Monday, September 30, 2013



                     (   KASHMIRIS   AND HAAK   OR  COLLARD GREENS    )

“Gaarri haak paeri haak , naakhaai paana gaeri draakh"

(Haak cooked in the family
 and Haak outside it,
 O heart,  
why then leave the home? )

“Aey haak tche kaeti aakh ,na tche noon na tche paak “

(O  haak !  where did you come from?
 You neither need salt nor too much of boiling . )

 And what would you do if you don't get Haak in Gurgaon shopping malls.  Yes buy spinach instead and cook it like  Haak and forget. On a  visit to Gurgaon, Haryana, I wrote a poem on this issue when I bought green and leafy spinach and got it cooked like Haak. Here is the poem:-

                 (Paalak khaayi Haak samajh kar)

Haak doondanay hum gaye Gurgaon ke mall
Haak shaak to na milaa aaya hamein khayaal
Aaya hamein khayaal le aayein paalak ghar mein
Mauj kareingay issay pakaa kar harey mutter mein
paalak ke pattay chaurray aur harey harey thhay
Shelf  tokray iss sabzi se bharrey bharey thhay
Ghar mein bolaa issay pateelay mein hi pakaao
Haak samajh kar Gurgaon mein paalak khaao

(Avtar Mota )


Haak is a green leafy vegetable consumed by Kashmiris. It is certainly an equivalent of ‘Hara Saag’  of the Indian cuisine. Kashmiris cook it any day or every day. It is an essential dish in Kashmiri Pandit marriage functions and is gradually entering the cuisine of north India. Kashmiris may call it by many names like  Kaanul Haak, Haanz Haak, Tolaa Haak, G. M. Dar Haak, Khanyaer Haak, Noor Bagh Haak and Kaatchhi Haak but Haak as such belongs to acephala group of vegetables that also include cabbage and broccoli. Kashmiris also connect some other green leafy vegetables with Haak. I quote some as  Vopal Haak, Vostaa Haak, Mujji Haak and Monji Haak. 

Kaanul is the early springtime Haak with tiny stems. This Haak has small and soft sprouting green leaves. The summer Haak available in Kashmir is green leafy with wrinkles. The autumn Haak is green leafy with stems. The sweet and tasty green stems of this autumn Haak are also cooked along with green leaves. These stems are called Kaatchhie in Kashmiri. Accordingly, this Haak is also known as Kaatchhie Haak. Another tasty variety of Haak with long and fleshy stems and green leaves grown in the winter season is known as Tolaa Haak. All varieties of Haak grown in Kashmir are tasty. 

The Haak gravy or soup is known as ‘Haak Russ’ . Haaka Vater ( Haak leaf ), Haak Bodh ( a  bundle of Haak leaves ), Haak Phoat ( a basket for carrying Haak by sellers ), Haak Door ( a bed of Haak ), Haak Null ( Haak stems ), Aaaram Vaer ( Haak growing field ) and Haak Raadh ( A floating space created over water for growing Haak . This is seen in Dal lake  ) are quite popular terms with Kashmiris. It is believed that Haak was first cultivated by ancient Greeks. Americans call it  'collard  greens ‘. It is also cultivated in  China, Spain, Croatia, Bosnia,  Herzegovina, Siberia,  Portugal, Brazil, and  Africa.   Don’t be surprised when I say that some communities in deep South especially Tamilnadu cultivate Haak and call it Seemai Parattai Keerai.

The Kashmiri way of cooking Haak is meant to retain its aroma. Accordingly, it is not laced with spices. It is carefully cleaned and leaves are plucked from long stems. Haak should be cleaned for pests and insects that thrive on the leafy green material. Just heat three-four spoonfuls of mustard oil to the flashpoint. Cool it down and add two or three cups of water, one or two green chillies possibly compact. In case you want to add cut chillies, remove seeds as these may spoil the taste. Add a few drops of milky white liquid Heeng (asafoetida ). Add a pinch of salt. Put washed Haak leaves in this mixture and cool stir it. Now put the mixture over a gas flame in a pressure cooker and boil it for two or three whistles. Remove the flame. Let it cool down. Don't open the cooker lid when the Haak is hot. That removes the entire aroma. Let it cool and then serve.  Some families add a pinch of Kashmiri Vaer ( Masala Tikki ) as they cook it . This is how Kashmiri Pandits cook   Haak. Kashmiri Muslims do not use Heeng (asafoetida ). They also add pinches of some spices like turmeric powder, red chilly powder and other spices with some small pieces of cut garlic.

Haak provides the body with various vitamins especially vitamin K and E, calcium, iron,  magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. It also contains proteins and carbohydrates apart from being a rich source of dietary fibre so essential for our intestines. A  recent newspaper report informs as under:-

"Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have recently discovered that diindolylmethane in collard greens is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with potent antiviral, antibacterial and anti-cancer activity. Collard greens are also a high source of vitamin K (the clotting vitamin) and should be eaten in moderation by individuals taking blood thinners."

 During my recent visit to the  US, I found Haak or collard greens  in abundance inside vegetable stores of New York.  Chinese vegetable sellers sell a variety of Haak in the US. I would frequently buy Kaanul variety from Chinatown market in Canal Street, New York. 

Let us  eat Haak as much as we   can to prove the Kashmiri saying:-

‘ Buss  Haak ta  bataah gatchi poshun ’
 “Let Haak and rice  be there for us ”

( Avtar Mota )

                                          (   Haak seeds meant for germination )
                                      (  Above ..Vaer or  Kashmiri Masala Tikki  used for cooking Haak )
                                                         ( Above  Heeng (Asafoetida )  dissolved in Water  )
                                            ( Green chillies used for cooking Haak in Kashmir )

                                                ( Collard Greens  grown in a pot in the US )
                                          ( Haak sellers on Foreshore Road  near Nishat Garden )                                             

            ( Winter Haak or Tolaa Haak sold in Kashmir   along with Nadru or  Lotus  stems )


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Monday, September 23, 2013



Photo Autar Mota September 2013.
To this phorto I am adding my   Quatrain composed in kashmiri

Kraaekh Gayee “ Bur Guvv ! Kustaam Bur Guvv ”
Aissi Gayee kaael Zeiiv Vaaetie Pyaath Sirr Pyaav.
Aiss kuss Kuss Vanahuvv he Kyaah Guvv
 Wuzza Kin Vyupp  Tchaav Daariien Bur Guvv
( Autar Mota )

A sudden cry “ Some one has been shown the door ”
 And we felt dumbstruck ,
 For our secrets were now open to every one’s scrutiny …
Whom  could we say  as to what happened ?
The floods entered our courtyard
And the windows turned  doors for us.   

( Avtar Mota 23.09.2013 )                                                                                        
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Based on my regular  visits to Gurgaon  Haryana , I have scribbled some lines as my impressions .  I am now combining all these impressions together and  giving  them the  shape  of  a long poem in  5 segments . The opening  segment   of the poem is Titled DHOBI ( Washerman )  .   Dhobi is illiterate and is  from a village in Bihar  . He is young and  married and the need to earn a livelihood has driven him to this  far away city. His wife lives with his parents  in the village waiting, waiting and waiting .   And for knowing welfare  of the family back home , he is dependent on someone who can read his letters.

 This is a simple poem about the life that exists in this new   city of Skyscraper . I have used a  line from  my favourite  childhood  play song   “TIPPY TIPPY TOP ” in this poem . The poem is Titled   GURGAON . I am uploading  four   segments today.



Purshotam Dhobi Ghar Aayaa
Jaib Mein Biwi ka Khat Laaya

“ Sahib Issay Zaraa Pad Lena
Ghar Ka haal Hamein Kah Denaa ”

“Jo Paisa Tum Ne  Thhaa Bhejaa
Sab Ka sab Amma Ne Chheena
Hum To Baandhi Majdooran Hain
Sevaa Tyaag Hamaara Dhan Hai
Ram Saran Bhaiyaa Jab Aavay
Amma Ussay  Dakait Bataavay
Kab Aaogay Iss Lanka Mein
 Sita Karay Vilaap ”.......

Tippy Tippy Top
Tippy Tippy Top
What colour do you want
Tippy Tippy Top …………………




Pandraah  Manzil Building Chhat se 
Rassi Baandh ke Koyee Latkay 
Deewaaron par Rang Chadaavay
Tab Jaa kar do Roti Khaavay 
Tapti Dhoop mein Pait Ke Kartab
Neechay Duniyaa ko Kyaa Matlab 
 Loongi Chadder Bottle Dubba 
Jhuggi Machchar Lotta Khattiyaa 
Zarda Khaini Beedi Thekaa
Jai Jai Jai Parbhu Teri Duniyaa
Iss Nagri Ka Guru Mantar Hai 
Apnaa Rasta Naap ....

Tippy Tippy Top
Tippy Tippy Top
What colour do you want
Tippy Tippy Top …………………




Yeh Bengal Bihar  se Aavay 
Salma Pushpa Naam Bataavay 
Kapday Bartan Jhaadu Poanchaa
Aur Sanbhalay Chhotaa Bachaa 
Lunch Dinner Breakfast Banaavay 
Sukh Baantay Tab Roti Khaavay 
Iss Ki Jhuggi Haal Niraala 
Daaru Mein Dhuut Hai Ghar- vaala 
Bachay Din Bhar Reit Mein Khelein
Nangay Paanv hain Kapday Meilay 
Bees Baras Mein Boodi ban Kar 
Kehtee Jeevan Shraap ........

Tippy Tippy Top
Tippy Tippy Top
What colour do you want
Tippy Tippy Top …………………




Bastay, Tiffin ,Dhoodh Aur Paper
Yoga ,Khabrein ,Toilet Shower
Lift Lagay Karnay Khaali Ghar
Cab Aa Gayee Khul Gaye Daftar
Aath Bajay Ghar Soona Khaali
Baat Reh Gayee Karnay Vaali
Ek Chhat Hai Aur Hai Ek Bistar
Dil Ki Baat Hai Dil Ke Andher
Builder Chheen Rahaa Khalihaan
Gamlon Mein Baagon Ki shaan
Paas hi Gaaon Ki Deewaron par
*Uplon Ki Hai Chhaap ....

Tippy Tippy Top
Tippy Tippy Top
What colour do you want
Tippy Tippy Top …………………




Thanday Thanday shopping Mall
Seedi Bhaagay Paanv sanbhaal 
Thandi Car hai Thanday  Daftar 
Baahar Barsay Aag Baraabar
Prawn ,Shawarma ,sea food ,Pizza 
Momo, Burger ,Noodle  ,Pasta 
Swami ji , Leader  Ya Builder 
Paisay Kaa saara Aadambar 
Night Partiyaan Drugs Aur Whiskey 
Sattaa ,Daulat ,Dandhaa, Kadki
Neta Ji Jalssay Mein Kartay 
Aadarshon kaa Jaap ...................

Tippy Tippy Top
Tippy Tippy Top
What colour do you want
Tippy Tippy Top …………………

( Avtar Mota 23.09.2013 )

* Uplay means cow dung cakes ..

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013



Sheshnaag Stream coming from sheshnaag lake  to  Pahalghaam Valley , kashmir 
Photo Autar Mota august 2013.
Hum Bichhad ke tum se Baadal ki Tarah Rotay Rahay 
Thhak gaye to Khwaab ki Dehleez pe sotay Rahay 
( Zubair Rizvi )
                      Lidder stream coming from Aru  side to  pahalghaam valley in kashmir
                                                   Photo Autar Mota August 2013.

                                        Bichhadatay daamanon mein Phool ki kuchh pattiyaan rakh do.
                                        Taa'luq ki Giraanbaari mein thodii Narmiyaan rakh do.
                                        Bhatak Jaatii hain tum se door chehron ke taaqu'b mein,
                                        Jo tum chaaho meri aankhon pe apni ungliyaan rakh do
                                  ( Zubair Rizvi )
           And then both the streams meet at  SANGAM just below Pahalghaam Bus Stand ...

( Autar Mota 10.09.2013 )

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Friday, September 6, 2013




Two persons ( Shantiveer kaul and Shailesh Mota.) made a specific comment to my poem (that I uploaded recently ) that four lines composed by me are in Kaka Hathrasi style. Shantiveer ji ( son of well known  kashmiri Poet   Dina Nath Naadim ) reads and writes a lot. Add to this, he appears to be retaining a lot as well . I treat him as an encyclopedia on Urdu , Hindi , English and kashmiri literature . I am surprised about Shailesh Mota . Shailesh lives currently in South Korea . Totally cut off from Literature and poetry , he spoke Kaka’s another poem “Anpad Biwi “ to me over telephone yesterday word by word as I had spoken to him in his childhood.. I would read Kaka poems to him when he was a child. The satire and humour in these poems would bring smiles on his face . So did I read kaka to many cousins in our family . None has forgotten his name nor the punch lines from his poems .

“ Aaiye Aaiye ! To Aap Hain Kaka . Sunaa hai Hum par Bhi Khoob likha hai . Aap ki woh Agra Cantt or Cement permit Vaali Kavita Bahut Khoob hai.”said Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru to Kaka Hatharasi when a group of Hindi poets from UP were invited by Pandit ji to his residence in New Delhi.
And for readers I reproduce lines from both the poems from my memory apart from some lines from another popular poem of kaka .

Anpad Biwi ( Illiterate wife )

Anpad Biwi ko sikhlaaya
Patr ( Letter ) likho to aissay
Oopper ( Top ) Likho Praan Piyaare
Neechay ( Bottom ) Charnon ki Daasi
Pehlaa Patr Mila Uskaa to
Sar Chakraaya Mera
Oopper Likha Charan Dass
Neechay Praanon ki Pyaasi
( kaka Hatharasi )

And the poem which Pandit ji also liked

Lagaa Agra Cantt pe supply ka Tent
Kaka Bhi Lenay Gaye Duss Thelaa Cement
“Duss Thelaa cement?”
“Karaa Do File Arzi .”
Hum ne kahaa Huzoor Aap Ki Jaisi Marzi
Saade Paanch Maheenay Baad Lifaafa Aaya
Khola Uss mein Do Thelay Ka permit paaya
Aglay Din Bazaar mein Milay seth Harbans
Bolay Kaka Pistol Ka Dilvaavo Licence
Dilvaavo Licence Seth Hum Ne samjhaaye
Duss Thelay Maangay thhay Do Thelay Paaye
Issi Ganit ( Maths ) Ko Soanch samjh Kar Lambi Haanko
Pistol Chaaho To Licence Toapp ( Canon ) Ka Maango .

(Naam Bade Aur Darshan Chhotay )

Naam Roop Ke Bheid par kabhi kiya hai goar
Naam mila Kuchh aur to Shakl Akal Kuchh aur
Shakl akal kuchh aur Nain Sukh Dekhay Kaane
Babu Sunderlaal Banaaye Einchak-taanay
Kah Kaka kavi Dayaraam Ji Maarein machchhar
Vidhyadhar ko Bhains baraabar Kaala akshar
Pandit shanti swroop chalaatay dekhay Danday
Keh Kaka Jwala Prasad Ji Bilkul Thanday ..
( kaka Hatharasi )

Who is Kaka Hathrasi ?

Padamshri Kaka Hathrasi is the assumed name of Prabhu Dayal Garg (1906-1995 ) from Hathras in UP who was not only a poet of humour and satire but an authority on Indian classical Music and Dance. His style of humour and satire was mature and direct . He wrote very sharp satires on social, religious and political evils, greed and corruption engulfing India at that time. A stream of poets followed his style . Kaka Died on 18th September . This was his birthday as well and accordingly this day is now celebrated as “ Humour Day ” in the country .
Kaka has published more than 40 books of humorous verse . Almost all the books have been published by Hind Pocket Books New Delhi. I would suggest readers to go through his book JAI BOLO BAIMAAN KI . The subjects and issues that kaka has touched are more relevant today.Kaka had a large number of admirers which included Firaq Gorakhpuri and Harivansh Rai Bachan . I quote some select lines from this book ..

Neta Ji Ki car se Kuchal gayaa Mazdoor
Beech Sadak Par Mar Gayaa Huyee garibi Door
Gaadi Ko Le gaye Bhagaa-kar Jai Ho Kirpa Nidhaan ki
Jai bolo Baimaan ki

Mill Maalik Se Mil gaye Neta Namak Halaal
Mantra Pad Diyaa Kaan Mein Khatam huyee hartaal
Patra Push Se Pocket Bhar Di Shramikon ke shaitaan Ki
Jai Bolo Baimaan ki

Munn Mailaa Tunn Ujaraa Bhaashan Lachhedaar
Ooper Satyaachaar hai Andher Brashtachaar
Jhoothon ke Ghar Pandit Baanchay Kathhaa Satya Bhagwaan ki
Jai Bolo Baimaan ki

( Autar Mota 06.09.2013)

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