Tuesday, July 30, 2019


BENARAS   1944….

By…S H RAZA ( 1922-2018 )

Before coming to Kashmir , Syed  Haider  Raza stayed for some months in Benaras . Like artist Ram Kumar , he was also attracted by the spirituality of the ghats , crowds and Ganga  . He stayed  with  Sadhus  , lived  in  Dharmshalas and   sat on ghats observing and  painting . He was using water   colors  those days. This is a painting from that period. Water colors on paper
 In an interview , Raza has  said  :

"India is full of rich icons and symbols that have no parallel elsewhere. I use these icons in my work and I try to understand how they relate to each other. Consider the Purush-Prakriti symbols that are everywhere in our temple sculptures. Or the idea of the Kundalini, the source of energy. Or Pancha Tatava - the five elements that constitute Nature. . Starting in 1975, i started focusing on the Bindu. And that has been the central focus of my work in the years since. Bindu to me is about beginning, it is the seed from which the tree grows, it is the egg from which comes the child, it is to painting what Om is to meditation and music."

(Avtar Mota)

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.



To this photo , i add a brief anecdote  based on my  visit  to Mumbai in July 2014. 

In Dadar west ( Mumbai  ), I went to a shop to buy water  connecting pipe for an automatic  IFB  washing machine . I also asked  for services of  some plumber or technical person  who could fit the pipe to the Machine . Another customer  with a fair complexion , who had come to buy some  sockets  , suggested that I should   do the needful   myself as  it was very difficult to get a plumber for such minor issues  and then he would charge an amount that would be more than the cost of the pipe.  I said fine  and thanked the person. He then looked at me and said
“ Kashmiri  ho ? ”

" Haan ! Aap Ko Kaisay Pataa chalaa ? ”

“  Aap baar baar poochh rahay thhay ' mein lagaa saktaa huun? ' Aur aap Ke baat karne ke lehaje  se  bhi .  Kashmiri thhoday vehmi hotain hain. Mera naam Abdul  Qadir Kashmiri  hai . Mein Dadar mein rehtaa huun . Agar pipe fit na huyee to mujhe telephone karnaa mein plumber bheij doonga . Yeh mera card hai . Naye aaye ho ? Koyee pareshaani  to nahin ?”

“ Nahin ! Nahin ! Lekin ????? “ I now read the card .


“ Haan ! Haan ! Mere vaalid sahib bhi Kashmir  se thhay . Baramulla naam se koyee jagah hai . Mein to kabhi nahin gaya  lekin bahut shauq hai jaane ka. ”

“ To jaaiye na kabhi ? Aisi koyee baat nahin hai . ”

 We came out  of the shop and he continued ..

“Meray vaalid sahib filmon mein  kaam karney ke liye Mumbai  aaye thhay . Yahaan sab ko to  kaam  nahin miltaa , lekin unnhon ne  extra artists supply karne ka contract le liya . Kaam chal gayaa.  Aap Pandit ho ?”

 “ Haan ! Kaise pataa chalaa ? ”

“ Milaa huun ek Kashmiri  pandit bachey se.  Kabhi kabhi haal poochhaney aa jaata hai . Engineer hai . Dadar East  mein hamaara humsaaya hai . Kiraaye ke ghar mein rehtaa hai bichaara .  Nihaayat hi tameez wala aur nek  bachaa hai  .Allah uss ko salaamat rakhay  . Ek din ghar se Gosht ka Rogan Josh banaa ke laaya thhaa jo uss ki vaalida ne banaaya thhaa  hamaare liye .Hum to uss ke karazdaar ho gaye hain.    Meray  vaalid sahib ke   khaas dost  bhi ek do Pandit thhay . ”

 “Kaun se ? Kyaa naam thhaa ? ”

  “  Meray vaalid sahib ke saathh   ek aur kashmiri bhi  issi  kaam mein thhay  ASIF  KASHMIRI  . Ek kashmiri  pandit  bhi Hero bananey  aaye  thhay aur issi kaam mein lag  gaye.  Naam thhaa HARI KASHMIRI.  HARI  KASHMIRI  ka asli naam Hari kishen  Bumzayee ( Bamzai ) thha. Vaalid sahib kehtay thhay ki  woh  srinagar  shahar  ka  rehne waale  hain ..Meray vaalid Hari kashmiri ke  khaas dost thhay....   Aap bachey  ke paas aaye ho kyaa ? ”

“ Haan !  Lekin aap ke vaalida ???”

“ Meri vaalida Maharashtra se thhi  aur meray vaalid kashmir se thhay . Ab hum yaheen ke ho gaye hain . Dadar East mein vaalid sahib ne makaan banaaya  thha . Mera  kaam Transport ka hai . Vaise  Bhi ab dheere dheere kaam kam kar rahaa huun . Sehat bhi theek nahin hai . Ab do roti ki zaroorat hai aur ek  BP tablet ki . Shukar hai Allah Ka . ”

“ Aap ke  bachey ????? ”

“ Haan ! Haan ! Mein shadi shudaa hunn . Meri Biwi Konkani hai . Do bache hain. Allah ke fazal se donon apni  rozi roti  kamaa  rahein hain . Donon  engineer hain. Ek Dubai mein hai aur doosara England mein hai .   Donon ki shaadi huyee hai . Bahut shauq  thha ek ki shaadi kissi  kashmiri ladki se  karney ka . Lekin donon ne apni marzi se shaadi ki hai . Khush hain aur hum bhi issi mein khush hain.Hum miyan biwi hi yahaan rehtey  hain .  ”

“  Iss duniyaa mein Sab Ka yahee haal hai . Aap akelay nahin hain  ”

“  Haan ! Jaantaa huun , Khair  , Allah ka shukr hai ki aaj apney ajdaadon ke wattan ke kissi  ko dekha  . Mera number hai card mein . Zaroorat pade to zaroor baat karnaa. Mujhe intehaayi  khushi  hogi . Allah  salaamat rakhey .”

( Avtar Mota 28.07.2014 )

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

Sunday, July 28, 2019


Nikola Vaptsarov..(1909-1942)..A small Tribute...

Today is death anniversary of Bulgarian poet Nikola Vaptsarov. He was killed by Nazi forces today after being traced  in  his exile . He was killed because he believed differently. He was a poet ,engineer ,trade union leader and a communist. When Hitler 's army invaded Europe,  they were  in Bulgaria for sometime preparing for their attack on Russia.  Those who opposed Nazi invasion of Europe were put before  firing Squad by advancing German troops..So many went into exile .

If you visit beautiful Bulgaria, you find roads, theatres , institutions and many academies named after this patriot known world over as Nikola Vaptsarov. His statue has been  erected in many cities and towns.Bulgarians love the man and his poetry.

He wrote poetry till his last breath. Pablo Neruda has said that poetry is indebted to Nikola for what he did. I quote his last poem  ' On Parting'   that he scribbled two hours before facing Nazi firing squad.
(On Parting)

To my wife
Sometimes I’ll come when you’re asleep,
An unexpected visitor.
Don’t leave me outside in the street,
Don’t bar the door!

I’ll enter quietly, softly sit
And gaze upon you in the dark.
Then, when my eyes have gazed their fill,
I’ll kiss you and depart.

* * *

The fight is hard and pitiless.
The fight is epic, as they say.
I fell. Another takes my place –
Why single out a name?

After the firing squad – the worms.
Thus does the simple logic go.
But in the storm, we’ll be with you,
My people, for we loved you so.

2 p.m. – 23 July, 1942

And his poem 'History' has been translated into almost every major Language of the world.Here lies history:-


will you mention us In your faded scroll ?
We worked in factories,
offices — Our names were not well-known.
We worked in fields,
smelled strongly Of onions and sour bread.
Through thick moustaches angrily
We cursed the life we led.
Will you at least be grateful
We fattened you with news,
And slaked your thirst so richly
With the blood of slaughtered crowds ? You'll view the panorama,
O'erlook the living centre,
And no one will remember
The simple human drama.
The poets will be distracted
With pamphlets,
 progress rates ; Our unrecorded suffering Will roam alone in space.
Was it a life worth noting,
A life worth digging up
Unearthed, it reeks of poison,
Tastes bitter in the cup.
We were born along the hedgerows.
 In the shelter of stray thorns
Our mothers lay perspiring,
Their dry lips tightly drawn.
 We died like flies in autumn.
The women mourned the dead,
Turned their lament to singing
But only the wild grass heard.
We who survived our brothers,
Sweated from every pore,
 Took any job that offered,
Toiled as the oxen do.
 At home our fathers taught us :
 "So shall it always be/ But we scowled back and spat on Their fool's philosophy.
 We kicked the table over,
Ran out of doors,
and there In the open felt the stirring Of something bright and fair.
How anxiously we waited In little-known cafes,
And turned in late at night With the last communiques !
 How we were soothed by hoping ! . .
But leaden skies pressed lower,
The scorching wind hissed viciously . . Till we could stand no more !
But in your endless volumes
 Beneath each letter and line
Our pain will leer forbiddingly
And raise a bitter cry.
For life,
showing no mercy,
With heavy brutish paw
 Battered our hungry faces. That's why our tongue is raw.
 That's why the poems I'm writing In hours I steal from sleep,
Have not the grace of perfume
But brief and scowling beat.
For the hardship and affliction
We do not seek rewards,
 Nor do we want our pictures In the calendar of years.
But tell our story simply
 To those we shall not see,
Tell those who will replace us — We fought courageously.

Here is another  poem:-


There's a crowd at the door
where the floodlit posters
'A human Drama.'
There's a crowd at the door
and the King's nickel horseman
in the pressure
of my pain.

On the square white screen
in the darkened hall
the Metro lion
sleepily yawns.
Suddenly a road
and a forest appear,
and above - the blue sky.
Expansive, clear.

Meeting at the bend
two sleek limousines
It's our hero
and heroine.

Promptly the gentleman
leaves his car,
picks up the woman
in though steel arms.
Slowly she opens
eyes that smoulder,
flutters her lashes
and skyward stares.
O what a beautiful
thoroughbred mare!

Nightingales, sure enough,
sing in the trees
where the peaceful azure
filters down through the leaves,
and yonder
the soft green meadow

Lustfully greasy
John kisses Greta.
Lascivious lips
start slobbering...
Where is our fate here?
Where is the drama?
Where am I? Tell me!
Ready to shoot, the explosive time
presses a gun against our spine.

In our love,
in our grief
can we be so naive
with our chests full of smoke
and our lungs T.B.?

Do we meet
those we love
in a sleek
Our love arises
at work -
amid smoke,
amid soot
and machines.
Then comes the grey life,
the struggle for bread,
the vague dreams -
every night in the cheap narrow bed
we barely perceptibly weaken and die.

That's how it is.
And there is the drama!
Everything else -
is a lie!
(Avtar Mota.. 23.07.2019)

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Chinar Shade by  Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

Thursday, July 25, 2019


        ( Night After Snow Fall)

        (Rural women of Kashmir)

                       (Autumn Chinars)


Sireesha  Srinivas    is married to  a very senior IPS officer of J&K cadre .  She holds a Masters degree  and  hails from a traditional Telgu  speaking family .   inspired by Raja Ravi Verma’s work. Kashmir  is her muse . Staying in kashmir for more than two decades , she loves to paint kashmir ..

 “There is plenty to explore in Kashmir’s landscape. The beautiful meadows, the Snow peaks, the tulips, the boats and Shikaras of Dal Lake, to name a few, stand out as the representation of mesmerizing beauty that the paradise is endowed with. My favorite works on Kashmir landscapes have always been the serene waves of Dal Lake and the charming Chinar leaves, besides the snow peaks of Kashmir valley.”

In 2017, her exhibition in New Delhi was inaugurated by Prof. Zargar Zahoor  well known  Artist from kashmir  .

Her colours are vibrant. Her brush strokes reflect her sensitivity and confidence .

Best wishes to Seerisha  Srinivas . More fame to  her beautiful kashmir canvases …
( Avtar Mota )

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

Friday, July 19, 2019




Modern technology ( coming in the shape of Internet and Mobile connectivity )  has  made all those old post office papers /  instruments like money order form, blank inland letter  , post office registered envelope , blank telegram form and Post Card almost redundant for us. Rarely we see such things in our households. We have forgotten the role of a postman in our lives. Have we destroyed the institution of Post office in India? I saw it  thriving in USA .

In offices receipt despatch section is gradually facing  extinction. With the click of a mouse or feeble touch at the mobile display screen ,  any amount can be sent to any person anywhere and at anytime.
 Why write litters? Speak or use Email channel. Speak directly and send any script in seconds using Desktop, Laptop or Mobile phone.
Not that alone, you can see a person and talk to him anytime from any place  using your mobile phone.

Technology has made Post office  something that is not necessary in our lives anymore. Alas! I don't know who is the postman in my area. However i still remember Makhan Lal   the affable and ever busy postmen  of Rainawari  .I still remember how he brought a money order, some interview letter, some  appointment order and regular welfare communications  of relations and friends  .

And Very shortly we shall  erase all those   memories to carry on with the technology  that makes us to lead a   phoney life ...
(Avtar Mota)

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

Saturday, July 13, 2019



A poem titled 'When I was a Child' by  exiled Kurdish Poet  Sherko Bekas ..Translated from the Kurdish by Muhammed Chawsawa and A.M. Levinson-LaBrosse......

(A portrait of Sherko Bekas..)

( When i was a Child )

When I was a child,
My left hand wished,
Similar to our neighbor’s well dressed children,
To have a watch.
I mourned.
My mother could only bite
My wrist:
With her teeth,
She would draw a watch.
Oh, that delighted me!

When I was a child,
The meaning of happiness
Was: in the bath,
The bubbles, lanterns of green and red
That I made
Puffed from the soap foam.

When I was a child,
In winter,
In the heat of the hearth,
I would sit
Looking at the embers,
Bright and blossoming,
I wished,
As a child,
To go into the embers,
To sit down,
To make them home!

When I was a child, many evenings
I was sent to Mrs. Manija’s house
To buy pickles.
That taste so delicious because,
After looking over my shoulder,
At the narrow alley’s switchback,
In one or two shots,
I snuck the juice from the glass.

When I was a child,
Love meant to me:
The night before the feast,
Till morning, till my eyes opened,
With me, in an embrace,
slept my new shoes.

When I grew up,
My left hand saw
Many real, beautiful watches
But none like the watch
Fitted by my mother’s teeth
On my fore and upper arm,
None could please me that much.

When I grew up,
None of my room’s forty lamps and lights
Could, like the bubbles of the soap foam,
Make me chuckle.

When I grew up,
I didn’t make any flame of my stove
A home to live in.
When I grew up, no food
Tasted as that shot of pickle juice did.

When I grew up,
I didn’t bring any shirts, ties, and new suits
Into my bed
As I did with my feast-day shoes,
The ones that, my eyes wide in anticipation,
Slept with me, in an embrace - -
None of them, none of them!

( Avtar Mota )

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.