Tuesday, March 31, 2015



( A Typical Saa'dh Maqqaar )
 (Photo source ..Brij Krishan Dass)

He was at our door at 7AM. Wearing a long Kashmiri Pheran and  a cap on his head , he entered  our house  with a big knock  and  loudly declared in chaste kashmiri ..
'Tche nai poshan na .Ba gaalukh byol.  Sakh kooshish karikh me dyotukh na votalanaa.  Bachaa ma aasukh vopar garan sozaan......Allhum di Soo ..Vallhum di zoo....Aasmaen kotur  gutur goo gutur  goo.... Bhabi...vala ann niyaaz baapat kharch ta tomul’
" They can't touch you. I shall destroy them from their root. They tried hard but i did not encourage them. Do not send your children to houses of strangers."Allhum di soo ...Vallhum di zoo....The pigeon in the sky ..  Gutur goo gutur  Goo....Lady , now bring  some cash and rice for the niyaaz." 

By word " They ", he meant some so called evil forces , which according to him , were out to harm   our family.His job was done.

And by the time i came to know what had actually happened ,he was out with 20 rupees and a kg of rice given by my mother.Mother would say that he is a dangerous man.Better he leaves the house.He was a Saa'dh Maqaar or a fraudulent  religious man  in the guise of a Syed. A tricky beggar posing as a saint or a faquir    .

Then one day i saw him sipping tea inside the shop of Mohd Sidiq Sofi ( kashmiri bakery shop owner ) and our neighbour. Mohd Sidiq's mother known as Sondhar Dedh was from Pampore town near Srinagar city . I immediately asked her who he was. She promptly replied   that he was Ramzaan Saa'dh Maqaar ( Ramzaan the fraudulent syed ) actually from pampore outskirts. She continued that he belonged to a family that  had no agricultural land and as such practiced Saa'dh Maqaari profession  in far off villages or city localities. Sondhar Dedh added that these Saa'dh Maqaars cheated innocent people  outside some shrines and ziyarats as well.  
That day onwards Ramzan Saa'dh Maqaar was not seen in Rainawari.

 Later i came to know  that  during winters , these Saa'dh Maqaars would visit   Amritsar , Ludhiana , Phagwara , Jalandhar , Pathankote  and many other cities of  Punjab  to   rob innocent  and poor kashmiri muslim labourers of their hard earned savings. Posing as Peer sahib or a  Dervish , they  would entice  people in their trap  . At times ,locals too fell to their well laid out trap. Before 1947, they were also seen in Lahore during winter months .
His words ‘Allhum di soo,  Vallhum di zoo ,Aasmaen kotur  gutur goo gutur  goo appeared mysterious at that time.I thought he was probably warning the so called evil forces to keep off from our family. These lines remained etched in my memory..And the fraudulent faquir  had succeeded in making me to remember something which actually meant nothing.

I have also seen these Syed Maqaars coming in groups. Their leader   would always be an elderly person with white beard. The would  say loudly :

" Jai gosaein  ! Veshnaarpan deeytuv "
‘ Victory to the  sadhu , for god’s sake , give something ’
I end this write up wiih a couplet of urdu poet Majrooh Sultanpuri……

"Tere khanumaan kharabaan ka na chaman na koyi sahra,
Ye jahaan bhi baith jaayein waheen unn ki baargaahein.."

(Those rendered homeless by you,
Neither do they belong to the garden
Nor to the desert.
Wherever they sit ,
They create their own audience halls,)
(Avtar Mota)
According to Walter R Lawrence

“ The Saiyad Makkaar Fraternity are fraudulent faquirs who pretend to be saiyads and wander about Kashmir and India cheating Public . Many have taken to trade .They intermarry among themselves. ”
( Refer Page 308 “The Valley Of Kashmir  “ By Walter R Lawrence )

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Friday, March 27, 2015



 Krishna Misri ( Zadoo ) was barely 14 when she got herself enrolled as a volunteer in the Women’s Wing of the National Militia set up by the supporters of the National Conference to fight Invading tribal raiders in 1947. This resistance group was also known as the Women’s Self-Defence Corps. (WSDC) . The slogan coined during those turbulent days was:-


“Hamlaavar khabardaar hum Kashmiri hain tayaar “ 


(“ Beware you, aggressor, we Kashmiris are prepared to fight back“)



For the first time, Kashmiri girls drawn from Hindu and Muslim households bore arms and were trained in firing guns to drive away tribal raiders. Krishna Misri was one such brave girl. The girls were trained to fire 303 guns, stun guns and pistols at Chandmaari, Srinagar and later at Badami Bagh, Srinagar. Some elders say that  National Conference workers activists raided the armoury of the Maharaja and distributed the arms to volunteers.


Krishna Ji’s brother, Pushkar Zadoo too achieved martyrdom along with Maqbool Sherwani, Master Abdul Aziz and Som Nath Beera during those turbulent days. At that crucial time, Maharaja suddenly left Srinagar and there was practically no administration. It was reported that the advancing tribal raiders were approaching Srinagar city via two routes; one Bandipora -Safapora road and the other Pattan- Baramulla road. The city had already plunged into total darkness with raiders destroying the Mohra powerhouse. The climate was getting colder day after day and winter was fast approaching. Fear and panic prevailed all over. Against this background, volunteers from the men and women Militia marched through the street of Srinagar city along with guns, building confidence in the population terrified by reports about the advancing tribal raiders. They guarded bridges, roads and vital installations in the city and its outskirts. Krishna Misri and her team of volunteers were also deployed to provide logistical support to the Indian forces as they were new to the terrain and the local language. These volunteers also did enormous social work in the camps set up for the hapless refugees who poured into Srinagar city to save their lives and honour. The raiders had almost destroyed the entire Baramulla town. Stories of rapes, brutalities, death and destruction in and around Baramulla town in particular were heard from all corners. These volunteers collected cash donations, rations and warm clothes for the refugees. They also kept visiting refugee camps and the city hospitals to provide moral support and first aid to the molested, raped, and abducted hapless women who were brought from the areas ravaged by the raiders. Begum Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah supervised all the social activities and relief work of the Women’s Self-Defence Corps.

Miss Mehmooda Ahmed Ali Shah ( sister of Dr Naseer, noted physician of Kashmir ), Freda Bedi ( mother of Indian actor Kabir Bedi ), Begum Akbar Jahan ( wife of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah ), and Zainab Begum ( sister of late G M Sadiq former chief minister, J&K ) were also associated with WSDC Militia. It is worthwhile to make special mention of an illiterate but determined girl from a milk seller’s family in downtown Srinagar Named Zoon ( Zoona Gujri ) who too took to the streets and led the march past of WSDC Militia. A contingent of WSDC Militia was led by Zainab Begum.


                                                                ( Pushkar Zadoo )
                         ( Krishna Ji standing extreme left with her family members  )
            ( Krishana Ji welcoming Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah  and Begum Abdullah to her college )

As a veteran of the Women's Militia, Krishna Misri remained an active member of various social and political organisations. As a member of the Citizen’s Council, she visited Haji Peer pass in 1965 which was conquered by the Indian army. Along with other women volunteers, she carried out relief and rehabilitation work in Haji Peer where Gujjar families particularly women and children were in distress and pathetic condition.


And Poet Agha Shahid Ali has dedicated a beautiful English poem to Krishna Misri. The poem appears on Page 184 in Agha Shahid Ali's poetic collection,"The Veiled Suite".Krishna Misri retired as Principal of Government college for Women, Srinagar and presently lives in Delhi.




( Avtar Mota )

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015


( Photo Autar Mota )

The birds have again come to sit on branches , the brooks again carry down the milky waters from lofty mountains ,the earth once more warms up to life , Trees wear Green apparel , Buds once more open up , Almond blooms are simply inviting , Bubbling are the water springs ,Fragrant is the air and look how Mustard fields wait for some one to arrive .

The VEENA within , wants RAAG VASANT to be played today…. Who shall sing “Ketaki Ghulab Joohi Champak Ban Phoole” ?

Adds the poet

“Beyii phyoor sontukk Vaav
Bahaar aav bahaar Aav
Parriyuv to kor paeraav
Bahaar aav bahaar Aav…..”

(The breeze once more comes this way ,
Here comes the spring! Here comes the spring !
The fairies too dressed themselves up,
Here comes the spring! Here comes the spring !)

Shall the spring Breeze wait for some one to arrive . And Poet Moti Lal Saqi makes passionate appeal to this fleeting spring Breeze . I quote ..

Zaanh Na ba karaai Graav Hataa Vaava Ratchha Praar
Nerithh Gayii Kumm Naava Hataa Vaava Ratchha Praar
Tiem Myaaen matchhiell Dost Rasseil Yaad tarahdaar
Chhaa vaara Kinna laegg Daava Hataa Vaava Ratchha Praar
 Raavien ma Kaansie Aalmus Munz Bar Ta Panun Braandh,
Gudhrun panun Kuss Baava Hataa Vaava Ratchha Praar ........................

( Moti Lal saqi )

O Breeze ! Never shall I complain to you , Just Wait a little More .
What makes you to rush so fast ? Just Wait a little More .
Those loving friends and the varied delightful memories ,
Are they well or have been sucked in by this hell fire ,
Let me know, O Breeze! Wait a little More .
Let none in this world lose his door and the front entrance ,
Tell me to whom should I convey What befell me , O Breeze ! Wait a little More.

But Alas! Destiny had something else under its sleeves.While the spring Breeze paid no heed , Saqi left for some other world without visiting the garden.

.During those last fateful days, he kept singing his immortal lines....

Bhariev taaf halmuss...Siri Losavunn Chuss ..
( A setting sun I am,Have as Much of sun shine as you can )..

And the breeze never sought his whereabouts......

( Autar Mota )

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015



In Rainawari , we had Ram Joo Handoo’s chemist shop near Jogi Lanker Bridge . He claimed himself to be R M P . My father had an abiding faith in Ram joo’s degree , diagnosis and prescriptions . He would often tell me ..

“Ye Haa Chhu RMP. Tchhin tathh Balaai. Aeim Chha Ali Jaanus saet Hedroonie Kaam Kaarmetch.”
“ He is holding R.M.P. certificate. Leave aside his certificate , he has worked with Dr Ali Jan at SMHS hospital Srinagar “
My father believed that Dr Ali Jan was the ultimate that modern medical science could provide to kashmir and any person associated with him could never be ordinary. This led him to believe in Ram joo Handoo's medical practice and prescriptions.
He would lay more stress on Ram Joo’s association with Luqman of Kashmir known as Dr Ali Mohammad Fazili or Fondly known as Ali Jan (1914-1988 ) MBBS , DCH, MRCP.
So he was . This I came to know when I saw his style of attending to patients and his sharp Diagnostic skills.I need to quote one incident..
Possibly in 1978 ,My friend Basharat Fazili's brother was sick for long with fever that did not subside even when treated by some good doctors . They were treating him for Typhoid . Worried , we managed an appointment with Dr Ali Jan in morning hours at his Magarmal Bagh Residence . No test , no X’ ray, Dr Jan,  after a careful examination. Told us  that the boy has water in his lungs and he be immediately admitted to Children's Hospital to drain out this water that was causing the infection and consequent fever. And that proved the correct diagnosis. .
No unnecessary tests ,no un-warranted X’rays , no expensive medicines and no second opinions .
In bank ,my immediate boss, late S N Kaul was Dr Ali Jan's greatest admirer. He would often say,.. ,

"He can feel the sickness in the eyes of the patient. He has uncommon and god given shifaa in his hands ". 

Many stories were in circulation about his god given and magical diagnostic skills.But for sure,He could swiftly diagnose through his own clinical examination and careful listening to what the patient said to him . A pioneer of modern medical education in the Kashmir  valley . A messiah of Kashmiris who did everything to establish modern healthcare in Kashmir.

Kashmiris shall always remain indebted to this son of the soil who was also a lover of fine arts . Kak sahib ,the trusted assistant at his private practice venue ,once told me :
“Dr sahib likes kashmiri music and songs especially Chhakri . He likes to hear Amma Sofi  , Hassan sofi , Raj Begum and many more traditional Kashmiri singers . He has a great taste for sufiana music of Kashmir . He enjoys Indian film  Music  also . Dr Sahib also reads a lot of modern western fiction and literature . Trout fishing is another great hobby with him. He listens to western classical music  as well  .”
Born in 1914 at Gojwara locality of downtown Srinagar , he lived at Magarmal Bagh ,Srinagar and practiced at Polo ground (above the shop of M/S Ghulam Mohi Ud Din And Sons  Pvt Ltd. A leading export house ) opposite the then Gringdlay’s bank Building. He did his MBBS from King Edward’s medical college Lahore in 1937 and completed his DCH and MRCP in 1951. In 1975 , Government of India honoured him with Padamshri . A Rotarian , he was also Vice Chairman of the governing body of SKIMS Srinagar and a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences India. He was a close friend of Dr.P N  Chutani ( former Director  PGI Chandigarh ).
                ( Dr Ali Jan with Sheikh Mohd Abdullah )


This is what the  renowned gastroenterologist , Dr M S Khuroo writes about Dr. Ali Jan:

" Prof. (Dr.) Ali Mohammad Jan was a legend for Kashmir in his lifetime. “Ali Jan” as he was popularly known to a common man was a house-hold name till yesterday. I knew Dr. Jan Sahib as a medical student; resident doctor; practicing physician; consultant and Head Gastroenterology, Dean Medical Faculty & Director Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) and closely watched him as a physician, administrator and as a human being. To become a legend, one needs to have several qualities which include:  wisdom, hard work, dedication, focused attention, honesty, disciplined and above all the art of exploiting the opportunities which come in your way.  Jan sahib had several (nearly all) of these qualities in different proportions and made him a living legend in his lifetime."

Prof BL Kaul told me this  :

" Well known film actress Meena Kumari came to Kashmir in 1971 for rest and recuperation.. She stayed in the houseboat of my friend Mr. Chapri. Suddenly she felt ill and a worried  Mr Chapri brought Dr. Ali Jan to see her. Dr. Jan examined her and without prescribing any tests or X' ray  said' Madam, your liver is in precarious condition. Stop your drinking  forthwith." To this Meena ji said," Doctor Sahib , don't worry about my drinking. Please write the prescription .My friend has  narrated all this to me " 

Prof Neerja Mattoo  writes :

” The present day Soulless Buildings of BSNL office at Exchange Road  Srinagar  are built on the Remains of a Heritage House , which was torn down and razed to the ground . it belonged to one Nazir Ahmed , A Punjabi speaking high official , who left for Pakistan in the wake of partition . His house and its grounds became what is known as evacuee property and were rented to legendary physician Dr Ali Jan . He and his family moved in and integrated so well with the neighbourhood  that it seemed they had always lived here and not in Rajouri Kadal area of the old city  downtown. The participation in each other’s festivals was taken for granted – The pundits men and children looking forward for Eid feasts , while the Muslims waited for Shivratri with its fish and fowl with soaked walnuts .When Mrs Ali Jan came visiting , it was only fruit for her and so it was when Mrs Dhar or Mrs kaul went to visit her .But the confidence they shared would not be shared with their own blood sisters .
People had to wait weeks for getting an opportunity to be examined by Dr Ali jan , but for this neighbourhood , his was an open house . My Father Prof. S L Dhar , who had taught Dr Ali Jan in college , was held in such affection and respect by him that he could walk into his consultation chamber with a sick patient without any prior appointment , no one  daring to challenge him for ” gate crashing “ .
It was Mrs Ali Jan , Boba to all of us children , who came with a  biggest Majma of dry fruits and Shirin to shower us with her blessings when we passed an examination . It was she who celebrated our success , while our own parents were subdued  ! She genuinely appreciated the value of Education . The whole Mohalla felt bereft when the Ali jan family left to move into their own newly built house at Magarmal  Bagh . “

In October 1988, he passed away suffering from cancer of pancreas .

The story of Modern Health care in kashmir shall remain incomplete in case we do not include Dr Ali Jan's contribution .

Peace be to his soul......

( Avtar Mota )

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Monday, March 23, 2015





This author  vividly remembers how food was served to us at 8.30 pm and my mother would finish everything by 9.15 pm. Thereafter everyone in our family kept glued to the radio in hush silence waiting till 9.30 pm when we would hear something like this:-


“ Ye chhu Radio Kashmir Srinagar. Raaetch henz saad’a nuv bajeiye . Booziv drama’ lala joo and sons’. Tehreer Ali Mohammad Lone ta peishkush Pran Kishore .” or "This is Radio Kashmir Srinagar . It is 9.30 pm now. Tune in to our drama ‘Lala Joo And Sons’ scripted by Ali Mohammad Lone and produced by Pran Kishore”. Some notable and very popular plays produced by Pran Kishore could be listed as under:-


 (1) ‘Vyaathh rooz pakaan’ ( a drama series for which Akhtar Mohi ud Din, Ali Mohammad Lone and Som Nath Zutshi wrote powerful radio dramas. Ali Mohammad Lone’s drama for this series was selected in the National Drama Festival and won the first prize )

(2)’ Vaitaal Pacheesi’ ( From Kathaa Sarit Saagar translated by Ali Mohammad Lone. Pran Kishore acted as Vaitaal )

(3) ‘Bombur Ta Yemberzal’ ( opera written by Dina Nath Nadim ) 

(4)’Dr Faustus’(translated by Rehman Rahi. Pran Kishore acted as Dr Faustus )

(5) ‘Vitasta’ ( opera by Dina Nath Nadim. The stage adaption was also directed by Pran Kishore Kaul ) 

(6) ‘Lala Joo and Sons’ ( written by Ali Mohammad Lone )

(7) ‘Aadam Chhu Ajab Zaat’ ( written by Akhtar Mohi ud Din )

(8) ‘Yeli Vattan Chhu Khuur Iwaan’ ( scripted by Hari Krishen Kaul )

(9) ‘Vaen Kaemsinz Vaer Chhi’ and’’ Harud’ ( scripted by Dr Shanker Raina )

(10) ‘Myon Marun,’Buss Akh Tamaah’ and ‘D’aan Tha’r‘ ( Scripted by Bansi Nirdosh )

(11) ‘Agar Aash Sorie’, ‘Kaend Sahraav’,’ Jheel Bulaa Rahi Hai’, ‘Aadam Hawa Ta Iblees’, ‘P’asha kiss Vatchhus Tal’ and ‘Myani Jigreikk Daadi Voath’ ( scripted by Ali Mohammad Lone )

(12 ) ‘Buut Ta Bulldozer’ ( scripted by G R Santosh )

( 13) ‘Shuhul Naa’r , ‘Taent Kur’ and’ Kaejj Raat’ ( scripted by Sajood Sailani )

(14) ‘Vijvaav’ ( scripted by Som Nath Zutshi )



The radio plays that he produced or directed , broadened the listener base of Radio Kashmir Srinagar. The dramas scripted by  Amar Malmohi, Shamas ud din Shamim, Rattan Lal Shant, Autar Krishen Rehbar, Shabnam Qayoom, Moti Lal Kemu and many more playwrights were also produced or directed by Pran Kishore for Radio Kashmir. It is practically impossible to record all plays that he either produced or directed or wherein he acted. The list could be endless.

On account of his exceptional command over English, Hindi, Urdu and Kashmiri languages, Pran Kishore also translated many plays from English, Urdu and Hindi to Kashmiri and ensured their broadcast from Radio Kashmir, Srinagar. Many plays produced by him for Radio Kashmir Srinagar won awards in the National Radio Drama festivals. He even translated Stein’s Rajtaringini and presented it as a radio feature. Many radio artists have confirmed to this author that he was always present during the recording and rehearsals of his plays. He would meticulously record every dialogue to its perfection in a professional environment. He would not allow any side talks and nobody would dare to disturb his work not even his close associates like Kedar Sharma, P L Razdan and M L Kuchroo. Jai Kishen Zutshi, who was also associated with radio dramas and who later shifted to Doordarshan, was trained by Pran Kishore .


His radio features on saint poetess ’Lal Ded’ and the tallest saint of Kashmir's Reshi order fondly known as  ‘Nund Ryosh’, remain unmatched to this day in terms of production, script and presentation. For the ‘Lal Ded’ feature, he sought assistance from Prof Jay Lal Kaul and Master Zinda Kaul. Both features were broadcast through various AIR stations in India. ‘Aab Ta Hayaat’ ( Water And Life ) is a radio feature that won him national and international fame. Not many of us know that it was presented before a mammoth gathering in Milan, Italy. This Radio feature was written and presented by Pran Kishore Kaul in his unique and impressive voice. Pran Kishore's voice is an amalgamation of rainbow colours, thundering clouds and whistling breeze. Sweet-scented all over, soft when needed and imposing when required. This voice was dubbed for many characters in the Kashmiri feature film’ Maenzraat’. The Kashmiri version of this film was directed by Pran Kishore Kaul. This feature film received ‘Silver Peacock’. The stage adaptation of poet Dina Nath Nadim’s opera ‘Bombur ta Yemberzal ‘ was superbly directed by him and shown to the Russian delegation in December 1955 in Srinagar. The Russian delegation included Marshal Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev. He also directed the stage adaptation of ‘Vitasta’ opera scripted by Dina Nath Nadim. The opera was performed in various cities of the country and it won rave reviews in print media everywhere. So happened with 'Piya Baaj Pyala ‘ and ‘ Himalaya Ke Chashme’ that he directed. He started the annual ‘Jashn e Tamseel’ festival for radio dramas. Many Kashmiri playwrights touched heights of popularity through the radio plays that he produced or directed. Many Kashmiri radio dramas featured in the Akaashwani awards. As a presenter, he is endowed with a rich imagination to do anything and everything that is required to create a good drama, a good script, and an unsurpassed production. A perfectionist to the core, he remains a nice and cultured human being for all who happen to come close to him.


Writing is another field wherein Pran Kishore Kaul has excelled. His Kashmiri novel. ‘Sheen Ta Vatta Podh’ won him the best book award from the Jammu And Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture And Languages. This novel also won him the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award. This novel is based on Gujjars and Bakerwals with Characters like Raj Wali Khan, Reshma Qamroo, Peera, Laali, Maaja, Nooran Bibi, Laal Khan, Mastaan Khan and Zorawar. Raj Wali Khan and Reshma are central characters in this wonderful novel. If you read the novel, you are bound to get surprised as to how he acquired such in-depth knowledge of the life, customs and traditions of Gujjars and Bakerwals. Balraj Sahni, his friend and well-known Hindi cinema actor was interested in making a film on this novel and also wanted to play the role of Raj Wali Khan. He also authored some more books like, Gul Gulshan Gulfaam, The Zoon of the Saffron Fields, Radio Kashmir and My Days in Broadcasting, ‘Sheen- Snow And The Bridle Path and a monograph on his lifelong friend and artist G R Santosh.


Pran Kishore Kaul remains a school of excellence in many areas like broadcasting, radio drama, stage acting, scriptwriting, cinematography, production, direction, special effects, film acting, painting, and writing. His affable mannerism, crystal-clear integrity and dynamic outlook endeared him to a vast circle of friends that included Prabhat Mukerji, and actor Tom Alter. He is a connoisseur of music, dance and poetry. Name any segment of fine arts, literature and mass communication, Pran Kishore has put his imprints and added his contribution directly or indirectly. Pran Kishore could have been another Abbas Kiarostami had he moved out and joined films. Like Kiarostami, the celebrated filmmaker from Iran, Pran Kishore’s scripts, line of direction and presentation are always rooted in the ground and the content has something deeper to convey. And had he had done so, a generation of stage artists, writers and actors from Kashmir, whom he helped to grow, would have been denied his help and guidance.

Post-retirement, Pran Kishore Kaul scripted some popular TV serials like GUL GULSHAN GULFAAM (based on his Novel by the same title), SAAYE DEVDAAR KE and JUNOON apart from many other assignments that he completed to perfection. He also set up his own production house known as PRAGAASH PRODUCTIONS. Along with his dance-drama troupe, he went to many places including Hong Kong spreading the fragrance of the grand culture of Kashmir. A galaxy of dancers, singers and musicians from Kashmir were associated with this production troupe prominent being Ali Mohammad Sheikh, Kishen Ji Langoo, Mrs Prerna Jailkhani, Dalip Langoo, Saleha and many more. About Gul Gulshan Gulfam, Prem Krishen  ( son of veteran actor Prem Nath and co-producer of the TV serial ) says this:-

"My father desired to make something based on Kashmir which he loved intensely. And we made Gul Gulshan Gulfam. Pran Kishore wrote a wonderful script that gave a total feel of Kashmir. He also made some good suggestions that added to the popularity of the serial.”




   ( Pran Ji shooting Kashmiri feature film Maenzraat at some outdoor location near Tangmarg  Kashmir )


 ( A memorable photograph of  The Radio Kashmir Team .. Pran ji, Bashir Butt , Pushker Bhan , Quaiser Qalandhar ,Ali Mohd lone , Manohar Prothi, Jagan  Nath Saqi ,Kamal Ahmed Siddique, Som Nath Sadhu , Mohd sultan Pandit and many more  )


                                  ( Pran ji with GyanPeeth Awaedee Kashmiri Poet Prof. Rehman Raahi  )
                    ( Pran ji with Pushkar Bhan  a talented actor and writer who wrote the most popular  Hero Machama and Sindhbaad Machama series for the Radio Kashmir   )
                                                        ( Pran Ji with Ustaad Bismillah Khan )                   

          ( L To R Pran Kishore , His daughter , Broadcaster Uma Khosla and Pran ji's wife Late Shanta kaul )
                                                              ( Pran Kishore )
  Remembering his childhood   days  Pran Kishore Kaul informs this:-

“” In 1943, a play named NEELAM was staged in S P College in which I and Qaiser Qalandhar acted . For this play , Prof.Raja Mohd Maqbool Changed my name from Pran Nath Koul to Pran Kishore . That day onwards , I remained Pran Kishore . I was born at Mallapora,  Habba Kadal in  Srinagar  city . I have clear memories of Kashmir during those days. The Jabri schools, poverty , simplicity and then an aircraft hovering over the sky and landing in Srinagar . Kashmiris coming out on roads and looking towards the sky . The funny Ladishaah song created for this strange phenomenon happening over Kashmir’s sky ,

' Havaai jahaaz yeli aav Mulk e Kashmir 
Yimuvv Vuchh timav korr Toba Taqseer
Godeineythh khoat taathh Taraakh Wazir 
Athhuss kyaathh Aaeissus Natchaan jejeer' 

“ When the first aircraft flew over Kashmir ,
Every one who saw it exclaimed “Oh God ! save us “
It was Taraak wazir who first boarded this aircraft 
With a dancing Hookah in his hand.|”

 I vividly remember the day when electric Bulb was switched on for the first time in our house in Srinagar city and the benefits of electricity were made known to us .The electric power for the same was generated by Mohra Power  House .Prior to that , Maharaja’s Palace was only connected to electric power .There used to be a turbine based Mini Power House on Jhelum bank near the present day old secretariat that would supply electricity to Maharja’s Palace .This place is still known as Bijli Ghar. Present generation can not visualize how happy people were with this electric connection that was provided to them.

People had no wrist watches or clocks . Just the deafening sound of a canon fired from Hari Parbat fort made you to believe that it was 12 noon. At 9 pm ,the city dwellers were informed about the time when the electricity was slowly dimmed and finally switched off in the entire city . It was immediately restored .I vividly remember how for the first time , city dwellers were supplied water from Harwan reservoir through a well laid out system of pipes .Water Works Department was started during the rule of Maharaja Partap Singh and it took them some years to complete this task.Once the work with regard to building of the reservoir and laying of the pipes in the city was completed , an estimate about the expenditure was provided to Maharaja . The Maharaja was also advised by the British engineer incharge to levy tax on the people of the city and recover the expenditure . To this suggestion Maharaja replied .' Water is God’s gift to humanity . You mean I should sell this and earn Money ? No .' And free came the drinking water to the city dwellers for the first time through taps from Sarbandh at Harwan."

( L to R G R Santosh , Pran kishore and Ali Mohd lone )
( Sh M S Pandit IAS  looking at Pran ji's paitings )
                                                          ( A painting by Pran Kishore Kaul )
                                                                ( A painting by Pran Kishore Kaul )
                                                           ( A painting by Pran Kishore Kaul)


                                          ( Above 8 sketches done by Pran Kishore Kaul )


Not many of us know that Pran Kishore Kaul is a good painter. To this author, he said:-


 “Once Shanta Ji, my wife told me to exit from all activities and focus only on painting. It couldn't be that way as other things were destined to happen even though the painting had been my first love. If anyone asks me what gives me more satisfaction, I would straightway say painting. I also like to enter the kitchen and cook at times. Yes, the non-vegetarian dishes of Kashmiris. Painting could be a result of my close association with G R Santosh. I tell you Santosh would also cook Kashmiri dishes and feel proud in entertaining his friends. Ali Mohammad Lone, I and Santosh would often cook and eat together Kashmiri non-vegetarian dishes. We would do it on many Sundays in Bani Prassun Batacharya’s government quarter. Bansi was a sculptor who was also a technical expert engaged by the Government of J&K”


A widely travelled man, Pran Kishore remains an encyclopedia of knowledge on the art, culture and history of Kashmir. Presently settled in Pune, he leads a somewhat lonely life after the death of his wife and lifelong companion, Shanta Kaul. Shanta ji was also a broadcaster par excellence. A documentary on his life and work was produced by Sahitya Akademi recently. He has also been conferred the Padama-shri award in 2018. When this author spoke to him some days back ( in March 2023 ), he was busy editing his documentary on Saint Gopinath Ji of Kashmir. He loves Ghalib and Rumi and quotes them often in his conversation. I end this brief write-up on Pran Kishore Kaul with two lines from Rumi’s verse:-

 “Goyand ke Ishq aghebat taskin ast

Aval shor ast va aghebat tamkin ast”……..Rumi


(They say you will find relief at last in love

First, it’s bitter, but finally, it’s sweet.)


( Avtar Mota )                                       

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