Wednesday, September 22, 2021

MY POEM. 'ACHAANAK' ( SUDDENLY)

                                            


SUDDENLY.....,.

To this photograph, I add poem " Achaanak"  that I wrote today..

               ( Achaanak )

"Waqt ne lee kuchh  iss tarah karwat
khud ba khud hee badal gaye haalaat
Jaise Rahul ko  mil gaye Gautam
Jaise luv kush ko mil gaye hon taat
Aaj uss ne bhi  kuchh achaanak se
Dhar diya haath mein mere phir haath
Eik muddat ki be-rukhi tooti 
Chhed hee di phir uss ne pyaar ki baat"

( Avtar Mota)




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Monday, September 20, 2021

KASHMIR PHOTOGRAPHS OF BRIAN BRAKE.

                                                                                 










                                                 ( A View from Jogilanker , Rainawari bridge by Brian Brake ) )
                                                        9 Two Kashmiri women by Brian Brake )


                                               ( At Shahe-Hamdan  Ziyarat  by Brian Brake)
                                      


                                                         ( Nala- Maar by Brian Brake )
                                         
                                                                   ( Gulmarg )
                                                            ( Martand Sun Temple )
                                                                      ( A Tonga )
                                                                     ( Nigeen Lake)
                                                          ( Women buying earthenware pots)
                                        

                                                                      ( Gulmarg )
                                         

                                         
                                                ( A Kashmiri  Jeweller by Brian Brake )

Brian Brake (1927-1988) Photography..

                                    
Brian Brake was a renowned photographer from  Newzealand. His Indian Monsoon photographs are a treat. He has  extensively photographed Kashmir during his visit in  1957 . Presence of man is the key feature of his photography. And he is adept in linking nature and human  struggle  in his photographs.  Brian has also photographed world  leaders,  artists and  musicians in action .  A series has been done by him on Pablo Picasso especially while the artist witnessed a bull fight. He worked as film cameraman and remained associated with globally circulated   magazines like Life,National Geographic and Paris Match   for a long time . 

                                     
                                                                ( Picasso by Brian Brake )
                                                      ( Brian Brake in action )

He was known for his travel to exotic locations, adventure, big budget projects , working with cultural treasures and  famous people.
The National Gallery of Australia acquired 23 photographs which form the core of the  famous photo-essay, Monsoon, shot in India in 1960 by  Brian Brake.

Monsoon first appeared in LIFE magazine on 1961 and subsequently in Paris-Match, Epoca and Queen. This single story established Brake's reputation as a master of the  photo-essay. 

                                       
                                                   (  Monsoon photograph by  Brian Brake)
                                                       ( Monsoon photo by Brian Brake)
                                                            ( Monsoon photo by Brian Brake)

Photographing the seasonal monsoon rains of India had been tried before with unsatisfactory results, and Brake’s initial attempts were also unsuccessful. Then he realised that the best approach was not to try and photograph the monsoon weather directly, but to focus on its effects on the people of India.

In 1980, Brake said that, out of all of his work, ‘If “Monsoon” lasts, I’ll be happy.’
( Avtar Mota)

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Sunday, September 19, 2021

MY POETIC QUATRAIN.

                                                      




A knock on the Door...

To this photo ,I add a qutrain composed by me...

Aankh dil tak utar gayi hogi
Kuchh to ehsaas bhar gayi hogi
Tum kivaadon ko bandh hi rakho,
Eik dastak to kar gayi hogi..

( Avtar Mota)

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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

HINDI CINEMA ACTRESS MUMTAZ ..FROM B GRADE FILMS TO STARDOM

                                                                              


       ( AT THE PREMIER OF' KHILONA' WITH UNION MINISTER Y B CHAVAN )

                                                             ( WITH DARA  SINGH )
                                                   ( WITH DAUGHTER NATASHA )
                                                           ( THE FAMILY )

                                                   ( WITH   RAJESH   KHANNA )

                                                           ( WITH HUSBAND  )

                      ( IN ' AADMI AUR INSAAN 'WITH FERPZ KHAN AND DHARMENDRA )

  

MUMTAZ ( born 1947 )
 
 
" Kabhi gairon pe bhi apnon ka gumaan hota hai ,
Kabhi apne bhi nazar aate hain begaane se
Kabhi khwaabon mein chamakate hain muraadon ke mahal ,
Kabhi mahalon mein ubhar aate hain veeraane se ..
Koyi ruut bhi sada nahin
Kyaa ho kab kuchh pata nahin
Har khushi ittefaaq hai
,,..............Zindagi ittefaq hai.."
 
( Sahir wrote these lines for 'Aadmi Aur Insaan' . The song was picturised on Mumtaz, Feroz Khan and Dharmendra.)
 
Mumtaz was one of the top actresses in the sixties and the seventies of the last century. During that period , she worked with the top actors like Dev Anand (Hare Krishna Hare Ram and Tere Mere Sapne), Dilip Kumar (Ram Aur Shyam), Dharmendra (Loafer and Aadmi Aur Insaan), Rajesh Khanna ( Do Raaste , Aap Ki Kasam , Roti , Dushman , Apna Desh, Prem Kahani and Sachaa Jhutha) and Sunil Dutt (Humraz and Nagin). She succeeded in presenting her individual image on the big screen that combined sensuality with innocence. She fought cancer.
 
Mumtaz belongs to a family that came from Mashhad,Iran and settled in Mumbai. Mashhad is a holy city known for its Saffron, and fruits. About 40 kilometres outside of Mashhad is the small town of Tus, which is synonymous with the burial site of Iran’s national poet, Ferdowsi. 
 
On July 31, 1947, Abdul Sameed Askari and Begum Habib Agha, both of Iranian origin settled in Bombay, India, were blessed with a daughter, who they decided to name Mumtaz, who would be sister to Malika. Her parents were divorced when she was a child. Mumtaz and her sister lived with their mother. She has two stepbrothers.The family had to struggle hard to make both ends meet. Her mother, Naaz, was also an actress in films. When her family faced a financial crisis, Mumtaz agreed to act in films as a junior artist and started appearing in group scenes, at a very young age. Mumtaz started her career as a child artist with the film Sone Ki Chidiya in 1958. She later appeared as a teenager in films like Vallah Kya Baat Hai, Stree, and Sehra in the 1960s. She bagged her first major film role in Gehra Daag in 1963. She later bagged the lead role in 16 action films and was also tagged as the 'stunt film heroine'. From B grade films, Mumtaz went up the ladder to work with every top star in the Industry. It was her talent, hard work and professionalism, and above all punctuality. She was awarded the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996.
 
Some songs picturized on Mumtaz that became all time hits could be listed as under :-
 
1. “Aajkal tere-mere pyaar ke charche". ..Brahmachari
2 . “Yeh hai reshmi zulfon ka andhera “..Mere Sanam
3.” Bindiya chamkegi churi khankegi.” ..Do Raaste
4 “Humein toh ho gaya hai pyaar" ..Mere Humdum Mere Dost
5 “Dhadka toh hoga dil zaroor".. CID 909
6. “ Koyi Shahri Babu “.. Loafer
7 “ Kaanchi Re Kaanchi Re “ ..Hare Rama hare Krishna
8 “ Karvatein Badalte rahe “ .. Aap Ki Kasam
9 “ jai Jai Shiv Shankar “.. Aap Ki Kasam
10 “ Chhup gaye Saare Nazaare “ .. Do raaste
11 “ Le jaayenge Le jaayenge “ ..Chor Machaaye Shor
12 “ Yeh Hai Reshmi Zulfon ka andhera “ ..Do raaste
13 “ Gore Rang pen a itnaa Ghumaan kar “ ..Roti
14 “ Ye to public hai sab jaanti hai “ .. Roti
15 “ Ek daal par tota bole “.. Chor machaaye shor
16 ” Paas nahin aana door nahin jaana “ .. Aap ki Kasam
17 “ Chal dariya mein doob jaayein “.. Prem Kahaani
18 “ Phool aahista Phenko “ .. Prem Kahaani
19 “ Yuun hi tum mujh se baat karti ho “ .. Sacha jhootha
20 “Suno Kaho Kaha Suna” .. Aap ki Kasam 
 
About working with Dara Singh, Mumtaz says this :-
 
“To a certain extent, I can say I owe my career to Dara Singh because after doing films with him, I started getting good offers. I have very high regard for Dara Singh Ji . My role used to be very small, maybe a couple of romantic scenes and some songs. I still remember I used to get a remuneration of Rs 2.5 lakh, which was considered a big amount in those days." 
 
Even though most of his films were relegated to a B-grade category, Dara Singh made special appearances in mainstream films like "Mera Naam Joker" (1970), "Ajooba" (1991), "Dillagi" (1999) and "Kal Ho Naa Ho" (2003). He was last seen in "Jab We Met" (2007). One of his notable heroines was Mumtaz . With Mumtaz , he starred in 16 Hindi films including "Faulad" (1963), "Veer Bhimsen" (1964), "Hercules" (1964), "Aandhi Aur Toofan" (1964), "Tarzan Comes to Delhi", "Tarzan and King Kong" (1965), "Sikandar-e-Azam" (1965), "Rustom-E-Hind" (1965).
 
Mumtaz also acted with Randhawa, brother of Dara Singh. Her sister married Randhawa. About falling in love with Shammi Kapoor , Mumtaz has said this:-
 
“I was all of 18, and in love with Shammi Kapoor while we were filming Brahmachari. He wanted me to give up my career, but I wasn’t ready. I had my family to look after. I had lost my mother during Boond Jo Ban Gaye Moti. I was lucky that men wanted to marry me. There was an attraction, yes, but I didn’t act on it. I’d wake up at 4 am every day and reach the studios on the dot at 9. I had far too many responsibilities to have affairs. There was no time for love and romance. Of course, I was fond of Jeetu. Dharmendra was an attractive man. Dev Saab was so handsome. But it’s not always necessary to have an affair with your co-stars. You can admire them from a distance ."
 
Big-time success came her way when she paired with superstar Rajesh Khanna in Do Raaste (1969). The film was a blockbuster and her chemistry with Rajesh Khanna was noticed and appreciated. It put her on a higher pedestal in the cinema world.. The duo went on to star in 10 successful films together, including Sachcha Jhootha (1970), Apna Desh (1972), Aap Ki Kasam (1973) and Roti (1974). About Rajesh Khanna, Mumtaz has said this:-
 
" I met him on the sets of Do Raaste. He was choosy about his friends, very reserved. I was flattered to be his close friend. I was voluptuous, so he’d always say, ‘ Aye moti, idhar aa…” He was a perennial latecomer. He wasn’t strong on dance or rhythm, so, when we did combination shots, main sambhaal leti thi. The dance masters would cheat with his close-ups. We had trouble doing the Chal dariya mein doob jaaye (Prem Kahani) song. But we managed somehow.I would pull his leg and tease him about his female fan following. When­ever Rajesh entered a hotel in Madras, there was a queue of 600 girls waiting to see him at midnight! As a result, even I would get some importance, as people would ask for my autograph as well. I met him before his death. He was very happy. He wasn’t meeting anyone for a while. Thanks to Dimple (Kapadia) and Anju (Mahendroo), I got to meet him at his bungalow, Aashirwaad. We spoke about my fight against cancer and surviving chemotherapy. Dimple said they were ordering all the things he liked to eat, but he wouldn’t eat anything. She joked that they ended up eating all the stuff. I gave him duas, and said he’d survive his ailment." 
 
In 1974 she took a break from acting. She returned to the big screen in 1990 after a long gap with David Dhawan's Aandhiyan.
 
She lives in London although she owns two flats in Mumbai.Her elder daughter Natasha is married to actor Fardeen Khan and settled in India, while her husband Mayur Madhvani, whom she married in 1974, and younger daughter Tanya are constantly travelling for the family business. Mayur Madhvani is the youngest son and child of Muljibhai Madhvani (1894 -1958), the family patriarch who founded the Madhvani Group in 1930 in Africa. The family had to leave Uganda during the rule of Idi Amin .After Amin was deposed in 1979, the Madhvanis returned to Uganda and reclaimed their assets. Kakira Sugar Limited, the flagship company was successfully recovered in 1985. Kakira Sugar Ltd. is the largest producer of refined sugar in East Africa. Madhvanis are also in power projects and Ethanol production. This group has varied business interests in Africa. 
 
Living in London, Mumtaz says she feels lonely. This is what she has said in an interview:-
 
"After I got married, my husband has given me lots of comforts. I enjoy the life of affluence. But I am a bit lonely." 
 
The public adoration for Mumtaz remains strong even to this day. The demand for screening of her movies on various television channels proves it . Even after more than two decades of her self-retirement, her charisma remains unabated . That makes her to enjoy an everlasting popularity.
 
 
(Avtar Mota)

 

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FILM LYRICIST RAJINDRA KRISHEN AND PUNJABI FOOD


                                                                       


              
PUNJABI FOOD , " RANG DIL KI DHADKAN BHI LAATI  TAU HOGI " AND RAJINDRA KRISHEN..(1919-1987)

 
( Rajindra Krishen with Sunil Dutt )..
 
 
During the making of Patang ( a film that was co produced by Hargovind Duggal, brother of Rajindra krishen ) there was a little delay from Rajindra Krishen ‘s side with regard to writing two songs, tunes for which were already composed by Chitragupta . Chitragupta told Rajindra krishen that he can not wait anymore and he needed two songs for the tunes that he had already composed . As usual , Rajindra krishen (who would always complete screenplays and dialogues on highest priority ) tried to put him off with some excuse . To get things expedited , Chitragupta worked on a plan. He told Rajindra krishen about his discovery of a very good Punjabi restaurant in Dadar .Amused , Rajindra krishen wanted to visit that restaurant there and then . Together they went to Sher e Punjab restaurant in Dadar ,Mumbai . Chitragupta had already fixed with the restaurant manager for some good Punjabi food . The restaurant had a Tandoor as well.
 
While they were having their food , Chitrgupta asked Rajindra Krishen to listen to two tunes that he had composed and wanted him to add lyrics to these tunes .And Rajindera Krishen liked both the tunes . After he was free from his meals , Rajindra krishen said :
 
“ Yaar harmonium kahaan hai “
 
“Meray Ghar pe “
 
“Chalo vaheen chaltay hain”
 
“Kaagaz kaapi hai vahaan “
 
“Nahin “
 
“Chalo dekhte hain raaste mein le leinge . Pakdo taxi .”
 
On their way , they tried to find some stationery shop but could not locate one . Rajindra Krishen saw a typing institute and asked the taxi driver to stop. He went inside and requested for a sheet of paper . Now he needed a pen or pencil. The typing institute man gave him an old pencil that needed to be sharpened . A new blade was purchased from a nearby shop as suggested by the typing institute owner. Back in his taxi , Rajindra Krishen asked Chitragupta to repeat the tune and  he immediately wrote opening lines for two songs “Rang Dil Ki Dhadkan Bhi Laati To Hogi “and “Teri Shokh Nazar Ka Ishara “ for Patang , a 1960 super hit film. The opening lines were written while the taxi was speeding towards the residence of Chitragupta. Once inside Chitragupta’s house , Rajindra Krishen wrote complete songs in half an hour .Both the songs turned out to be hit numbers .Next day , he completed the remaining songs in another sitting with Chitragupta.
 
It may be pertinent to add that Chitragupta had worked with Rajindra Krishen in AVM’s Bhabi , a super hit film of 1957 . Rajindra Krishen had composed two songs for that movie that went straight to the lips of millions in India. These songs were hummed by them in their work, journey, homes , everywhere and anywhere. The songs were “Chali Chali Re Patang” and “Chal Udd Ja Re Panchhi “ .Rajindra Krishen also wrote the dialogues of Bhabi . Chitragupta knew that while Rajindra Krishen was quick and prompt with screenplays and dialogues , he was a bit casual when it came to lyrics . He also knew that Rajindra Krishen was fond of Punjabi food . Rajmah , Maah Ki Daal , rice , Naan , chicken , Saag meat , Allu Parantha , Methi Parantha , Baingan Ka Burtha , Makki Ki Roti and Lassi and so many other things . 
 
At a point of time, any song that Rajindra Krishen wrote would become popular and add to Box office revenue of the producers. And this genius and his talent remained largely noticed.
 
"There was only one lyricist in this industry from the '40s to the '60s after whom producers, financiers, directors, composers and even stars ran as if he was a mega-star, just to get him to work with them, and that was Rajendra Krishan...!" so says his son.
 
A low profile was his trade mark. He did not create much literature apart from what he wrote for films . He wrote songs for more than 350 ( his son says 386) films, dialogues for more than 100 films and screenplays for an equal number of films . Though he wrote most melodious songs of his time that created musical sensation , he always maintained a low profile and lived a family life.
In Mumbai’s film world , any person who worked with Rajindra Krishen would say that he was an “ Invisible Giant “.
 
Fond of smoking, playing cards and going to the race course, he once won a jackpot of Rs 48 lakh in a derby race and contributed generously to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund.
 
On September 23, 1987, he felt uncomfortable at home and was taken to Breach Candy Hospital, where doctors examined him. Nothing serious was diagnosed and he was asked to go home. But just as he was leaving the hospital, he collapsed and couldn't be revived.
 
 
I end this post with some lines from the song "Rang Dil Ki Dhadkan Bhi Laati To Hogi " that was almost conceived and composed in a moving Taxi.....
 
 
"Pyaar ki kushbu kahaan Aati thi kaliyon se
Ho ke Aayi hai havaa bhi unki galiyon se
Chhu ke unke daaman ko aati to hogi ....
Rang Dil Ki Dhadkan Bhi Laati To Hogi
Yaad Meri Unko Bhi Aati To Hogi..."
 
( Avtar Mota )

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DID WE BELONG TO THAT LAND ?

                                                                             

                   ( A  Kashmiri Pandit  woman outside her refugee tent in Muthi Jammu   )
 
 
My eyes are moist. The exile is tormenting, painful and real. So are the deaths of so many innocents. Today I am reminded of some couplets of poet Jaun Elia's. 
 
 
 
 
"Hum to jaise wahaan ke thay hi nahin
Be-amaan thay amaan ke thay hi nahin
un ko aandhi mein hi bikharna tha
baal o par aashiyan ke thay hi nahin
Ab hamara makaan kissi ka hai
hum to apne makaan ke thay hi nahin
hum ki hain teri daastaan yaksar
hum teri daastaan ke thay hi nahin
dil ne daala tha darmiyaan jin ko
log vo darmiyaan ke thay hi nahin.
ho teri Khaak-e-astaan pe salaam
hum tere astaan ke thay hi nahin
hum ne ranjish mein ye nahin socha
kuchh sukhan to zubaan ke thay hi nahin
us gali ne ye sun ke sabr kiyaa
jaane wale yahaan ke thay hi nahin"
 
 
( Avtar Mota )



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Monday, September 13, 2021

SAIF UD DIN KITCHLOO : THE UNSUNG HERO OF INDIA'S FREEDOM STRUGGLE

                                              


THE HERO OF JALIANWALA  BAGH , AMRITSAR......DR SAIF UD DIN KITCHLOO ( 1888-1963)

." The story of humanity is never a story of religion alone. Our history is full  with details as to how assertive religious identities have brought gloom and misfortune for human beings.I oppose the very idea of partition as It is neither in the interest of Musims nor Hindus.It can  only be delivered with blood of millions of Indians and  mad violence. It is against the idea of lasting peace in the subcontinent and Asia. Generations of Indians will pay the price for this blunder on our part. A wall and institutionalised hatred can never deliver peace and stability. I am surprised that my friends in the Congress have also opted favourably for this resolution. I can only feel sad and lonely in case you surrender nationalism to communalism."

( Dr.Saif ud Din Kitchloo said this on  demand for Pakistan.)

Dr Saif ud Din Kitchloo was out and out a nationalist leader who fought against the  British Raj.He was from a well settled Kashmiri Muslim family of Amritsar.He was General  Secretary AICC and also headed the  Punjab unit of AICC before partition.A hero of Jalianwala Bagh , he spent more than 14 years in prison during the  British Raj.A Gandhian, he built Swaraj Bhawan in Amritsar that became a hub of  Hindu Muslim unity. Along with Nehru, Master Tara Singh ,Habib ur Rehman Ludhianavi, Satguru Partap Singh and many more leaders, he unfurled the national flag at Lahore on the bank of  Ravi in 1931..He was a founder member of Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi.

After 1947, he lived in Delhi and associated with the Communist Party of India. He is the unsung  architect of Indo Soviet friendship at initial stage. The Russians awarded him with Lenin Peace Prize. He was a close  friend of Madan Lal Dingra and Dr Satyapal , both great freedom fighters from Punjab.  Toufique, his only son , survives from his family.Toufique lives in Delhi and worked previously in Poland ,Germany and  Ethopia.Toufique ( born 1932) has also written a book on his father. Dr Kitchloo did his schooling in Amritsar whereafter he completed his   B.A. from Cambridge University followed  by  a Ph.D. from a German university. He returned to India to  start his legal practice.
Dr.  Kitchloo died in 1963.


In 2002,I was informed by one Dhani Ram Sharma (age  85 years ),  who would call on  the Lawrence Road, Amritsar branch of our bank ( where I was posted  ) as to how on every Ram Navmi day , Dr Kitchloo  would lead Ramnavmi procession of Hindus in the city. In fact I came to know many things from this elderly person.He also informed that there was a Kashmiri Brass Band owned by a Kashmiri Muslim family  in the city that was always in demand in marriages for its excellent Shehnai players.  According to him , Dr Kitchloo had a huge mansion in old Amritsar city in Karmuwali Deohri .After 1947, he never claimed the property and desired that it be allocated to some Hindu refugee from Lahore while he himself moved to Delhi. Shri Dhani Ram Sharma also informed me that Kashmiri Shias in Amritsar had a  Imambara and a  graveyard in Sultanwind Road area .The Kashmiri Muslims of Amritsar were educated and  engaged in  Shawl business and government  jobs.Some leading lawyers of the city were from  Kashmiri Muslim community  who later moved to Lahore. Two famous lawyers of Amritsar were Kashmiri Muslims who belonged to Manto family.Then you had the well known Dar and Butt families  . There was a Zargar family who were well known goldsmiths .Sh Dhani Ram Sharma also informed me that  Pandit Dwarka Nath Kitchloo of Amritsar belonged to a wealthy  Kashmiri Pandit family engaged in  Saffron and Shawl business .Tikoo family was another reputed family apart from Mattoos who built the  Kashmiri Shivala at Farid chowk ,he informed. The Shivala exists even to this day and is  located in the busy commercial area inside the Hall gate.

(Avtar Mota )


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Saturday, September 11, 2021

BOOK REVIEW. BAHARISTAN I SHAHI ( A CHRONICLE OF MEDIAEVAL KASHMIR )

                



                                             



BOOK  REVIEW….Baharistan-i-Shahi (A Chronicle of Mediaeval Kashmir)
by Kashinath Pandit,
2nd edition., paperback, pages 312,
published by Akshaya Prakashan, Delhi-110052,
(E-mail: harish@akshayaprakashan.com)

Not everybody can be a good translator. Translation is more than linguistic knowledge or accuracy. A good  translator must possess some basic qualities like proficiency in source and target  language ,  writing skills , enthusiasm to appreciate other cultures, a passion for  details and above all professionalism . From my study of the book under review  , I am convinced that Kashinath Pandit  possesses many more qualities apart from the ones  listed by me. From the study of the  book , it becomes  amply  clear that  Kashinath Pandit  is a traveller , historian , writer , teacher and above all a translator par excellence . 

 
Let us delve a little  into the background of the translator . At  Teheran university , Kashinath  Pandit  had been a  favourite student of   the world renowned  scholar  Prof. Dr Zabiollah Safa ( 1911-1999)  , a doyen of Persian literature.  Dr Safa was an author , teacher , polyglot , philosopher, writer , translator and editor. Kashinath Pandit did his doctorate under the guidance of Dr Safa . Studies relating to  Central Asia have been an area of specialization for Kashinath Pandit. He has  extensively travelled to various countries in the Central Asia , Europe and also visited the US many times .He retired as  Director  Department of Central Asian Studies , University of Kashmir . Author of books like ‘My Tajik Friends ‘, ‘Avicenna – An Introduction’ ,  ‘Iran and Central Asia ‘,  ‘Ladakh, Life and Culture (edited )’ , ‘Hafiz of Shiraz (Urdu)’, ‘Ten Studies in Kashmir’ ,  Kashi Nath Pandit has also translated ‘Tohfatul Ahbab’ into English from Persian. He has also been awarded Padamshri by Government of India .


The book under review is the  second edition of the well known “ Baharistan I Shahi “ translated  from Persian into English by Kashinath Pandit. Baharistan I Shahi is a Farsi manuscript that deals with the history of  Kashmir brought down to 1614 A.D.  The manuscript remained inaccessible to non Farsi knowing scholars and historians . The first translation of the Farsi manuscript was done in 1991 by Kashinath Pandit from a collated text of the two existing and reliable manuscripts held by India Office Library  and  British Museum . This Farsi text deals with the early Hindu period in a summary manner  ( giving it just 11 out of a total of 212 folios )and essentially focuses on the rule of  Shahmiri Sultans and Chaks . Translating this work has been a tough job on account of many factors. The  Farsi manuscript of the chronicle is a single  long narrative without segregation of rulers or period of their rule . The translator has done a value addition by segregating  this text into chapters that make it easy for the readers to understand the events and happenings period wise . This segregation has been done with a skill that leaves no scope for overlapping of events or their  dislocation from the flow .The translator has also taken great pains to correct  some incorrect names of the places mentioned in the Farsi manuscript.  For this he has consulted  relevant historical texts like Rajatarangini ,   Nilamata Purana , Ain I Akbari ,  relevant  Gazeteer  of Kashmir , Buhler’s Report , Tarikh I Hasan , Tarikh I Malik Haider Chadura and many more books . The transliteration of  the Persian or Arabic or Sanskrit words and phrases has been done in accordance with the accepted system with diacritical marks wherever necessary . The translator has also taken pains to convert Hijra years of the Farsi manuscript  into Christian years .

The greatest quality of this translation remains the  footnotes  of the translator . These footnotes reveal the deep study ,  the  erudite scholarship  and  the  knowledge of  history that the translator has.  The footnotes help even a layman in understanding the  events in a proper historical perspective .

Baharistan I Shahi  is an important historical  document  that needs to be widely read and  known. The author of this work appears to have been close to the rulers of his time and some events are thus first hand account of the rule of Chaks . He also appears to have been very close to Sayyids  whom he praises lavishly .The book also gives a fair  glimpses of the events , style of governance ,  court intrigues , political rivalries. personal enmities ,  battles for power , general  outlook of  Shahmiri and Chak rulers, role of  Mughal rulers  , role of Baihaqi Sayyids  and Mir  Shamasu‘d- Din Iraqi in Kashmir .

One amongst the major issues dealt in this book is the large-scale  conversion of  the Hindus  of Kashmir and demolition and destruction  of their  places of worship..  What Jonaraja has said in a summary manner , the author of Baharistan I Shahi provides the same  information with  details  .The book also informs the reader about the contempt  that the  Sayyids had for the local Kashmiri population. The Kashmiri Hindus who were converted to Islam also did not venerate the Sayyids who claimed high birth and at times told publicly that they were “ Musalman Brahmans “ as against “ Hindu Brahmanas “ .   Baharistan I Shahi endorses that greatness and virtues of Sultan  Zain ul Abdin whom Jonraja calls as incarnation of Vishnu .  Although  the author of Baharistan I Shahi is not happy with Sultan Zain ul Abdin for his liberal policy towards   the Hindus , he praises the Sultan for his splendid work in all other areas.

 
Bahiristan I Shahi is important  historical document on account of its numerous references to geography and topography of Kashmir. The book makes ample mention of lakes, villages , mountains , passes , routes , springs , rivers and boundaries of Kashmir. The chaos created by the death of Sultan Zain ul Abdin also finds detailed mention in the book .  According to the author , the enmity between various groups of  Kashmiri chieftains  led finally to the arrival of Mughals on the scene . The visit of Sheikh Yaqoob Sarfi to Akbar’s court proved as catalytic agent to the Mughal rule in Kashmir .


Concluding this review , it shall be purposeful for every reader of history to go through this translation and have a glimpse of Kashmir’s troubled history with first hand account of some period  to which the author of this chronicle has been a witness. The  erudition , research and hard work of the translator is visible at every page and its footnotes .


( Avtar Mota) 


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