Monday, February 29, 2016





Not many of us know that Enakashi Bhavnani  ( Enakshi Rama Rao  before her marriage ) has done an enormous service to expose Indian dances and Designs to West. No lesser is her contribution to expose Kashmir Crafts and Designs ( Fabric , Wood and Papier Mache ) to west. I was told by an American Tourist in Kerala recently about her detailed work on kashmir Designs ( shawls , Jackets , Namdas and carpets etc ) . I was ignorant about this side of Enakshi's personality and work. I knew her contribution as a Dancer, photographer and actress only.Two scholarly Books written by Enakshi Bhavnani were also made known to me . Both the books are preserved in American Museum of Natural History.These are ..

(1) Folk And Tribal Designs of India
(2) The Dance of India: The Origin and History Foundation, Art and Science of the Dance in India .

I was told that this exceptionally talented woman stayed in kashmir for  sometime in 1950 and met cross section of people connected with Arts and Crafts . She had been a  visitor thereafter as well . She also visited Leh and kargil for her Book. During this period she also clicked some photographs in kashmir portraying its rich culture and scenic beauty.She also shot a Documentary “ VALE OF KASHMIR “ during this period..
Enakshi was an active member of the Crafts Council of India, which was founded in 1964 to support artisans and keep their crafts relevant and marketable amid rapidly changing economies at home and abroad..

And in her book on folk dances of India , Enakshi covers all forms of kashmirian folk dances .

Enakshi married film maker Mohan Bhavnanai ( 1903-1962 ) who was trained in Germany and Hollywood. She was a dancer , Actor , Photographer and  writer on Arts , Crafts and culture.  From 1939 to 1938,She  acted in six films as a leading lady . Out of these six films  five ( Vasantsena , Trapped ,Jagaran , Himalaya ki Beti  and Yungrilla ) were directed by her husband Mohan Bhavnani . Only Shiraz ( 1929 Produced by Himanshu Roy ) was directed by Franz Osten .
                                                                       ( Enakshi in 1929 movie  Shiraz )            

The  Photographs clicked by her  have also appeared in National Geographic Magazine especially her series"  A Journey to Little Tibbet 1951”

( Autar Mota )

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016


                                                        ( Dr Esmer with Sheikh Abdullah )

 ( With Khwaja Ahsaan Ullah Trade Commissioner Delhi  ..  J&K Govt Arts Emporium )
            ( Refii Cevat ulunay is on extreme left and Dogan Nadi is on immediate right of sheikh Mohd Abdullah )
                                                   ( Madam Fenik with Begum Abdullah )

                      ( The Turkish delegation with Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and Mrs Vijay Lakshmi Pandit at  New  Delhi Feb 1952 )


In February 1952,  A  team of Five  top Turkish journalists were on  a seven-week All-India tour, to study India's Educational , Industrial and Agricultural projects, as guests of the Government  .  The members of the delegation were some renowned Editors /writers /Journalists that included Mr. Refii Cevat Ulunay , Dogan Nadi, Madam Adviye Fenik, Dr. Ahmet Sukru Esmer ( Ankara Columnist ) and Mr. Ahmet Yemin Ualman( Editor Istambul Daily ) .This delegation visited many places in India including Agra , Jaipur and Bhakhra Nangal .
In delhi , this delegation also visited Kashmir Government Arts emporium where Khwaja Ahsaan-ulaah the then resident commissioner played a host and gave them details about Handicrafts of kashmir. The delegation made good purchase of shawls , Papier mache and walnut wood carving items.
                                           ( A shikara ride  for the delegation )
 ( A Gardener presenting Flowers to Madam Fenik inside Nishat Garden in kashmir )

The delegation was invited to kashmir by Sheikh Mohd Abdullah and accordingly they visited kashmir in March 1952 where Shri J N Zutshi played chief Host . This delegation stayed in Houseboats in Dal Lake . They visited Gulmarg , Pahalghaam , Mughal Gardens.
Sh Zutshi took this delegation upto 7th bridge in downtown in shikaras . They also called upon Dr Karan Singh , Sheikh Mohd Abdullah .
Madam Fenik met Begum Abdullah at her official residence. She was seen wearing a kashmiri Pheran during her visit to Mughal Gardens. The state Hospitality Department also organized a Grand Wazwan for the Guests . They also did second round of shopping at Government Arts emporium srinagar
.Dr Ahmet Sukur Esmer Journalist and a scholar is reported to have told J N Zutshi;

“ This is like our Turkey. Seasons , fruits , water , Birds and Walnut Trees . The people look so close to us . I will have to dig some links “

REFII  CEVAT ULUNAY ( 1890-1968 ) was also a member of this delegation. He was Brilliant journalist associated with Turkish Nationalist Struggle. He lived in exile from 1922 to 1938.He also wrote Novels  and  critical essays on Turkish music and cinema .  A lover of India , he was liberal and known for his progressive outlook.  . His books include.. Slaves (1945), Between Debris (1945), No. Storms (1958), King of the Mountains (1963), and The Glory Land of India (1962).

Another journalist in this team was Dogan Nadi ( 1913-1969 ). Educated in switzerland , he edited the popular Turkish newspaper “CEMHURIET “ that was started by his father Yunus Nadi (1880-1945 ) in 1924. His Brother Nadir Nadi was also a well known Journalist from Turkey.

Madam Adviye Fenik, a reputed Ankara based  columnist had come to   study feminine trends in India.

( Autar Mota )    


Photo source 

Photo Division Govt of India with due Thanks                                                                                   
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( Photo Autar Mota ..January  2015 )

To this photo I add a thought on TRUTH  AND FALSEHOOD ...

Autar Mota feels ..

“Remaining at a little distance from what is truth or moving a little away from it is simple falsehood as we understand. Truth is a spot ,certain and fixed. You can neither be proximal nor distal to it.But ordinarily , all of us do it and remain either nearby or a little away from Truth.. That possibly is simple to handle. To be on dot and spot is not so simple as to be near by or a little away from it.
People feel truth is a longer road full of unknown complications while falsehood is a shortcut with manageable obstacles . Truth has no technique while lying is a skill. Truth is" as is where is " while falsehood is " How it should be and where it should be".Truth is naked while falsehood is dressed up. And Human mind tends to dress up every presentation.

A lie may create a dazzle of bright light and truth may , at times , put darkness all around momentarily.Truth needs patience . It takes time to appear . It is a little slower. But rest assured , once it is out , it dispels the even  the last and the  smallest spot  of darkness and shade .

Are we impatient while dealing  with  the truth ?
Are  we   perfecting the art of lying in every field ?”

{Autar Mota }

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016


            ( Herawati Diah meeting Chief Minister / Prime Minister J&K Bakshi Ghulam Mohd )
                          ( Herawati  Diah and Other members with Bakshi Ghulam  Mohd )

                                        ( Herawati Diah and other members  with Dr Karan Singh  kashmir 1954 )


L ATIFAH  HERAWATI  DIAH Renowned Journalist from  Indonesia    visited  kashmir in March 1954. She was on a visit to India as Head of an Indonesian Delegation of Journalists .This delegation visited many places in India apart from Agra, Jaipur and  Bhakhra Nangal. The delegation met Prime Minister jawahar Lal  Nehru , President of India , Parliament members  .This delegation also visited kashmir thereafter .
  It ws springtime in kashmir  when the delegation arrived .They visited  Gulmarg, Pahalghaam , Mughal  Gardens and Dal lake . They also met Sadar e Riyasat Dr karan  Singh and  Prime Minister Bakshi Ghulam Mohd . The members of this dlegation took keen interest in Kashmir handicrafts . Herawati Diah is reported  to have purchsed some shawls and Papier Mache items from Government Arts  Emporium.

Born in an affluent family of Java, she was educated in Japan and USA. She has been a Freedom fighter and a nationalist revered and held in high esteem not in Indonesia only but in entire south east Asia.She has personally known every Indonesian president, Queen Elizabeth, Franklin D. Roosevelt , Henry Kissinger , Gamal Abdel Nasser , Jawahar Lal Nehru and some more world leaders . Her husband B M Diah journalist and later a   Senior Bureaucrat in Indonesian Foreign service who  served as Ambassador to several countries in Europe .

Herawati once consulted Gandhi ji on Indonesia’s fight for freedom, and he said,
“When you truly believe it will succeed, then it will surely succeed."
To know more about her , Read her Book “ An Endless Journey: Reflections of an Indonesian Journalist.”
It was Herawati who led a strong movement to guard her homeland’s culture. She took her case to UNESCO and got Borobudur Temple ( Java ) and many other sites in Indonesia declared as UNESCO World Heritage monuments .
                                                 ( Latest Photograph of Herawati Diah )
She is 98 plus but still active and alert. Even at this advanced age ,she remembers :

“ O kashmir is beautiful. I liked the hills ,  Gardens ,   Shikaras , Lake and simple people .”

( Autar Mota )
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Sunday, February 21, 2016




Nida Fazili ( Born 1938 at Delhi  ) is no more..He was among a few surviving masters in Urdu poetry who retained the core charm and tradition in his kalaam. He was comfortable with Hindi as well. He wrote Dohas, Gazals, Nazms and Geet.Whatever he wrote , it touched you. It had charm, thought and tradition.

A couple of years back ,met him at Dehradun where he had come to participate in ONGC sponsored Annual VIRAASAT event.He expressed a desire to live in hills .
" living in hills changes your outlook to life. It gives you the much needed slow down at some age. You are at least living some moments of your choice.In metros ,you are just compromising with life round the clock."

And he had already written..

" Jo jee chaahe vo mil jaaye kab aissa hotaa hai,
Har jeevan, jeevan jeene ka samjhotaa hotaa hai,
Ab tak Jo hotaa aaya hai vo Hi hona hai..
Jeevan kya hai? Chaltaa phirtaa eik khilona hai.
Do aankhon mein eik se hansnaa eik se Rona hai..

"Kya aap kashmiri hain?"

" Dekho Bhai , muqamal taur se nahin kah saktaa ki Kashmir ke phalaan jagah se phalaan mohalle se hamaara koyee buzurg hijrat kiye thhaa. Haan ghar mein iss baat ka zikr hotaa thhaa ki hamaara ta'aaluq Kashmir se hai."

My friend Prof Liaqat Jafri interviewed him in Mumbai for his magazine.He touched this question as well. He can add more.

Rest in peace Nida Fazili..your poetry touched hearts and gave every person great moments of happiness..

Yes living remains a compromise..

Raat andheri bho'r sunehari yehi zamaana hai,
Har Tchaadar mein dukh ka taana sukh ka baa'na hai,
Aati saans ko paa'na jaati saans ko khonaa hai..
Jeevan kyaa hai Chaltaa phirtaa eik khilona hai..

On 8th Feb 2016, he died of  a massive heart attack  in his house at Mumbai.

(Autar Mota)

Zubair Rizvi ( Born 1935 at Amroha ) was finest among Modern Urdu Poets of the country. He served All India Radio for about 30 years . He also served at  AIR   Srinagar for some years where he worked as Assistant Station Director  during the period when K K Nayyar headed the Station.  From Srinagar , he moved as Station Director AIR Rampur. For two years, he served as secretary of Delhi Urdu Academy.

On 20th Feb 2016, he suffered a massive and fatal heart attack while addressing a seminar at Delhi Urdu Academy .

Zubair Rizvi’s prominent works include “Lahar Lahar Nadiya Gahri” (Collection of Poems), Hasht-e-Deewar, Musafat-e-shab, Purani Baat Hai, Dhoop Ka Saibaan, etc.

His Gazals and poetry had a refreshing fragrance and modernity. He remained a heart throb of the Mushaira that he attended.

some couplets of this poet that come to my mind at the moment are ..
Beetay huve lamhon ki khushboo hai meray ghar mein,
Book Rack pe rakhay hain yaadon ke kayee Album..
Duur tak koyee na Aaya unn ruto'n ko Chhorrne,
Baadalon ko Jo Dhanak ki churriyaan pehnaa gayeen.
Apni zaat ke saare khufiyaa rastey uss par khol diye,
Jaane kis Aalam mein uss ne haal hamaara poochha hai..
Shahar ke dukh ka mudaava Dhoond lo charaagaro,
Iss se pehlay log deewarein siyaah karney lagein.
Chamakati dhuup tum apane hi daaman mein na bhar lenaa,
me saari raat peidon ki tarah baarish mein bheega huun...
bichhad ke tum se maine bhi koyee saathi nahin Dhoonda,
hujuum-e-rah_guzar mein. duur tak dekho akelaa huun.....

( Zubair Rizvi)
Single handedly, he also edited the much-admired Urdu magazine, 'Zehn-e-Jadid'.He has tried his hand at all genres of urdu poetry.

I happened to know him while he was in srinagar . He would come to bank for some private  work or drop in sometime casually.  His wife Jamshed Jahaan  was also  an accomplished announcer at Urdu service of AIR. He would sit , have a cup of tea and talk about Art and literature. In fact Zubair Rizvi had recommended English Writer Virginia Woolf to me . He had many friends and admirers in kashmir.
RIP Zubair Rizvi.You shall be always missed… I add his poem to this small tribute…

(Zindagi Tujh Se Mil kar zamaanaa huaa)

zindagi Tujh se mil kar zamaanaa huaa,
Aa tujhe Aaj ham maikade le chalein
Raat ke naam honthhon ke saagar likhein
Apani Aankhon me kuchh rat-jage le chalein
kyaa Haseen log hain
in kii Aaraa_ish-e-Khal-o-Khat ke liye
Apani ankhon ke ham Aaiine le chalein
Ajanabi chehare me dost banate nahin
rishte-Naaton kii chaandi barastii nahin
qurbatein sohabatein jin kii yaad Aayengi
Aise kuchh doston ke pate le chalein
Un kii Aankhon ne jalate sulagate hue
Manzaron ke sivaa kuchh bhi dekhaa nahin
phuul-o-Khushbu sabaa zam-zamein le chalein
zindagi Tujh se mil kar zamaanaa Huaa

( Autar Mota )

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( Jeevan Hai Football)

Kaanch Katoray
Girray Farsh par
Tukadey Tukadey choor choor kuchh
Kuchh Bu’ch nikaley iss sadmay se..
Bhagya Ki Rekha ,
Kab khulti hai ,
Kis ne dekha ,
Kab Chalti hai ,
Kab Bachnaa Hai Kab Khonaa Hai ,
Kab Hansnaa Ronaa Dhonaa Hai ,
Jeevan Hai Maidaan Kheil ka
Kheil Hai Yeh FOOTBALL…
Bhaagam Bhaag Bhi ,
Dhool Udd Rahi ,
Ball ke peechey
Daudd Lagaao..
Paas pakad lo,
Paanv Badaao,
Kuchh to Poore Kheil mein Daudday
Muft Ki Dhool Udda Kar Lautay
Na Koyee Taali
Na Koyee seeti
Koyee Goal Post pe aaya
Mauqa Paaya
Ball ko apnaa paanv Lagaaya
Goal Banaaya ..
Phir Kyaa !!!!!!!
Taali, Maala Photo,,
Bheed ki Jai Jaikaar.
Jaissay Sookhi Jheel se Bandhu
Phoote Jal Ki Dhaar.
Iss ke bhi Din Chaar..
Aur Jab Dankaa Baaje oppar
Chhorr ke saare Kheil ke Chakkar
Laut Chaley sab phir Apne Ghar
Jeeti Baazi Haar....
( Autar Mota )

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Thursday, February 18, 2016


                                ( Vijay Malla  in action performing for his Monday Theatre  (NUKKAD ))
 (The blogger with Vijay Malla at a live performance)   

VIJAY MALLA  ( Born 1950 )

He is Vijay Malla  . Born at  Malik Angan Fateh Kadal in Srinagar city   , Malla has devoted his entire life to Theatre.

“ Avtar Ji , I am a law Graduate of 1973. My family came to Jammu   in 1950. The inspiration to work in Theatre came from my elder brother  S K Malla who worked in Rajya Sabha New Delhi . He was connected with Theatre for more than 50 years .I believe it was 1965 when i did my first play. I have written ,directed and acted in so many plays that I myself do not know the exact number .Starting from Radio dramas in 1970, I have come down to Monday Theatre  ( Nukkad ) . This journey has been fascinating , satisfying and inspiring.Money never remained my aim. I wanted to learn and pass on whatsoever I learnt.
Initially ,  C Parwana and Vaishno Bhardwaj ( Radio kashmir jammu ) were my Gurus . They taught me the skill of writing Radio Dramas and plays for Theatre. Both were real masters  at that point of time.This is possibly a period around 1970. And then came  Kavi Rattan sharma  from NSD. He was my second teacher .Later I associated with Parveen kesar and Raman Kesar who organized IPTA in Jammu , may be around 1974. I have also observed some great performers  live and that has helped me a lot  in learning naunces of stage acting . Among these great performers /theatre artists I include  Shambu Mitra , A K Hangal  and Habib Tanveer “

“ Let me add more . I scripted a play  “GORI  MAA  KE KAALE  BACHAY “. It won 13 awards in Drama Festival. I had directed the play. It had 38 actors . I also won Best Director award.I also scripted a play  “NA KHUDA HI MILAA NA VISAALE   SANAM “ for theatre  festival . A play on Swami Vivekananda  titled  “ SAB  KE   SWAMI  JI “  was also well received. A play on BEGUM AKHTAR  titled MALIKAA  E TARRANUM   BEGUM  AKHTAR  was scripted and  directed  by me for Theatre Festival.I also scripted and directed “ AIRRAY GAIRRAY  NATHU KHAIRRAY “ for Dehradun Theatre Festival. It was also well received by the audience. I must have acted in more than 40 radio plays  .I have also written about 10 features for AIR apart from scripting about 10 radio dramas . My radio  drama  “Honey Moon”  was quite poplular .Where can we get those talented radio drama writers like Puhker Nath BA? That class is nowhere to be seen now . There can be no other Veer Saxsena in AIR. I learnt a lot from him .I scripted two Features for DD titled BABA CHAMLIYAAL ( based on life story of this great saint and healer revered in India and Pakistan. His shrine is on Indo Pak border near Ramgarh In Jammu) and SHAHDARA SHARIF ZIYARAT OF RAJOURI. These features  are like archival records . I had to do a lot of research  work for these  features. For DD Kashir , I have scripted a Urdu  tele serial TAMANNA . I have also acted in some TV serials produced by DDK, Srinagar . SHAHAR NA PRETCHHAN, HAA’R  TA   TO’TAA, VARAQ AND VYAATH  of Ravi Raaz come to my mind at the moment. I scripted a Kashmiri play MOOLAN  DROA'T  TA PATARRUN  SUG for SHUHUL TAAF drama festival held in Delhi last year.“

" You are right .Many people confuse me with singer Vijay Malla. He was younger to me. A friend .Loved him like my younger brother. Very talented. A real carefree and  Mastaana type artist.I remember how beautifully he sang "Maayoos na ho Aey meray wattan" when we held IPTA convention in January 2012 at Jammu .We had invited Balkar Sidhu , a  thespian IPTA stalwart of Punjab. Even Balkar was moved.Miss him. I was with him the day he died. And my family received 100 calls from friends all over India next day. Everyone thought I was no more."

Malla won the prestigious ' Cultural Academy Theatre Festival Award ' in 1973 for his play” Tumhaare Chehare “. He scripted the play and it was directed by Upinder Khashu . He won the lead actor award for this play as well .

Malla has scripted and acted in more than 180 Nukkad plays   on  various subjects including National Integration. More than 20 tele serials have been scripted by him . Fluent in Dogri and Punjabi, he  does not remember how many plays he has scripted  for mainstream theatre.

He has acted in more than 30 tele serials and feature films / documentaries latest being Ravi Kemu’s  “Hamaare Gaaon Koyee Aayega” .

And for his work in theatre , Govt of India honoured him with a 'Senior Fellowship  Award' in 2009 . This fellowship is awarded to 12 eminent persons all over the country every year. And for this fellowship , he wrote a  wonderful research based book ( 475 Pages ) on ancient Ramleela in Duggar hills  ( Hindi.. Duggar Ki Pracheen Ram Leela ). The Book has been published by Govt of India .

Since 1990, He is president of  IPTA ,J&K chapter for sixth term now . 

Married to a girl from Garyaali family of  Rainawari, Srinagar  ( His father in law was GM Thappar Mills Punjab ),   he  lives in Jammu with his family.

“Theatre was not a regular activity in Jammu. It had a cost. We would wait for the 'Academy Festival 'and keep on practicing . Yes Ram Leela was very well organized in Jammu. Kot Bhalwal had the oldest Ram Leela theatre . So was Basholi.  Seri Panditan , a  village near Kot Bhalwal has produced many Ram Leela artists . You will be surprised to know that residents of Seri Panditan are  actually Kashmiri Pandits who have migrated to this place via Poonch and Akhnoor sometime in 18th century . Some residents of this place worship Sharda as their Kul-Devi. Some worship Jwala Ji of Khrew Kashmir.This applies to Raina community  of Jammu as well.”

" As I told you,  I have never thought  of material comforts  , personal favours , monetary gains or rewards  for my work .Money may come or not, work has to go on .The river of action has to flow , irrigate and pass on what it brings with flow. It never looks beyond that .And for me, nation comes first , both in thoughts and deeds .That is my belief and conviction."

" I can't tell you much about everybody connected with Theatre in Kashmir. Yes I know most of the  state level artists . You see , my Karam Bhoomi has been Jammu and and Punjab.  I keep training   youngsters from our state   . Some of them are really brilliant and original. They need grooming .They need to remain focused.They should not run after fame, awards, money or short lived popularity. Theatre can be their best teacher. And the essence of theatre is struggle. Struggle to be relevant to you audience. Struggle to remain connected to your audience. Let me not talk about the monetary struggle. You should remember how Water from all directions flows towards depth. So they need to create depth in their work, be patient  .Things will travel towards them.Theatre alone can teach them voice modulation, language skills , body language skills, pronunciation skills and the skills  of  dialogue delivery .Remember there is no dubbing or retake in theatre. " 

 He has lived and done theatre in many cities that include  Delhi and Mumbai. He has  also worked and done  theatre in many cities of Punjab.A former employee of TOMCO ( Tatas ) , Malla is totally devoted to his "MONDAY  THEATRE" ( NUKKAD )  now. For this, he has his own theatre group known as 'EK  SAATHH  RANG  MANDAL 'or  ESRM . 

                    (  Vijay Malla with  versatile Theatre actor Anjan Shrivastava and Mr Prassana  Ex chairperson NSD )

" Let us meet tomorrow once more. Come tomorrow only as I am going to Banni (Basholi ) thereafter for about 6 days. Yes NUKKAD. See I am 66.I also have problems of health.I also have family issues. I also have issues of existence .This passion for theatre keeps me going at this age also.. I do not seek rewards. My work may find no recognition. I am not bothered nor am I going to stop it. I am really grateful to my people for the love and respect I get from them.That is my cherished reward in life. Let me sum up this  through a couplet of Jigar Moradabadi..

Ya Rab! hujoom-e-dard ko de aur wusatein,
daaman to  kyaa abhi meri aankhein bhi nam nahin. "

In 2015,  he was awarded Bhagat Singh Samaan or   the prestigious  Uttarakhand Theatre award.

More on him  very shortly.

( Avtar Mota )

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