kak , bureaucrat S K Kak ( IAS ) and  B L  Kak  ( author .. Fall of Gilgit  ) ) are also from Rainawari . Prof Amitabh Mattoo also belongs to an illustrious Mattoo family from Rainawari . Noted Urdu and Kashmiri scholar and  a  Sahitya Akademi  awardee ,Prof Mohammad  Zaman Azurda is also from   Hassanabad ,Rainawari. Nand Lal Wattal,  a well known Urdu Journalist of the  J&K state and former editor of  the ‘Khidmat’ newspaper was also from Rainawari. The list is endless.

Rainawari has another distinction of being home to Samuel Baqqal, probably the first amongst  the educated Muslims from Kashmir  who became a  Christian . Baqqals live in Kraalyaar locality of  Rainawari and  one of their family members fondly known as Mama or Ghulam Mohammad Baqqal  embraced  Christianity  in the first quarter of 20th century . He was a student of  the CMS Tyndale Biscoe School,  Srinagar , where he came under the influence of some missionaries . The Muslim society in  Kashmir opposed this conversion. Baqqal had to remain in hiding for many days He was later known as Samuel Baqqal. Samuel was a brilliant student who after passing his matriculation from Punjab University , went to Allahabad for further studies where from he did his BA followed by a BT degree from Lahore . In Lahore,  his name was published in a paper as a brave Kashmiri who single handedly doused flames of a burning house and saved  some lives  and  property .

After his BT degree , he joined CMS Tyndale Biscoe school as teacher . Soon the first world war broke out and Samuel was selected as  the Secretary , YMCA . He was asked to go to France and Palestine with British ( Indian ) troops . He was the first YMCA Secretary to enter Jerusalem with Lord Allenby. Due to his amazing qualities of organisation and leadership , Samuel became quite popular and was later moved to Afghan war front where he was joined by Pandit Shanker Kaul ( headmaster CMS School, Srinagar ), Bhagwan Das and Suraj Raina ( both teachers in CMS School, Srrinagar ) to work for YMCA. Samuel Baqqal was later selected by Maharaja of Mysore ( who was on a private visit to Kashmir ) for starting and heading a CMS School in  the Mysore State  .He did this job to the entire satisfaction of the Maharaja . In Mysore , Samuel also started  Mysore Boy Scouts which earned accolades in India .
The Maharaja Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar not only gave generous grants for the movement but also appointed his brother Yuvaraja Sri Kantirava Narasimharaja Wodeyar as the Chief Scout; who among the royal personages in India was the first to appear in public rallies in Khaki shirt and shorts, the uniform of the scouts.


While In Mysore ,he received a letter from his CMS School friends that the World War had created enormous hardships for the  Kashmiris from greedy and profiteering Galdhaars ( food grain sellers ), butchers , timber sellers and bakers who were backed by some government officials . The administration had actually failed to check black marketing in food grains . A food crisis had been created in the  Kashmir valley leading to many starvation deaths . Samuel Baqqal rushed back to Kashmir and the Maharaja of Kashmir appointed him as Executive Officer, State Granaries . The State Granaries were later known as Shaali Stores.His work to check prices and ensure smooth distribution through newly created Shalli Stores ( Public Distribution System ) earned him respect and admiration.


He married a girl from Bengal . Samuel had three children from this Marriage ; two daughters and a  son. The daughters were married in well off families while his son, Pran Nath  had a pathologists shop in Maharaja Bazar , Srinagar . Poet Farooq Nazki from Rainawari informs me that Pran Nath was also known as Mathieu and Nathi . This Baqqal family had cordial relations with their Muslim  cousins living at Kraalyaar  in Rainawari. This lone Christian family continued to live in Surateng Rainawari ( near the Fire Station ) in a grand building representing European architecture and style  spread in about half an acre plot duly fenced on all sides with a high brick wall . The family had their Christian friends visiting them from other parts of the city or from plains of the country .

My friend Kuldeep Machama would visit the family . From him I came to know that Samual’s  elderly widow  was living in the plains of the country  . She was from a Bengali Christian family  and was fondly called Granny by the family members .His grandson Rafi Sam Baqqal was also a brilliant boy and must be well settled in life. The family had a very good library that had books from many well known authors like Alexender Dumas, Charles Dickens and Somerset Maugham . The family would go to  the church on Sundays and celebrate Eid, Deepawali and Christmas happily. I have no knowledge of this family after 1990 . Samuel Baqqal died of pneumonia in 1927 at a young age of 33. He is  buried in Sheikh Bagh cemetery, Amira Kadal , Srinagar.  

( Avtar Mota )

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