Saturday, June 26, 2021


These photographs show how great artist nature happens to be. In every aspect, nature is the greatest painter on this planet.




( Avtar Mota)

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Wednesday, June 23, 2021






Majrooh has written about 2000 odd songs for about 300 films. Unlike Sahir,  you confront two persons in this name ; Majrooh,  the serious Urdu poet and Majrooh,  the film song writer.   I know both  as I have read Majrooh the Urdu poet and heard some beautiful songs composed by Majrooh the film lyricist . From K.L. Saigal to Shah Rukh Khan, his songs  understood   the language of every generation. Through his songs , he  could convey  sensuality ,  dreams , passion. love and rejection. Majrooh didn’t allow age to touch his heart or  his art. 

Majrooh’s  song , "Chhupa lo yoon dil mein pyaar mera"  (Mamta, 1966) has always been my favourite .With Roshan’s soothing   and unforgettable music,  using Raag Yaman  , the song is still  there , always fresh , although it is about 55 years old now. This unusual love song  sung by Hemant Kumar  and  Lata Mangeshker and picturised on Ashok Kumar and Suchitra Sen,  aptly conveys the feelings of suchitra Sen and Ashok Kumar in the movie. If you are unable to show it to the world, hide your love  in your heart like the sacred flame burning inside  a temple  This flame  may  illuminate every dark recess of the heart . The song uses other religious motifs like the flower laid at the feet of the deity ,sacred ash that a devotee smears upon his forehead etc.  There is something special about the way the song attracts your attention . 

" Rahein na rahein hum,Mehka karenge" is another Roshan,Lata and Majrooh creation that remains my favourite.


Ananad Bakshi  must have written about 3500 film songs  . He worked with every singer , every composer and  almost every production house .Some people had issues with his songs but at a point of time , every alternate person in India used to sing songs that he penned. Anand Bakshi remains a good film lyricist .I have not read his non film poetry .
One song that remains my favourite is “ Kuchh to log Kahenge “ that Bakshi wrote for Amar Prem (1971 ) .Sung by Kishore Kumar and picturised on Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore, this song retains its popularity even when it is about 50 years old. That is the magic of R. D. Burman  , Kishore Kumar and Anand Bakshi . While the father ,  S. D. Burman was a minimalist, Pancham built his individual Identity by creating  a  music based on folk, jazz and Indian classical. R. D. was greatly influenced by Raag Khamaj. The song under discussion is also based on Khamaaj. In the song ‘ Kuchh To Log Kahenge ‘, the notes of Khamaj merge into Raag Kalavati.  R.D.  knew exactly which song to give to which singer. If he made  Asha Bhosle  sing'  Piya tu ab to aaja ' , he gave  'Raina beeti jaaye ' to Lata Ji. Both selections proved absolutely correct.

“People will say something or the other, it’s their business to talk,
Ignore it, lest the night ends in these useless things’

This is what Rajesh Khanna intends to convey to Sharmila Tagore through the song and succeeds in conveying that one should not be afraid of worldly ways and slander  when even Lord Rama’s wife ( Sita ) had to face it. Cogently , he also conveys that those who preach , seldom practice it.
"Hum bewafa hargiz na thay" is another R.D. ,Kishore and Anand Bakshi creation that  remains my  favourite..This song is also based on Raag Khamaj, R.D.'s favourite Raaga.

So Long so much ..

( Avtar Mota )

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Sunday, June 20, 2021




The Merriam Webster dictionary defines Namaste as under:-

" The Sanskrit phrase namaste is formed from namaḥ, meaning “bow, obeisance, adoration,” and the enclitic pronoun te, meaning “to you.” The noun namaḥ, in turn, is a derivative of the verb namati, which means “(she or he) bends, bows."

About Namaste, Dr S.S.Tosahkhani, the well known Scholar says this:-

" The etymology of the word is simply ‘namas’ (नमस्), meaning bowing, salutation, obeisance + ‘te’ (ते) meaning ‘to you’. ‘Namas’ changes to ‘Namah’ (नम:) and ‘namo’ (नमो) in composition.  The word ‘namaste’ is not found in any Sanskrit dictionary because Namaskar is the standard form of salutation."

So , namaste literally means ‘I bow to you.’ However  ,there is a broader and divine meaning and interpretation of  the word Namaste.This interpretation comes from the Hindu belief that God resides in everyone. 

Accordingly to  B. K. S. Iyengar,

" Namaste is a sincere gesture from somewhere deep within  the soul. It is  acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another."

The Upnishads say that the light within one  individual acknowledges the light present in another as both reflect the light of the same  supreme soul. Thus while Namaste  is a form of greeting, it is essentially  an acknowledgement of  the all pervading presence of  the supreme reality. A person saying Namaste also conveys to the other person that they are the parts of the same reality. Some scholars have also given below listed interpretations of Namaste:-

(1) I  bow to the place in you that is love, light, and joy.

(2)When you and I bow to our true nature, we are one.

(3) My soul recognizes your soul

(4) We are the same, we are one.

(5)  I honour the place in you that is the same as it is in me.


Sadhguru Jaggi  Vasudev says this :-

 " When you see a person, whether it is in your workplace, on the street, at home or anywhere else, the nature of human intellect is such that the moment it sees, it will make a judgment – “This is okay in that person, this is not okay in that person. He is good, he is not good, he is beautiful, he is ugly” – all kinds of things. You do not even have to consciously think all this. These assessments and judgments happen in a moment, and your judgments may be completely wrong because they all are coming from your past experiences of life. They will not allow you to experience something or someone the way they are right now, which is very important. If you want to work effectively in any field, if someone comes in front of you, it is most important to be able to grasp them the way they are right now. How they were yesterday does not matter. How they are this moment is important. 

The moment you place your hands together, and say namaskar ,  your dualities, your likes and dislikes, your cravings and aversions, are all leveled out because you recognize the source of creation within them. This is the intention behind doing Namaskar."

Both namaskar and  namaste have the same root word in Sanskrit: namas, which means “bowing or homage.” Namaskar is made up of the root words namas and kara, meaning “doing".

In the US, I observed that the religious and secular culture come together with the increasing use of  word Namaste.


(Avtar Mota)

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Saturday, June 19, 2021



(A painting showing  Jyeshta Ashtami festivity at Kheer Bhawani Shrine ,Tulamula, Kashmir by William carpenter done in 1955or 1956)

( A painting showing  devotees  at Kheer Bhawani Shrine ,Tulamula, Kashmir by William carpenter done in 1955or 1956)
  ( An old photograph of the sacred spring at Tulamula )

       ( The above  photo  of sacred  spring was clicked in 1880 AD)

Kheer Bhavani is an ancient temple of Kashmir that falls in Ganderbal district and is located at a distance of  about 27 km from Srinagar city . It is dedicated to Ragnya Devi (form of Goddess Durga).  Goddess Ragnya is depicted in the form of a natural hexagonal spring that is adored by the devotees. The temple of Ragnya Devi is popularly known as Kheer Bhavani Temple, due to the fact that devotees offer 'Kheer' (Sweet dish made of milk) to the sacred spring. 

An annual festival is held at the temple on Jyeshta (May / June ) Ashtami day. On this day, devotees observe  a fast and gather at the temple to pay their homage to the goddess. It is believed that on this day, the spring water changes its colour with the blessings of the Goddess. The festival is concluded with 'Maha Yagna' to please Ragnya Devi.

( Avtar Mota)

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Thursday, June 17, 2021





Apart from  devotional   Satutis  and hymns  ( composed by Adi Sankara , Abhinavgupta and other saints and philosophers) in Sanskrit  like,
Kalpa vrikshe bhakt rakhshe namos-tateh  gajananam,
Vyapat charachar bhaav vishesham,
Karpoor-govaram Karunavtaaram,
Shivoham Shivoham Shivoham Shivoham,
Nagendra-haaraaye trilochanaaye,
Atibhishan  katu- bhaashan  yamakinkar Patli,
Jai  Narayan jai purushotam jai vaaman kansaare,
Achutam keshvam ramnarayanam,
Bhaja govindam Bbhaja govindam,
Gaureem aambam  ambhuru-haksheem ahamidiye,
Ya Devi sarv bhuteshu
Indrakshi naamsa deevi

Shaantakaaram bhujagashayanam ( Vishnu Stuti )

almost every Hindi Bhajan or prayer or Stuti was recited in our households and families. I will specifically  refer to immense popularity of Om Jai Jagdish Harey,  Sri Hanuman Chaalisa, Jai ganesh jai ganesh jai ganesh deva, Jai shiv omkaara,Sri Ram chandra kripalu bhajman  , Aarti kunjbihari ki ,  Jab soanp diya iss jeevan ka sab  bhaar tumhaare haathon mein   and  itnaa to Karna swami jab praan tan se nikalein amongst Kashmiri Pandits

I remember how we would recite below mentioned  Kashmiri Leelas / Bhajans and Devi Stutis ( see below from 19 to 26)  in our families during Puja ,Homa, marriage rituals  and also in Shrines  and temples. Remembering all this has proved  of enormous utility in our cultural and civilizational continuity  especially during this exile.

In Kashmir', I vividly remember how every Saturday night  , Bhajan Mandlis performed night long Bhajan / Keertan in some shrines and temples . As a ten  or eleven year old boy , I was  taken to these  devotional singing sessions at Hari  Parbat  and Pokhribal  by my father or Ritch Maal, a pious  lady in our Mohalla.Children were invariably made to join and recite in every  Bhajan / Keertan  session held in their families. That is how elders passed on tradition and culture to us.   That is how most of us remember the devotional poetry of Lal Ded,  Krishen Joo Razdan, Parmanand Ji, Prakash Ram Ji ,Master Zinda Kaul and others. I remember  below listed twenty seven Kashmiri Bhajans and Leelas that were popular in every Kashmiri Pandit household:-

Aamitch manas ritch vaasana
  Ishwar safal Kari-na- Sana..

( A good desire has sprung up from my heart,
Would the Lord be kind to me and fulfil it.)

Az vaati boozum mol myon
Kosam vatan vatha-raavasai

( I heard my Lord,my master,my Guru or my father is to arrive today,
Here I decorate his path with flowers )

Aasaai Sharan kartam daya
Om Shri Ganesh aye Namaah

( Here I take  refuge under your feet,
O Sri Ganesha,   glory be to your name,
Be kind to me.)

Aadhaar zagatuk kunuyi chhu mantar
Shivaaye namah om namaah shivaaye

( There is only one Mantra
fundamental to this universe,
Recite Shiva's name ,
And Shiva be recited .)

Kasht kaastam bhagwan harey
Santusht roztam gari garey

( Free me from the worries and troubles,
My Lord ,remain kind to me  at every moment )

Gataa kaastam tse baastam  tchavaapari
Hey sadashiv shankar trishuldhaari

( Dispel  this darkness that lies all around me,
O Sadashiva!
O Shankara,
O trident carrying Lord .)
Tarvun chhu karnov
Haq dith chhu vanaan
Kaanh maa-sa tariv apour

( The ferry boat  is about to  leave
The boatman cries loud,
" Is there any one who would like to go across the river? ")

Dil pholli darshan  chaaney
Soora-matya  sorfa Gosaaney

( At your sight,
this heart would get
filled with immense joy,
O ash smeared Sadhu(Shiva) !
O sadhu with snakes around your neck.)


Pari-pooran chhu noor bor-muutiye
Sooraa-motiye aangan tsaav

( He is full of radiance and  shines bright,
See the ash smeared  carefree lord
has come inside  my courtyard)

Prabhaat aav poshinoolo van
Sundar-vaani prasan kar mun

( It is daybreak,
Sing oriole,
Sing your beautiful songs
and fill our hearts with happiness)

Hosh dim lagayo pamposh paadhan
Ha saadhan hiendhi saadho lo

( Grant me awakening,
My life at your lotus feet  Lord,
O Lord,
O King among the ascetics .)

Hataa zeevo tass-sinz thav kal
Tse praavakh sarvada mangal

( O human being,
Keep longing for that master,
that Lord,
This longing alone shall bring you unending
happiness .)

Yeli hyot zanam gopaalan
Sheen pyaav kohan ta baalan

( When Gopaala was born,
The hills and mountains
were covered with white snow)

Sumiran panien ditchenam premuk nishaana vesiye
Ratchhrun togum na rovum ossum na baana vesiye

( Some cheerful memories he granted me  ,
memories like symbols of love.
Alas ! I couldn't hold them safely,
Alas! I lost that wealth,
unlucky, I wasn't capacitated to hold them.)

Kar iyee me kun gindhun dimas tchahdan-haar
Aadi-shakti Shaiv jiyas namskaar

( When shall  he visit this way? I shall give his a necklace made from sandalwood,
To that primordial energy source,
To that Shiva,
I bow and pay my homage)

Sondharo sonn sandhal garaai
Ho ho karaai Shaam- sondharaai

(My  beautiful Lord,
I shall buy ornaments of gold and sandalwood for you,
O baby Krishna,
I shall lull you to sleep)

Gokul hriday myon taeyi choan gooer vàan
Tseit vimarsh deeptimaan bhagwaano

( My heart has become Gokul,
within it ,
O trader of purity,
O trader of milk,
you have set up your shop.
You are the mind,
You are the deliberations,
And you are the lustre,
My lord!
My  Sri Krishna.)

Sakhiyav roothum hayi roothum hayi
Gatchhith byoothum hayi gaamaniyi

( Friends ,he appears to have taken some offence or looks angry with me,
See how he has moved away
and made his abode away from the noise and commotion)

Maej sharikaai kar daya
Var daya hi bhawaani
( O mother Sharika, be kind to us,
O mother Sharika ,deal us with your Kindness and compassion )
Me Deevi thaavtam gosh
Ba laagai sheri pamposh

( O goddess, listen my prayers also,
Here I decorate your head with lotus flowers)
Ba zaari gosh thaavtam hi bhawaani
Tse rostuyi rachhavun chhuyi kaanh na myonuyi

( O bhawaani mother, listen to my woes as well,
Apart from you,I haven't any other protection in this world.)

Aasaai sharan tse paadhan vinay kini namithi
Vyakultaai manz maata rachhtam tseyi

( Having surrendered myself at your feet
I bow my head to you ,
Now in every desperation that I experience,
O mother protect me .)
Praatah Kaala aav
Meti antaai gaash maej
Chham tchaen aash Maej
Meti pooran Kar

( The dawn has arrived all over
lead me as well to the  light O mother,
Only you are my sole hope
fulfill it mother,
fulfill it.)
Paadh Kamalan tal ba aasaai
Karini  tchaani Stuti..

( To your lotus feet I have come
O mother ,
to worship you and sing your praise.)

Om Shrimat hi bhawaani
Chham me aasha chaani
( O bhawaani ,
I begin your name with Om,
You alone are my hope now.)

(26),Ba maeji kenh to zaanai na pooz chaani
Kshema karizem agar mantar mashyem kaanh

( Mother, I don't know how to perform your worship,
forgive me should I forget any specific mantra.)

Tse raagenya kaastam gham
Ba laagai bhaav kosam
( O mother Raagenya ,
make me free from my sorrows,
To you,
I offer all the flowers of intense devotion.)

Ganyomut chhum manas Chon bhaav
Zagat maata me darshun  haav

( My mind is now intensely desiring
your worship,
O universal mother,
Just grant me your "Darshana")

There were many other Leelas that were recited specifically at Ashrams of saints and sages in Kashmir. In this category I would include the  Ashram of Bhagwan Gopi Nath Ji ,  Swami Lakshman Joo's Ashram at Ishber ,Kashmir and   the Ashram of Kral Bub in Kashmir  . Leelas were also recited before Sona Bub ( a Muslim saint ) by his Kashmiri Pandit followers .

Swami Lakshman Joo ,the Shaiva scholar of Kashmir was  also fond of listening to  Leelas composed by Parmanand Ji or  Krishen Joo Razdan.
So long so much

( Avtar Mota)


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Saturday, June 12, 2021




( Photo Kohalrabi or Kadam or Gaanth gobhi or Monjji , a favourite vegetable of Kashmiris after green leafy Haak ) 

Seri Panditaan is a village near Amb Gharota, Jammu . The village has a population of about 800 to 900 . There are about 160 to 170 households. It falls in Bhalwal block of Jammu district and is about 18 km from Jammu city. 

If you see residents of this sleepy village, you get a doubt about their nativity .They are Brahmins with a fair complexion ,sharp features and given to some customs that Kashmiri Pandits observe.They are Shaivites .

 Madan Gopal Sharma from this village told me this:-

" My father has told me that we are originally from Kashmir . We do not know what brought us to this place . Some elders say that we came in a group during dark Pathaan rule via Mughal Road and crossed Chenab at Akhnoor . It could be even earlier , I am not sure.The local Raja gave us shelter and land for some agriculture activity. My father had told me that Kul Devi of our family is Mata Kheer Bhawani of Tulamula . My father had also heard from his grand father that our real caste is KAUL.. Now we write' Sharma' . Our ancestral family tree is well recorded in Bahees maintained by priests of Mattan( Kashmir) . We also go to Mattan for some special religious rituals . We do not know Kashmiri nor do we inter marry with Kashmiris through the routine and normal arranged marriage system as we are in the mainstream of Dogra culture and society . But Let me tell you a secret .There is some natural affinity that drives us closer to Kashmiri Pandits the moment we see them. I do not know how it happens . "

Was Seri Panditaan a settlement of Kashmiri Pandits ? If Baru Brahmins of Jammu trace their ancestry from Kamrup or Assam, Rainas of Jammu , who are now in the mainstream of Dogra society, trace their ancestry from Kashmir. Once you try to find out origin of some Sharmas of Jammu and adjoining hills, amazing details surface up. For this , you need to check the Gotra source as well . If you visit Poonch, you will find a Kashmiri Mohalla with some old families still living in the town. This Mohalla was a settlement of fleeing Pandits who arrived in the town during the dark Afghan rule in Kashmir.You have similar settlement in Bhaderwah , some pockets of Kishtwar district and across Ravi in Himachal Pradesh where you find people with surnames as Koul, Raina, Razdan,Misri, Zutshi and Dhar . Don't be surprised if you see some Koul, Tiku, Zutshi ,Misri ,Razdan or Raina family in Reasi, Ramban, Nowshera, Bhalesa , Padder , Basholi and some other areas of Jammu province. These families also trace their ancestry from Kashmir and have been living in these areas for more than two centuries. A locality in Akhnoor town is still known as Kashmiri Mohalla although no old Kashmiri family resides in the town now. I am only focussing on J&K and adjoining hills. Otherwise , many books can be written about Kashmiris who moved to Punjab, United Provinces, Delhi ,Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh , Gujrat, Maharashtra, and other areas mostly during Afghan rule.

The subject needs some serious research.

(Avtar Mota )

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RADIO KASHMIR .. And My days in Broadcasting .
       Pran Kishore 
Published by Chinar Publishers ,Pune..Price Rupees 449/-

 I read this book  twice ; once in  2020 and then again in 2021 .   For many reasons , this happens to be amongst the finest books that I read lately . This comes from a giant of a broadcaster known to us as Pran Kishore Kaul. Not only a broadcaster but a serious writer, novelist, producer, director, pioneer of radio dramas, theatre and above all an accomplished script writer who wrote some popular TV serials like Gul Gulshan Gulfam, Saaye Devdaar Ke ,Junoon and some more. His radio documentary " Ab ta Hayaat" bagged the coveted Best Radio Documentary Award in "Akashvani Annual Awards " of 1978. It was also selected  as AIR's official entry to the the xxx Prix - Italia Festival held at Milan, Italy.  His novel, 'Sheen Ta Vatapod ' won him prestigious Sahitya Akademi award. He has been  honoured with Padamshri as well.  

I vividly remember how food was served to us at 8.30 p. m.  and my mother would finish everything by 9.15 p.m. Thereafter every one in our family kept glued to the radio in hush  silence waiting till 9.30 p.m. when we would hear something like this :-

“ Ye chhu Radio Kashmir Srinagar . Raaetch haenz Saad’a Nuv Bajeiye . Booziv drama Lala Joo and Sons. Tehreer Ali Mohammad Lone peshkush  Pran Kishore “
"This is Radio Kashmir, Srinagar . It is 9.30 p.m. now. Tune in to our drama “Lala Joo And Sons “ scripted by Ali Mohammad  Lone and produced by Pran Kishore ." 
Once Radio Kashmir Srinagar was taken over by Government of India ( in 1954 )  , a qualitative and quantitative change took place in its programmes and functioning . More funds poured in and more technical equipment and expertise flowed in . Pran Kishore was made in-charge   of the drama section. His produced and directed  such radio plays as   broadened the listener base of  Radio Kashmir ,Srinagar . Some radio plays produced by Pran Kishore Kaul   attracted critical  attention in the  National Drama Festival  and won prizes  . Some operas like Vitasta , Piya Baaj Pyala, Himalaya ke Chashme and Tipu Sultan  were  directed by Pran Kishore Kaul for stage . These operas,   especially Nadim’s Vitasta,  touched  heights of popularity . Vitasta  was staged  across the length and breadth of the country. A mention can  also be made of below listed popular radio plays produced by him .

(1) Vyaathh Rooz Pakaan ( a drama series for which Akhtar Mohi Ud din , Ali Mohammad Lone and Som Nath Zutshi wrote powerful radio dramas . Ali Mohammad Lone’s drama for this series was selected in the National Drama festival and won first prize )

(2) Vaitaal Pacheesi ( From Kathaa Sarit Saagar translated by Ali Mohammad Lone.Apart from producing and directing this Radio Play  , Pran Kishore acted as Vaitaal )

(4)  All radio plays under Machama series ( written by Pushker Bhan) 

(5) Vyath later  Vitasta for stage   (  Radio drama and opera by Dina Nath Nadim directed by Pran Kishore Kaul  ) 

(5) Lal Joo and Sons ( written by Ali Mohammad Lone )

(6) Aadam Chhu Ajab Zaat ( written by Akhtar Mohi ud Din )

(7) Yeli Vattan Chhu Khuur Iwaan ( scripted by Hari Krishen Kaul )

(8) Vaen Kaemsinz Vaaer Chhi and Harud ( scripted by Dr. Shanker Raina )

(9) Myon Marrun ,Buss Akh Tamaah and DaaenThhar ( Scripted by Bansi Nirdosh )

(10) Agar Aash Soarie, Kaend Sahraav , Aadam Hawa Ta Iblees , Pash'a kiss Vatchhus Tal and Myaani Jigreikk Daaedi Voath.( scripted by Ali Mohammad Lone )

(11 ) Buut Ta Bulldozer ( scripted by G. R .Santosh )

( 12) Shuhul Naar , Taent Kur and Kaejj Raat ( scripted by Sajood Sailani )

(13) Vijvaav ( scripted by Som Nath Zutshi )

The  book under review  is a comprehensive documentation of many important events right from 1947 till the superannuation of the author. He  has been a first hand witness to all that he has recorded. Events like establishment of  the first Radio station in Kashmir, formation of Cultural Front, first All India Mushaira in Kashmir presided over  by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru,  Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad's rule, Death of poet Mehjoor, arrest of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1953, sad event of the  theft of Moo e Muqadass,  cloudburst in Pahalghaam, Kamraj Plan and resignation of Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, formation of DNC, taking over of the Radio Kashmir by  AIR , war with Pakistan in 1965, war with Pakistan 1971, death of G. M. Sadiq,return of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah 1975, hooliganism at Indira Gandhi's rally at Hazuri Bagh, Srinagar in 1983 , and many more.
Once you open the  first page of the book , you get engrossed  in a world that belongs to you. It may be nostalgia or a part of something  that you have actually  lived or seen around . Many personalities brighten up.  Many well known names  in the political  arena come alive with many interesting stories to which our author has been privy. I mean men like Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru ,  Sheikh  Mohammad  Abdullah ,Dr. Karan Singh,Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad ,Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq,Durga Prasad Dhar and many more. 
Full of many  interesting episodes, the books brings to light many artists, broadcasters, musicians ,writers and singers of Kashmir. It gives a glimpse of  the  personalities of people like  Mir Ghulam Rasool Nazki,  Prem Nath Pardesi, Mahinder Kaul, A.L. Maini ,   N.L. Chawla,, Ali Mohammed Lone, Bashir Bhat, Raj Begum, Ghulam Qadir Langoo, Ghulam Hassan Sofi, Mohammad Abdullah Tibetbaqal, Mohan Lal Aima, Lassa Kaul,  Uma Khosla, Kedar Sharma,Jai Krishen Zutshi,Qaiser Qalandhar, K. K .Nayyar, Farooq Nazki, Ali Mohammed Nashtar, Ghulam Mohammad Rah, G. R. Santosh,   Ragheshwari Mattu, Rita Kaul, Rita Jitendra , Bhajan Sopori, Rehmatullah Khan,Nassarullah Khan, Krishen Langoo, Virender Mohan, T.K Jalali, Vijay Malla, Kailash Mehra, Aarti Tiku Kaul, Ghulam Nabi Sheikh, Som Nath Sadhu, Pushkar Bhan,  Shanta Kaul, Sharifuddin, Jaggan Nath Saqi,Sudama Ji Kaul and many more. 
You also get excellent details about some  old popular programmes of Radio Kashmir like Gumband Ki Awaaz,Jawabi Hamla, Vaadi Ki Awaaz,Zoona Dubb, Vatalbujji, etc.  The book contains exhaustive information about radio dramas with which the author remained associated all along his career. His efforts in presenting quality radio dramas earned him a respectable place not only amongst the local listeners but also amongst the connoisseurs of radio  drama in the  country.  The book informs that playwrights like Som Nath Zutshi, Ali Mohammad Lone, Akhtar Mohiuddin, Sofi Ghulam Mohammad, Som Nath Sadhu , Hriday Kaul Bharati, , Hari Krishen Kaul , Bansi Nirdosh, Shabnam Qayoom,  Dr. Shanker Raina,   Avtar Krishen Rehbar ,Noor Shah, Bashir Shah, Hamidi Kashmiri,  Sattar Ahmed Shahid, Sajood Sailani, Pushker Bhan , Affaq  Ahmed, Dr. Shakil ul Rehman, Anis Hamdani, Amar Malmohi and many more wrote plays for the Radio  . Even poets like Dina Nath Nadim, Amin Kamil ,Muzaffar Azim, Noor Mohammad Roshan and  Rehman Rahi wrote radio plays .
The visits of  Lata Mangeshkar , Pandit Ravi Shanker, Ustad Vilayat Khan , Nikhil Bannerji ,Shanti Hiranand , Jhande Khan, Begum Akhtar, Bismillah Khan ,Runa  Laila , Mishra brothers ( Rajan-Sajan )   and many more artists find specific  mention in the book .The recordings of these artists was in the  secured repository of  the Radio Kashmir . The author is not sure whether it is  still available  .
From the book I came to know that  after watching a play at Tagore Hall ,Srinagar , I. S. Johar felt impressed by  the beauty and acting skills of Usha Sawhney and offered her a long term contract . In films she came to be known as Sonia Sahni. From the book I can to know that Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad had waived entire outstanding rent of about fifteen thousand to radio artist  Jaggan  Nath Saqi . Saqi had occupied a government quarter near Polo Ground . Saqi was inducted into Radio Kashmir on specific recommendation of Bakshi  Ghulam Mohammad . From the book ,I came to know that  in 1975, Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah had burst into tears before the pyre of Durga Prasad Dhar.From the book I came to know that due to the untimely  death of G. M. Sadiq,  Syed Mir Qasim was hurriedly sworn in as new CM of J&K state by Bhagwan Sahai ,the then governor. Not more than seven or eight persons were present at the Raj Bhawan for this ceremony. After the ceremony was over, the then DGP of J&K rushed forward for a handshake with  the  new CM and also to congratulate him.  However , Syed Mir Qasim refused and rebuffed him saying" Don't you see, we are in a mourning" . When the  cloudburst hit Pahalghaam , Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad was the first person to reach the devastated hill station and personally removed the first boulder to clear the road. After the recovery of sacred Moo e Muqadass , Lal  Bahadur Shastri was deputed to Kashmir by  Pandit Jawahar Nehru. It was Chill e Kalaan time in Kashmir . Shastri Ji had no overcoat . Nehru brought his own over coat and handed over the same to Shastri Ji who admitted this in a press conference that he held in Srinagar . The book carries  many anecdotes of similar nature that reveal simple and  real nature of some leaders  apart from giving an objective peep into some important events connected with them  .
During the course of his official work, the author has visited many places in all the three divisions of the erstwhile J&K  state  ( Now  J&K and Ladakh  UTs)  . The  author records with clarity complete details of these places like Kargil, Ladakh ,Gurez , Tilel ,Matcheil valley  ,Lipa valley, Chhamb – Jaurian, Nowshehra and  Jhangarh, Chingus, Rajauri , Thana Mandi, Behram Gali , Noori Chhamb, Bafliaz, Poonch, Katra and  Salal near Reasi   . He has not only recorded  the scenic beauty of some of the places but also given a glimpse of the  culture of the inhabitants of these areas . His interaction with the  nomadic tribes like Gujjars and Bakerwals resulted in the birth of  his Kashmiri  novel  “Sheen Ta Vattapodh “   that won him Sahitya Akademi Award. I am informed that Balraj Sahni ( who incidentally happened to be a close friend of the author) had expressed a desire to perform the role of “Rajwali” when it was proposed to make a film on the novel.  
 The author informs us that well known Sufiana singers and musicians like Ustaad Sidda Joo, Ustaad Ramzan Joo, Ustaad Mohammad Abdullah Tibetbaqal, Ustaad Amir Joo, Ustaad Ghulam Mohammad Qalinbaaf ,Ghulam Qadir Mujavir , Mohammad Sultan Mir, Peer Nizamuddin and some Hafizas  were  the first artists  who performed for Radio Kashmir, Srinagar  .  A dedicated group of men like Mohan lal Aima  ,Prem Nath Pardesi , Mir Ghulam Rasool Nazki. Mahinder Kaul ,  Pran Kishore Kaul, Santosh Kohli, Bashir Butt,  Yash Sharma, Amina Shirin, Phool Sawhney , and many more also put their heart and soul during the formative years of Radio Kashmir. Our  author,  Mohan Lal Aima ,Quaiser Qalandhar , Ali Mohammad Lone and many  others in the radio  created avenues for induction of singers , drama artists , Instrumentalists and other artists   . We are informed that singers like Raj Begum, Naseem Akhtar , Zoona Begum , Ghulam Mohammad Rah, Ghulam Hassan Sofi , Ali Mohammad Sheikh, Ghulam Ahmed Sofi , Ghulam Ahmed Dar , Ali Mohammad Nashtar  were also discovered and  contracted to work for the Radio  .  The author makes specific mention of singers  and musicians who contributed for  making Radio Kashmir a proud institution . In this long list he includes Pandit Uma Dutt Sharma ( father of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma )  , Virender Mohan ,Bhajan Sopori , Nassarullah Khan , Rehmat ullah Khan,  Aasha  Kaul, Aarti Tiku Kaul, Kailash Mehra , Shamima Dev, Ghulam Nabi Sheikh ,Vijay Malla ,Neerja Pandit , Krishen Langoo , T K Jalali , Mohammad Ashraf, Omkar Nath Raina ,Jahanara Janbaaz, Deepali Wattal, Lovely Chandra ,Waheed Geelani , Munir Mir and  Dilip Langoo.  From the book , I came to know that Ved Lal Vakil also served at the Radio Kashmir , Srinagar for some years.

As In-charge of Drama section, the author pays his tributes to the  in house  radio artists,  external contract artists and the  technical staff all of whom  helped him to establish the  national standards in the radio dramas produced  by Radio Kashmir , Srinagar . In this long list he includes names of   Kedar Sharma , Jai Kishen Zutshi , Uma Khosla ,Moti Lal Kuchru  Pushker Bhan , Som Nath Sadhu ,Umesh Kaul, Bansi Nirdosh,Mohan Nirash , Ghulam Nabi Hamdani, Ghulam Rasool ,Jaggan Nath Saqi,  Brij Kishori, Sudama Ji Kaul, Makhan Lal Saraf, Mohammad Sultan, Pyare Lal Razdan,Triloke Das ,Raja Hamid, Virender Razdan, Pran Chandra , Rita Langer , Usha Sawhney ( Sonia Sahni of films ) Shafi Mohammad  Mir,Shanta Kaul, Nayeema Ahmed , Opinder Khashu , Mohammad Sultan Pandit , Sharifuddin, Giria Wattal,  Surja Sahib,  Jalal Geelani, Noor Mohammad Lone, Mohammad Yaqoob, Asha Zaroo, Bharati Zaroo, Abdul Majeed Butt ,  and many others .

Padamshri Pran Kishore Kaul   is not an individual but a school of excellence in many areas like broadcasting, radio drama, stage acting, script writing, cinematography , production, direction, special effects, film acting and  painting . As writer, he has his own individual style full of riveting narration. His affable mannerism, crystal clear integrity and helpful attitude has endeared him to a vast circle of friends that included  Prabhakar Mukerji and actor Tom Alter. Pran Ji is a connoisseur of music ,dance and poetry. Name any segment  of fine arts , literature and mass communication , Pran Ji has put   his imprints and added  his  contribution directly or indirectly. I personally believe  that Pran Ji could have been another Abbas Kiarostami had he moved out and joined films. Like  Kiarostami,  the celebrated film maker from Iran,  Pran Ji's  scripts, line of direction and presentation are always rooted to the ground and the content has something deeper to convey. But then I feel if he had done so , a generation of stage  artists,writers and actors from Kashmir ,  whom he helped to grow ,would have been denied his guidance and help.

I firmly believe that  any person who wants to know history of theatre , drama , music and broadcasting in J&K , needs to acquire this reference book. Open any chapter or page ,  the familiarity with men and events is what  immediately connects you . You are engrossed and want to read it again and again. That is typical of a great absorbing style devised by Pran Kishore Kaul  for this book. Wholeheartedly, I recommend this book to   everyone.

( Avtar Mota )

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Friday, June 11, 2021




In our Mohalla ( Rainawari) , there lived an old Kashmiri Pandit lady Rae'tch Maal ( Meaning Fair Lady ) by name . During discussions with my mother , she would often comment satirically about gossip mongers of Rainawari , who according to her , wasted their time and energy on discussions inside shops and deprived the poor shopkeepers of their business. She  used to quote this typical couplet:- 

Talla neythanon pyathaa phernaa zyooth
Akki peinjji voth taai beyii peinjji  byooth..

( Look! he is naked within but donning a long Pheran over his body ,
And there he gets up from one gossip shop and moves to another . )

Raetch Maal  lived opposite to Ram Joo Handoo's chemist shop near Jogilanker bridge whereat the gossip mongers would occupy the entire shop to discuss everything under the sun.  Everything included well known journalist,   Sham Lal's column  in the  TOI newspaper.  Pandit Nand Lal Wattal, the then editor 'Khidmat' Urdu Newspaper,  would also sit for some light gossip in this shop. There was a cloth shop owned by a Muslim from Malik family just opposite to Ram Joo's chemist shop. The gossip mongers would start arriving at 5 p.m. and by 6.30 p.m.,  the discussions would  become loud. When some family member of some  gossip monger would try to go inside the shop due to some exigency back at home , Mr Malik would cry loudly :-
" Don't go inside. Kashmir' problem is in its final stage of settlement. They are busy preparing the agreement ..Waldheim  has been waiting for this agreement   at the UNO office since last Monday.  You must understand . You are educated young man . Go back, tell your mother or the guest at your home to wait ."

Ram Joo was a Registered Medical Practitioner ( R.M.P.)  and a skilled medical expert.  He was quite a helpful person .He had worked with Dr Ali Jan ,the renowned physician of Kashmir.. However , the gossip mongers had brought total gloom to his business and rendered waste all his expertise.

( Avtar Mota )

Kurt  Waldheim was Secretary General of U.N.O. from 1972 to 1981. He was successor to U.Thant, the Burmese diplomat.

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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:\\\.

Friday, June 4, 2021



This existence is like the most beautiful snake ..

I wrote a Doha ( two line poem ) on this thought today..

"Jeevan ki bhaasha samajh
 Chaltaa  phirtaa naag,..
Rang roop sheetal sunder 
dank lage tau aag"

(Like a snake,
Our life keeps  moving and moving ,
And its  language ,
simple yet worth learning,
With colourful and cool exterior,
it carries fire in its sting..)

(Avtar Mota)

.Creative Commons License
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:\\\.