Friday, May 27, 2016



Sunset Time …. Mumbai

(Mobile Photo ..Autar Mota )

 I am in Mumbai.For a man from snow clad hills, Mumbai is hot and humid at 34 degrees Celsius. Heat may not trouble you but humidity does. you are wet with sweats should you stay out or walk. No choice but to Stay dry and cool inside under an Air Conditioner .Read Newspaper. Watch TV .Stroll out to some nearby beach to enjoy an evening sea breeze.

Oh yes the newspapers ;Today Most of the papers in Mumbai carry story about an Indian drug Baron  and his drug manufacturing activities in India. A business meant to kill our youth .A business meant to kill Nation's future. A business meant to bring misery and grief in many homes.

I don't know why the nation is not up against this activity  . Believe me when I say that Drug and substance abuse is a reality in our society. It has since arrived . Now  Let us Drive it out collectively.
Every parent needs to know it. Every parent needs to be careful.Every parent needs to Keep a watch on his growing and innocent child. We are living in a different world now.

After completing their 10 plus 2 education, children move away from us.They do not stay with us. Be careful if you find your child gets often irritated for no reasons. Be careful if he or she is disconnecting or switching off his mobile phone on weekends or holidays.Be careful about his mood swings and sudden behavioural changes.Be careful if he or she is demanding money for no obvious reasons or neglecting personal hygiene or absenting from class rooms or showing gradual decline in grades and scores. Every child is vulnerable to this menace that is in every University or college .It has almost arrived inside every Hostel that is left to the mercy of conniving Guards.

In every city , this menace is  tempting our youth  and inviting them to a fatal path. If it is Knocking at your neighbour's door today, it may arrive at your door tomorrow. I saw how it is killing our youth in Punjab. I see it spoiling many families in  J&K , Haryana, Himachal ,Delhi ,Karnataka, Kerala,Rajasthan, UP, Maharashtra and many other states . .I am informed of its deadly spread in our  North Eastern States .

Call it by any name ; Brown sugar,Cocaine, Heroin, Ecstasy, Hashish, Marijuna , Party Drug, LSD , Methaqualone etc., it is killing our youth and bringing untold miseries to their families.
I saw Parents running from pillar to post to get their children treated for this fatal addiction. I am speaking about brilliant children lured to this vicious circle in universities and professional colleges. I know how parents and families are suffering from this menace.I know how children once treated for de-addiction are slipping back and becoming problem not only for their families but for the society in general .The lesser said the better it is as we have no time for lectures .No time for seminars on the issue..No time for political slogan mongering on the subject..Only action and action  is what should come from all fronts now.

Shame  the silent majority that looks the other way on an issue that has arrived at their doorsteps and knocks  to enter .My dear friends, Dear thinkers ,Dear opinion makers, Dear Leaders , Dear Social workers  and my countrymen in General ..Break this deadly silence .Rise and let us seek stringent laws for drug peddlers and suppliers Why notagitate for a minimum of  life imprisonment forall those engaged in this nefarious activity  ? Why not equal punishment to all the  conniving officials meant to check this menace? Why not exemplary punishment to Guards and wardens inside college and university Hostels where this menace has arrived  ?Why not confiscate properties owned by active agents or passive collaborators and freeze their Bank accounts through firm legal statutes. They need to be dealt under stringent law and treated as enemies of the Nation.

 Simultaneously there is a dire need to open large number of  Govt run  deaddiction and Rehabilitation  centres in all cities. Centres headed by professionals and  Trained staff so that  easy and cheap access is provided to victims from poor and weaker sections. We need a Sulabh style of Campaign on this front immediately. Our youth need to be brought out from this trap .Their parents need help and support from the state .My request to our law makers, social activist ,political leaders and masses in general to join hands  to drive out this monster ..

 Let me conclude with some lines of  poet Firaq Gorakhpuri  on “Children of India” ..

"Zameen e Hind hai gehwaara Aaj bhi Humdum,
Agar hisaab kareiney duss crore bachon kaa,
Yeh bache Hind ki sab se barri amaanat hain,
Har eik bache mein hain sad jahaane imkanaat,
Magar wattan ka hal O uqadh Jin ke haathh mein hai,
Nizame Zindagi e Hind Jin ke bas mein hai,
Ravaaya dekh ke unn ka yeh kehnaa Pad'taa hai,
Kisse pa'ddi hai ke woh samjhe iss amaanat ko,
Kisse pa'ddi hai ke bachon ki Zindagi ko bachaaye
Kharaab hone se mitney se sookh jaane se..."

(Autar Mota)

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Thursday, May 26, 2016



EXODUS …By noted kashmiri Painter  Masood  Hussain

If you are in exile , you  influence the Cultutre of the  alien   Land  .  You also get influenced  by its culture and traditions . And   above all,  you also keep  influencing  the people  from whom you move away because  they  keep you in their  memories  for any reason whatsoever.   And sensitive  artists are no exception.

Moved by the migration of a vast majority of kashmiri Pandits after the onset of Armed Militancy  in Valley, Masood Hussain painted some frames on the subject. Apart from  “ LONELY SHARIKA   “ another relief  (done in 2004)  that attracted attention in the world of Art was EXODUS. The painting is meant to describe the exile or  Homeless existential condition of kashmiri Pandits.

M interpretation and  understanding of this Work of Art is as under: 

"The painting depicts the Sacred  Time Chord or   TRIKONA drawn as a window   representing Past, Present and Future . A Bird is shown jumping out from this Time chord . Jumping to Uncertainty . Flying out to something that is not described . The background of the Trikona has been painted red representing Fire and blood,  Both end products of Violence back home. The Bird appears to be having   demonstratively  square shaped white wings . A square is associated with  four  cardinal directions  that are open to this  bird for its flight outside the window.  The white colour shown in the relief is  associated with Peace and Hope  .A flying Thread is also shown tied to the bird . And to the other end of this thread , we can clearly see the Dangling   Deijj-Hurra  . 

Deijja -Hurra is an ancient  rich cultural symbol  or an ornament associated with a kashmiri Pandit woman  .   Made from  Gold ,  Deijj – Hurra is a  Shatkona ( Hexagon ) Yantra or a  symbol of Shiva and Shakti  ,  worn by kashmiri Pandit Woman  for  Youthfulness and Martial Bliss . Like Mangal Sutra , It is a symbol of Suhaag or  Happiness in  a  woman’s  married life .

While the Bird is bodily trying to fly out to  safety , The Deijj-Hurra  or the Cultural Drag is still towards inside  of the Time Chord represented by the Trikona . 

A Tragic  Predicament that an Artist can only understand."

( Autar Mota )

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Firaq' Handwriting...From the Book ' FIRAQ GORAKHPURI ' Selected Poetry  by K C Nanda that I am reading..

Ab tum se rukhsat hota huun
Aao sanbhaalo saaz e Gazal ,
Naye taraane chherro
Meray nagmon ko neend aati hai..

Now I beg leave of you,
Come, Take over this lyre,
Sing some newer songs,
My songs are feeling sleepy now...

Firaq' Gorakhpuri..
8/4, Bank Road

March1, 1967...

What is good poetry ?Let us examine what Firaq' Gorakhpuri has to say.....

Khoobi e lafz O Bayaan se kuchh siwa,
Shaairi ko sahiri darkaar hai...

Doston kaafi nahin chashm e khirad,
Ishq ki bhi roshini darkaar hai..

Khatraa e Bisiyaar daani ki kasam,
ilm mein bhi kuchh kami darkaar hai...

Shaairi hai sar ba sar tehzeeb e qalb,
Iss ko gham shaaistagi darkaar hai..


Beyond the trick of style and speech,
Poetry needs a magic touch as well...

Friends ! Wisdom alone is not enough,
Light of love is also it's need.

By the hazard of knowledge, I swear,
Too much of lore is a bane indeed..

Poetry civilizes the world of heart,
And then Sorrow makes this task complete...

(Autar Mota)

Source for this post is Sh. K C Nanda's Book FIRAQ GORAKHPURI  Selected Poetry ... With due Thanks  to the Author ..

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I was informed by an  elderly and well read person from Kerala that the marriage Lagana among south Indians  ends by what is known as ANNA-  PRASHANAM or PARTAKING  OF FOOD  BY BRIDE AND BRIDE GROOM. He also added that after this ceremony ,   the newly weds  are given Aashirwada  or blessings  first by the priest and then by the elders  present in the ceremony.

This Anna-Prashanam is nothing but a custom practiced by Kashmiri Pandits known as DAYA BATAAH  or partaking of food by bride and bridegroom from the same plate on the day of marriage after offering a small quantity to the sacred Homa fire  . The bride and bridegroom feed a morsel of food to each other with  their hands  from the same plate and thereafter share the food. This  common plate has all the dishes  that are cooked on the day of the  Lagna for the guests .

 DAYA BATAAH ceremony is  performed at the end of the Vivaaha or marriage ceremony .Among Kashmiri Pandits,  It follows Posh Pooza ceremony  (  showering flowers petals ) wherein the bride and bridegroom  are worshipped as Shiva and Parvati by all close relations who keep showering them with flowers while the priest recites sacred  Mantras for their union as Purusha and Prakriti.

In Daya Bataah   the couple make offerings of food into the sacred fire with chantings of Vedic  Mantras. Having done this, the couple feed a morsel of food to each other – symbolic of mutual love,  proximity  and affection.The DAYA BATAAH or  conjugal food is believed to unite two  hearts  and two minds  and make them  one.  The bride and the bridegroom are now ready to  look  together in the same direction to discharge their duties as husband and wife.

I vividly remember that first Morsel was offered by the bridegroom and thereafter the bride would  reciprocates . The relatives sitting around would cry  ..



" Diess  Bo'dd  myon'd " or "Give him/ her a bigger morsel"

 Post Marriage , Once the bride comes to her Inlaw’s house , another “ Daya Bataah” is fed by bridegroom’s  Puphi or some  lady to both the  newly weds . This is again fed  from the same Thaali or plate  .  This time they are together taken to the kitchen and made to sit over the traditional Dhaan ( Chulaah or cooking place ) . 

They are made to bow to Goddess Annapurna .  Goddess Annapurna is prayed to grant food and good health to the newly weds .

Annapurna is the form of Divine Mother who is believed to grant nourishment apart from  cultivating a connection with the Divine.

( Avtar Mota )

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016



Life Kashmir   )


Deen Baksh , a Gujjar from Kangan wants to go inside the hospital but is stopped at the gate by a guard in uniform.
 “ O, Khan! chalo baahar. Ye zenana haspataal . Idhar tera kya kaam. ’ meaning   ‘O, Khan! Move away. Get out of this place. This is a maternity hospital. What brings you to this place ?”

“ Idhar mhaaro humsaaya Nissar Chowdhary ka beewi aayo. Reechh naal zakhmi . Jenab haaput zakhmi keeno . ’ meaning  ‘ Sir, My friend  Nissar Chowdhary's wife has come here. She has been attacked by a wild bear. ”

“ Achha ! mein sab bolega woh kidhar hota hai . Pehle udhar se paanch cigarette laao,  Wills Navy Cut. ‘  meaning    ‘ Okay, I shall tell you everything. First, get five Wills Navy Cut cigarettes for me.”

Deen Baksh brings five  Navy Cut cigarettes. The guard puts four in his pocket while the fifth he puts under his lips and looking  towards Deen Baksh,   he says :

“ Idhar bachaa paida karne wala haspataal. Haapat se jang ka haspataal hedroon. Nawa Bazaar. Chalo. Chalo apna rasta naapo varna idhar labour room me bharti kar dega aur tum bhi khalaas ho jaayega. ‘ meaning  ‘ This is a maternity hospital. Those who fight with a wild bear have to go to Hedroon hospital, Nawa Bazaar. Now move away. Move away fast otherwise, I shall get you admitted into the labour room and you will also deliver a baby. Quick and get lost .”


The relatives of the indoor patients are gossiping and smoking in the hospital corridor. The sweepers are cleaning the floor. It is 9 a.m. Senior doctors are about to report for duty. One can see only junior doctors. They look tired after completing their night duty. Some look sleepy. Most of them are about to move out. The hospital attendants are active. They are moving in the wards and going to those beds where patients expect a discharge from the hospital. They are demanding
 ‘ Kharach’ or ‘Baksheesh’   or ‘ Chaai ’.

“ Aessi moklaaw . Aessi gatchhi na duty khatam . Aessi chhu pataa neirun  .  meaning   ‘Settle our things now. Our duty time is coming to end. We have to leave now.’ ”

 The close relatives of some patients are distributing fresh ten rupee notes in the wards. They are expecting a discharge from the hospital after the doctors conduct routine morning round. They have almost packed up.

Inside the hospital, there is an ideal environment; friendship, brotherhood and mutual help between attending relatives of patients. They share, tea, medicines, cigarettes, news and gossip. Altogether a different, secular and tolerant world.
New patients are being helped to move in by their relatives. Patients from the city are accompanied by two or three relatives while patients from rural areas have ten or more people with them. Sajja, a poor patient from Magaam ( a village on Gulmarg road ) cries loudly as she walks the corridor :

“  Hatha Sidda ( short name of Mohammad Sidiq,  her husband ), goya faaleijj. pyoyaa aatishuk. kathh taawanus laajithhus. …………………Me paekizi na nazdeek, athha laageizi na me zaanh. Dugg hai chhum … Maaeji.’   meaning  ‘ You Sidda. Let you fall a victim to paralysis. Let you fall victim to Syphilis. You have put me to this grave pain. Don't ever come near me. Now don’t ever touch me.  Mother ! I am in great pain .’ ”

Sarla Mattoo from Habba Kadal is uttering in a low tone :

“ Doctor saa'b me kareituv operation.   meaning   ‘ Doctor! please take me to the operation theatre .”

Maimoona  Rafiq from Soura is helped to go up the first floor of the hospital by her mother. She is biting her lower lips and saying to her mother :

“ Thuff kartam . Me laej treish . Chamaa ?    meaning  ‘  Hold me mother, I feel thirsty. Should I take water ? ”
I see Baja Singh, the head peon in our bank with his niece. He has come from Khanpur Sarai village in Kashmir. Baja  Singh’s wife consoles the patient :

“Balaai lagsaan . Sab changaa hosaan ’ meaning ‘  I die for you . Everything shall be fine .’ ”


Dr Farhat:

“ Why can’t you keep silent and allow our staff to do their work? This is a hospital, not a Bazar. If you cry like this and disturb others, we shall have to take you to the operation theatre. Doctor Reeta, she is already in her labour pains. And this Kulwant Kaur will also deliver normally. Her labour pains are distinct. I think we shall have to prepare these two patients for caesarean delivery. Put them on the drip. Watch their vital signs .”

When Dr Farhat leaves the  labour room, the junior doctors feel relaxed and tell Sajja:

“ Did you listen to what the doctor sahib was saying ? Now keep silent and endure this pain to save yourself  from the surgery .”

Sajja looks towards the ceiling of the labour room for a moment and then starts crying :

‘ You Sidda . Let you fall a victim to paralysis. Let you fall victim to Syphilis. You have put me to this grave pain. Don't ever come near me. Now don’t ever touch me.  Mother! I am in great pain .’
  Some young nurses giggle. An elderly nurse says,

“   Let her deliver. She will forget everything. ”

Baja Singh’s niece is also feeling great discomfort and changing her postures repeatedly on her bed. Maimoona Rafiq and Sarla Mattoo are silent.


I see Mohammad Sidiq ( Sajja’s husband)  outside the labour room. He keeps moving aimlessly in the corridor and smokes. With every shriek and abuse of his wife, he feels proud like a conqueror. Baja Singh’s wife is suddenly informed to bring new clothes for the baby. She feels relieved and rushes inside the labour room. Suddenly a nurse comes out and cries :

“Who is Mohammad Sidiq?”
“ What is the matter ?”
“ Your wife has delivered a male baby. Where is your mother or her mother ? Give me the clothes for the baby. ”

“How is Sajja ? Wait for five minutes. I will  bring someone to read Kalima into the baby's ear.”

“ Okay. Hurry up. I am waiting. Keep my Chaai / Baksheesh/ Kharach ready. Nothing less than three hundred rupees.”

And Mohammad Sidiq is suddenly agile with this happy news.  He throws the half-smoked cigarette on the floor and rushes out. An elderly woman holding a newborn baby comes swiftly to Ashok Mattoo and says:

“ Yemiss par ta huz bhaang. Khodaa saeb kaernai jaanus khae'r.   meaning ‘ Please read Kalima into this newborn baby's ear. May God grant you good health.’ ”

Tahir Rafiq is surprised. He offers his services instantly.

Dr Reeta Darbari comes out of the labour room. Ashok Kumar and Tahir Rafiq are smoking and discussing something. They throw their cigarettes on the floor and rush towards Dr Reeta Darbari. Dr Darbari   says:

“Mr Ashok Mattoo, you had brought recommendations of our senior Dr .P K Sopori. The doctor has also seen the patient. Your patient had false labour pains. We shall have to keep her under observation. She has been put on the drip again. And you are Mr Tahir Rafiq I presume. There was a call from Molvi Farooq’s residence for your patient. Molvi Sahib was personally seeking her welfare. At the moment, I can tell you that she is sailing in the same boat as Sarla Mattoo. She has also been put on the drip. I believe we may have to perform a caesarean procedure upon both the patients. Let us see how they progress. Worry not. Just relax. We are here .”


The moment Dr Darbari leaves, the guard at the labour room gate comes out. He asks for a cigarette each from Tahir Rafiq and Ashok Kumar Mattoo. Tahir Rafiq pushes half a packet of cigarettes in guard’s pocket. Ashok Kumar takes out three cigarettes from his ‘ Four Square ’ brand packet. He holds one within his lip and passes on one to the guard and one to Tahir Rafiq. He then takes a match stick box and after lighting his cigarette, passes on the burning match stick to the guard and Tahir Rafiq. The guard takes his first puff and says :

 “ You both are like my own brothers though you belong to the city and I am from a village. Please don't mind if I tell you the truth. Why don't your wives curse their husbands during labour pains? I don't understand this simple thing. They make no effort for their normal delivery. They sit silently making no noise and all this behaviour delays their normal delivery. To go for Fataafat  Khalaas ( quick normal delivery ), you need to speak foul and curse your husband aggressively during labour pains. You need to speak in a  rough tone like the simple illiterate women from our villages. Education and decency do not help here in normal delivery. Education is the biggest enemy of this normal Khalaas (non-surgical delivery). Education takes away Bardaasht ( capacity to endure )  from us. That is why educated Pandit and Muslim women from the city go for operation or cesarean delivery over here. My best wishes for your patients. May they deliver without operation! Don’t forget my Baksheesh / Chaai/ Kharach when your women have their Khalaas. This way or that way they have to deliver. My name is Bashir Ahmed Tota. You can keep my dues with canteen contractor Ghulam Rasool if you don't find me around.”

 ( Avtar Mota )

Lal Ded is a 700 bedded lone government maternity hospital and tertiary facility in the valley of about seven million people. It is an expansion of old 100-bed maternity hospital at the same spot.  The hospital faces a  huge rush of patients not only from Srinagar city but also from villages and remote corners of the valley. At any point in time, Approximately 2000 patients are seen admitted against an intake capacity of 700.

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Friday, May 13, 2016



( Photo ..Nishat Garden by Autar Mota )
 To this photo , i  add lines from a song that Majrooh   wrote for Hindi film 'MAMTA".....

Mausam koyi ho iss chaman mein Rang ban ke Raheingay Hum Khiraamaa….
Chaahat Ki khushboo Yuun Hi Zulfon se uddeigi Khizaan ho ya Bahaaraan…
Yuun Hi Jhoomte aur Khilte Raheingey
Ban Ke Kali
Ban ke saba
Bagh e wafaa mein…
Rahey Na Rahey Hum
Mehkaa kareingay
Ban ke kali
Ban ke saba
Bagh e wafaa mein………………
( Majrooh Sultanpuri )

My simple English rendering of above lines would be ...

For any season in this garden ,
We shall be there to add colourful elegance .
These hair Tufts shall always spread Love’s Fragrance be it Autumn or Spring.
Swaying and Blossoming
We shall be there ,
In the flower ,
In the Breeze ,
In the flowery Garden of Commitment …
We may or may not be here ,
But We shall keep exuding Fragrance ,
In the flower ,
In the breeze ,
In the flowery Garden of Commitment……………….

( Autar Mota )

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Masood Hussain is a well known Artist from kashmir who also paints Ethnicity , Culture and Traditions of his Native Land. He could not help remaining a witness to a period that saw only pain and suffering.A period that saw the painful slicing of kashmir’s soul and the collective Psyche of kashmiris being subjected to unbearable trauma. A trauma that tore age old bonds and ripped apart the fabric of composite culture .

People who lived in peace for centuries were left with no alternative but to move out to save their lives. Those who stayed back saw only darkness , death and destruction.

And in this rurmoil, Shrines of highly revered saints and places of social get together turned desolate.

A visit to Sharika Temple ( Also known as Sri Chakreshwari shrine that lies on the western flank of Hari Parbat hillock in srinagar city) was painful for the Artist.. He had been to this place earlier also. He had also seen well known painter late G R Santosh visiting this shrine. Over here only , he had heard Devotees Chanting SHLOKAS from Sacred PANCHASTAVI or Hymns in praise of Mother Goddess .

" Hee Deevi Tchaanie Darshanuk Me Abhilaash 
Praa’th Vizi Netran Manz me Roozeitunn
Tchaa’en Go’nn Boznuk Tamanaa Me Aaestunn 
Praa’th Vizi Roozitunn Myaanein kanan…."

( A shloka from Panchastavi in Praise of Mother Goddess Sharika …. Translated by Pandit Jia lal Saraf to kashmiri from sanskrit. I have done simple English rendering of the shloka as under )

(O Gracious Goddess !
let My eyes be always curious and 
longing to see your divine face alone .
Let my ears be ever impatient 
For listening your unending praise only.)

Why should the presiding deity and protector of kashmir be lonely? Why has once lively shrine turned lonely ?

He poured out this painful feeling in his painting titled “lonely Sharika.”

In this painting , You can see “ Sharika Shila “ painted in orange red ( The orginal shila is painted with Sindhur or  Red Lead ) against the back drop of limitless or infinite  deep Blue sky with a big white patch representing hope for peace. An image of a Mynah ( Haaer In Kashmiri . From Haaer comes Hari Parbat. In some Hindu texts , Mynah is  mentioned as  a symbol of peace and love ) engraved on the shila held inside the sacred Shat-kona ( Hexagram made from Two Equilateral Triangles is a Shaivite symbol that Represents Prakarti and Purusha or a union of Shiva and Shakti ) , A soldier’s helmet ,some burning incense or Agarbatti and loneliness.

And Masood Hussain adds :
"Kashmiris are searching their lost culture" 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016



KASHMIR ... ..By Vasant Ambrekar
Vasant Ambrekar ( 1907-1988 ) is another painter who's work is on display in various Art galleries of Mumbai.He was a Great master fondly known as Guru ji.Vasant ji was a lover of kashmir. He visited kashmir three times to paint Landscapes .
His work represents Expressionist definition of figuration. Vasant ji has added Indian essence of aesthetic flavour to his work. His was a master of Figurative , landscapes , abstract and spiritual who worked mostly on oil paintings and pastel drawings .
His work is diaplyed in many Galleries . A fellow of the Lalit Kala Akademi, he was an Art administrator who organised various Art Bodies and Centres as President, Secretary or Chairman . He spent most part of his life for building of the arts scene and art education in India.

Madhav Satwalekar ( 1915-2006 ) was a Maharashtrian who was born at Lahore and brought at Poona . He is one artist who has liberally painted Indian Life, Mythology and Indian women in all shades . Happy , working , sleeping , dancing , lonely , gloomy and women in Journey etc.He studied art at J J School of Arts and also went to Europe to study Modern trends in Art.. He retired from a very senior position with Maharashtra Government .
Seen his work in some Galleries in Mumbai .He as a contemporory of K K Hebber , N S Behdre , M S Joshi , M R Achrekar and P A Dhond..



                                        KASHMIR .... BY YASHWANT SHIRWADKAR    

                    KASHMIR...Agar Firdous Ba Roo e Zameen Ast..Hameen Ast o Hameen Ast o Hameen Ast..... By M F Hussain                                                      

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