Friday, July 31, 2015



MUKERIAN (Punjab) 1952

Mukerian town falls in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab. The town has a population of about 130000 persons . This historical town was  visited by Alexander's invading troops  who are  reported to have camped in the town for three days . It falls on the road and rail link path that connects Jalandhar with Jammu.The town has some old  mosques,   temples,  Gurudwaras and a sugar mill apart from many other places of interest in and around the town. Sandwiched between the Beas in the north and the Sutlej in the south , Mukerian was carved out of Dasuya Sub Division , Hoshiarpur   in 1992.

The partition of the country deprived the resident of the J & K state   from a direct railway link with the country   as Sialkot fell to the newly created  Pakistan . This being so , the  Jammu  Railway Station across Tawi bridge ( Near present day Kala Kendra and previously J&K SRTC  Yard  ) turned useless. The  old Jammu -Sialkot  railway track , passing through  MIran Sahib and R S Pura  towns , could be seen for many years till 1970.  After 1947, the nearest train link from Jammu  was  from  Mukerian   station   in Punjab.

 It was only in 1952 ( 07-04-1952 ) that a railway link was extended upto Pathankote . This 45 km  railway link was formally inaugurated by  Shri N Gopalaswami Ayyangar,  the then Minister for Railways and Transport, Government of India. This  shortest  railway line brought the  Kashmir valley nearer to India and Pathankote became the busiest railway station due to passengers traffic   from the  J&K state ..
In this photograph , we can see Shri N Gopalaswami Ayyangar formally declaring the railway line open by switching on an electrical device which operated the ‘line-clear’ signal for the special train (seen in the background). Seated to the Minister’s right is Shri F.C. Bhadwar, Chairman of the Railway Board.  Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the then  Prime Minister of the J&K state  is  at the extreme left.

Not many people know that  article 370 of the constitution  was drafted by N  Gopalaswami Ayyangar, a civil servant from the then Madras Presidency. In  1937, he was.  appointed as the PM of Jammu and Kashmir by Maharaja Hari Singh  and served in the post till 1943. During 1947-48 he served as Minister without portfolio in Jawahar Lal  Nehru's cabinet before taking up the ministry of Railways and Transport from 1948-52. He was later Defence Minister for a year (52-53). 
Ayyangar was part of the 7-member drafting committee of the Indian constitution appointed on August 29, 1947. As a minister without portfolio, Ayyangar was in charge of Kashmir affairs and later led a delegation representing India at the UN .

( Avtar Mota )

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                                                        ( Our Hotel in Ubud, Bali Indonesia  )


After a quick Breakfast inside the Restaurant of our Hotel , we come to the reception counter and wait for Noora’s ( Ngurah ) Taksi ( Taxi ) to arrive . I talk to the Girl at the reception ..

“ No Indian item for the breakfast ? We have been having Black Tea , Toasts , Jam , Butter and Fruits only all these days.We need some solid food that stays longer inside the stomach to give a feel that we have eaten something . “
My wife smiles at this comment from my side . The girl at the counter is unable to understand what I say .

“ Not Good Breakfast ! That you saying sir ?” She replies..

“ No. I say something different . We Indian .We need something like Tea with Milk , Parantha , Vegetable, Curd , Eggs and Roti for Breakfast . You give American and Chinese stuff only.”

“ Parantha ! I not get . We give guest egg breakfast . You Tomorrow Egg sir. Roti we give all day you American Breakfast . How you liking Madam Breakfast ? “

Give Milk with Tea . We do not drink black tea . And some Chapaati or Parantha or Purrie . You don’t cook Channa or Mix vegetable . No Curd . He likes Curd every day . We pay extra if you give us all this . “ Adds my wife .

“ Paranthaa ! What go Paranthaa you say Madam? Chapaati ? Curd ? Poorrie ? Channaa? I not know . I give what I Menu . I go Sorry .”

Noora has arrived . We wrap up our conversation and move towards the Taksi ( Taxi ) .
“ Good Morning sir . I was listening to the conversation . Roti is a Balinese word also The brown Bread Toast is known as Roti in My country i. Chapaati I understand . Not many know what Chapaati means . No Gundhum ( Balinese word for Wheat ) grow in Bali . Balinsese grow two rice crops minimum. So Rice items for the Breakfast , Lunch , Dinner and in between. “ Noora is clear and specific in his English . He is a college dropout .

“ Fine . We need to look for the curd or Yogurt on the way ? Do remember . “

“ Yogurt ! Say like that . Nobody knows Curd here .” Noora corrects me .

We stop at a retail provision outlet “ALFA STORE “ and rush back to the Taxi after listening “ SORRY “ from the sales girl. We enter two or three stores thereafter but draw a blank. Finally we are shown small Tetra packs of ( about 100 grams Grams in weight ) sweet Yogurt with Mint , Strawberry and other flavours. I buy one for 10000 Indonesian Rupaiah ( About Rs50 ), Tear it open and taste it.I am dejected . We move to PURA GOA GAJAH .

     ( Women going to a religious ceremony)
 ( Bath before entering a Hindu Teertha )
 ( The devotees in a Hindu Teertha)
    ( A bride and bridegroom )

 ( A Balinese family performing  Homa )


This place is near UBUD not far away from our place of stay. It is about 27 kms from DENPASAR .We come down about 200 steps from the main Road to reach the Elephant Cave Temple complex . We are told to Wash our faces and hands in the sacred spring outside the cave that has some coloured fish . The water Pond is enclosed by Carved stone structure. Water gushes out from standing human figures carved on stones .You need to enter in a SARONG or waist cloth and pay entry fee . A huge demonic Figure has been carved upon the rock at the entrance to the cave . It is almost dark inside . I see Indentures inside the cave implying that Buddhist or Shaivite sages would have been sitting for meditation inside the cave .I feel a little choking due to Incense smoke and humidity inside the cave . Still We decide to proceed and move to the right corner of the cave to see a medium sized SHIVA LINGAS ( Three in Number ) . These lingas are also surrounded by smaller Lingas . I also see an Image of Ganesha inside the cave .

                                                    ( At the Entrance to Pura Goa Gajah )

                                            ( The sacred water  pond at  Pura Goa Gajah )

The ceiling inside the cave has turned black by smoke created due to burning of incense sticks on continuous basis .This is a ninth century UNESCO listed World heritage Monument . There are some more structures and enclosures outside the Cave suggesting that the place was also a seat of learning . The Images appearing on the stone carvings are of Hindu and Buddhist origin. I find tourists from Japan , Europe and other south East Asian countries inside the complex. The Temple structure has been built near the confluence two streams and accordingly the place was considered sacred and ideal for meditation.

As we move out and return the SARONGs, Noora rushes to help us .

“ How you like it ? “

“ Good “

“ Previously there were seven human figures representing seven fountains or Septa Tirta ( SAPTA TEERTHA ) in the sacred water pond meant for bathing by Pilgrims “

“ How do you know it ? “

“Our ancestors tell sir . Noora Tourist Guide also . Believe me what I say . “

“Noora , SAPTA TEERTHA is a symbolic representation of sapta Nadi concept.”

“What is that sir ? I want to know for my future tourist guide work .”

“ SAPTA NADI or Seven sacred rivers of India . If you ever visit India , Go to Prayaga or SANGAM in ALLAHABAD where GANGA , YAMUNA and Mythical SARSAWATI rivers meet , the Brahmana priests over there shall explain you the importance of SAPTA NADI , which according to them , means seven rivers namely Ganga , yamuna , sindhu, sarayu, Godawari, Narmada and Sarsawati .”

“ So Many thanks sir .” And we drive towards KINTAMANI VOLCANO. We have hardly moved 10 kms through green and airy forests when Noora is stopped by Police . Noora opens the dashboard of the TAKSI ( Taxi ) and pulls out some currency notes . The taxi comes to halt.,

“ What happened ? Are your Taxi papers lawfully complete and in order ?” I ask .

“ Yes sir . Wait . Just five minutes .”
I come out of the Taxi . Two police men move towards me and ask me to sit inside .Noora hands over some currency notes to one police man in uniform  . They shake hands and smile .

“ Corrupt! Thieves ! “ Utters Noora as he enters the Taksi ( Taxi ) and presses the ignition switch to start the vehicle .

I am reminded of many similar scenes in India and more particularly on highways in our state . If not Universal, it is the PAN ASIA face of corruption . Nothing amuses me to continue further conversation on the subject. We drive through orchards full of oranges . Oranges on trees and being packed for supply to Jakarta market . My wife asks Noora to stop as she wants to buy some orchard fresh oranges .

“ Madam wait . We buy from some good people . Cheap and fresh “

“ Fine . Stop at some convenient place . Any restaurant nearby ?“

“ Wait sir . Just after 20 minutes we shall be in Kintamani . Very Good restaurants . You get some Indian food also . Buffet system Rupaiah 1,25,000= ( Indian Rs625= ) per person . Eat as much you can. Then Tea , Kopi ( Coffee ), sweet Pudding , fruit . Very good restaurant in my country . Madam and you eat for 2,50,000 Rupaiah .”

“Fine “

We stop near an orchard . From his body language , I understand that Noora is familiar with people from this orchard. My wife picks up 24 oranges and I ask for the money . Noora says 50000 Rupaiah ( Indian Rs250=) .Looks reasonable . I find the oranges not so sweet and not sour either . No match for our A grade Nagpur variety . We carry the load and pass on four Oranges to Noora who is driving fast . Suddenly he declares that we are at Kintamani. He takes us straight to KINTAMANI RESTAURANT though There are more restaurants in the areathat appear crowded with tourist . I pull out a 50000 Rupaiah currency note to pay NOORA for his Lunch .
“ No need sir . If you take Lunch at this place , I get free meal. “

We eat steamed rice , Mix Vegetable (Potato , Broccoli and capsicum etc .), Tofu , crisp spinach Pakora , Finger chips , Fruit salad, chicken Satte ( roasted ) and finally Kopi ( Coffee ). I taste the sweet pudding . It gives me a faint smoke stink. My wife tells me that the pudding is no match to our Suji Halwa , Gajar Halwa , Gulab Jamun , Jalebi or Russ Malai . For sure it is not.

My wife has not touched chicken piece that I had put in her plate . As she goes to take some more fruit salad , she reads a notice on one of the Buffet dish display tables “ Sea Food , Beef and Pork Preparations “ . She seeks my clarification on the subject. I tell her that it is all segregated and kept separate and it is mostly for the Tourists from Europe and America .Not meant for Indians at least, i assure her again  . She is not satisfied with this reply.

“ But they must be cooking in the same kitchen ? “

“ No . Rest assured “

“Why did Noora  bring us to a wrong place ? “

“ Forget and Relax “
As I settle our  bill, She asks the waiter ..

“ Don't You cook Palak Paneer or Daal fry etc. ? “

He does not understand what is being asked from him .He looks at me for more clarification . I smile and help him to come out of this dilemma . He moves to the next Guest .


Kintamani is a hill and name of a village as well in Bangli Regency . It is about 50 kms from Desapar . Kintamani top is about 1400 metres above sea level. It is a cool place with greenery and fresh air . On the hill opposite to Kintamani lies the Volcano of Mount Batur . And below Kintamani , lies the famous lake batur .Sitting on view point of some restaurant in this village , one can have a commanding view of MOUNT  BATUR . This mountain peak is about 1717 metres high from the sea level and remains one of Indonesia’s active Volcanoes. This dry Black mountain has a Caldera formed by some ancient eruption . Since 1804, it has erupted about 26 times .The last major eruption was in 1926 when entire Batur village below the mountain was swept away and buried under the LAVA. Another eruption in 2000 had no impact as people had already moved away from the volcano site . A new batur village has been built on the south of the VOLCANO after 1926 eruption.You can see lake Batur and the crater also from Kintamani village . The best view of the lake , Mount Batur and the caldera can be had from Penelokan village near Kintamani . A hot spring known as TOYA BUNGKAH is also near by .
                                                              ( Hotels at Kintamani )
                                       ( A view of Mount Batur Volcano  from Kintamani )
                                               ( A view of lake Batur from Kintamani )
After 3 PM during daytime , the area can be under thick fog and become cooler . The fog may be there for the whole night . So enchanting and beautiful experience . Most of the restaurants in Kintamani have porticos wherefrom you can enjoy commanding view of the Volcano and the lake while you enjoy your Lunch. I felt as if I was in Gulmarg.

Noora tells us

“ Sir , The hot water to this spring comes directly from that far off Volcano . People go to that Volcano sit in trucks . They bring that balck sand and sell it in Towns . That lake batur below is biggest lake in bali . All irrigation depends on this lake sir .When we return we see rice fields . All water comes from this lake . Best water sir rich in fertile minerals of the Volcano. Look there below near the lake . you see those green patches . These are fields full of vegetables and green chillies . So much of cabbage grown here . so many fish in the lake . Many people engaged in catching the fish and selling to Hotels in Bali . so many ducks and swans there in the lake sir .“

I look below at the vast expanse and breathtaking view of lake Betur and the black barren Volcanic Mount Batur nearby. Hawkers keep disturbing us .

“Sir Bali T shirt . Sir Bali souvenir . Madam this Bali Purse . Madam Perfume . Sir this for you Goggle . Pay Indian rupee . pay dollar . Pay Rupaiah .”

I smile and say a firm NO. They keep coming again and again. As we drive down the hill , I ask Noora where to go now .

“Sir next tour to TEGALLALANG  . World famous beautiful rice terraces . Rice growing done under age old “SUBUK “ system in Bali .All issues of irrigation settled mutually in villages under SUBUK system. Due to most favourable climate and abundance of irrigation facilities from rivers lakes ponds streams springs , Balinese are known all over the world as exceptional rice producers . Our rice goddess known as “Bhatari Sri “. Sir All rice Farming people in Bali from sudra caste .Excellent farming and canal system they build in Bali that helps us to have minimum two crops.
                                                      ( A Rice field near  Tegllalang ) )
Brahmana , ksetriya and wesiya form the TRIWANGSA or the three upper caste people of BALI . Sometimes Triwangsa may also go for rice farming and Sudra may be a shopkeeper , teacher or Artist . No problem in that . No person untouchable here in my country . All visit Temple fairs . All go to Brahamana priest  for Rituals . You see 90% people in Bali from Sudra caste. Sudra backbone of our life in Bali . “

“ Fine . Stop near some Money changer’s shop . I need to convert about 100 US dollors to Indonesian Rupaiah. And then I need to talk to the teacher that I told you . we need to meet him as well . This caste system appears   good  to integrate  Balinese society . I need  more details and clarifications.”

“ Okay sir. Sir I suggest you try your ATM card here in Bali .Why we go shop after shop for better rate? “

“That is a good idea . “

I have my VISA credit card , a RuPay Debit Card and MasterCard Debit Card . We stop near an ATM and I swipe my RuPay card. It is thrown back by the machine. I realize that this card is only meant for withdrawing Indian Rupees in India. No online Transaction or shopping . I insert Mastercard Debit card . The machine accepts it . I Need to withdraw Indonesian Rupaiah . I write 500000 Rupaiah . The machine throws out five 100000 Rupaiah notes converting them to Indian rupees at prevailing rates with a load of nominal charges .My account is debited with Indian Ruppes 2644=. I am more than happy .

As we drive down to Ubud , we pass through village Tegallalang We are near the loveliest Terraced Rice Fields. A fantastic spectacle of green Rice fields across mountains slopes . At foot of these mountains , you find rice fields under tall coconut Trees and amazingly cascading in terraces . Rice fields Well laid with a grand network of Water canals . We see Farmers with Cambodian type conical straw hats on their heads moving in the fields. You do not notice Tractors or other modern agriculture implements . Bullocks plough these terraced rice fields . I find many Europeans staying with families of Farmers .


“ They write Books and eat Balinese food . It also works cheaper for them . They come close to real Balinese life .” Adds Noora .

We pull out some dry fruits that we carried from Mumbai. We pass on a handful to Noora ( Full Name.. I Gusti Ngurah Artawan ). He is amused to see the walnut Kernel and seeks information about it. He does not know what walnut is and has neither seen it .

Balinese Cremation

 The Balinese Hindus believe that cremation liberates the soul of the dead  to rejoin the cycle of reincarnation. Cremation takes place on the auspicious day. Till then, these are buried in a funeral near sea beach or near some temple.. The corpses are then retrieved before  the auspicious day of cremation 

 In a Balinese funeral procession, the body is carried to the cremation ground in a multi-leveled tower made with bamboo, paper, silk, flowers and other colorful objects.

Nobody weeps in the funeral procession. . The coffin is placed in a wooden ox or symbolic sacrificial animal  that is burnt . Fruits clothes and everything for afterlife is placed with coffin.  Many European tourists come to witness a cremation ceremony.


                 ( A funeral procession in Bali )


To be continued …….

( Avtar Mota )

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015



YEAR 1958
 (Photo courtesy: Photo Division, Government of India)
Dr Ho Chi Minh.....

"Remember, the storm is a good opportunity for the pine and the cypress to show their strength and their stability. "

(Dr Ho Chi Minh)

“Here I was face to face , sitting on the dining table and listening to some wonderful thoughts from a fatherly figure known world over as Ho Chi Minh . He was  a statesman , a great leader , a communist who created the  Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945. A man who believed in unification,integration and order. His faith and religion remained humanity. A widely travelled man , a leader who lived in France , UK , USA , China  , USSR and many countries and above all a  great visionary . He was the  leader who fought for the removal of French colonial rule from Vietnam . A  revolutionary in his ideas but  I found him   a saint at Heart . So Impressive in thought , mannerism and style .I was touched by his simplicity and sincerity of purpose “

(Dr Karan Singh)

In 1958,  Dr Karan Singh attended a dinner hosted by Indira Gandhi for Dr Ho Chi Minh, president Democratic Republic of Vietnam  . Dr Karan Singh was joined by  Maharani Yasho Rajya Lakshmi  and eminent jurist ,M. C. Chagla.

Dr Ho Chi Minh ' s  possessions as president of Vietnam were;  one bed, one table ,three chairs, a mat , a drinking water bucket ,two glasses  , two pens ,paper , a radio set, a watch , four sets of clothes ,two sandals and two shoes. No bank balance and no cars . 

In addition to being a selfless politician, Hồ Chí Minh was also a writer, journalist, poet and polyglot.Dr. Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969) was President of Vietnam from 1945-1969. He visited India in 1958.  

In his Book " Today's Pasts ..A Memoir " Bhisham Sahni writes ,

“Going to Vietnam was like going on a pilgrimage . I also saw the ordinary little shack , The former home of the Nation’s Great leader Ho Chi Minh : More splendorous than the biggest of Mansions . His walking stick , umbrella , Hat and jacket were still hanging in one corner of the shack.It seemed like he had gone out for a little while and would return anytime now. ”

I conclude this mini post with  poem  " Autumn Night"  by Dr Ho Chi Minh..

(Autumn Night)

At the gate stand the guards, 
each with rifle;
Far above sails the moon,
 with shredded drifted cloud banks.
Swarms of bedbugs manoeuvre like tanks,
Squadrons of mosquitoes attack and retreat, 
with us they trifle.
My heart travels towards my land,
Sadness overpowers me, 
my dreams go round and round.
Though I am an innocent man:
 in chains I am bound,
On captivity I write poems – tears flowing on the inkstand.


( Avtar Mota )

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On 26th January 1954, Entire cabinet headed by Bakshi Ghulam Mohd was in New Delhi as Guests of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. Pandit Ji had invited them for the grand Republic Day Function. on 28th January 1954, this team was also invited for a Lunch by Dr Rajendra Prasad president of India. 

Justice Shahmiri ,  G L Dogra , Bakshi Ghulam Mohd , Dr RajendraPrasad , G M Sadiq , Syed Mir Qasim and D P Dhar can be seen in this picture .

 It may be pertinent to mention that Justice Shahmiri, LD Suri and Wazir Janki Nath went to England in 1929 to complete Bar at Law and  the mentor of Girdhari Lal Dogra was the veteran Congress leader and Nationalist from Amritsar known as Barrister Saif Ud Din Kitchloo .Dogra Ji had a very close association with Saif Ud Din Kitchloo, who incidentally happened to be of kashmiri origin and son of a prominent Pashmina shawl and saffron trader of Punjab..

In Amritsar, a chowk and a colony known as Kitchloo Nagar is named after this great Nationalist. His role in India 's freedom struggle and Jalianwala Bagh tragedy is exemplary ,patriotic,secular and on an equal footing with Dr Satya Pal , his friend and his Nationalist companion from Amritsar. He died in 1963 at  New Delhi.

( Autar Mota )

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29 January 1958 New Delhi ..

The J&K State tableau for 26th january 1958, created by Mohan Raina   ( Standing  with specs and a tie behind Pandit  Pandit Jawahar lal Nehru  ) , a well known Artist of the state , won  first Prize as the best Tableau displayed by any State Government  that year  .  This photograph shows Mohan Raina  and his father Shiv Nath Raina also an Artist and Resident of Badyaar Bala srinagar Kashmir with Indira Ji And Pandit Ji. The artists were invited for a Lunch by Pandit ji on 29th january 1958.The child  in the photograph uploaded above  is Sudesh Raina son of Mohan Raina.  When i met  the family of the late artist in Jammu in July 2015 , Smt.Mohini Raina wife of the late Artist recognized  her son and the cardigan she  knitted for the event .She also added that child Sudesh was made to sit on the tableau with a Pheran and a kangri. The tableau was titled Winter in Kashmir

                           ( Mohan Raina's name  appearing on Directory of Lalit Kala Academy )
                   ( A sketch of Poet Dina Nath Naadim done by Mohan Raina )
                                ( Sketch of Master Zinda kaul by  Mohan Raina )

                     ( Sketch of Master  Poet Mehjoor  by  Mohan Raina )

( Sketch of Master Habba Khatoon  by  Mohan Raina )

( Sketch of  Lalded  by  Mohan Raina )

                ( A sketch if Hazratbal Ziyarat  kashmir by Mohan Raina )

Dr S S Toshkhani adds :

"Mohan Raina's  accomplishments, both as an artist and a human being went far beyond the few facts mentioned in the  Lalit Kala Academy's brochure. The world could not witness the full efflorescence of his creative genius as his life was unfortunately cut short by fate. He, however, guided and helped an entire generation of upcoming artists to develop and realize their potential in the field."

Not many among us know that the Emblem of the state was also designed by Late Mohan Raina in 1952.The emblem story has not only been conveyed to me by the family of the artist but by Shri Mohan Krishen Tikoo  ( Resident of Mohinder  Nagar jammu and closely related to me )  close friend of  Late Mohan Raina .  As per Shri  Tikoo, The need for an emblem  was felt in 1952 and the emblem committee assigned the  work to Department of Information headed by  Shri J N Zutshi. Shri Zutshi selected his departmental employee Mohan Raina . As per  Shri Tikoo sb,the emblem prepared by Mohan Raina was approved by Sheikh Mohd Abdullah the then prime Minister of J&K State .

Sh , Sudesh Raina son of the late Artist writes in his facebook page that Emblem of Sheri kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura kashmir was also prepared by his Father Mohan Raina.                        

Dr Shashi Shekhar  Toshkhani  noted scholar and friend of the late artist informs ,

“ I knew Mohan Raina very well. Was very close to him and his family. Besides the J&K state emblem, he also designed the emblems of the Cultural Academy and Kashmir University, which were later changed. He was a man with a heart of gold besides being a leading artist of Kashmir. Though water colour paintings were his forte, he had mastery over oil and other mediums of plastic art as well. I have had the privilege of watching him create some exquisite landscapes stroke by stroke, evoking the magic of man's intimacy with nature. In figurative art, he had hardly any match among contemporary Kashmiri artists. I always felt deeply impressed by the manner he would guide and help young and upcoming artists of his day.

I have been  told by Mohan Krishen Tikoo ( a friend of Mohan Raina   ) resident of  canal Road  jammu as under:

" Mohan ji had the capacity of illustrating three books in a day apart from attending his official duties and remaining hooked to his tobbaco pipe. Tomorrow was not a word in his dictionary. Never have i seen him saying 'keep it here and give me time' to any person. He would oblige any person if he had time. In a way he kept himself under stress by rarely saying NO to any person..All  sketches emerged from his mind in a jiffy once he closed his eyes. Among his ardent admirers ,i can count Sheikh Mohd Abdullah, MY Taing , Maulana Masoodi , Shiv Narain Fotedar, JN Zutshi and so many. Sometimes i saw him designing front covers of books  and magazines while working. So many books he illustrated. I think not less than 150 or 200 . He has designed the master piece in yellow that was used as cover for BN Parimoo's book on Lal Ded titled 'Ascent of Self' .He was a pioneer in this field and dominated  an era with his drawing . He did portraits, Murals, posters, book illustrations, Publicity ,Magazine illustrations, cartoons( not many people know this fact ), water colour landscapes,  Still Life paintings, paintings based on some western classics in literature and figurative art. After returning from USA  where he went for advanced  Training in Modern Art, he touched new heights . He brought art  books   in two suitcases and paid extra charges to airlines  dumping some clothes and personal belongings in that country. Alas! The man never had a studio in his  house for his creative work. He worked in a living room shared by other members of his family. I saw only two big wooden Almirahs in that room that he used for keeping his books ,Art material and paintings. A wooden box full of his paintings was also kept near these Almirahs. 

As a person, He was more impressed by Lal Bahadur Shastri's personality in comparison to Nehru. 

A glass of scotch and a tobbaco pipe between his lips  acted as catalysts for  his creative activities. He  knew his limit and brand and never compromised on it.

 I feel sad to see pygmies getting recognition and awards while a pioneer being forgotten'

Some Illustrations done by ohan Raina for SLSadhu's book ' folktales from Kashmir ' are as under:


       The front cover of  B N Parimoo's book 'Ascent of Self ' designed by Mohan Raina is also uploaded.   

                       ( Mohan Raina with his Father and Brother)

                                     (Mohan Raina .Photo source... Sudesh Raina )

During my  visit to the family of the late Artist I was informed that in the turmoil that began in 1990 in Kashmir and that led to their exile, about 500 master paintings done by artist (after his visit to USA )were lost. These were in a cupboard in their ancestral house at Badyaar Bala in kashmir when they had to leave valley suddenly to save their lives. This great loss included about 15 photographs of the artist with Pandit Jawahar lal Nehru, Dr Radha krishnan,Dr Rajendera Prasad ,Sheikh Mohd Abdullah and some more National leaders .I also came to know that some friends of the artist had taken a good number of his paintings for some proposed exhibition but refused to return the same after his sudden death.

         (   Above Photo .. A   Mural For Industrial Exhibition Done by Mohan Raina )

                                 ( Below some paintings ..Oil on canvas by Mohan Raina )  

                                    (   Above ..Banihal Cart Road .. Oil On canvas ..Mohan Raina )
                                          ( Guilt Feeling Adam and Eve ....  By Mohan Raina )
                 ( Autumn Chinar Water Colour ... Mohan Raina )
                 ( SPRING IN KASHMIR .1973  OIL ON BOARD  BY MOHAN RAINA )

                                                  ( Oil On Board  .. Mohan Raina )
                                 (An earlier work of Mohan Raina  Source .. Sudesh Raina )
             ( Evening time After the snowfall.. An earlier work of Mohan Raina  Source .. Sudesh Raina )  

(When spring arrived in the village..A water colour by Mohan Raina )

The father and Grand father of Mohan Raina were also Artists  .  A sample of their Drawing/ Creative   work is as under ...
                                                                 (  1 )
( Above two  Photographs are  drawings of  Narayan Joo Raina Grand father of Mohan Raina 
. You can see the Persian Words Az  Dast e Narayan Joo meaning from the Hand of Narayan Joo )
( Above two  Photographs are  Collages  of  Shiv Nath  Raina  father of Mohan Raina 
. This is paper on paper creation )

(  Above ..Portrait of his Father Pandit Shiv Nath Raina  By Mohan Raina Source .. Sudesh Raina  )                  
        ( Above....This is a photograph of the cover of Marriage Card of Dr Usha Raina and Dr Chand Narain Dhar..Usha ji is daughter of Late Mohan Raina Artist married to Dr C N Dhar well known Pathologist.This card was designed and drafted by Artist Mohan Raina himself.You can see the moon(Chand or the name of Bridegroom) holding a beaming early morning sun (Usha or name of the bride )inside a SHATKONA or six cornered Geometrical figure.

A SHATKONA is also known as Shiva Shakti YANTRA .A union of male and female. A combination of Prakarti and Purusha or Para shiva and Para Shakti.
So many Paintings of Late GR Santosh are based on SHATKONA.Shatkona is central concept of SHRI _YANTRA as well. In a Male female union, SHATKONA represents positive emotions, Love, Devotion and well being.SHATKONA is quite popular YANTRA in Kashmir .Kashmir's Shaiv Darshana / Shaivism accords it a centric space.This six pointed star is drawn by combining two triangles.The upward pointing triangle represents Shiva while the downward pointing triangle represents Shakti
The card was shown to me by a friend who has preserved it since 1980 or the year when Dr C N Dhar Married Dr Usha daughter of Artist Mohan Raina.)

                                              ( Snow fall  a water colour by Mohan raina )
                                                   (Water colour Mohan Raina 1966 )
                                       (Water colour Mohan Raina 1966 )
                                            (Water colour Mohan Raina 1966 )
                                                        ( Oil On Canvas .. Mohan raina )
                                                        (Oil on canvas by Mohan Raina )

     ( KASHMIR LANDSCAPE by Mohan Raina)     
Mohan Raina died unsung and is unknown to the younger generation. Most of his master piece paintings are with his friends . The family hardly owns any painting .

         ( Portraits of 2 kashmiri Pandits  done by Mohan Raina. Source ..Sudesh Rana  )                                         

   ( Mohan Raina and his father with Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru  ..Photo source... Sudesh Raina )
                                                        ( Mohan Raina with his wife )

He looked like a European from his demeanor and style. Imported  cameras, Macro Polo cigarettes , Imported pipes with complete cleaning set and   individuality in anything that he did. 

I saw these tobbaco pipes at  his Jammu residence. Saw him smoking pipes in Srinagar. Inhibition free ,he would smoke before his senior officials and everybody except his father and Artist  late Shiv Raina .

In Srinagar , many times his son would be buying Macro Polo pipe Tobacco from Mir Pan house . Then this brand was not available and Mohan Raina shifted to Capston.For some period,  He smoked Macro Polo imported cigarettes. 

And have seen him designing his own clothes and passing on the design (drawn on a paper) to a tailor master for stitching.
And the imported galluses that he would use to hold his trousers fit and perfect apart from inumerable imported Bow ties.
  ( Below..On his Daughter's Marriage)

                                                                 ( Artist Mohan Raina )
( Portrait of Grand Father of H K Sharma former GM Govt Press J&K done by Mohan Raina )

( Portrait of J N Sharma  Father of H K Sharma former GM Govt Press J&K done by Mohan Raina )    
    (Portrait of Poet Mehjoor by Mohan Raina)                           
In an emotional Tribute to his father , Sudesh Raina ( Son of the Artist ) writes on his face Book page:

It pains me to add that the widespread militancy that erupted in Valley in 1990, played havoc with his treasured Collection. Evert thing was looted , Plundered when our ancestral House was Ransacked and later  the  house was gutted in a devastating fire incident .With such a colossal loss, sometimes I am led to believe if my father ever used a Brush and canvas.A little solace comes to see some paintings that he had gifted to his friends or the paintings that are hanging in some Galleries in India and abroad .
My Father was a lover of Poetry and Music. As a matter of fact he could play on Sitar also . Faiz Ahmed Faiz remained his favourite poet. We lost so many LPs and the imported gramophone that was dear to him. A Gramaphone on which he would often listen to begum Akhtar’s Gazal:

“ Meray Hum-Nafas Meray Hum-navaa Mujhe Dost Ban Ke Dagaa na De”.
This remained his favourite till his death ..”

Mohan Raina  has also  prepared hundreds of Designs for Handicrafts including Shawls ,  Crewel cloth , Apparels and Wall Hangings . His designs were based on Kashmir’s folk lore , Flora and fauna and Scenic beauty . He also did a series of paintings on  the Poetry of Omar Khayam the way A R Chugtai  did a grand series on Ghalib’s Poetry .kashmiri Poet , writer and journalist Ghulam Nabi Khayal has some copies of the Book that he published in 1961 relating to kashmiri translation of quatrains of Persian Poet Omar Khayyam. Mr Khayal had sought assistance from late Mohan Raina for doing artistic Illustration of the Quatrains. Some illutrations from this book are as under:


I quote a Book review done by Well known Poet late Syed Rasul Pompur published in Greater Kashmir dated Date: Jul 23 2009. .

Quote ..
"The versatile Kashmiri poet, critic and journalist, Ghulam Nabi Khayal has once again published the world famous Persian Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam with long awaited, authentic Kashmiri translation, after a lull of 40 years.

Needless to mention that Mr Khayal had published the translation of 150 Persian quatrains of Khayyam (1950-1132 AD) for the first time in 1963 with illustrations drawn by a renowned Kashmiri artist, Late Mohan Raina to the wide acclaim of Kashmiri literary circles and connoisseurs of literature. 

The need for the edition of the Rubaiyat was vehemently felt. Mr Khayal has now come up with a bigger and executed printed edition with fifty more Rubaiyat of the celebrated Persian poet. 

Astrologer and mathematician Khayyam composed poetry mostly Rubaiyat interwoven with the central idea of enjoying the pleasures of life without too much reflection. Mr Ghulam Nabi Khayal completed the first Kashmiri rendering of 150 quatrains during 1958-60 when he was arrested for his alleged involvement in the so called Hazratbal (Conspiracy) case in February 1958. He thus took the best and creative advantage of this forced detention like his other two elder contemporaries, Abdul Sattar Ranjoor and Prof Mohiuddin Hajani. 

Illustrations of the celebrated Kashmiri artist, late Mohan Raina, ought to have been allowed to adorn the present charming deluxe edition too along with 16 master pieces of renowned Iranian artist, Akbar Tajvedi.” 

Unquote ..

Long back , I have also seen one Illustration on Omar Khayam’s quatrain by Mohan Raina in his house at Panjtirthi Jammu..

He also did a series of Paintings  on the popular folklore Akanandun.


                                            ( From Aknandun Series Transferred to a Curtain )

 The Above painting from Akanandun series was transferred to a Curtain design in a Handicrafts unit in Kashmir valley and the curtain hangs to this day in the drawing room of Sh O N Kaul Retd joint Director Tourism J&K Government who lives at Roop Nagar ,Jammu. This painting has been transferred on the curtain by a master craftsman from kashmir valley using special threads.


 (A painting of Mohan Raina transferred to curtain by colourful threads by an Artisan from kashmir. This curtain hangs in drawing room of Sh O N Kaul.This could be from 'our Jungle Friends ' series. Not sure)

(A painting of Mohan Raina transferred to curtain by colourful threads by an Artisan from kashmir. This curtain hangs in drawing room  of Sh O N Kaul. This could be from ' Kashmir Calling' series. Not sure)

He also did a series on" Kashmir Calling" to attract Tourists to Kashmir valley. A series on "our jungle friends" to project kashmir 's wild life.

( A poster done by Mohan Raina when Sheikh Mohd Abdullah in took over as Prime  minister of J&k..Source.. Farooq Nazki Collection)



                                                              ( UNFINISHED )

Uploaded above  is the last painting of Artist Mohan Raina .The painting was started by the Artist some days before his death. He was earnestly planning to complete it .Alas! Destiny had other plans.The brushes, Colours, the incomplete frame, the sitting chair and his favourite smoking pipe kept waiting for him. This incomplete Canvas is in possession of Shri Keertan Sharma of Bohri,Talab Tillo Jammu...

 Sudesh Raina son of Late Mohan Raina clarifies:

" Yes , this is Daddy's last and unfinished work. I am a witness to its creation. I was overjoyed to see it after about 32 years. Keertan Ji was my father's colleague and trusted friend.I am told by my mother that father had gifted many paintings to Keertan Ji.And after his death, we decided to get it finished and completed from him.It was handed over to him accordingly. For some reasons, Keertan Ji did not complete it. Artist Mohan Raina was also Guru to Keertan ji.
During the creation of this work, Dad had revealed to me that behind the self portrait,the horse and the woman represent elusive Artistic Chase.A run after something fleeting and impossible to catch or achieve.Let me see how i close his thought."

             ( Artist Mohan Raina with his relations  at kheer Bhawani  Shrine at Tulamula Kashmir  )
He retired as Exhibition officer from Information Department of J&K State and died from  a  sudden and massive heart attack in 1983.  He had many promises to keep and    friends  waiting in the Morning  for an Exhibition that was planned and modalities for which were to be decided.

Alas the entire SHEERAZA of this master lies scattered and lost. A page here, a page there and some pages nowhere .Will someone try to retrieve it? Will the painter ever get his due?

( Avtar Mota  )

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