Sunday, October 28, 2018

DR. ZABIHOLLAH SAFA OF IRAN

                       

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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TRIBAL RAID IN KASHMIR , MAQBOOL SHERWANI AND BRIGADIER RAJINDER SINGH.

                       
                                               (DR KASHI NATH PANDITA ) Padamshri Dr Kashi Nath Pandita Speaks on Tribal Invasion of October 1947 , Maqbool Sherwani  and Supreme Sacrifice of Brigadier Rajinder Singh.

‌" I belong to Baramullah. As a  youngman of 19 years ,  i saw death, destruction and plunder of Baramullah town  in October 1947 . You can't feed incorrect history to people who have lived the period and are  privy to 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 events of Tribal Raid in Kashmir. Lot of  wrong information has been fed to people.
                                                                       

                                                           ( MAQBOOL SHERWANI )
As far as Maqbool Sherwani is concerned i need to clarify that he was a staunch  follower of Sheikh Mohd Abdullah. That time we would hear a slogan ( coined by Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah ) from National conference cadres " Hindu Muslim sikh Ittehaad " . Sherwani remained unshaken in this belief when most of his cadres shifted loyalities  and sided with advancing marauders sent by Pakistan  .  Sherwani's  misguiding Tribal raiders  on  " The road to srinagar city"   is untruth. The raiders  had no dearth  of local   guides, accomplices and active  supporters  . knowing  Road to Srinagar city was no issue. For raiders, Locating Sherwani had a purpose  .Through him , the tribal raiders  wanted to reach Sheikh Mohd Abdullah whom they wanted to capture and take along as per the plan. They had instructions to bring Sheikh Mohd Abdullah dead or  alive  as Pakistani leadership at that time considered him an enemy and an obstacle in annexation of kashmir.  Sherwani's house was searched but he could not be located. He  was in touch with his party leadership in Srinagar . He would  travel to srinagar on his motorcycle during nights .
 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 crucial days in moving to srinagar city was due to internal fight that the tribal raiders had with their commander named khursheed Anwar. Khursheed Anwar had recieved a sum of rupees  three lakh to be spent  on  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 among them . That made tribal raiders angry and they suspended  operation for two days. For two days , they shifted to  looting  and  killing people in Baramullah town.
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 pandit houses thinking it was gold. All this we saw in the godown of the  plundered goods in Baramullah once  Indian Army arrived and the raiders  made  hasty retreat in panic and fear . I saw them fleeing through  Baramullah town in trucks, lorries, Tongas and Reddas  .
 In Baramullah town,  for two days, They only  looked  for " Zar , Zewar and Zenana ( cash , jewelry and women  )
 To Baramullah they did what Nadir shah did  to Delhi. They looted  jewelry,  shops  and houses  and  kidnapped and raped so many Hindu and sikh women in groups. Baramulla Tehsil office had been made a raping centre  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 to european Nuns , Nurses, teachers and Missionary doctors and their families in Baramullah  is very tragic, shameful , Brutal  and  inhuman. 

This nonstop killing ,  plunder , loot ,rape and mayhem in Baramulla  for two days  halted their advance and  saved srinagar city and simplified the task of  Indian army  in kicking them out. 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 Maharaja " Fight to the last man and the last Bullet"  ,  with just  110 soldiers, Brigadier Rajinder Singh   put a  crucial halt to the  advancement  about  5000 tribal marauders . He used guerrilla tactics to fight and engage them that  delayed their advance towards 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  contemporary military history.  I mean an  army chief personally leading soldiers in the  combat. He is the real saviour of Srinagar city from the beastly  marauders. This great  Soldier died of bullet wounds in Battle Field."

 (Avtar Mota)

PS

                                                                             

Padamshri Dr Kashi Nath Pandita is an Authority on Central Asian Culture, linguistics and History. Dr Pandita is a renowned Persian Scholar , Author , Translator , journalist and Historian.

Dr. Pandita hails from Baramulla , a town completely devastated in 1947 by 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 University of Teheran and 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 in University of Kashmir where from he retired in 1987. He is held in highest esteem by various Central Asian Academies / Universities.
                             

He has closely worked with so many scholars from 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 .)


Dr. Pandita has authored innumerable research articles that have been published in many foreign journals . He has also attended so many  international seminars and conferences  at different places in the world.

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Friday, October 26, 2018

CHENANI TUNNEL ,KUD AND PATEESA .



                                    













KUD  HILL  STATION  LOOKS  DESERTED....
(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

A MOTHER'S ADVICE


                                                                          


                                  ( 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

MUHAMMAD ASIMOV AND PADAMSHRI DR. K N PANDITA

                                          ( 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)
 
PS 
 
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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Friday, October 19, 2018

KNOWLEDGE IS DOUBT





A  SCULPTURE  AT   PALMER SQUARE  OUTSIDE  PRINCETON UNIVERSITY,  USA

(Mobile Photo.. Autar Mota)

Sometimes, Knowledge  takes away the smile that ignorance had granted to us. Knowledge has the tendency to create suspicion. And suspicion or doubt makes you to  think .. When you think , you naturally turn serious on issues.

Urdu Poet Raghupati Sahay Firaq Gorakhpuri too believes in this statement. I quote him.....

"Aaye thay  hanste khelte mai-khaane mein ‘Firaq’,
Jab pee chuke sharaab to sanjeeda ho gaye"



(To the Tavern, we arrived  carefree and smiling,
Look,  After the  drink ,  How serious we are.)

(Avtar Mota)

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Friday, October 12, 2018

JAMMU CITY IS BEING BEAUTIFULLY PAINTED









                                       
                                     




In Jammu city, Bikram Chowk flyover pillars are  being beautifully  painted  ..

 Pillars of flyover at Bikram  Chowk jammu are being currently painted by  a team of young Artist. Something beautiful is being done in  the City of Temples.You have a massive circular Pillar painting showing   Shiva and  Parvati in the high hills of  Amarnath Shrine. You have beautiful  paintings showing  Roff dance  of kashmir, Punjabi Bhangra, Dances of Duggar Land, Scenic Doodh Pathri  area of kashmir valley  and  many more things  . The pillars of the 1.3-km Bikram Chowk flyover are being painted by  professional artists hired  by Jammu Municipality.

 Spoke to an official  on spot and he informed:
" This is more planned and massive effort than what was done in 2005. Entire cultural heritage of the state is being  showcased . Apart from Bikram chowk Flyover, more places shall be painted. Due care has been planned to protect the work from man and natural damage.
Care is also being  taken to protect this work from  any damage due to rains and  sulight . It will give a festive and beautiful look to the city"


(Avtar Mota)

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Saturday, October 6, 2018

SUI DHAAGA A SIMPLE , CLEAN AND BEAUTIFUL FILM

                                     
SUI  DHAAGA.

After a longtime, i saw something straight, simple and beautiful . This movie needs to be watched for many reasons. No violence ,No item songs, No expensive sets ,  realistic portrayal of  dreams and struggle of  a lower middle class family  and above all superb acting by one and all. The movie has been mostly shot in easily identifiable surroundings  that  carry warm and nostalgic memories of our own life as it used to be  in  childhood and youth. You easily identify with people , situations and  story line as it moves ahead.

 Kudos to the casting director. It looks as if  each actor learnt acting  for his role in this  movie only.

Anushka Sharma is versatile.  If she  is  silent, she has something serious to convey. Her smile is her USP. It appears to  spring forth   somewhere from her soul . Her Body language compliments her natural acting.    With very little make up, She looks elegant in ordinary Saree, Bangles and Bindi . I never knew that varun Dhawan is such a good actor. Excellent performance by actors who played Mauji's ( Varun Dhawan')parents in the movie.


(Avtar Mota)

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Friday, October 5, 2018

TUZUK I JAHANGIRI OR MEMOIRS OF JAHANGIR AND BIRTHDAY OF RIVER VITASTA


                                                                    


BIRTH DAY CELEBERATIONS OF RIVER VITASTA ( JHELUM ) IS CLEARLY MENTIONED BY JAHANGIR IN HIS MEMOIRS
I Quote from Tuzuk I Jahangiri …

“On the night of Thursday , 19th , the kashmiris had lined up with lamps on both sides of Bihat ( Vyath ) .It is an ancient custom that every year on this day , everyone . whether rich or poor , whoever has a house on the bank of the river , should light lamp as done on Shab e Barat .I asked the Brahmans the reasons for this , and they said that this day the fountain head of the River Jhelum was disclosed and the custom had come down from old days that on this date must take place the festival of VYATH TRUWAH . Vyath means Jhelum and Truwah means thirteenth :As this day is thirteenth of *Shawwal . they light Lamps . In this way they call it VYATH TRUWAH .Undoubtedly , the lamp lighting was good. I sat in a Boat and went round to see it .”

( SOURCE PAGE 167 AND 168.. THE TUZUK – I - JAHANGIRI OR MEMOIRS OF JAHANGIR TRANSLATED BY ALEXANDER ROGERS )

( Avtar Mota )


PS
Translator’s foot note appearing at page 169 ..


• It is curious that the date of the festival should be given according to Muhammadan month Shawwal which must recur at different seasons .Apparently the meaning here is that the Birth of the river on that particular year took place on that day.


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