Monday, November 30, 2015



Khudaa karay ke salaamat Rahein Yeh Haath apnay,

Ataa huvein hain jo zulfein Sanvaaraney ke liye ..
Zameen se Naqsh Mitaaney ko Zulm o Nafarat ka ,
Falak se chaand sitaarey Utaaraney ke liye..

Tumhaara Haathh Badaa hai Jo dosti Ke liye 

Meray Liye hai vo ek Yaar e GhamGusaar Ka Haathh..
Voh Haathh Shaakh e Gul e Gulshan e Tamanaa hai 
Mehak rahaa hai meray Haathh mein Bahaar Ka Haathh..

Tum Aao Gulshan e lahore se chaman Bardosh 

Hum Aayein Subah e Banaras ki Roshini Le Kar 
Himalaya ki Havaaon Ki Taazigi Le kar 
Aur Uss ke baad Yeh poochhein Ki Kaun DUSHMAN Hai ?

( Ali Sardar jafri )
Sardar hardly needs any Introduction. Today, on his 102nd Birth anniversary , I am reminded of many things that are connected with his towering Personality .His Journey from Balrampur to Lucknow to Aligarh to Delhi and finally to Mumbai ( 1942 ) during the days of British Raj , His unflinching faith in man , love for his country and homeland Awadh, his long association with Freedom movement of the country , his communist connections , imprisonments and finally his association with progressive writers like Sahir, Dr Mulkh Raj Anand , Rajinder Singh Bedi , Krishen Chander , Faiz Ahmed faiz , Syed Sajjad Zaheer and so many other reputed writers and artists of the subcontinent .

I am also reminded of his opposition to Two Nation theory and his firm conviction on staying back in India when his relatives left for Pakistan in 1947. My mind is flooded with thoughts about his association with Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda or Paul Robson ( American concert singer , actor, athlete, scholar and a passionate advocate for the civil rights movement ). Sardar wrote a beautiful poem on Paul Robson .

His Books , Poems , Essays , Television Documentaries especially the one on Urdu Poets of the country are in my mind today.
Today , i am again reminded of his poems Haathon Ka Taraana ( A song of hands ),Asia Jaag Uthaa , Awadh Ki Khaak e Haseen , Pather Ki Deewar ,Neend ( Written in Central jail Nasik ),Bhooki Maa Bhooka bachaa ,Mera safar , Qatl e Aftaab , Subah e Fardaa , Tashkand ki Shaam , Guftagu , Paul Robson , Khwaab e Pareeshaan , Aabla paa ,Daulat e Duniya ka Hisaab , Ved e Muqaduss ( Sacred vedas ), Chandaalika and Shahar e Yaaraan ( A city of friends.. written after Bhopal gas Tragedy ).

I feel privileged to have heard him recite “Subah e fardaa” or “Tommorow’s Dawn” in person .

Who can ignore his association with World progressive writers especially Turkish Poet Nazim Hikmet ( 1902-1963 )

once more , My mind travels towards the world of his poetry . Bouquets of poems bubbling with humanism. A humanism that is sensitive towards the Poverty and exploitation in Asia and Africa , presenting a broader and humanitarian perspective of issues.

  ( Gazal singer Jagjit Singh , Rajinder Singh Bedi, Sultana Jafri, Zoe ansari , Ali Sardar Jafri , Alys faiz, Faiz Ahmed Faiz,Lata Mangeshkar , Dogri Poetess Padma Sachdev and Chitra Singh ).

Through his poems , Sardar became a tall spokesperson  of the poor and marginalized. He wrote zealously to promote peace and friendship between India and Pakistan all along his life in a language that is direct and powerful. His poems are like paintings on a bigger canvas. These are like a Dialogue with bigger audiences or Humanity at large .
Sardar’s poems have been translated into many languages of the world. He is also recipient of Soviet Land Nehru Award and the coveted Jnanpith Award apart from being conferred Padam Shri by Government of India.
I remember Atal Bihari Vajpayee saying about sardar jafri
“ One may disagree with his political beliefs but none can overlook the vision that this man has for the Humanity "

Vajpayee made the historic peace trip to Pakistan where he presented SARHAD the first-ever album of anti-war poems of Ali Sardar Jafri (sung by Seema Anil Sehgal) to his Pakistani counterpart. This was indeed the greatest tribute to the poetic vision of Sardar.
What does Mrs Sultana Jafri (His Wife ) say about Sardar?

I quote from the BOOK …. “ALI SARDAR JAFRI: THE YOUTHFUL BOATMAN OF JOY” by Squadron Leader Anil Sehgal And published by Bharatiya Jnanpith .

“ Sardar and I met for the first time in Lucknow university in 1939. I was doing my MA in political science and sardar was studying English literature .In 1944 I joined AIR Lahore and Kartar Singh Duggal was my colleague over there . Later he married my sister Ayesha and became our close relative.

Sardar had many friends but he was very close to Krishen Chander . There was a perfect rapport between the two..I have spent 52 years with Sardar and his circle included Faiz , I K Gujral,Rajinder Singh Bedi , Mulkh Raj Anand , Kaifi , Dilip Kumar , ramanand sagar , Jaan Nissar Akhtar, Sahir, Majrooh , K A Abbas ,Ismat Chugtai , Qurratulain Hyder and Many more .His two unmarried sisters stayed with us . sardar looked after them most affectionately. Today grown up children dread the thought of living with their parents leave alone taking care of them. Sardar hardly owned anything . Both of us never bought material things even if we had money. It was a state of mind and a conviction .many a time children asked us why we did not have a car .We lived in rented accommodation for many years and kept on shifting from one house to another . Finally Sardar raised some loans from friends and bought a small flat for Rs52000/- in 1967. Sardar smoked endlessly but in 1968 he suffered from angina and stopped smoking altogether . He did not give up his drinks .
On january 30, 1948 sardar and I rode the local bus and went to the office of registrar of marriages . Sardar the bridegroom had three rupees in his pocket .Krishen chander K A Abbas and Ismat Chugtai were witness to our civil marriage .Later Ismat celeberated the occasion and took us out for ice cream.After the marriage we lived in Andheri commune . Kaifi and shaukat were already living there .Sardar was an incorrigible optimist . Inspired by Rumi’s lines Hamcho sabza Baarha Roeeda Aayam ( like the green of the earth , we never stop growing ), he summed up the story of his life in his poem MERA SAFAR .”

I end up this small tribute with some lines from his Poem MERA SAFAR…

Aur neeli fazaa ki makhmal par

Hansti hui heerey ki yeh kani
Yeh meri jannat, meri zameen
Iss ki subhein, iss ki shaamein
Bey jaaney huey, bey samjhay huey
Ek musht ghubaar-e-insaan par
Shabnam ki tarah ro jaayangi
Har cheez bhula di jaayegi
Yaadon key haseen buut khaaney sey

Phir koi nahin yeh puchhega

SARDAR kahaan hai mehfil mein
lekin mein yahaan phir aaoonga
Bachchon key dahan sey boloonga
Chirriyon ki zubaan sey gaaonga
Aur saraa zamaana dekhegaa
Har qissa mera afsaana hai
Har aashiq hai sardaar yahaan
Har maashooqa sultanaa hai

( Autar Mota )

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Unknown poet J N Raina (1933-2015) Sumbli has translated entire Shiv Mahimanastotra into Kashmiri from Sanskrit .He has compiled his manuscript in Nastliq and Devnagari script. All handwritten and needing a publisher. Read his Gazals and Nazms in Kashmiri..Perfect in thought, rhyme ,rhythm and metre.

Shiv Mahimanastotra is recited in Kashmiri Pandit families since ages. Known as Mahimanapaar , Kashmiri Pandits recite these Sanskrit verses in praise of Lord Shiva with great devotion .The verses are believed to have been composed by Pushpadanta , a Gandharva and a divine musician in the court of King Indra.( Yendraazun Darbaar in Kashmiri )..

Adds Ajay Raina ( son of the  poet ):-

“Avtar Mota Ji, my late father also had a humorous side to his personality............He wrote a parody on the legendary Master Zinda Koul's immortal "Sumran Panin Dichanum " way back in the 80s.......and went on adding stanzas to it from real time instances and situations over the next 30 years. He had a melodious voice and used to sing these lines with the rhyme,rhythm and tune . Some   Kashmiri Leelas written by my father  were composed by Sh Kishen Langoo Ji some twenty years back,the voice being rendered by my wife Lovely Chandra. “

Two couplets of the poet:-

Yetti zaalaan chhiyee Ropp'a Tchaangien munz
Adda phae'l armaan Rataa Daeivv hawas,
Yetti sonaa kabaruñn munz vadraavaan
Mosoom dilich dubraai lagaai..

Assi vuchh Harduyee Assi Kyaah Chhaa Khabar
Luvv kyaah Gayee Kithha-kanie Tooer Pholaan,
Vaen Tcheir Seythaa Guvv Kathh Aayukh
Heith Soant Tche Yuthh Varaanuss munz….

(Avtar Mota)

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015




(Mobile Photo.. Autar Mota )

He is Tilak Raj Sharma fondly known as Pandit Ji.The man known to jammuites for about five decades for his delicious Desi Ghee ka Halwa..Remember his City Chowk Halwa Outlet.No dryfruits.No silver foils .Just sujji, sugar ,Desi Ghee and love.He serves you in the traditional Doona made from dry leaves.No plates or Cups.His customers include Traders, Professionals,Govt employees, students and tourists. Taste it once from his new Gole Pully ,Talab Tillo,Jammu outlet.

And remember to visit him before 8.30AM as it is all over by 9.00 AM everyday.

And to me , he said,

" My old customers still visit me from their New colonies.Some Jain families from Jain Nagar ,Talab Tillo ,Jammu , forced me to restart this venture that I had left in 2009.No person shall carry forward this legacy as my children are busy with their jobs.In city chowk , during winter season , my customers included Darbaar move employees.

 Autar Ji , i am not a businessman. I just serve my patrons selling pure Desi Ghee Halwa at Rs 120/_ per Kg.This is my pooja and Araadhana to my lord.Otherwise god has been kind to me and provided me enough for two time meals .Yes he should keep me healthy to serve everyone with love.Serving people makes me happy and satisfied."

And in Talab Tillo area of Jammu City , his latest customers  include the Gentle ladakhi students who study in various colleges of the city.I asked a  gGirl student from Leh ( Ladakh )  as to what is so special about his Halwa and she said,

"Pandit Ji is like a father .so humble ,so god fearing and so polite. His morning smile makes our day .And then he is selling it very cheap. I think he makes it on no profit basis.He uses purest Desi Ghee .I like the semi burnt portion that sticks to the Pan .He says Treid in his  dogri language.Two kashmiri breads for rupees six  , 100 gms of Halwa and a cup of tea makes good breakfast for we students .
Unfortunately he finishes all by 8.30 or 9.00.So we have to get up early when we want to have it.And in a way that is also good for our Health "

(Autar Mota )

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Friday, November 20, 2015



(Photo Avtar Mota )

To this photo , I add Part 1 of My Kashmiri Poem “ Barmandhinein Gayee Maagitch *Maavus “ or ” The Noon Time turned to a  Dark and cold night Of *Maagha Month “. The poem is in two parts . Both Parts of this poem along with English rendering shall now appear on my  BLOG as many Non kashmiri friends wanted English rendering of the poem . 

Part 1 of this poem is dedicated to the victims of Terrorism in the world.

Part 1

(January 19,1990 Part I )

Vaa’na Peinjunn Pyaath gayee Kanna Sheish Hish,

Kaemm Taam Po’r Subhukk Akhbaar..

Burra Pyaath Neuukh Astaaniekk Naba Meer

Dopahuss Tchhandaan chhuyee sardaar ..

Latchhi Kujji Yelli Pyaav Mukhbir Naav 
Bonn Gaamus Munz Gayee Tchal Laar ..
Daareinn Gayee Burr Larrie gayee khaali
Yelli Hairruv Kienn Kho’t shaahmaar ..
Voagg Kienn Voathh Chogga Laagiethh Raah-tcho’kk 
Tarfaatun Guvv Chhakraan Naar ..
Zebuss Tcho’l Mahaaraza pottur Hyathh
Vienni Tuss Tchhaandaan Abli Dar..
Sri Kanthuss Haett Gund Dinna Baaput 
Ka’lla pyaath Neuoon Tamiessi Dastaar..
Shaaluv Raaett Chhirr Kuth Vattie vattie Pyath
Gunnie Gunnie Tchopukh Myooth Shikaar..
Burr Maendhineun gayee Maagitch Maavuss
Thhossi Thhossi Pyaav sheen Ryathh Ouss Haar..
Kaetti Roodh Noa’tt Saarang Tumbaknaar
Huemm Zoa’l Saantoor Yeimm Seytaar..
Buss Buss Tche Ti Aayii Aeish Dhaar 
Ammie Pataa Chhunna Vananuss Meiti Vaar…..

( Avtar Mota )
My simple English rendering would be as under …..

(January 19,1990, Part-I )

A Hush Hush Talk erupted on Bazaar shops 

When some one read the morning Newspaper …

To *Naba Mir , They said “ * The Commander Desires to see You”

And picked him up from Outside the Shrine’s door .

And When *Lachha- Kujj was named as Police informer ,
Residents in Bongaam village started running for life ..
The Windows turned exit doors ,
houses started getting emptied 
When the Serpents used staircases to go up the dwellings .
Draped in Robes, the Devil
Leapt inside through the rooftop window
and put all directions on fire .
He Dragged *Zeba’s grown up son to some undisclosed destination, 
And look How poor *Abli Dar still looks out for him.
To strangle *Sri Kanth by neck ,
He Used the *Headgear of Sri Kanth only.
On every path ,The wolves preyed upon innocent lambs 
And devoured their flesh piece after piece .
The Noon time turned 
Like the Dark and cold Night of *“Maagha”.
And in the Summer month of *“ Haara “,
unendingly fell the snow from the skies .
Useless turned the* Saarangi , *Tumbhaknaar and the* Matkaa,
And to flames were put , the *Santoor and the *Sitar . 
Oh! These tears in your eyes ! Let me wind up the story ,
Yes , Beyond this, I too am not comfortable with this story telling.

( Avtar Mota )
(To be continued in Part 2.)


(The poem presents  scenario of the dark days that kashmir went through in early nineties of the last century on account of Armed militancy. Every Kashmiri saw the Naked Dance of Death and Destruction , loss of centuries old shared culture and the painful migration of Pandits to the plains of the country. In an environment of suspicion , Silence became the only communication in kashmir . In this poem , I have used some names which I need to clarify to the reader .

In Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Mir is also fondly known as *Naba Meer. Word *Commander means the Leader of the Gang of killers or Terrorists . *Lachha- kujj used to be the popular name of an elderly kashmiri Pandit woman.

 . *Zeba is a common name of a Muslim woman while *Sri kanth used to be the name of elderly kashmiri Pandit Male . In Kashmir, Abdul or Abdullah is also fondly known as Abli and Dar is popular caste .

*Dastaar or Headgear used to be a symbol of respect in kashmirian society.

 *Maagha is the wintry month of Bikrami calender that corresponds to a period of Mid January to Mid February .Similarly * Haara or Haar or Harh is the peak summer month of the Bikrami calender and corresponds to a period of Mid June to Mid July. 

*Tumbhaknaar, *Matkaa ( Noa’tt), *Sitar and *Santoor are some Musical instruments used in kashmir . kashmiri word *Maavus means Amavasya .)

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015





To this photograph I am adding a Mini kashmiri poem “ VUNAL” by well known kashmiri poet  Dina Nath Naadim . I have done simple English rendering of  the lines  for those friends who do not understand kashmiri

 or FOG

Leisurely, it moved along the river bank ,
  As if measuring its journey path,
  It traveled  up  the hill ,
Engulfing everything in its spread ,
It kept moving  unhurriedly  ,
Like the sorrows of this world,
Draping every object
In its  White Muslin  Sheath ….

( Autar Mota )

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015


“Raat bhar gaanv dil ka sulagataa rahaa
Zindagi Aasaron mein sisakti rahi.
Chaand baithaa munderon pe galtaa rahaa
Chaandini chhaparon se tapakti rahi.....
Ek viyogan ne kuttiya ki dehleez par
Pass tulsi ke jaltaa diyaa rakh diya,
Koyee Chanchal hawaa Aa ke gul kar gayi,
Bujhtay bujhtay bhi baati mehakti rahi”

(Bekal Utsaahi)

BEKAL UTSAAHI (Born 1928 )

He is Mohd shafi Khan ( Born 1928 ) from Balraampur ( U P ) . Once, during a visit to a Ziarat , his Murshid named him Bekal. And after listening to his poetry , Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru Called him Utsaahi Kavi. This is how Mohd Shafi Khan became Bekal Utsaahi. He is a poet of GAZAL and NAZM . National Integration , Ganga Jamuna culture and Nationalism are also his subjects . He also writes Geets in fantastic Bhojpuri mixed with Awadhi.

Well kown Hindi Poet Harivansh Rai Bachan ( Father of Amitabh Bachan ) was an  admirer of   Awadhi / Bhojpuri Geets  composed by Bekal Utsaahi .

 Utsaahi  was a parliament member ( Rajya sabha ) and has been awarded PadamShri .He  makes liberal use of Hindi words in his Gazals and Nazms.I would request my readers to read the sample of his Geet that I have posted at SNO 7 together with some couplets from his Gazals . Bekal has Beautifully conveyed the effect of intense hot Summer and a wait for Rains or Monsoon in this Geet titled 'Kab Barsegaa Paani'.

Pehley tum waqt ke maathe ki lakeeron se milo
jao footpath ke bikhre hue heeron se milo
ishrat-e-husn mein masroof to rehtay ho magar
waqt mil jaaye to ham jaise faqeeron se milo”
“ Tera dam hai to bahaaron ko sukoon hai Bekal
fir tere baad kahaan baagh bageeche honge."
"Dharam mera Islam he, Bharat janam sthaan,
Wazu karoon Ajmer mein, Kaashi mein Ashnaan"
"Aaj jo lamha mile pyaar ki baatein kar lo,
waqt be-rehem he, kal tera na mera hoga"
(5) 'Teri dharti ko jhuk jhuk ke choome gagan
    Zindabad aeY watan, Zindabad ae watan'
'Jis ki shaakhaaon pe Radhaayein naachati hongi
Dekhna Krishna ussi peid ke  neeche honge'
Khet ka mukhdaa Badraa taakay
Roop dulhan ka achraa taakay
Saanjh ki chhaiyaan takkay savera
Gaanv takkay veerani..
Ram jaane re……. kab baresegaa paani

Saawan bhaadon sadhu ho gaye
Baadal sab sanyaasi
Pachhuvaa choos gayyi purvaa ko
Dharti reh gayyi pyaasi
Faslon ne bairaag le liyaa
Jogiyaa ho gayi dhaani
Ram Jaane re ..kab barsegaa paani.

Tal talyeiya Maati chaate
Nadiyaa reit chabaaye
Kuvein mein makdi jaala taane
Nahrein cheel udaayein
*Ubhahan se Gagri roothi hai
Panghat se Bahuraani
Ram Jaane re … Kab barsegaa paani..

Chhappar paar dopehariyaa baithi
Dhoop tangii aanganaayi
Dwaar ka bargadh thoonth ho gayaa
Ujarr Gayi Amaraayi
Chaupaalon se khalihaanon tak
Suraj ki manmaani
Ram jaane re....Kab barsegaa paani..

Adds AdarshAzad Arora  son of well known Urdu poet and csholar Prof. Jagan Nath Azad ,

“The last times I met him were during his younger days and my boyhood. He was close to our family. I would address him as uncle. His ghazal in the Republic Day mushaira was a hit,
"Teri parchayeen se tamir karun taj mahal,
aa tujhe geet ka andaz e tarannum de dun,
Aey meri jane ghazal...."
Another was,
"Amar jawan sipahiyo, watan tumhare sath hai...."
A line in it went, "Dulhan tumhare sath hai..."
When Bekal sahib came home, my mother told him, much to his happiness, that my little sister always asked, "Dulhan tumhare sath hai wale uncle kab Aayen ge".

For his contribution to National Integration ,Bekal Utsaahi has been awarded this year’s Yash Bharti award that carries a cash prize of 11 lakhs .

 ( Autar Mota )


*( The rope that is used to draw water from a well in villages is called Ubhahan in Awadhi and Bhojpuri . Very common word in Eastern UP),
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Dr Kum Kum Dhar from Lucknow.

She dances like an angel.Fantastic footwork and timings ..Saw her Kathak dance video.She Dances with energy and elegance.

She is Dr Kum Kum Dhar, professor and currently Vice Chancellor Bhatkhande University of Music ( under UGC) Lucknow .A well known exponent of Lucknow style of Kathak dance in India , Prof Dhar has been awarded Yash Bharati Award this year for her contribution towards promotion of Kathak in the country.The award carries a cash prize of 11lakhs.

Along with her troupe , she has performed in all major cities of the world . Dr Dhar has been trained by renowned Kathak Maestro Lachhu Maharaj(1907-1978).And Lachhu Maharaj is the person who choreographed the immortal dance "THAADE RAHIYO " for Meena Kumari in Pakeeza in pure lucknavi style Kathak . He also choreographed the dance sequence for the song " MOHE PANGHAT PE NAND LAL CHHEID GAYO RE " for Mughal e Azam,

And Kathak Maestro Birju Maharaj is a nephew of Pandit Lachhu Maharaj .

Dr Dhar belongs to a well known Kashmiri family from Lucknow .Her father Sh T N Dhar had been a senior Civil Services bureaucrat in UP and she is the proud grand daughter ( Maternal side ) of well known Kashmiri poet Master Zinda Kaul fondly known as Master Ji. Her sister , Jaya Kitchlu who is now settled in CANADA , served All India Radio. Jaya is a well known singer .

Dr Kum Kum Dhar lives in Lucknow and is actively engaged in training students in Kathak .

(Autar Mota )

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Friday, November 13, 2015




Rice has given comfort and trouble to Kashmiris. If we look back  100 years, we find that entire activity in Kashmir revolved around cultivation, harvesting, storing, husking, buying, selling and finally the consumption of rice. Rice crop was the major source of revenue for the state. Failure of this crop had a disastrous effect not only on the poor farmers but also on the population in general and revenues of the state in particular. Many Kashmiris have migrated out from the valley on account of rice crop failures. For Kashmiris, the rice used to be the only staple food for many centuries. Generally, Kashmiris ( who could afford ), consumed white rice ( rich in starch ) grown locally and known as ‘Koshur Tomul’ as distinguished from the rice supplied by government-run stores known as “ Punjaib Tomul “. The rice supplied by government stores kept Kashmiris engaged and busy. Quite often they would make enquiries like this:-

 " ' Kyaa sa gaatus trovukha tomul? '  meaning ‘ Have the government rice supplies arrived for the consumers ?’ " 

 I vividly remember how cooked rice helped a troubled husband (who also happened to be a mother's son ) find a way out from the mother in law daughter in law wars of attrition in the joint families known in the Kashmiri language “Hashi noshi nyaay “.
 The helpless man trapped in this feud would sometimes throw away his cooked rice plate ( Thhaal for Kashmiri Pandits ) or bowl ( Toor for a Kashmiri Muslim), which he was about to eat
.It went like a flying saucer and the man would leave hungry from the house silencing the warring parties( his mother and wife ) momentarily.

 On festivities, Kashmiris cook and distribute Tahar ( rice cooked with a little turmeric powder and finally mixed with heated edible oil and a pinch of salt). Kashmiri Halwai shops use rice flour for making Nader Monjji and Monjji Goole.

 Kashmiri Pandits in particular use rice flour (powdered rice ) for making a Dosa type Chapaati ( thin and crisp ), known as ‘Tzseir Tchott’. White rice powder is also used by Kashmiri Pandits in almost all religious ceremonies and rituals like the birth of a child, Mekhla, Grihpravesh, marriage, birthday Pooja, Shivratri Pooja, making of a Vyoog ( Rangoli ) and almost all rituals connected with death.
 A plateful or a bowl of cooked rice was treated as luck. I quote popular Kashmiri phrases.
 "  ‘Hataa ma dhi sheeirmitiss bataah  thhaallus dhakaa.’  meaning  ‘Don't be foolish and throw away the plateful of cooked rice put before you ‘ ."

 " ' Tse aaiy ta bataah ’.  meaning  ‘May you live long and have food ( cooked rice ) to eat’. "
 Not many of us know that till recent past, a special medicinal drink was also fermented in Kashmiri households from rice water. Known as Kaanz, it was consumed as all cure drink. Our younger generation does not know what Kaanz was. From our elders, I have learnt its popularity and its preparation technique in Kashmiri households.
 Our women had developed a skill in preparing Kaanz. A somewhat fermentation process was involved in the making of Kaanz . It was prepared in earthen pots/ pitchers. Even potters would bake special earthen pots/ pitchers for Kaanz which would be sold as ‘ Kaanz Nott ’. In our households, rice was washed thoroughly and all the water was collected in a ‘Kaanz Nott‘. Once the pitcher was full, a small quantity of  Ajwain ( Carom or Bishop’s weed seeds  ), Muth ( pulse grown locally ), Saunf ( fennel seeds ), Kala Zeera ( black cumin seeds ) and Pudeena  ( Mint leaf  ) powder etc. would be added to it. It was then sealed and kept untouched for exactly forty days on rooftops under sunshine for proper fermentation. Once fermented properly, it was consumed with food. For consumption, fermented Kaanz was boiled every time.

Many vitamins, especially from the B complex series, present in the dust of rice shell would be retained in this mixture. It was quite safe as neither chemical fertilizers were used for growing paddy nor was rice husked, shelled and polished in modern machines. Paddy was husked and shelled in homes by our womenfolk using a stone mortar and a large wooden pestle known as ' Kanz' and
'Muhul’ respectively. A stone mortar (Kanz ) was always visible in every house just in the courtyard while paddy and rice were stored in big earthen pitchers ( approximately 6 feet in height ) called Maett.

 Kaanz was consumed as a medicine. Many Hakeems ( Unani medicine practitioners ) in Srinagar recommended Kaanz as a general tonic to their patients. Although Kaanz had a bitter acidic taste, it had a pleasant smell. Some trained practitioners of allopathic system of medicine also recommended it as a tonic rich in B complex vitamins. In a Kashmiri family, it was the traditional and age-old treatment against jaundice . In small quantity, Kaanz was also added to some cooked vegetables or fish the way we add tamarind paste currently.

 The practice of consuming fermented rice water is also prevalent in many countries of south-east Asia and China. Chinese believe it to be good medicine for falling hair, premature greying of hair and heart ailments.

 I am informed by some elderly relations that whenever someone complained of pain in legs or joints, a common suggestion would come from all quarters:-

 “ ‘ Diss kaanz gilaasaa’ .  meaning  ‘Give him a glass of fermented rice water ’. ” 

 Even before the arrival of machine husked polished rice, Kashmiris had started identifying Kaanz with poverty and backwardness. As society got exposed to modern living, its consumption was dispensed with.

 ( Avtar Mota )