Monday, February 23, 2015



(Photo Shailesh Mota.. Feb 2015 )

“””” Snow ! Why have you gone so far off from Our Kashmir ? “”””

To this photo and above thought , I am adding lines from Habba Khatoon’s lyrical complaint …

Dil Nithh Tchol-hom Roshey
Wolo Myaani Poshey Madno….

Walaai vei’ss Gatchhavaai *Handhey
Laaneiyan Nyaai kattie Andhey
Lu’kka Mae’tti  kad'nuss Randhey
……………….. Wolo Myaani Poshey Madno….

Walaai vei’ss Gatchhavaai *Hi’yey,
Yuuss Guv Su Kaettu Yiyey ,
Praaraan Chhuss Tchaanie Ziyey
……………….. Wolo Myaani Poshey Madno….

Walaai vei’ss Gatchhavaai Aabus
Duniyaa chhu Neindre Khwaabus
Praaraan Chhus Bo’ Jawaabus
……………….……… Wolo Myaani Poshey Madno….
( Habba Khatoon )

Having taken away my heart ,
How far off have you gone my love?
Come , My love , My flower ! My Consort !

Friend , Come , Let us go to collect dandelion ,
When shall these knotted strings of fate get untied ?
And now people take pleasure in my humiliation ,
Come , My love , My flower ! My Consort !

Friend , Come , Let us go to collect Jasmine flowers ,
The one who departs , Does he return thereafter ? Tell me .
While I keep waiting , Let you prosper .
Come , My love , My flower ! My Consort !

Friend , Come , Let us go and get water ,
This world is in a deep slumber at this moment , Love .
I wait for your response now .
Come , My love , My flower ! My Consort !

This lyric is possibly the finest expression of longing in kashmiri . I rate it as the best for its simplicity and the original vigour of the native language . Both the diction and idiom are just sweet and fresh. Profound is the complaint of separation conveying an intense longing . 

Some more poets came very close to this lyrical style of Habba Khatoon. About 50 years after her death, Akamal Ud Din Beg (1646-1723 AD ) wrote his popular song…Baaeli Haai Rumaai Rumaai ( My Beloved ! Every tissue is filled with your longing only ).This song bears very close similitude to Habba Khatoon’s popular Lyric … Chhu Me Baaeli Tamanna .

About 200 years after Habba Khatoon , ArinMaal ( a kashmiri Pandit Poetess ) used this Lyrical style in her poems . Her popular poems sung till today are Arni Rang Goam Shraavan Yiyey Kar Yiye Darshun Diyey ( The pallor of fading flower has fallen on the midsummer Jasmine bloom in me . O when shall these eyes see him again ) , Me kar Tuss kitch Poshan Maala Ta Aaluv Diya tosii ( I have made flower garlands for him , Just Hail him , friends . ) and Tee Kuss nisha hykaa haavith ba ( That longing , How can I show it to any person )

Mehmood Ghaami also wrote some poems in this lyrical style . I quote one … Dil Nithh Raet Thhum Goshey, Wolo Myaani Poshe Madno ( Taking away my hear t , You stopped paying heed to me . Come , My love , My flower ! My Consort !)

Later Mehjoor ( 1897-1952 AD) also wrote Poshi Maetti Jaanaano ( My Love ! Fond of flowers .) Mehjoor was inspired when he heard some village women singing Habba Khatoon’s ... Wolo Myaani Poshey Madno..sitting beside the babbling Doodh Ganga stream in Kashmir valley.
So Long So Much for today …….
( Autar Mota )

Handh and Vopul Haak are grown in upper hills of kashmir especially in areas of Gurez , Gulmarg and Shopian etc. Leaves of Handh and Vopul  Haak were cooked and eaten by kashmiris for rich  nutritive and medicinal properties . Both are Diuretic and rich in antioxidants . Handh and vopul Haak find mention in  a vaakh ( Four line poem ) of kashmir's saint poetess  Lal Ded as well. Hee Posh ( Hiyey ) is the kashmiri name of Jasmine flower.

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Saturday, February 21, 2015



BARF AUR AAG ( The snow and the Fire )
Hindi Poems by Nida Nawaz ( Nida Nawaz Bhat )
Published by
Antika Prakashan ,
C-56, UGF,-4
Ghaziabad (UP)...201005
Tel...0120-2648212  And 09871856053
ISBN  978-93--81923-95-5
Price Rs235/=
This is a second collection of Hindi Poems by Nida Nawaz ( Born 1963 ) .His first book “Akshar Akshar Rakt Bharaa “ was well received . The present book was released today at K L Sehgal Memorial Hall at Academy of Art Culture And Languages , Jammu in a simple but well attended function.
Nida needs no introduction . As writer , his conceptual frame work is clear and free from any ambiguity . As poet , Nida is sensitive and deeply conscious of the rich heritage and history of his native land . His language is direct meant primarily for integration, joining disunited hearts and spreading goodwill.
His Urdu poems have also been published in a Book titled “ Kiran Kiran Roshini “. Apart from this he has also translated some kashmiri poems into Hindi for “Ujalaa Raaj-Maarg “ published by Sahitya Academy. He is recipient of many honours and awards for his Hindi Writing.
Optimism is his eloquent Slogan .
The book is Dedicated to his grand Ancestor Acharya Udh Bhat and his own son Neeraj Nawaz Bhat .Nida is a postgraduate in Hindi ,Urdu and Psychology .He writes in Hindi ,Urdu and his own mother tongue kashmiri.


The poems in the Book present moving tales of pain , suffering , hopes and dreams . The poet has also touched some other subjects like the despair of Middle Existence, Women empowerment and the criminal act of killing a girl child .However the book essentially deals with issues of Militancy , suffering and pain of the people across religious divide . It has 63 poems spread in 112 pages , hard bound and is moderately priced at Rs235/=
The author informed ,
“ The Armed Militancy tore apart the age old , time tested and the strong bond of Peaceful co existence in our kashmir. The TANDAVA of wanton Death and Destruction brought forth an atmosphere of hatred and intolerance thereby halving the soul of kashmiriat . Religion and Politics were used to fuel the fire that smoldered and engulfed a Tradition and culture that had evolved over thousands of years .Even saner voices turned mute under fear and fright. A section of the population was left with no choice but to move out to save their lives . This group had to face innumerable hardships to survive in an alien environment .
A large section of peace loving common populace that stayed back, felt sandwiched between two armaments . One representing the Militants and the other being the cruel apparatus unleashed by some exploitative players representing the State .”
I quote some poems from this book….

 Lines from his poem (Mein Paloonga Eik sapna)
or ( I shall Nurture a Dream )...

“Jin Logon ke pass nahin Hotaa koyee ishwar ,
Woh Nahin Banaatay talwaarein , Kirpaan aur Trishul.
Na hi unn ke paas hotaa hai dar ,
Na hi doosaron ko Daraanay ki koyee Baat…….”

( Those who do not possess a God ,
Never do they make Swords, Kirpaans or Tridents,
Neither are they afraid of anything ,
Nor do they utter a word to frighten others )

Eik Aur Fatvaa Jaari kiyaa hai
Hamaare Shahar ke Bade Moulavi ne
Log Gharon ke Phool Daanon mein ,
Phool Nahin Balki Pather Rakh Lein ,
Aur jis gali se
Satya Chaltaa Dikhaai dhe
Sangsaar Kiyaa Jaaye …
( The Grand Molvi of our city has
passed one more Fatvaa now .
“Instead of flowers ,
People should keep stones in flower pots ,
And should they see Truth in any street ,
He be stoned all over …”

From Poem “Tumhaara kashyap “or Your Rishi Kashyapa ..This poem is dedicated to Noted Kashmiri Poet late Arjun Dev Majboor  .  Late Majboor had also to leave kashmir valleyin 1990  due to widespread Militancy and live as an exile far away from his motherland .Calling him Baba , Nida writes..

Baba , Ab Ki Baar
Hamaari Ghaati Mein Risaa Hai Utnaa paani
Ki jis ko Nahin Nikaal saktaa akelay
Tumhaara yeh Kashyap .
Lekin , Baba Palat hi Jaayeingay Itihaas ke pannay
Deir ya saveir
Aur Poori Ho Hi Jaayegi Pathreeli Pahaadon ke beech
Nirvasan ka Taap Jhelnay waalon ke
Dil Ki Jholion mein
Sanbhaali huyee
Ghar Lautanay ki
Utkutt ichhaa ..Baba

( Father , This time , we had too much of rainfall in the valley
And your kashyapa is not in a position to clear it alone ..
But Father ,
The pages of history shall have to change ,
Sooner or Later ,
hopes shall materialize into reality for Those,
who bear the heat of existence living on hills of boulders ,
And Nurturing passionate dreams of return to their homes, Father .)

(Tum Zaroor Gaana Meri Laadli ) or
You must sing My darling Daughter

Tum Darnaa nahin meri laadli ,
Tum Zaroor Muskaraana Meri Laadli ,
Aur Muskaraatay Muskaraatauy Gaana Koyee Geet ,
Pyaar ka ,
Maanavtaa ka ,
Brahmaand ka ..
You Must not get frightened My Darling Daughter ,
You must keep smiling my little Child ,
And smilingly , you must sing some song ,
A song of Love ,
A song for Humanity
And the song of this great Universe .)
( This poem is dedicated to the Girls who started PRAGAASH , the first Music band in kashmir valley )

(Woh Miltii hai )
I see her
( Wijood e Zun se Hai Tasveer e Qaaynaat Mein Rang )
“Woh Miltii hai ,
Ultra sonographic screen par ,
Maa Ke garb mein Dubkii,Anjaane dar se Sehmi,
Eik Doctor ko Hatyaare ke roop mein dekhtii Huyee “
( The existence of the woman lends colour to the picture of this universe )
I see her ,
I see her on the screen of the Ultra sound machine ,
Huddled with fear ,
Inside her mother’s womb,
Staring at the doctor , who , to her ,
Looks like a Killer .
( This poem is dedicated to a Girl child aborted criminally in her mother’s womb )

While speaking at the book release function , Sh Ramesh Mehta former Secretary Academy of Art Culture and languages ( The chief Guest of the function ) said ..

“ Now that Nida Nawaz has taken up the torch in his hands , He needs to ensure that the flame of the Truth and Light is kept burning . Let it burn till entire darkness is dispelled . His poems are crisp and based on concurrently relevant issues . I am impressed by his style of presenting human pain and suffering .These poems inspire compassion and firm belief in Human values . His poems flow like the Grand Vitasta river of Kashmir that is witness to rise and fall of so many empires and changes . I salute his unflinching faith in HUMANITY . "

(Autar Mota )                          

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Thursday, February 19, 2015



Dr  SHANKER RAINA  ( 1939-1979 )……A TRIBUTE


He was a trained  doctor  who also wrote short stories and radio plays . He rose like a shining star on the literary horizon of Kashmir .A star that glittered for some time and then suddenly slipped into the dark ocean of oblivion .Like the French writer Albert Camus  or the noted Urdu poet Parveen Shakir , this man also died young . And incidentally, he also died in a tragic car accident. He created some unforgettable characters and stories for the Kashmiri literature .Alas! we Kashmiris brushed him aside from our memory shelves . Our younger generation hardly knows even his name, I am sure on this issue at least.

 May be due to his profession, he was able to know human pain and suffering  intimately. He also came very close to the hopes and wishes of the individual sufferers. And accordingly, he carried profound consciousness of Death that is apparent in some of his stories .For this reason, some critics are tempted to brand his work as ‘Hospital Stories’ . On the contrary , even when immersed in pain and suffering ,some characters whom he created ,are sharp ,lively and warm individuals in spite of their physical inabilities and helplessness. There is romance , hope and goodwill in most of his stories. These stories present a mirror image of life as it exists .The clash of old and modern values that always existed in any developing society is also evident in some of his short stories. A careful study also reveals streaks of existentialism in his work .One can easily identify the profound loneliness and native anxieties of Raj Nath ( from the story  Lwoktchi Lwoktchi Kathhaa ) with those of Meursault in Camus’s ‘Outsider’.

 He faced criticism also . Some critics said that some of his stories present morbidity. Those amongst us ,who have read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s novel “Cancer Ward “ must not have escaped the overall morose texture of this great work. I still remember the gloom that the novel gave me with its characters :the cancer patients , attending doctors and  the nurses . Gloom does not lower the status of this great work . Even in gloom we get a clear glimpse of hope in Solzhenitsyn’s novel when Ahmadjan (an Uzbek ) recovers  from the deadly disease.

 Shanker Raina published his short stories in a book titled Zietini Zool ( Fireflies ). Vaen Kahinz Vaaer ( Whose turn is now ) , Haaput ( Bear ), Lwokitchi Lwoktchi Kathha ( Trivial  Issues ) ,Akh Pazul Ta Kenh Insaan ( A riddle and some People ) and Hotchhmetch Yaaer ( Dry Deodar Tree ) are some popular and powerful stories from this collection . Harud ( Autumn ) was a popular play that he scripted for Radio Kashmir, Srinagar . Quite often, his language is flowery ,poetic and emotional .I believe that Dr Shankar Raina would have been a very good poet had he stepped into that form of creative activity.


Dr  Abdul Wahid  from SKIMS ,Srinagar informs this :-

 “I have seen Dr Shanker Raina in Ward 3 of SMHS Hospital ,Srinagar.Those days Dr Ali Jan ,Dr  Verma, and other stalwarts like Dr Khuroo were managing the ward. Dr Raina had made his presence felt, and it looked  great. We had just finished our degrees..He was close to all of us..He came like a wind and left like a storm. We were plunged into grief.”


Prof B L Kaul informs me this :-

 “ He lived at Kral- khud , Habba Kadal and I remember him having a lean physique and wearing a Bulganin cut (goatee). As doctor, he drove an Ambassador car. I was impressed by his radio drama Harud -a father- in -law who has just retired buys a Saree of  hay colour as a gift for his daughter -in-law. She is not happy with the colour because it indicates autumn- the stage of life through which the old man is passing. How true?”


Bansi Raina from Pune informs me this :-  

 “I was also privileged to have known  Dr Shankar Raina .He dreamt every thing big. His house at Rajbagh had huge dimensions. His very signboard at Regal Chowk, Srinagar  was big considering doctors did not usually have such big signboards. He wanted every thing done in  hurry. I also acted in couple of his radio plays. Yes...he would have grown and made a big name in Kashmiri play writing. He was a tall man with a Bulganin beard.”


Senior Journalist Mohammad Syeed Malik  informs me this :-

 “Dr Shanker Raina's literary talent was marked by his intimate depiction of characters. He was a popular writer as much as he was recognized for his commitment to the medical profession. I knew him personally for a long time. His tragic death in a car accident in London cut short the story of life marked by struggle and hard work.”


In his story Lwokitchi Lwoktchi Kathha (Trivial  Issues ), a reader comes across many issues that appear to be trivial and ordinary . Quite often we overlook them for their relevance and appearance to life. But we are finally led to believe that these very trivial matters form the very fabric of existence .Raj Nath of Kharyaar ,Habba kadal is a wonderful character that he created for this story .The description of a clear day after night long heavy rains followed by evening time reddening of the horizon and thereafter a pleasant cool night gleaming with stars has been described with a poetic fervor in this story. A tired Rajnath wants to have a complete Saturday night’s sleep in this cool and peaceful ambiance but is kept awake by loud noise and singing in his neighbourhood. A Marriage festivity accompanied by singing on Tumbaknaari beats is in full swing over there . Accordingly, he sleeps very late and gets up almost at noon. What to do with himself on a Sunday ? Raj Nath looks out from his window and is happy to notice clouds over the mountains on an otherwise sunny day .He decides to visit Nishat Garden .For Raj Nath ,many trivial issues crop up as he leaves his house to go to Nishat Garden .These trivial issues ,he confronts at the bus stand , inside the bus , in the garden and on his return in the Shikara to the Boulevard Ghat .A reader is engrossed from the very first paragraph of this story. This story in English translation has been included by Neerja Mattoo in her book,” Kath (stories from Kashmir). Whose  Turn is now ?  ( Vaen Kaem sinz Vaer )  is another story of Dr Shanker Raina   that is included in the book ‘ The Greatest Kashmiri Stories Ever Told’ . The book has been edited and compiled by Neerja Mattoo. This story has also been translated into English from Kashmiri  by Neerja  Mattoo. The story is set in a hospital where patients  await recovery --- or death.

  ( Photograph of Dr Shanker Raina  ..Source ..Shakeel Rehman ,, well known theatre artist from Kashmir )

Dr Shanker Raina belonged a poor family that had little means to  support his college education  . Looking at the brilliance of the young boy, Prof Jay Lal Kaul helped him in his college studies and guided him in his zest for becoming a doctor.  For some time , he lived in Prof Jay Lal Koul' s house. A reliable source also informs me that Dr Shanker Raina had two unsuccessful love affairs; one in Anantnag and the other in Srinagar during his career. Both women were from his profession.His untimely death in a tragic road accident in England,deprived the Kashmiri literature of this new trend and direction .Apart from being a great human being and a compassionate doctor, he was a writer of great promise.


“Kaun iss ghar ki dekh-bhaal kare

Roz ikk cheez toot jaati hai

So gaye peid jaag uthi khushbu

Zindagi Khwaab kyon dikhaati hai”……..( Juan Elia )


( Who shall look after this house ( world ),

Everyday something breaks away.

The trees slept and lo and behold ,

How  fragrance emerges all over now.

 Why does life put forth dreams to us ?)



( Avtar Mota )

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015



( Photo Autar Mota )

Autar Mota reading “ The spirit of Upnishads “ in English Translation. A Book of lofty thoughts or the Himalayas of Ancient Wisdom of India. The search of the man in universe around him and His relation with it . The rooted Identity and the affirmation of I am divine . “ Aham Brahmasmi “ Or I am the self Divine . “Soham “ or He am I expressed through the very life force , Breath: the “So” of Inhaling and the “Ham” of Exhaling. The story of ATMAN or the soul or the self . Call it by any name . The philosophy of Truth ( Satya ) and Bliss ( Ananda ). The beginning of Journey and the end of it.
Prayers for peace on earth , water and sky . Peace in plants and animal kingdom. Prayers to lead all from darkness to light , From unreal to real, From Sorrow to bliss from hate to love , from disintegration to integration from separation to unity and from discord to concord. Prayers for common intents and utterances of human beings. 

Pray we follow one leader . Pray we prosper together . Pray we live together . Pray we rise together ..
The pearls of Wisdom from Katha Upnishad , Kena Upnishad, Chandogya Upnishad , Mundaka Upnishad , Mandukya Upnishad , Taittiriya Upnishad , Brihad Aranayka Upanishad, Athar Veda , Yajur Veda and Rig Veda . Yes upnishads are perhaps the greatest tools to tear apart the veils of darkness while seeking reply to the fundamental question of existence; WHO AM I ?????

I quote …..

The Infinite , is where one sees nothing else , 

Hears nothing else,
And understands Nothing else .
The finite , is that in which one sees something else ,
Hears something else ,
And knows something else .
That which is infinite is immortal,
And that which is finite is mortal.
The infinite is below ;
It is above ;
It is to the west ,
East , south and North .
The infinite is the whole universe .
( From Chandogya Upnishad )

That which is not expressed by speech ,

But that by which speech is expressed ;
Realize that alone as Brahaman ( True self )
And Not what people here worship…..
( Kena Upnishad )

Without sound ,

Intangible , Formless , Constant …
That eternal , which can neither tasted nor smelt ,
Which has no beginning and No end ..
Immutable and beyond nature is the self .
By discerning that ,
One is liberated from the Jaws of Death.
That one ruler ,
The self within all beings ,
Transforms his one form into many .
The wise who perceive him within their self …
To them alone belongs eternal happiness :
To none else ,
To none else !
( Katha Upnishad )

Let The son be loyal to his father ,

And of the same mind as his mother ,
Let the husband and wife speak to each other
with words that are full of sweetness .
Let not brother hate a brother ;
Nor a sister hate a sister ,
Unanimous , Of one common intent ,
Speak you words in friendliness .
May all Beings dwell in Happiness .
May all beings dwell in peace .
May all beings attain oneness .
And may all beings attain auspiciousness .
Peaceful be the heavens ,
May the earth be calm ,
And the spacious atmosphere gentle ,
May the flowing waters ,Rich in moisture be soothing ;
May all plants and herbs be beneficial to us .
( Athar Veda )

Sweet wafts the wind ,

And the rivers pour forth sweetness .
So may the herbs be filled with sweet juices .
Pleasant be our nights and sweet our dawns .
May the dust of the earth be full of sweetness !
May the plants be sweet to us !
Pleasant for us be Father Heaven!
May the sun be imbued with sweetness !
And may our milch- Kine be sweet for us .
( Rig Veda )

Be not parted, Rest united,Intelligent,thriving together,

Moving together under a common yoke.
Come speaking sweetly each to other;
And here I make you have one aim and be of one mind

(Athar Veda)

Beyond the senses is the mind,

Beyond the mind is the intellect,
Higher than intellect is the Atman,
And greater than Atman is the unmanifest...
(Katha Upnishad)

The killer thinks he kills,

The killed thinks he is killed,
Neither of these know the reality,
Neither the self kills nor is it killed....

(This sloka from Katha upnishad is close to what saint poetess Lal Ded says in her vaakh...kuuss murrie taai kuss maaran ?....Who shall die and who shall be put to death ?????)

May God protect us,

grant us wisdom's fruit; 
May we gain energy to know the Truth; 
May our intellects grow clear and bright;
May we cherish no ill feelings toward anyone.
Om, peace, peace, peace be unto all.
( Taittiriya Upnishad )

As rivers, flowing down, 

become indistinguishable on reaching the sea
by giving up their names and forms, 
so also the illumined soul,
having become free from name and form,
reaches the self-effulgent Supreme Self -

( Mundaka Upanishad )
( Autar Mota )


BRAHMAN is a vast term with varied meanings. Apart from True self , It also means the transcendent and immanent ultimate reality of the One Supreme Cosmic Spirit.
" It is also the universal substrate from which material things originate and to which they return after their dissolution. In Advaita Vedanta, Brahman is without attributes and strictly impersonal. According to Advaita Vedanta, consciousness is not a property of Brahman but its very nature. Upanishads teach that Brahman is the ultimate essence of material phenomena (including the original identity of the human self) that cannot be seen or heard, but whose nature can be known through the development of self-knowledge. "

" Brahman is the indescribable, inexhaustible, incorporeal, omniscient, omnipresent, original, first, eternal, both transcendent and immanent, absolute infinite existence, and the ultimate principle who is without a beginning, without an end , who is hidden in all and who is the cause, source, material and effect of all creation known, unknown and yet to happen in the entire universe."

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