Folk Tales from Kashmir

Table of Contents

  Twin Scientists
  Daddy’s Distress
  Breaking the Horse
  She is the Apple of My Eye
  Daddy’s Coronation
  The In-Law Tussle
  Broken Pen
  The Dudda
  Daddy’s Nightmare
  Rise and Fall
  Rivalry and Rebuff 
  Mini Marco Polo
  Royal Dudda
  Facing the Challenge
  Yes, No? May be So
  Crest Fallen
  Shock Treatment
  Grandma’s Shivratri
  Conquering Death
  Prickly Thistle
  Book in pdf format

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri




Last year, I received a letter written by Sh. P.N. Razdan (Mahanori) from Jammu. It was delivered to me at my home address after it had been posted a couple of months earlier. Sh. Razdan had addressed me as the president, Dogra Sabha. I had ceased to be the president of Dogri Sanstha. The letter form Dogra Sudar Sabha was redirected to Dogri Sanstha which was subsequently redirected to my place at Malhotra street.

Sh. Razdan had mentioned in his letter that he had written a number of short-stories in English and wanted to publish them in a book form; he wanted me to write an Introduction to the proposed book.

To my shame, I must admit that in spite of my best efforts I could not conjure up Sh. Razdan's face nor could recollect who he was, but since he had written to me, he must be knowing me rather well. The letter created mixed feelings in me:

I felt happy and even grateful to Sh. Razdan that he considered me suitable for writing an Introduction to his book. At the same time, I was filled with diffidence; I had not been writing in English for quite some time, and therefore, did not feel quite competent to undertake the job. But I did not reply to Sh. Razdan as some months had elapsed since he wrote me the letter and he might have drawn his conclusion from this long silence. But another Post Card from Sh. Razdan jolted me. He had given his telephone number on the post Card. I rang him and requested him to ask some one more competent to write an introduction to his book. I also told him that I was busy in making arrangements for the marriage of my younger son and soon after I would be undergoing an operation of hernia. He agreed to wait till I was free from both these jobs.

I was impressed by Sh. Razdan's graciousness and in deference to his age and insistence; I agreed to do the job. About a month back, Shri Razdan came to our place with the type script of his collection. It was than that I could really know something about him.

I formed Shri Razdan's acquaintance in 1968. I had gone to Srinagar in connection with Durbar move: I happened to be the secretary J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages those days. Sh. Razdan Mahanori who was a teacher and a free-lance journalist, used to come to the Academy office sometimes in connection with the publication of his M S. He had submitted his MS for grant of subsidy.

I did not go to Srinagar after 1971, as I sought pre-mature retirement from my service in January-February 1972. With that, my casual meetings with Sh. Razdan also came to an end.

Self-expression is the basic urge in all human beings; only the mode and the medium may differ in each case. Some may express themselves through literature while some may do so by painting or plastic arts; others may employ the medium of music dance or theatre etc.

Sh. Razdan has chosen the medium of literature; he has been writing essays and one-act plays and even some journalistic pieces for some newspapers. This is his first venture in the field of short story.

Ticklish Stories contains twenty-one short stories. They deal with topics ranging from the domestic (Background Story of my One-Act-Play under the same caption).

Sh. Razdan's approach is not that of a surgeon who performs surgery without involving his emotions in any way. Sh. Razdan's approach is more humane and warm, even personal. Structurally, they do not have the finesse of some of the modern writers; they do not dazzle by their technical virtuosity. His style is unembellished, simple and direct, Sh. Razdan has been a teacher and they say' once a teacher, always a teacher'.

We can see the teacher in these stories, who believes not only in entertaining his readers but instructing them as well. The role of elderly people in keeping the families together, the head-strong nature of younger members in the family who want to manage their affairs in their own way, the feelings of a woman torn between her love for her husband and her children, the instinct for self-preservation, which impels even the most selfless and loving mother to give priority to her own safety over the safety of her only daughter. The frictions causing unpleasantness in a family, the rivalries of persons who work in educational institutions all these are depicted in a simple, matter-of-fact manner. There is an old world charm in some of these stories and those among us who love the home-ground wheat flour better than the food articles from a bakery or a fast food joint would certainly find these short-stories a change from the modern day routine- a change which is, in some ways, quite interesting and refreshing.

Nilamber Dev Sharma

159 Malhotra Street

Old Hospital Road Jammu.



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