Sunday, October 28, 2018



Dr Zabihollah  Safa..(1911-1999)

Padamshri Dr Kashi Nath Pandita remembers Dr Zabihollah Safa..

" I am indebted to two Gurus for what i am and for what i did in my life. One,  late  Prof . N N Raina  former HOD Physics University of Kashmir and second late  Dr Zabihollah Safa eminent Scholar  from  University of Tehran. I may tell about the depth of knowledge and scholarship  of  Raina sahib later . Let it be  known to all that he brought Communism to kashmir . He was a scientist yet had unmatched command over   Literature ,World  History, Performing Arts, Music and politics. Except Marxism, i learnt a lot from him. From him , I learnt  that logic  remains the lone key  for acquiring  real, unbiased and fundamental knowledge . From him i learnt  that selfless quest and passion simplify the journey of a genuine knowledge seeker . Raina sahib declined to join  as Pandit Nehru's secretary. Raina sahib declined to join as Minister in Sheikh sahib's cabinet in 1975 . I have spoken in detail about these two issues in my Radio interview to you .so don't ask more.

The second person who left an indelible impression on my mind  is  Dr Zabihollah  Safa Scholar Extraordinary who was my guide at Tehran University  when i did my doctoral thesis on Persian Poet BEDIL.  The dimensions of his thought and words were amazing. He had enormous clarity on History, Civilizations,  Development of  Religious thought  across the world , philosophy and  World Literature.
Yes his persona was what Allama Iqbal meant when he said:

" Na Takht o Taaj mein na Lashkar o sipaah mein hai,
Jo baat mard e qalandhar ki baargaah mein hai.."

His Criticism was  scathing. Logic and Reason were his tools to unlock various issues and mysteries in pursuit of knowledge.. It required a certain amount of courage to sit before him forget entering into any   discussion. He would always say that Indians have contributed more towards the development of Persian Literature. He held  Bedil and Ghani kashmiri in high esteem . Apart from several research oriented  books , his   contribution is the  monumental  work "History Of Persian Literature" running into  several volumes with each volume having more than 2000 pages and
the well known" Encyclopaediaa Iranica "  . Dr safa moved to Germany after the fall of Shah regime . I went to pay my respects to him in Germany but he had been overtaken by memory loss and Parkinson's disease.  It was  very painful  for me to see him in that Condition . Such free thinkers are born after many  centuries.. "

(Avtar Mota)
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          (DR KASHI NATH PANDITA )                                                                        

                       ( MAQBOOL SHERWANI )





"When you are just below the mountain, you can't know how high the mountain is ; only when you move away, you realise its loftiness . "…. Dr Kashi  Nath Pandita

 Padama-shri  Kashi Nath Pandita is an authority on the Central Asian culture, linguistics and history. A renowned Persian scholar , author , translator , journalist and historian, Kashi Nath Pandita is also connected with Human Rights Organization affiliated to UNO. He  hails from Baramulla , a town completely devastated in 1947 by the  tribal raiders from across the border .

The footnotes to the pages of " Baharistaan e Shahi" that he translated from Persian to English , are an ample proof of his knowledge, scholarship and study. He lived in Iran for 4 years to complete his Ph.D. from  the University of Teheran  where he was a favourite student of Prof Zabihollah Safa ( 1911-1999) ,a scholar of international repute. Dr Pandita. remained Director of Centre of Central Asian Studies,University of Kashmir, Srinagar wherefrom he retired in 1987. He is held in highest esteem by various Central Asian Academies / Universities. He has closely worked with  many scholars from the Central Asia more specifically from Tajikistan. His travelogue titled "My Tajik Friends" earned him the coveted Soviet Land Nehru Award 1987. Some prominent works of Dr. Pandita are:-


1. Baharistan-i-Shahi, A Chronicle of Mediaeval Kashmir (translated from Farsi)

2. Avicenna – An Introduction

3. Iran and Central Asia

4. Ladakh, life and culture (edited)

5. Hafiz of Shiraz (Urdu)

6. Tohfatul Ahbab, ( English translation of a 17th century history of Kashmir )

7 Ten Studies In Kashmir …History And Politics

 He has authored innumerable research articles that have been published in many foreign journals . He has also attended many international seminars and conferences at different places in the world.  I have interviewed Dr Pandita three times extensively for Radio Sharda , Jammu. This is what he told me about the devastation of Baramulla town by the Pakistan sponsored Tribal Invasion of October 1947 .

 " I belong to Baramulla. As a young boy of 19 years , I saw death, destruction and plunder of the  Baramulla town in October 1947 . You can't feed incorrect history to people who have lived the period and are privy to the events .I wonder why some events have been presented wrongly with a factually incorrect narrative . May be this narrative suits some but facts are facts. I am referring to the  events of  the Pakistan sponsored ‘Tribal Raid’  in Kashmir. Lot of wrong information has been fed to people.

 As far as Maqbool Sherwani is concerned . I need to clarify that he was a staunch follower of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.That time we would hear a slogan ( coined by Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah ) from  the National Conference cadres, " Hindu Muslim Sikh Ittehaad ". Sherwani remained unshaken in this belief when most of his cadres shifted loyalties and sided with  the advancing marauders sent by Pakistan . Sherwani misguiding the tribal raiders on " the road to Srinagar city" is untruth. The raiders had no dearth of local guides, accomplices, target identifiers  and active supporters who were always seen with them . Many from the Muslim Conference cadres were actively  providing  every type of support and help to the marauders . Knowing  the road to Srinagar city was no issue. For  the raiders,locating Sherwani had a purpose .Through him , the tribal raiders wanted to reach Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah whom they wanted to capture and take along as per the plan and instructions from their Pakistani handlers . They had instructions to bring Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah dead or alive as Pakistani leadership at that time considered him an enemy and an obstacle in the  annexation of  Kashmir with Pakistan . Sherwani's house was searched but he could not be located. He was in touch with his party leadership in Srinagar city . He would travel to Srinagar on his motorcycle during night time  . Finally , the raiders found him when he was on his way to Srinagar riding his motorcycle . Unfortunately , he was identified by his own men after he was caught .He was killed mercilessly by the savage beasts.

 In fact the delay of two/ three crucial days in moving to Srinagar city was due to the  internal fight that the tribal raiders had with their Commander named Khursheed Anwar. Khursheed Anwar had received a sum of rupees three lakh to be spent on  the tribal raiders . The raiders asked  Khurshid to distribute the money. Khurshid refused and told them that the amount had been given for the whole operation and not for distribution  . That made the tribal raiders angry and they suspended their operation for two days. For two days , they shifted to looting, raping and killing people in Baramulla town.  However, this is also a fact that in the afternoon of 27th  October , 1947, a delegation of  known Muslim personalities of Baramulla  met  the commander (  of Tribal Raiders )  Major Khurshid Anwar and welcomed him  and  for next two/three days , the invaders didn’t  move from the town and indulged in  plunder , rapes  and killings  of Hindus and Sikhs of the town and the villages . The  Tribal Raiders entered Baramulla on 27th of October 1947. They were welcomed by Chowdhary Faizullah , the then  Deputy Commissioner of the district ,who was ,in turn , appointed Governor of the area by the invaders . The Tribal Raiders were also joined by Major Aslam Khan , an ex-Kashmir State Force officer and an MC of WW II. Aslam was the son of Brigadier Tor Gul who was a loyal subject of the Dogra ruler of Kashmir before 1947.The Muslim companies of the State Forces( 4 Jammu And Kashmir Battalion)   in Muzaffarabad  played treachery and joined the advancing raiders.

 The tribal raiders were fed with wrong information that Kashmiri Pandits had enough gold with them .So, Initially they mistook brass for gold and took away many brass utensils from the Pandit houses . All this we saw in the godown of the plundered goods in Baramulla once  the Indian Army arrived and the raiders made  their hasty retreat in panic and fear . I saw them fleeing through Baramulla town in trucks, lorries, Tongas and  carts  .  In Baramulla town, for two/ three days, they only looked for " Zar , Zewar and Zenana” ( cash , jewellery and women ).

To Baramulla they did what Nadir Shah had done to Delhi. They looted jewellery, shops and houses and kidnapped and raped many Hindu and Sikh women in groups. Baramulla Tehsil office  and the cinema building had been made a raping centres by these marauders. Many women jumped into River Jheum to save their honour.  I saw this naked dance of death and destruction personally . What they did with European nuns , nurses, teachers and missionary doctors and their families in Baramulla is very tragic, shameful and inhuman.

 This nonstop killing ,plunder ,loot ,rape and mayhem in Baramulla for two/ three days halted their advance and saved Srinagar city and simplified the task of  the Indian army in kicking them out.   When the Indian Army finally drove away the killers , the   population of this peaceful  town had reduced  to just 1000 or  1200 from something around 14 to 15 thousand . Prior to that , like a true Kshatriya, Brigadier Rajinder Singh put a halt to their march by engaging them in gunfight for four days with limited soldiers . Under instructions from the  Maharaja " Fight to the last man and the last Bullet",with just 110 soldiers, Brigadier Rajinder Singh put a crucial halt to the advancement  of about 5000  heavily armed tribal raiders  . He used guerrilla tactics to fight and engage them that delayed their march towards the Srinagar city. He engaged them in gun battle near Uri bridge, Mahura and Rampur, inflicting heavy casualties. I have not found such a warrior in  the contemporary military history. I mean an ‘Army Chief’ personally leading his soldiers in the combat. He is the real saviour of  the Srinagar city from the marauders. This great soldier died of bullet wounds in  the battle field."


                 ( Blogger with Dr K N Pandita )

In his book ‘ Ten studies In Kashmir ‘, Dr K N Pandita writes this :-

“ For two or three days and nights the loot and rape of Hindu and Sikh women continued in the Baramulla district. Locals became guides and identified Hindu and Sikh houses  to the tribesmen in each and every village even if it existed in the farthest corner of Kupwara or Tangmarg  Tehsils which stood poles apart. Hindu and Sikh women captured in Baramulla were huddled up in two camps , one in the Tehsil office and the other in the cinema building. Not a single house in the Baramulla district escaped plunder of the tribesmen and the highland murderers .Many Hindu and Sikh families committed suicide . In Handwara –Langet , six or seven members of a Hindu family took poison to escape rape and molestation. In Baramulla town, the local Muslims of some substance gave the armed tribesmen a list of prominent Pandits who were selectively gunned down in their homes in presence of their children and relatives .The local Muslims took away the cattle of Hindu and Sikhs , butchered them and supplied beef to the  Lashkar kitchen . Many  Pandits and Sikhs of the  Baramulla district saved themselves by feigning conversion and changing their profile . This was under the coercion of the locals .”

 V P Menon, an Indian civil servant, has written this about Brigadier Rajinder Singh :-

 "He and his colleagues will live in history like gallant Leonidas and his 300 men who held the Persian invaders at Thermopylae. It was but appropriate that when the Maha-Vira Chakra decoration was instituted the first award should have been given (posthumously) to this heroic soldier."

(Avtar Mota)

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Friday, October 26, 2018



(Mobile Photos Autar Mota 23rd Oct.2018)

KUD  looks deserted  courtsey CHENANI- NASHRI Tunnel  (9 kms in length approximately ) but Pateesa remains as tasty as it used to be. Chenani Nashri tunnel has shortened the road  distance between Jammu  and Srinagar by about 33 kms  . The new alignment bypasses KUD, PATNITOP and BATOTE ,  three Prominent Hill stations on Jammu Srinagar Highway .

Mr Khajuria prop. Prem Sweets Kud told me:

" We are here since 1925. Our great grandfather Pandit Lok Nath Khajuria  opened this shop after Banihal cart Road was started. He devised the technique of preparing Tasty Pateesa in kadaai using Desi Ghee, Besan and sugar. Ghee was procured from gujjars in surrounding hills and stored for winter in tins. That was purest Ghee . That time Pateesa was also sent to Royals of Jammu Darbaar. Our Pateesa has been tasted by Maharaja Hari singh and all CMs of the State. We are committed to maintain quality. Nashri Tunnel is Great Development in our state. Yes the tunnel has hit us but it is for convenience of travellers and we too are happy with this great development . We have already set up a shop at Narsoo Nallah on Highway to cater to our customers . That place is many kms ahead of the tunnel entrance If you come from Jammu. Try our kala kandh , chocolate and Desi ghee samosa Mathi  even if  Pateesa remains our speciality."

And Prem Sweets has  opened a retail outlet at Gate No 5 of Jammu Airport where you get Pateesa, Kalakandh, Chocolates, Mathi, Moongra and sund Panjeeri..

(Avtar Mota)

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Thursday, October 25, 2018



                                  ( Autar Mota in the lap of his Mother on right side )

My mother would always say to me  :

"In this world, Some people are ordinary and some extraordinary . It is predetermined and a matter of fate  .   But my son, always try to  remain  closer  to the extraordinary and   seek their  company . You many not become extraordinary but surely you will be more than ordinary. "

Herself , she was simple woman   :  Always busy in the  kitchen and worried about the welfare of her children .

(Avtar Mota)

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018


                                          ( Ali Sardar Jafri and Faiz Ahmed Faiz with Asimov)
                                                                   (Dr.K N Pandita )
                                                             ( Muhammad Asimov )

Muhammad Asimov And Padamshri Dr. Kashi Nath  Pandita  ......(  Tajikistan Connection.)

Muhammad Asimov or Muhammad Aesimi of Tajikistan is known to the world as a bright star of humanism, liberalism, modernity and scholarship. He was an administrator, scientist, writer, philosopher, translator and cultural ambassador of Tajikistan. As President of the Tajikistan Academy of Sciences, he was responsible for presenting the rich cultural heritage of his native land to the world. He also brought world literature to his people through translations. As Education Minister of Tajikistan, he brought revolutionary reforms in the educational setup of his country.


Asimov's scholarly contribution is considerable and multifaceted. His primary subject of interest was philosophy in the broad sense of the word, with particular attention to the achievements made in the East. As a political and intellectual leader, Asimov mastered the subtle art of protecting national values and interests within the Russian-dominated culture of the Soviet Union. He was the only prominent Tajik who used two surnames: Aesimi in Tajik Persian and Asimov in his Soviet and international publications.

Aesimi won the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Prize in 1980, two Orders of Lenin, two Orders of the Red Banner of Labour and the October Revolution Award apart from many national and international awards. Like Bobodzhan Gafurov, Aesimi is also known as the strong pillar of Modern Tajik identity.

Richard Nelson Frye , noted  American scholar of Iranian and Central Asian Studies, and Aga Khan Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies at Harvard University , writes this about Muhhamad Asimov :-

“ On 29 July 1996 Professor Asimov was shot in the head by an unknown assailant as he left his home in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. He died instantly, leaving a gap in the ranks of his country’s intellectual leaders, as well as in the International Scientific Committee which initiated the project for the History of Civilizations of Central Asia (Asimov was one of the editors of Volume IV). He was also a Co-editor of Volume IV of the History of Humanity. In short, Asimov was UNESCO’s most active contact in Central Asia. He made many friends in Paris and contributed greatly to the success of these two major projects.

I first met Muhammad Asimov in Dushanbe in 1965, just after he became President of the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan, and talked to him many times afterwards. His kindly mien and willingness to help others, even an American, was unusual at that time of stress between the great powers. After the departure of Bobojan Gafurov to Moscow to head the Institute of Oriental Studies of the USSR, Asimov became the leader of cultural and intellectual pursuits in Tajikistan, and the representative of Tajikistan in all-Soviet and international meetings.

 Asimov was born on 25 August 1920 in Khujand and studied physics at the University of Samarkand. But his interest and studies took him into fields of philosophy and history and other facets of culture. He had a distinguished career, the details of which cannot be elaborated here, except to mention a few items. He was Minister of Education of the Government of Tajikistan in 1962, and, as already noted, President of the Academy of Sciences until his retirement in 1991. He received the Nehru Prize for his contribution to friendship among peoples in 1980. In 1990 he was the founder of Payvand, a cultural organization for scholarly relations between Persian-speaking peoples in which he was active until his death.Asimov was a kindly man who refrained from the attacks on colleagues that are characteristic of some scholars. He was active in intellectual pursuits until his death and he wasa great help to those working on the projects of UNESCO. He will be sorely missed by his friends and associates.”

Aesimi had a wide circle of close friends the world over that included Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ali Sardar Jafri, Pablo Neruda, Nazim Hikmet and many more. From Kashmir, Dr Kashi Nath Pandita, eminent Persian scholar, translator and historian was his intimate friend. To me, Dr Pandita said this:-

" I have travelled to many places in Central Asia and lived in Tajikistan .Aesimi or Asimov as he was known in the then USSR, was an intimate friend. He was a scientist, historian, Tajik Persian scholar and a great human being. I have lived with him in his native province and the entire family is known to me including his brother. In 1996, Aesimi was killed by armed militants and I wrote a detailed article on him that was published in a leading paper in Tajikistan. A member of the Aesimi family, a prominent surgeon, was also killed by the militants in Dushanbe sometime in 1994. The entire clan of 70 members had to leave the country as threats started pouring into them after Aesimi's killing. They decided to leave Tajikistan and sought asylum in the US. The presiding official dealing with their asylum application in the US asked them to produce external evidence about Aesimi's conduct, beliefs and threats to his life. The family approached me and sought my permission to produce the copy of the newspaper cutting that had my write upon him. I advised them to go ahead. Later, I received a letter from the court asking me as to(1) Who I was? (2) How I knew Aesimi? (3) Was he liberal? (4) Did he face threats? and many more clarifications. I replied what was true and based on my clarifications, all the 70 members got asylum in the US. His children treat me with respect and reverence. I stayed with his elder daughter in the US last time. She treats me like her father.His entire family about 70 souls have been given green card and they live in Denver.

I have met Prof.  Richard Nelson Frye in Dushanbe. He was close to Asimov. In 2016, I was invited to Denver where my book on Asimov was released in a big function. On the basis of that book, a North American film company made one and a half hour long film on Asimov , most parts of which were shot in New Delhi and my several bites of about 25 minutes are included in that film. The film also shows some photos of me and Asimov taken in Kashmir.."


For more insights, I would suggest reading Dr Pandita’s book ‘ MY TAJIK FRIENDS ( A Travelogue ) ‘ that won him the then’ Soviet-land Nehru Award ‘


(Avtar Mota)
In spite of his many administrative duties,  Bobodzhan  Gafurov published more than 500 works in Russian, Tajik, and other languages. His monumental study, Tadzhiki: DrevneÄ­shaya, drevnyaya, i srednevekovaya istoriya (The Tajiks: Prehistory, Ancient, and Medieval History), was edited by Boris A. LitvinskiÄ­ .Bobodzhan Gafurov was a regular visitor to India and a friend of Nehru. Gafurov also visited Kashmir in 1972 or 1973.

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