Tribhuwan N. Bhan

Tribhuwan N. Bhan

Tribhuwan N. Bhan

Tribhuwan N. Bhan

After graduation from J&K University, taught mathematics at Hill Grange High School and Junior College, Mumbai for nearly three decades, retiring from the institute in 1995, but not from the noble profession of 'teaching'. Still teaching Mathematics to young students. Keeping in constant touch with past and present students and thus acquiring energy and everlasting youth.


Sweet & Sour

Sweet and Sour

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

Sweet ~ Yeh Mera India

These facts were published in a German Magazine, which deals with World History.

a) India never invaded any country in her last 10,000 years of history.

b) India invented the Number System. Zero was invented by Aryabhatta.

c) The World's first university was established in Takshashila in 700 BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century BC was one of the greatest achievemnts of ancient India in the field of education.

d) Sanskrit is the mother of all the European languages. Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software - A report in Forbes Magazine July 1987.

e) Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans. Charaka, the father of medicine consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago. Today, Ayurveda is fast regaining its rightful place in our civilisation.

f) Although modern images of India often show poverty and lack of development, India was the richest country on earth until the time of British invasion in the early 17th century. Christopher Columbus was attracted by India's wealth.

g) The art of Navigation was born in the river Sindh 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Navgatih'. The word Navy is also derived from Sanskrit 'Nou'. h) Bhaskaracharya calculated the time taken by Earth to orbit the Sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Samrat. Time taken by Earth to orbit the Sun (5th century) 365.258756484 days.

i) The value of 'pi' was first calculated by Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century, long bafore the European mathematicians.

j) Algebra, trigonometry and calculus came from India. Quadrtic equations were by Sridharacharya in the 11th century. The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106, whereas Hindus used numbers as big as 1053 (10 to the power of 53) with specific names as early as 5000 BC during the Vedic period. Even today, the largest used number is tera 1012 (10 to the power of 12).

k) According to the Gemological Institute of America, up untill 1896, India was the only source for diamonds in the world.

l) USA based IEEE has proved what has been a century old suspicion in the world scientific community that the pioneer of wireless communication was Prof. Jagdeesh Bose and not Marconi.

m) The earliest reservoir and dam for irrigation was built in Saurashtra.

n) Chess (Shatranja or Ashta Pada) was invented in India.

o) Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2600 years ago he and health scientists of his time conducted complicated surgeries like caesareans, cataract, artificial limbs, fractures, urinary stones and even plastic surgery and brain surgery. Usage of anaesthesia was well known in ancient India. Over 125 surgical equipments were used. Deep knowledge of anatomy, physiology, aetiology, embryology, digestion, metabolism, genetics and immunity is also found in many texts.

p) When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindh Valley (Indus Valley Civilisation).

Sour ~ No Jokes

Express Delivery from US

At New York's Kennedy Airport today, an individual, later discovered to be a public school teacher, was arrested trying to board a flight while in possesion of a Ruler, a Protractor, a set Square and a Calculator. Attorney General believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement. He is being charged with carrying weapons of math-instruction. Al-gebra is a very fearsome cult, indeed. They desire average solutions by means of absolute value. They consist of quite shadowy figures, with names like X, Y, and, although they are frequently referred to as 'Unknowns', we know they really belong to a common denominator and are part of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country.

As the great Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, there are 3 sides to every angle, and if God had wanted us to have better weapons of math-instruction, he would have given us more fingers and toes. Therefore, I am extremely grateful that our government has given us a sine that it is intent on protracting us from these mathematicians who are so willing to disintegrate us with integral calculus disregard. These manipulating staticians love to inflict plain on every sphere of influence. Under the circumstances, it is time we differentiated their roots, made our point, and drew the line. These weapons of math-instruction have the potential to decimal everything in their math on a scalene never before seen unless we become exponents of a Higher Power and begin to factor-in random facts of the vertex.

As our Great Leader would say, Read my ellipse. Here is one principle he is uncertainty of-though they continue to multiply, their days are numbered and the hypotenuse will tighten around their necks. But if their days are numbered, then their time is very precious!

Change in Times

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

In December 1946, my father Shri Gobindji Bhan, my brother Brijmohan (now Dr. B.M.Bhan), my cousin Prof. Somnath Dhar left Srinagar by bus for Rawalpindi on way to Lahore. My father had to undergo treatment of his eyes under the care of Dr. Sidhnath Kaul, at Sir Gangaram Hospital at Lahore. On way to lahore, we passed through Baramulla, Mohara, Domel and Kohala. Kohala was the last point, where the boundary of J&K State culminated and the boundary of Punjab commenced. Further, on entering Punjab we reached Murree, one of the most beautiful resorts I have ever seen. At Murree, the passengers were allowed to have a long break while the buses were being cleaned and washed. Reaching Rawalpindi in the evening, we took a night train for Lahore. At lahore, we checked in at a hotel on the famous Anarkali Bazaar. After settling down in our rooms, we had the most pleasant surprise to discover that our next door neighbours at Srinagar, Dulloos' were also staying at the same hotel. My father and Shri Amarnath Dulloo hugged each other very warmly. Our joy was immense. The next day my father had to go to Sir Gangaram Hospital to fix an appointment with Dr. Sidhnath Kaul. He was able to get an appointment after a week, i.e. in the first week of January 1947.

We had more than a week of free time. During this free time, we visited the zoo at Lahore and also the museum. It was considered to be one of the best museums in the country those days. Rest of the time we spent strolling up and down the Anarkali Bazaar, which was easily the most clean streets of Lahore. On the day of appointment, Dr. Kaul conducted some preliminary tests of my father's eyes and prescribed some eye-drops which he had to use for about four days prior to the second appointment.

Two days later the volatile politician of Punjab, Master Tara Singh delivered a very provocative speech at some political rally. Due to this speech, Hindu Muslim riots broke out in Lahore and spread to other parts of Punjab. Curfew was imposed in Lahore city. We were confined to our rooms at the hotel for more than a week. At times the situation was so bad that we could not venture even to look out of the windows of our rooms. The fashionable Anarkali Street, once crowded with shoppers wore a deserted look. Luckily there was enough food in the store of the hotel and we could survive. Everyday we heard stories of how people massacred each other. This included next door neighbours who had been living in amity for generations. Lahore was burning with communal frenzy and hatred. After more than ten or twelve days, the curfew was relaxed and we managed to reach Lahore railway station on tongas. From there we took train to Rawalpindi. My father could never keep the second appointment with Dr. Kaul at Sir Gangaram Hospital.

At Rawalpindi railway station, we met Jalalis. Mr. Jalali was a police officer at Srinagar. So Jalalis, Dulloos and we parked ourselves in the waiting rooms of Rawalpindi railway station. We remained confined to this hall for nearly eight days, intending to take bus to Srinagar. But due to the riots, the bus service to Srinagar via Kohala had been suspended. One day we got the news that the bus service had been resumed. Very quickly, all of us packed our bags and decided to leave for the bus terminus. But some one brought the news that the only bus for the day had already departed. So we again unpacked our luggage. All of us were disappointed for having missed the bus to Srinagar. Next day in the afternoon, we got the horrific news that all the passengers of that bus were killed on the way. No one was spared, not even the bus driver and the conductor, who were both Sikhs. We thanked God for having saved our lives but at the same time, there was gloom writ large on everydody's face. After a few days, we managed to board a passenger train for Sialkot which went through Gujranwalla and Chaklala.

These days, I am told, Chaklala is one of the main airforce bases of Pakistan. From Sialkot onwards, we managed to reach Jammu Tawi railway station. My father, Mr. Dulloo and Mr. Jalali hugged each other as they could not believe that we had reached our home state safe and sound with all of us alive. Needless to say that the train travel from Rawalpindi to Jammu Tawi via Gujranwalla, Chaklala, Sialkot etc. was the most horrible travel I have ever undertaken as the conditions in the train were really inhuman and pathetic. There were crowds and crowds of people trying to board the train. At Chaklala, a group of armed Pathans tried to enter the compartments but they could not do so as an armed Sardar ji fired at them and made them run away in fright.
After a night's halt at Jammu, we boarded a bus for Srinagar. On way, we stayed for the night at Ramban where Shri A.N.Thusu, civil engineer incharge, lodged all of us in the government Dak Bungalow. We enjoyed his hospitality. He proved to be a very generous host.

On reaching Srinagar and finally our home Karan Nagar, every one from the locality came to greet us. My mother and aunt had tears of joy in their eyes, on seeing all of us alive. We had no contact of any sort with our folks back home for over a month. No one knew whether we were dead or alive. Not only people from Karan Nagar, but some of our Muslim friends from the near by locality Chota Bazar came to meet us that day and the following days too. Chotta Bazar is a completely Muslim dominated locality. I went to the house of my friend Ghulam Mohd. Malik at Kani Kadal. His mother was overjoyed to see me. She wouldn't let me go unless I had a hot cup of a favourite salt tea 'sheeri chay' and 'telvor'.

After a couple of days' rest and meeting relatives, I returned to C.M.S.Central High School at Fateh Kadal. One by one, the teachers would call me to know the first hand account of the tragic happenings in Punjab. My brother Brijmohan had already passed out of the school and was a student of S.P.College, Srinagar.

In October 1947, the Pakistani tribals 'Kabailis' raided Kashmir and reached Shalla Teng, as close as about 2 miles from the Srinagar town. It was from this point the raiders were pushed back by the Indian army. Maharaja Hari Singh had already left Srinagar from Jammu after conducting last Dassera Darbar in his palace at Srinagar. It was on the evening of this Dassera day that Srinagar city was plunged into darkness, as all the lights went off suddenly. This had given the signal to everyone that the raiders had reached Mohara where the main power generating station was located. There was no electricity in Kashmir valley for months together then.

Later on Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah being the undisputed leader of the state, took over the reins of the government, assisted by his team of dedicated colleagues from the National Conference. He was called the Prime Minister of the state, till he was summarily dismissed and put under house arrest at Kud in August 1953.
Years passed, Sheikh Abdullah again became Chief Minister followed by his son Farooq Abdullah. Later on, the state had to undergo the traumatic experience of militancy from 1989 onwards. Before this period of militancy, I used to visit the Valley at least once a year. I had been to the Valley in May 1986 for my annual visit.

It was in June 2000 that I did go to my homeland after a gap of 14 long years. As the plane landed at Srinagar Airport, I could feel the freshness and the nimbleness of the unpolluted atmosphere. Reaching my home at Karan Nagar, my childhood memories came back to me. First thing I did was to meet Ghulam Hassan of Cheerful Cycle Works. I have known him for the last more than half a century. I wanted to visit some of my childhood Muslim friends' families at Chotta Bazar. Someone however advised me thus, " All your friends and their families are not staying there any longer. And I would advise you not to go to that locality as it is now a den of militants". It was the same locality, Chotta Bazar, from which people had come to welcome us with open arms in February 1947. I was however treated to the most delicious Kashmiri Wazwan by the family of my Muslim friend Mukhtar Kanth at Safa Kadal and by the family of Ghulam Mohd. Mullick at his new residence. After visiting Kheer Bhawani temple at Tullamulla and offering prayers at the holy shrine, I had to leave Srinagar and resume my work at Mumbai. How I wish, my stay at home town would have lasted till eternity. Nevertheless, I am content with the factual reality that no doubt Kashmir valley is my JANMABHOOMI, but Mumbai is my KARMABHOOMI, as I have lived and earned my bread and butter for the last four decades and four years here.

Thoughts - At a Funeral

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

The patriarch of a corporate sector in India Mr. Dhirubhai H. Ambani breathed his last on 7th July 2002. During his funeral the next day, I tried to have a glimpse of his mortal remains but failed to do so, as there were over 25000 mourners and I could not physically jostle myself through the huge crowd. So I decided to come home and watch the funeral on the small screen. While watching the funeral of Mr. Ambani on TV, my mind went racing back to February- March 1961, when with about 30 more persons, I attended the funeral at Chandanwadi, of Hari Singh, Ex. Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir state. Here I was watching on TV, the funeral of a man who came from an unknown village, Churwad of Gujarat and rose to become a business tycoon. His funeral was one befitting an emperor. Simultaneously, in a flash, the scene of the other funeral I attended in 1961, came across my mind, when an ex-ruler of an Indian state had the funeral of a commoner.

From Rs. 500/- Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani created the empire of Reliance Industries worth Rs. 65000 Crores at present. He was a visionary who achieved the impossible through hard work, dedication and singleness of purpose. Though he had not received any formal education in Economics or Commerce, he proved to be a genius in the field of "Business Administration' and a financial wizard. Thus he became a legend in his own lifetime.

It was my destiny to be present at the funeral of one-time ruler of J&K State, stand just few feet away from his mortal remains, gaze at the same endlessly, and then after a gap of four decades to witness the last journey of the doyen of Industrial advancement in our country. Comparisons are odious and unhealthy, but at times like these any person, who is aware of facts and figures realizes that a ruler left a truncated and fragmented state as a legacy, which has proved to be a problem not only for our country but also for the whole world. In contrast, a commoner has left behind an industrial empire as his legacy not only for his family but also for the entire nation. Thus I draw a conclusion that nothing is everlasting, neither the glitter and grandeur of royalty nor the pain and pangs of poverty. Whatever one may inherit, or create, remains here on this planet. One departs from this world empty handed, when one leaves for his ultimate abode. What matters most is the impression one has carved out in the minds of the people according to his deeds or misdeeds, during his lifetime.

Thus one is judged not by who you are, but what you do.

The White Horse

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

Right from my childhood, I have been having a special liking for animals. At various stages of life, I had a dog as a pet but it has been a horse that fascinates me for its grace, speed and stamina. In early forties, my father late Shri Gobindji Bhan owned one of the best tongas in Srinagar. Naturally, I was very fond of our horse. For me, its presence in the house gave me immense joy. It was treated like a family member.

As a child, I often spent a day or two with my maternal grandparents at Banamohalla. Everyone adored me there. I would get anything that I demanded. While returning to my home at Karan Nagar, Bhaisaheb, my maternal grandfather, would escort me. On one such occasion, we were passing through Chotta Bazar near Kani Kadal. On that particular day, a tongawalla was disharnessing his horse from the tonga. The light grey horse, almost white in colour, was a picture of elegance. To me, it was a thing of beauty, which captivated my thoughts and my feet refused to move further. While I was engrossed in watching the 'White Horse', Bhaisaheb was walking ahead. He was unaware that I was left behind him standing at one place. As he turned round, he retraced his steps and told me, "Come on, we are getting late. Your mother must be worried by now." I, with my thoughts occupied by the majestic horse, paid no heed to what he was saying. I pointed at the horse across the road and told him in no uncertain terms, "I want that horse". "Are you crazy? How can you have it? That man over there must be owning it", he said rather angrily. I would have none of his arguments. I refused to budge from where I stood. Not only that I threw my tantrums, wept bitterly, stamped my feet on the road. Seeing my grandfather's predicament, some people passing by, asked him as to why I was crying. A small crowd gathered and from this crowd, a man took Bhaisaheb aside. What transpired between them, I could not hear. Afterwards both of them went across the road and spoke for some time to the owner of the horse. All the while, I was getting impatient and time stood still for me. Three of them were in deep discussion. After quite some time, my joy was limitless when I saw Bhaisaheb, the owner of the horse and the horse crossing the road and approaching me. The man from the small crowd did not accompany them but I could see a certain smile of satisfaction on his face. Coming close to me, Bhaisaheb told me, "Here is the horse. It is all yours. Now stop crying". "But I want to take it home", I told him. Before he would say anything, Kadira, the owner of the horse interrupted and told me, "In that case, I will also come to your home. But you will have to treat me to a cup of 'Sheeri Chai' and 'Telvor'. I am famished. Whole day I have not eaten anything". I at once agreed to what he wanted. So, four of us walked towards my home. I made sure that the horse and Kadira walked in front of me. The crowd had already dispersed. There was a stable at my home at Karan Nagar. It was not occupied on that day as my father had gone to Bandipora where he was posted those days. He usually travelled by his tonga. He felt more comfortable thus as it was an independent mode of travel for him. I made sure that the horse was lodged in the stable. I told my mother to serve the promised tea to Kadira. Later, my mother took me aside and scolded me for having created a scene on the roadside, embarrassed Bhaisaheb and having taken advantage of his kindness and love for me. I gave her patient hearing but had nothing to say as I was on cloud nine for owning a 'white horse'. With these thoughts, I went to sleep, dreaming of riding the most magnificent horse high up in the clouds.

Next morning, when I woke up, the first thing I did was to go to the stable and have a look at my 'white horse'. I was petrified, blood froze in my veins, a chill ran down my spine, when I discovered that the horse had vanished and the stable was empty. I asked my mother, where the horse had gone. She had no answer. I put the same question to others too in the house. No one gave me an answer. All were mum, which annoyed me all the more. Being deprived of my proud possession, I started to cry bitterly and threw all sorts of tantrums. I literally shook the whole house. This physical fatigue and mental turmoil exhausted me completely, and I had to be put to bed by my mother, as she must have realised the pitiable state I was in. It took me days to come to terms with the stark reality that I did not own the 'White Horse' any more. This episode took place some time in 1942.

Years passed, I came to Mumbai in 1958. I used to go to Srinagar for summer holidays every year. During one such visit, I was with Bhaisaheb at his home at Banamohalla. He had grown very old but his memory never failed him, till his last day. He asked me whether I remembered the episode involving the 'White Horse' of Chotta Bazar. I replied in affirmative.

Bhaisaheb recounted in detail what had actually happened on that day. He told me, "The man from the crowd who took me across the road to talk to the owner of the horse, was known to Kadira, the owner. We both convinced him and I almost begged of him to come to my rescue.

Realising my predicament and being kind at heart, we were able to strike a deal with him. He agreed to put-up an act to make you feel as if he had gifted the horse to you. For his cooperation and kindness, I had given him one rupee - not a small amount of money those days. After lodging the horse in the stable, your mother has coaxed you to sleep. That was when Kadira took the horse away".

Whatever good, bad or ugly happened on that particular day, left an indelible mark on my psyche as, I was ecstatic on owning a horse, though my ecstasy was short-lived.

Unforgettable Incident

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

Advice: While posted at Srinagar in 1947, one of my uncles whom we fondly called Lala, paid a courtesy call at my house at Karan Nagar. My father Late Pt. Gobind ji Bhan, was always proud of him and held him in high esteem as a self-made courageous man, full of guts. That evening, Lala and my father kept talking to each other for a long time. He was describing to him, the various anecdotes connected with his tenure during the World War II. As it became quite late and dark, my father asked him to stay on for dinner. He agreed. After dinner, my old aunt Kakni asked him how he would go back. Lala replied, " I came by car and shall go by the same car". "But where is your driver?" asked Kakni. "I don't have a driver. I drive myself", replied Lala. There was surprise and confusion written deep on Kakni's face. "Oh my God! It is pitch dark outside. Roads are deserted. Avoid the ditches and drive slowly. There are stray dogs on the road. They keep on barking. See that you do not lose control of your car. Are you a good driver anyway? Please be careful." Not even for a moment did Lala give her the feeling that he was not taking her advice seriously. Instead he gave her the impression that she was giving him the most valuable and timely advice.

Just imagine the concern shown by an old lady for a young man and giving him instructions out of genuine love. For Lala, driving a car was just a child's play, but he accepted her advice with all humility. That was the care and concern, really felt by elders those days, and that was the esteem and respect in which the younger generation held the elders. They were taken as the wise people of the society, whether they had been to any school or not. Whatever they said was absolute wisdom, to be followed word by word; nay letter by letter.

And the person, who was keeping his hands folded together and listening to Kakni in rapt attention, was none other than Flt. Lt. J.N.Dhar, posted at Srinagar aerodrome during the 1947 conflict (Qabaili Raid).

In the year 1947, Pakistani tribals, so called Qabailies, raided Kashmir. Indian government came to the rescue of the people of Kashmir by sending troops to fight back the raiders. Srinagar aerodrome therefore assumed a lot of strategic importance as it was the only airport where planes could land, carrying soldiers and supplies. Mr. Dhar was specially deputed to this aerodrome on instructions of the Prime Minister Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, since he was born, brought up and educated in Kashmir and was therefore very familiar with the geography of the surroundings of the aerodrome, which was so important at such a moment of crisis. Besides, he had joined Royal Air Force in 1944 and was trained as a pilot at Kohat, now in Pakistan. One of his distinguished colleagues then was Mr. Espee Engineer, who rose to become an Air Marshal in the Indian Air Force.

Farooq Abdullah: I was studying in class eighth at Biscoe Memorial High School, Srinagar. Our English teacher was Mr. N.L.Bakaya. Mr. Bakaya was a very straight-forward man, a strict disciplinarian and a perfectionist, who brooked no nonsense from anyone. He called a spade a spade, not a shovel.

One day, we had submitted to him our English essay books for correction. After his correction, he was distributing the books in the class as per the name on the cover of each book. He came across a book with the name of Farooq Abdullah written on it. He held the book in his hand and asked the class, " Who is Farooq Abdullah here?" Everyone was amazed and looked in the direction of Farooq. "So you are Farooq Abdullah", he told Farooq, "But you happen to be Farooq Sheikh. According to me, that is your name. Your brothers have names Tariq Sheikh and Mustafa Kamal Sheikh. Likewise, your name is Farooq Sheikh." The rest is history.

Today everyone knows that person as Dr. Farooq Abdullah and not as Dr. Farooq Sheikh. What has been the motive behind this change? To gain a well-planned political advantage or just a whimsical fancy?

JRD's gesture: Some years ago, I had been to Taj Intercontinental Hotel, Mumbai to attend a wedding reception. After the reception, two of my friends and I were walking towards the main exit door on the ground floor. There we noticed a group of gentlemen talking to each other in hushed tones. From their behavior, I could presume that they were waiting for some dignitary. Out of curiosity, I asked one of the attendants as to who was expected. From him, I could gather that there was a meeting of the Board of Directors of Tatas at the hotel. The meeting was over and Mr. J.R.D.Tata would be coming down soon. As we had never seen Mr. Tata at close range, we decided to wait and have a glimpse of this great man. He came accompanied by few others, exchanged smiles with everyone and shook hands with all. He stood at the glass door waiting for his car. All the while, I tried to be as near him as possible. The grey Mercedes car drove up to the steps. The driver came out. He opened the rear door for Mr. Tata to take his seat. But to everyone's amazement, he spoke to his driver these words, which I can never forget. "It is quite late in the night. You have been driving almost the whole day. By now you must be tired. Now I will drive home myself. You sit behind."

That was the care, compassion and consideration this great man showered even on the most humble being in his organisation. This one incident speaks volumes about the personality of Mr. J.R.D.Tata, the uncrowned king of an industrial empire. By taking the driver's seat, he no doubt enhanced his own stature, in the eyes of the beholders. Mr. Tata's qualities of thoughtfulness and empathy were indeed unparalleled and are worthy of emulation. In this world of 'sorry scheme of things entire', it is only when one is fortunate to have memorable experience involving humane people like Mr. Tata, that one realises; there are still some beautiful nooks and corners here.

When in solitude, I reminisce the noble gesture of that wonderful man, affectionately called JEH by his colleagues, a tear runs down my cheek.

Sacred Thread: For a Brahmin, the most important event in his life is the 'Thread ceremony' called Yagneopavit. The ceremony involves shaving the head of the boy followed by a Yagna accompanied by chanting of Vedic mantras by a group of priests. After all the rituals are over, the sacred thread is put round the neck of the young boy. A Brahmin has to have this sacred thread on him till his death. It also acquires special significance on various momentous occasions like birthday, marriage, engagement etc. On these occasions, certain pujas are performed wherein the sacred thread is partly round one's neck and partly covering the open palm of the person. The priest sprinkles holy water on it, starting from the palm, and carries on the process till the whole thread is partly wet. This is repeated a number of times during any important puja in a Brahmin's life.

I was married in May 1962. Not used to wearing the sacred thread and knowing that I will be required to have one on me during the pujas at the bride's house, I took care to acquire one clandestinely and started wearing it a week before the wedding day, so that I could get used to having it on me as a part of my outfit. Every now and then, I would feel it to make sure it was safe in its place.

Finally the day dawned, I left my house with the Barat for bride's place. After the customary welcome at the main gate of the house, I was supposed to stand at the inner entrance to the main house, where I had to have the eldest gent of my family by my side. Here, the priests from groom's and bride's side encircling us, had to perform the puja before entering the house. Naturally, I was the centre of attraction. The puja commenced. I was told by one of the priests to take out the sacred thread called Jenou and keep it out on the arm. Confidently, I put my hand under my shirt collar to display it to the priests. I took my hand round my throat and neck several times but could not locate the Janou. It was not there! It was missing!! A hush descended on all and sundry. I felt as if the floor was giving way under my feet. Blood froze in my veins. I must have turned death pale. More than myself, my old uncle who was standing by my side felt shamefully embarrassed. More so, because he was known in the society as a deeply religious man. That was the only time he was immensely upset with me. Very angrily, he whispered in my years, "You have put me to shame. It is all right for you since you do not know the value of being a Brahmin, but you have put me to absolute shame." Quickly, one of the priests succeeded in acquiring a Jenou for me and I put it round my neck. The puja continued. All the rituals like going round the sacred fire seven times were over. Accompanied by my bride and others, I returned home at Karan Nagar. I went to the bathroom to have a wash. And there I found the wonderfulJenou, which had put me to the worst embarrassment, hanging from one of the pegs on the wall. With a mixture of feelings, I gazed and gazed at it deeply. It seemed to laugh at me with sadistic delight and tell me, "The day you acquired me, you took a pledge that you shall always keep me on you, round your neck and we two would be inseparable. You broke that pledge. The helpless situation in which you found yourself today, is the retribution you rightly deserved".

Man Versus Animal And Nature

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

Last-night I had a dream in which I walked along the periphery of Powai lake. Suddenly I realized that someone was pulling at my trousers, thus not allowing me walk any further. I turned round to see who the intruder was. I noticed it was a lioness, pulling at my trousers with her fangs. As I looked at her, I noticed tears in her eyes and her right paw raised as if to greet me. It took me quite some time to disentangle my trousers from her fangs. Then, I heard some voice from above directing me to follow the wild animal fearlessly as she had a special message, not only for me but for the entire mankind. 

I followed the lioness as my pet dog Caesar used to follow me decades ago, when I was at Srinagar. Reaching a lofty high-rise building, the lioness stopped to check whether I was following her or not. Walking further near the huge iron gate of this twenty storeyed building, the lioness sat on the ground. Again the same way voice from the skies above said in a resounding tone, "The piece of land on which this concrete monster is built was once the abode of this lioness.

She lived her along with her four cubs in utmost peace and harmony with the surroundings of all types. But the heartless and unscrupulous builders and promoters intruded into her home broke it apart and shattered her dreams and hopes. Man has thus committed an aggression which is an unforgivable sin".

Seeing this and hearing the celestial voice from above, I felt ashamed of myself as being one of the species of man, whose greed is limitless. Some decades ago people would go for picnic to Powai lake. Those were the day when man and animal lived in absolute peace and harmony. Picnickers would sometimes see lions and leopards crossing the roads without harming or attacking anyone. But things have changed since then. A luscious green jungle has disappeared and in its place has come up a concrete jungle. Suddenly the star-studded sky was overcast with dark clouds and it became pitch dark. There was a blinding lightning followed by deafening thunder. The lightning was right across the black sky, as if it would part the sky into two. This awe-inspiring scene was similar to the breath-taking one, when the red sea breaks into two, allowing Moses the Hebrew prophet and Israelites to escape from Egypt. When the Lightning and thunder subsided to a certain extent, I heard the same voice again prophesying, “Huge tidal waves several meters high will rise from the sea swallowing all the high-rise structures built on the reclaimed land, which will disappear as the waves recede”. With this loud voice in my dream, I found myself sweating, as I had never experienced such a dream sequence ever before.

Man has to realise that nature is all powerful. Without understanding this, man is continuing to intrude into domains which are not his. The exploding of spaceship Challenger seconds after its launch in January 1986, the bursting into flames of Columbia on re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere inFebruary 2003, put a blot on NASA’s space programmes and shook its very foundation. Still man has not learnt a lesson from these tragedies. It is high time we realize that it is better we set things right on the surface of this planet, than to pillage the heavens above. The colossal amount that is spent on various space programmes should be utilized for removing poverty, disease and to provide life’s basic amenities to the poor and helpless. NASA’s mission is "to improve life here, extend life there and to follow life beyond".

First comes first "improve life here", then think of the rest. A dreamer turns to fiction, which rolls out myths. Some of these eventually become reality which at times are stranger than fiction. Thereby hands a tale!

Revolution in Mathematics

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

Newton's monumental work 'Calculus' opened new avenues for mathematics in 1966. Though mathematicians remained busy exploring new fields of mathematics, no one took pains, or perhaps they had no time to organise this fast-expanding intellectual discipline. Due to the expansion in the content of Mathematics, the variety of problems that it could deal with, also expanded. This variety made large-scale unification of its branches rather difficult to attain.

Before the middle of the 19th Century, mathematics were exploring new ideas. They made very little effort at organising the subject-matter or unifying the various branches of Mathematics. Euclid's 'Elements' however represented a major synthesis and Descartes' 'Analytical Geometry' was indeed a great unification of Algebra and Geometry. That is all that can be said about the effort at the 'unification' before the middle of the 19th Century.

Then came the middle of the 19th Century. It heralded a reaction, a change, a reformation and a reorganisation in Mathematics. All this marked a beginning of a new epoch for Mathematics. By this time it had become so vast and complicated that the link between its various parts was beginning to get snapped, and Mathematics was breaking up into unrelated compartments; which was about to put mathematics into trouble. Mathematicians realised that to save the situation, some reformation coupled with an examination of the fundamental concepts was the need of the day. It was at this time that George Cantor (1845-1918) came on the scene. Cantor has truly been called the Father of Modern Mathematics. To think that someone else deserves this title is inconceivable. He said, "The essence of Mathematics is its freedom." This slogan changed the very approach to Mathematics.

Cantor introduced the 'Theory of Sets'. This mathematical theory provided the answer to the much needed unification of the vast subject of Mathematics. Cantor's 'Theory of Sets' created a stir in the circles of Mathematics; and all other advances of that time fade into insignificance before this revolutionary concept. In 1847, when Cantor first published his paper on the 'Theory of Sets', a violent storm of protest was led by Kroncker and Poincare. As they were Mathematicians of no mean repute, their criticism discouraged many mathematicians from even trying to understand the novel concepts of Cantor. He, however, got enough support from Dedekind, Mittag-Leffler and others. Later on, in early 20th Century, academic honors were showered on Cantor by many countries. This late recognition could not stem the nervous breakdown which Cantor first had in 1884 as a result of the barrage of criticism to which he was subjected. This trouble recurred from time to time to the end of his life. Cantor died in 1918 in a psychiatric clinic at Halle.

The 'Theory of Sets' went along two clearly different lines of approaches. One was the Mathematical Theory of Sets, and the other, the study of Mathematical System (Mathematical logic). The point set topology was evolved from the first approach, because of its concept of sets of points on a line, in a plane or in other dimensions of Euclidean spaces. The latter approach mixed with logic, since little regard was given to the nature of sets. Though the development of Set Theory bifurcated in two distinct ways, both were logically well mixed in Cantor's concept of Sets. By using very simple methods, Cantor arrived at some amazing results. Due to the results he arrived at, it was possible for Mathematicians to treat the concept of infinity along absolute logical lines.

Not only Cantor, but logicians like Boole, De-Morgan and Peone, constructed Mathematical systems which are responsible for the present edifice of the Set Theory.

No doubt, the Set Theory holds the pride of place in the world of Modern Mathematics, but it is 'Group Theory' which goes to the very foundation of what happens when a particular mathematical operation is applied to various elements or when different operations, following a sequence, are applied to just one element of a set. It is the Group Theory which has been used and applied in sophisticated electronic systems. The Theory of Groups was introduced by a fiery French teenager Evariste Galois. He wrote most of his theory in an unintelligible writing covering about 30 pages in a single night, little did he know that the next day he would be killed in a foolish duel over a girl of ill-fame whom he did not even know. This tragic prodigy repeatedly proved unsuccessful at the examinations, fought with his parents and elders, disobeyed his teachers, was rejected by his family, was considered an outcast by society and was imprisoned for threatening the King's life. At the time of his death, he was hardly twenty years old, yet he is considered to be one of the most creative and original mathematicians of all times. What made Evariste Galois write out his theory that particular night? Being a genius, could he foresee how close his death was. Could he have heard the knock of death at his door and therefore resolved to complete his allotted work hurriedly (the fact is obvious from the unintelligible writing of his manuscript) before his end? Or was there some unseen power from above that incited him to fulfill his destined duty towards the world of Mathematics, just a few hours before his death and thus make a mark in this field. Whatever be the answers to these questions is immaterial. Normal death due to sickness or old age would not have been a fitting finale to the controversial life of this tragic genius. It would have been an anticlimax. Every aspect of Galois' life was an enigma and his death provides a sort of poetic justice to the life he led. Nevertheless no one can deny the fact, had Evariste Galois lived for just ten years more, Mathematics would have advanced manifold.

With the introduction of logic in Mathematics, logical senses grew more refined and subtle. People in general and mathematicians in particular did not believe or trust anything which was not backed by proof. About Euclid, people would say, "Euclid is Truth and Truth is Euclid". Educated people would swear by Euclid and not by God. But even Euclid was subjected to a thorough, critical and logical analysis. Euclid had constructed a magnificent edifice by compiling the entire available geometric data and putting these in the form of his monumental work 'Elements', which is the basis of traditional Geometry. When his work was put to a logical test, fissures appeared in his otherwise impressive edifice. Logicians were shocked to find that Euclid had completely omitted the concept of a straight line with infinite length. He only used line segments. He also omitted the idea of 'betweenness' or 'lying between two points', from his entire work. Anything that he found difficult to prove, he and his followers took for granted as self-evident truths. His method of using axioms to derive proofs was not without fault. Many of Euclid's arguments are based on the theorem that a point D on a line AB lies between points A and B. The familiar proof that a triangle, in which AB=BC, then /A=/C, needs bisection /B, this bisector intersects AC at D, but to complete the proof, one needs the fact that D is between A and C. To know this, one must have a pre-knowledge of 'betweenness' and must know the condition under which a point will be between the other two points. This, however, was not done by Euclid. To make these points and many other doubts clear, non-Euclidean geometries were created by Lobachevasky of Russia, Janos Bolyai of Hungary and Bernhard Riemann of Germany.

Nevertheless, the first person to conceive the idea of non-Euclidean Geometry was Guass. He believed that new kinds of Geometry could be developed from an unusual new axioms, that through a point that does not lie on a given line, more than one line can be drawn parallel to that line. Such an idea was contradictory to common sense and Euclid, who believed that through a point that is not in a line, 'one and only one line' can be drawn parallel to that line. The three men whose names are mentioned earlier, carried out a revolution in Geometry which was foreseen by Guass. Riemann, Guass's distinguished pupil, created a strange Geometry in 1854, by saying that 'lines cannot be parallel' - i.e. they must meet at both ends like meridians on the Earth. Using this concept, he created perfectly consistent Geometry. It was this concept which became the mathematical language for describing the curved space of 'relativity'. Einstein used to some extent, this concept of Riemann as a mathematical tool for derivation of the famous equation E=MC2. It is this equation which shook the world by demonstrating the immense energy of the atom.

For over one and a half centuries up to 1950, mathematicians and educationists had been trying to introduce drastic revisions in the instruction of Mathematics, but its teaching had not changed much. It was in the 1950's with the dawn of the satellite age that people realised that the world rests on Science, and Mathematics forms the backbone of all sciences. New programmes were introduced which lay stress on fundamental concepts, structure and logic - not just 'how' to tackle a mathematical problem, but 'why' to approach a problem in a particular manner. Some decades ago, the unification of Mathematics and logic appeared the most remote mathematical discipline. Suddenly it has turned out to be the most practical and useful, and the knowledge of which is most essential for using computers, and understanding the fundamental concepts underlying Modern Mathematics.

Lately Modern Mathematics has become a subject of controversy and its utility questionable. All this is due to the propaganda carried out against it by the very people (not all of them) who are supposed to work for the advancement of this discipline. They are the people all over the world whose duty is to give instructions in this subject to the new generation. They are either not willing to learn the new concepts or the fear of the unknown is making them carry out a sabotage of 'Modern Mathematics'. The success of the new programmes will depend on the sincere effort and hard labour, mathematics teachers all over the world will put in to master the new concepts and then willing to part with their knowledge to their pupils. Of course, the co-operation of the parents of the students learning 'Modern Mathematics' will go a long way in contributing towards the successful implementation of the new syllabi.

Fantasy and Reality

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan Last Sunday, I boarded the local train at Churchgate. Being Sunday, the compartment was almost empty and there was absolute silence. As the train was about to enter the next railway station i.e. Marine Lines, I could hear someone shouting, "Thief, thief ...". Out of curiosity, I alighted at Marine Lines and walked in the direction from which the sound of the words 'Thief, thief' could be heard. I reached Marine Drive and saw a tall old man wearing a long Kaftan-type outfit standing on the parapet of the drive. His long silvery grey beard and hair were being tossed about due to the sea breeze. He wore a hair-band round his forehead to keep his long hair rather orderly. In his hand, he held a long staff, which was at least a foot longer than the height of the man. He was looking in the westerly direction and shouting loudly "Thief, thief ....". I went close to him. Looking at his face, I could see his deep sunken eyes and felt as if penetrating beams were emanating from them. He with his weird countenance and attire did not seem to me an inhabitant of this planet. I had to sum up all the courage and strength and ask him, "Where is the thief?" "There is the thief", he said and pointed towards the west. As I could see no one except the setting sun, I told him, "I do not see anybody except the setting sun." "That one, the setting sun is the thief. He is going behind the horizon after having robbed a day from the life span of every living being. He is the biggest thief !!" He held my hand firmly. His grip was strong like a steel grip. It was astonishing to realise that despite being so old, he had so much physical strength. I tried to wriggle out my hand from his grip but he would not let go of my hand. As he walked briskly with long strides, I had to run by his side. To keep pace with him was not an easy task. It fatigued me. He then showed me a place of worship with serpentine queues of devotees outside it. "Do you see these people? They are the people who have absolute faith in God. They will perform all their religious rituals, worship their deity and ask God to protect them all the time. According to them, God is 'omnipresent'. They believe, He will be by their side always irrespective of what they indulge in. Their misplaced faith means protection to them. Remember the heartless and ruthless dacoits of Chambal valley. They would begin their day by performing puja and worship their deity, put a long black Tilak on their foreheads before indulging in loot, plunder, arson and murder. It was their faith made them believe that they were receiving protection from their deity , had a divine mandate and thus lived a charmed life. Ravana too was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. He thought he was invincible due to Lord Shiva's blessings. But then he met his Nemesis in Ram whose Sita he had abducted." Saying this he made me walk a long distance more and pointed out to me a group of people who were being tempted and brain-washed by a few religious fanatics, in the garb of preachers. They were being coaxed to indulge in nefarious and questionable activities, create anarchy in the name of religion and thereby they would benefit monetarily and otherwise too. This group of people heard the so-called preachers but turned their backs on all the temptations they were offered. "My dear, did you observe this scene? This group of people who did not want to do anything wrong despite all that they were promised, were the ones who have fear of God". The old man summarised all that we had seen by saying, "There are basically two kinds two kinds of people, some have faith in God and others have fear of God. The former believe that by making offerings at places of worship, rubbing their foreheads at the entrance and by performing all the religious rituals regularly, God will provide divine protection to them, even when they may deprive other human beings of basic necessities of life. But the latter think that God is almighty and will not spare any wrong-doer, be he strong or weak, rich or poor, low or high. This fear prevents them from indulging in anything questionable, unethical or deprecatory. It is the latter ones who are nearest to God, who dwells in their hearts. While the former are farthest from God." Saying this, he loosened his grip on my wrist, which had become numb by then and suddenly disappeared, as if he had made himself air into which he vanished mysteriously.

The Redeeming Factor

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

While watching the recent Indo-Pak Cricket Matches certain thoughts came to my mind. These concerned how God plays His role in the lives of the Human beings. Earlier the so-called “Rawalpindi Express’ Shoaib Akhtar had boasted that he would not let Sachin Tendulkar score more than ten runs. Foolish Shoaib did not realise that God was looking down at him from above and laughing at his empty boast. It was indeed God’s doing that Shoaib was “caught and bowled” by none other than Sachin Tendulkar himself. Thus this so called “Rawalpindi Express” scored a duck. This was the retribution inflicted on Shaoib the fast bowler, by Almighty God. When the Pakistani coach Javed Miandad heard about Irfan Pathan, a teenager, being included in the Indian Team, he had come out with most unsupporting and derogatory statement, “We have many such Pathans roaming in the lanes and by-lanes of Pakistan”. What followed was a slap on the Pakistani coach. It was Irfan Pathan who turned the tide against Pakistan by being very effective bowler and fielder too. I have realised in life, whenever any human being makes an unwanted and unethical statement, hurting the sentiments of anyone else, God takes up the matter in his own hands, and gives a fitting reply to the person who has said anything, he should not have, and makes him eat a humble pie.

While watching the match played at Lahore I thought of the days of December, 1946 when I was at Lahore. Anarkali Bazaar was the cleanest Bazaar of Lahore city, a shoppers’ paradise those days. While watching the match being played at Rawalpindi, I thought of the horrendous ten days we spent at the waiting room of Rawalpindi railway station. We could not move anywhere because of the communal riots in the city. While the match was being played at Multan, I thought of the Dhingra family who were from Multan and were staying as tenents in my house at Karan Nagar, Srinagar in 1945. Mr. Dhingra was a dark tall man who could speak English very fluently, his wife was rather short, very fair but could not speak English at all. They had two children almost of my age and we were good friends. He was on some official assignment at Srinagar. When they left Srinagar to go back to Multan, I was sad to be separated from my friends.

No doubt the Indian Cricket team won the ODI series but it was the people of Pakistan who were showered with all the praise by all the cricket fans from all the corners of the world. The disciplined behaviour of the spectators in the stands of the stadiums, the love and affection showered by common Pakistani in the streets on all Indians who went to see the matches in Pakistan, the generous and warm hospitality offered even by the rickshawalla of Lahore or Rawalpindi defies, definition and description. But in contrast there was not a word of appreciation about the encouraging crowd behaviour from the India Captain Sourav Ganguly, which is absolutely questionable and raises many an eyebrow!

This series has brought the people of the two countries nearer. Due to the speeches of our so called patriotic politicians, Pakistan is depicted as enemy number one and an average Pakistani untrustworthy. But, this cricket series has demolished that myth atleast about the common man in th streets of Pakistan, to a large extent. Some politicians on either side of LOC, who still believe in the infamous policy of the British, “Divide and Rule”, and “Fish in troubled waters” must be realising that their policy is not going to last long and their days are numbered. That is the writing on the wall.

What could not be achieved, by Lal Bahadur Shastri and Ayub Khan at Tashkent; by Indira Gandhi and Bhutto at Shimla, by Vajpai and Nawaz Sharif at Lahore; by Musharaf and Vajpai at Agra; has been achieved by the peoples of the two countries – the objective of “Universal Brotherhood” – through the noble game of cricket. People of Pakistan have demonstrated to the whole world that there is a sea change, for the better, in their outlook and also it is not the ruled who are vicious but the rulers who are so!

Not Illusions

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

The ego of one solitary person changed the course of the land of our forefathers. It was the egoistic attitude of Maharaja Hari Singh which did not allow him accede to either India or Pakistan within the stipulated time limit of 14th August 1947. This tragic trait in the character and personality of the late Maharaja is the root cause of the catastrophic events in the Valley, which is bleeding at present. The monarch being offspring of the feudal system of those days, could not bend according to the changing times. It was the change of times that broke him. At the end, this monarch, who was only next to God in his hay-day ended his journey in life un-mourned, unknelled, unknown and unwept. Even his only child Dr. Karan Singh was not present at the funeral to pour sacred drops of ‘Ganga Jal’ in his mouth. Out of the twenty odd people for his funeral procession in Mumbai in 1961, my friend and I happened to be present. The flaw in his character transformed the ‘Paradise on Earth’ to ‘Hell on Earth’.

In comparison, all the success stories of people from rags to riches are those of people, devoid of this failing ego in their nature. While teaching Mukesh and Anil, years ago, I asked their father Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani, as to what was the secret of his success in life. He told me, “I always care for the sentiments of others. Be he my peon or a top executive. My parents have taught me to be humble, respect age and not to be egoistic. This negative aspect of anyone’s personality does not help at all, it only creates problems for everyone.” How correct he has been! He has imbibed this very principle in his two sons Anil and Mukesh who are managing a multi-crore business of various Reliance companies at present.

Once I saw Mr. J. R. D. Tata holding the door of his car for his driver to sit in the front seat of his car, as he wanted to drive home himself. This uncrowned king of an industrial empire, expanded his industry many fold through humility and not through ego. It was this humble nature and that of his ancestors too that is responsible for the bread and butter of all the lakhs of workers in various Tata enterprises. The giant international airline, Air India of today, was started by J. R. D. Tata with humble beginning of a single engine plane carrying mail from Karachi to Bombay. Had the doyen of Tata empire Sir Jamshedji Tata been suffering from this failing, whole of this industrial kingdom would have been non-existent today.

Mirza Assadullah Khan, popularly known as Mirza Ghalib was born in December 1797. Though born in the family of professional soldiers, poetry came to him naturally. He has written some of the most outstanding romantic poems in Urdu language. Not only poetry, he also excelled in writing prose which is in the form of letter he has written to his friends and relatives. An aristrocrat by temperament, he was never frugal and lived much beyond his means. Besides writing poetry, he loved exotic wines and over-rich mangoes. Though heavily in debt, he loved to be a good generous host. He was most secular in his outlook and had friends from all communities. Besides these worthy qualities, he had a failing in his character, that was ego. Due to this negative aspect in his personality, he suffered. When he needed a job very badly, Resident of Delhi, offered him one, to teach Persian at a Delhi college. Ghalib sat in a planquin and went in a royal state to meet the resident. On not finding the Resident there to receive him, his ego took the better of him and Ghalib returned to his home. So egoistic, he was by nature. He spent nearly three years at Calcutta so that his family pension was sanctioned to him, but again his ego came in his way and he refused to compromise with the Governor on certain principles, though he needed the money very badly to clear his debts. He returned empty handed from Calcutta. It was his ego that brought untold suffering, not only to him, but also to his wife Umrao Begum. He was fortunate to have a very understanding wife. When Ghalib confided to her that there was another woman in his life, she is said to have replied, "I certainly admire her choice!" When Ghalib died on 15th February 1869, his condition was indeed pathetic. Ego had acted as a catalyst to reduce the state of this tragic genius to a pitiable state.

It is for us to learn a lesson from the life story of these and many more successful lives and also from the life of the haughty Dogra ruler whose negativity in his outlook has brought untold misery to our brethren at present.

Essence of Kashmiriyat

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

Your* phone call on the occasion of Janamashtami, to remind me to observe that day as a vegetarian day and abstain from all non-vegetarian food, speaks volumes about the roots of our culture and tradition, ‘Kashmiriyat’. The basisof this thought is Sufism. Both Sufism and Kashmiriyat have the history of tolerance and unity. The poet saint Noorudin Noorani Known as Nund Rishi preached this and implored on the people to live in communal harmony. Not only did Nund Rishi, but Lalded, Samad Mir, Shamas Faqir, Parmanand, Krishanjoo Razdan, Zindlal Kaul all belonging to the Kashmir Valley had the same identical lookout on life. It is most surprising to realize that the thoughts of these men of high thinking ran parallel to “Trika”philosophy. It is this concept that blended Shaivism and Islam. This blending of the synthesis of the two ways of life brought the Bhakti Movement, which proved to be one of the glorious periods of Indian History. It is most important for all Kashmiris to know that Kashmiriyat is the blending of Islam and Shaivism. The message of Kashmiriyat is to understand the essence of all religions. One must follow one’s religion in letter and spirit, at the same time one has to respect all other religions. This has been the message of the greatest leaders like Buddha, Ashoka, Gandhi and Akbar. They preached the message of Universal Brotherhood. It was the same message propagated by our own Monarch Zainulabdin–Badshah, the most tolerant and just ruler Kashmir ever had.

To accept the teachings of these great men of tolerance, we have to transform our mindset and strive to create 'Sufi-thinking' in the minds of all inhabitants of the Valley. Dearest friend, I feel I am overwhelming you with my thoughts, but your telephone call to me when the annual festivities at Kheerbhawani was being observed, left an indelible imprint on my psyche and has drawn me to write this epistle to you. I shall forever treasure the sound of your voice. As a small child the old inhabitants of Tullamulla told me that it is the abode of Maa Ragnya. I pray that she shower her blessings on you and all the members of your family, so that you have nothing but contentment and happiness all along.

* Excerpts from author's letter to his school-mate Mir Inayatullah, former Chief Warden of Wild-life, J&K Govt

The Companion

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

In March 1948, when my mother was recalled to the Eternal Home; GRIEF took her place for me.. I was accompanied by GRIEF wherever I went, so much so, that I fell in love with it and thus I nursed it with tender care.

As I grew up, my GRIEF also grew along with me. Sometimes it provided me with delightful episodes, which proved to be memorable indeed. We developed a strange and inexplicable bond with each other. My GRIEF never left my side, it stood by me through thick and thin, while my near ones left me high and dry, when I needed them the most. The world around was lovable as it sailed smoothly like a swan in a lake. We had tender feelings for each other.

In conversing with each other during day or night, time flew, as I dreamed of a strange future which could exist only in thoughts but not indeed.

When overwhelmed with GRIEF, I would recite a sad song, my neighbours would be overwhelmed by the melancholy tone and would sit and listen in rapt attention.

While walking side by side, the onlookers would gaze at us and talk in low tones to others around, appreciating our companionship and togetherness. I was indeed proud of my GRIEF as people took notice of me because of my GRIEF.

All things have to leave this world and one day my GRIEF also left me, leaving me alone in this sordid world.

Now, when I walk in the streets, no one takes notice of me as my gait has undergone a metamorphosis. From slow soft-touch steps of royal sophistication they have changed to brisk strides of a soldier, reminding others of hateful war. When I sing a song, no one comes to listen. They find the once sad sounds of sorrow, loss or pain, as that of ‘The Solitary Reaper’ in poet Wordsworth’s poem of that title; which used to touch the heart-strings of listeners and move them to tears are absent from my songs.

Only when I go to sleep, I hear strange far off ancestral voices saying, “His companion has betrayed him!”

Tata's Contribution to Bombay's Development

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

Some years ago, I read an article in Reader's Digest, written by an English journalist who travelled to India on an assignment. I am hereby reproducing whatever I can recollect of that article. To make the language simple, I am writing the matter in first person.

I boarded an Air India plane at Heathrow airport, my destination was Bombay. While the plane taxied on the runway, I thought of Mr. J.R.D.Tata who had started this Airline under the name Tata Airlines in 1932. This Airline had one single engine plane which carried mail between Bombay and Karachi. Mr. J.R.D. Tata used to pilot the plane and his navigator was one Mr. Vincent. After a flight which stopped at various places enroute, we landed at Bombay's Santacruz airport.

At the airport I boarded a coach manufactured by the Tata's in collaboration with a German automobile company. The coach took me to Taj Mahal hotel at apollo Bunder. This five star hotel was built by Jamshedji Tata. Those days it was the first five star hotel in Bombay. After checking in at the hotel I went to my room. Had a refreshing bath with Hamam soap manufactured by the Tata Chemicals, Scrubbed my hair with Tata Shampoo. I dried myself with a thick towel and wore a comfortable shirt. Both these articles were manufactured by Tata Textiles.

After resting for the day, the next day I visited T.I.F.R (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research) at Colaba. From Colaba accompanied by a guide we came to churchgate and boarded a local train for Dadar. From dadar we went to the Tata Cancer Hospital and Cancer Research Centre at Parel. The Local trains in Bombay, which are supposed to be the life line of Bombay get their power supply from Tata's, who use "unified islanding system". It is due to this system that Tata's supply uniterrupted power to trains, hospitals, refineries, water supply systems, airports, ports and stock exchange. On my way back from the suburbs to my hotel we stopped at the R.T.I. (Rattan Tata Institute) for delicious snack. R.T.I. is a training institute for chefs and seamstresses. Then I visited Tata Institute of Social sciences at Chembur, a suburb of Bombay.

After visiting all the Tata establishments in Bombay, I left for Jamshedpur in Bihar. This township was built by Jamshedji Tata who set up a plant to manufacture iron and steel. The Local trains in Bombay, which are supposed to be the life line of Bombay get their power supply from Tata's, who use"unified islanding system".

This visionary felt that no country can progress without manufacturing iron and steel. All different forms of heavy industry are absolutely dependent on iron and steel. The township has the Tisco plant and residential quarters for thousands of its employees. This establishment is a tribute to the vision of the great Indian Jamshedji Tata. His vision was further developed into a vast industrial empire by his descendants like Naval Tata, J.R.D. Tata and now Ratan Tata.

As I left Bombay to board a plane from Santacruz airport for London, I thought of the contribution made by the Tata's in various fields like civil aviation, chemicals, education, hospitals, medical research, industrial development, manufacture of automobiles, social work etc.

Child is the Father of Man

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

Once upon a time, a village hadno rains, when it was most needed for the crops. The land was completely parched. The condition of the village was indeed pathetic. At this juncture, the elders of the village decided to hold mass prayers and pray for rains. It was decided that everyone, old and young, even children would congregate at particular a place at a fixed time. Everyone would offer prayers to Almighty God and ask Him to take pity on the inhabitants of the village and shower His blessings in the form of much needed rain.

On the day decided, everybody was on his way to the vast place as decided by the elders of the village. In this huge procession of people, there was a small boy running and carrying an umbrella. The young ones were all laughing at the stupidity of the small boy. At last a middle-aged man stopped him and asked him, "My child, why are you carrying this umbrella. You do not need it. There are no rains. See how everybody is laughing at you and making fun of you." The child replied, "We are going to ask God for rains. On returning home, I will need this umbrella as God will hear my prayers and it will rain."

Pigeons at my window sill

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

Every morning after getting up, the first thing I do is to feed the pigeons by putting some cereals at the window sill. But, if I have slept late the previous night and I do not get up at the usual time, I hear sounds of 'tick', 'tick' ... at the glass window when the pigeons strike at the glass pane with their beaks, demanding their breakfast. When I spread the cereals like wheat or jawari at the sill, the pigeons at once come flying to have their feed. Sometimes they fall over each other or have massive fights, catching each other's beaks and pulling each other violently, I try to separate them. These pigeons remind me of Mohammed Waza and his son Ali Katsur (Ali the blond), he was given this nickname as he was the only blond boy of the locality Chotta Bazar near Kani Kadal at Srinagar.

Mohammed Waza was a famous cook of those days, who excelled in cooking the well-known culinary delights particularly Tabak Maaz, Goshtaba and Rista. Being a chef was his family profession, besides that he was very fond of pigeons. His love for these birds was a passion with him. At his humble dwelling, he had erected huge wooden frames on which his pet birds used to perch. He would spend hours watching the pigeons fly away in formation and then return to their open air abode. Once all of them would perch on the wooden frame, Mohammed would make some loud sound and the birds would fly again in unison. This obedience to his command was the delight of Mohammed. He lived for that moment. Watching the birds fly away and then return was an addiction with him. He would indulge in this for hours together. This affected his health, particularly his eyesight. In the morning I feed my pigeons at least thrice till I am sure, they do not want anymore and they had their feed. In the evening when I return from work, these pets of mine return to the window sill. Though the windows are shut, how they know that I have come home is a mystery to me. There might be some telepathy. If there are any cereals leftover from the morning feed on the sill, they devour the same. Then they strike with their beaks at the window pane, demanding more.

Catering to their demand gives me utmost satisfaction and happiness. Some say pigeons bring good luck. Whatever it be, whether they bring good luck or not, they give me infinite happiness for which I love them. The early morning 'tick', 'tick' ... sound of the glass pane is more pleasing to my ears than any earthly music, as it gives me the feeling of belonging, which gives me confidence to face the ever changing vicissitudes of this murky world.

There have been times when due to the loud sound of crackers during festivals or marriage season, the birds are too scared and are not seen on the neighbouring trees in the morning. They are too scared to come to the window sill. It is a bad beginning of the day for me. Out of frustration, I put on some soft music by Shiv Kumar Sharma or Vishwa Mohan Bhat or Ravi Shankar. The speakers of the music system happen to be near the window. It may be unbelievable but soon the pigeons can be seen flying in one by one and cooing. I noticed this once. I repeat this whenever I do not see them at the window sill in the morning. Who says birds do not enjoy music? The legend has it that when Orpheous the Greek God of Music played on his lute, even trees uprooted and left their place to follow Orpheous. On Shravan Purnima, two pigeons appear near the Shiv Lingam at Amarnath Cave in Kashmir. People have a firm belief that these two pigeons are the re-incarnation of Lord Shiva and Parvati. It is this belief that draws lakhs of pilgrims to the holy cave of Amarnath. My firm belief is that the pigeons who come to my window sill are the re-incarnation of my forefathers who looked after me with loving care when I was a child. I am now reciprocating the love and affection they showered on me then, by taking care of these birds now, who come cooing to my window sill every morning.

Conversing with God

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

Once upon a time I asked God, "Dear God, if anyone troubles me, takes advantage of me or inflicts pain on me, what should I do?" God replied, "Dear child, there are three alternatives as answer to your question".

Option 1: "As you are a human being, you will react in the same measure, strike back and trouble the culprit in the same manner in which you have been wronged by the other person. Then, both of you will deserve the punishment of the same degree. You will get equal retribution, as you two will be the sinners of the same level."

Option 2: "You will be philosophical and will think that it was your own destiny to suffer such an agony or pain and it was not the fault of the other person. It was your own 'Karma' that made the culprit behave thus. Then you will not be a sinner but the sin of the other person will be enhanced in degree. Thereby he will get a greater punishment on the day of the judgment than he deserved. You will be rewarded in some form or the other by being so forgiving."

Option 3: "You will try to reform the culprit and the sinner not by precept but by practice. Be good to him, shower love and affection on him. Try your utmost to mend him and his questionable ways by setting examples of various ways of righteousness and following the correct path in life yourself. Thereby you will make a better person of a wrong doer. By transforming a person thus you will become very dear to me. I shall shower my blessings on you and stand by you whenever you might face trials or tribulations in life. Indulging in such noble deeds will raise your stature to such a level that you need not seek me at various places of worship, instead I shall be with you till eternity. Those who look for me will always see you next to me. Finally by the end of the day when you leave this planet Earth, I shall welcome you with open arms at the gates of Elysian Fields up there, while embracing you there you will be one with me and thus mingle with me. Down below the mortals will deify you by quoting yours as an example for generation to come, thereby lending a touch of immortality to your divine deeds. The choice is yours."

Mera Bharat Mahan

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

When I was a child, I heard the famous “Tryst with Destiny” speech of our first Prime Minister Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru. No doubt I understood the significance of these words many years later. Since then on every 15th August, I have been hearing the Independence Day speech of every Indian Prime Minister. Always for the last five decades I have been listening to the words of different people but with the same content, possessing much heat but little light. All tall promises which are seldom fulfilled. These words remind me of Macbeth’s words in Shakespeare’s tragedy:

“This is a tale told by an idiot
Full of sound and fury
Significant nothing”

 On 15th August 2002, I was watching Prime Minister Vajpai delivering his customary annual speech, from the ramparts of Red Fort, as there was nothing much I did not already expect to hear, I dozed off. While asleep, I had the vision of the ‘madari’ who used to entertain people particularly children near my home in Kashmir at Karan Nagar. The ‘madari’ used to be accompanied by three monkeys and he would make them perform all sorts of comic antics, which would make us laugh. Day after day, he would come and amuse us while the monkeys performed their antics. But as time passed, our interest in them started to wane. But then to attract the attention of the people, the ‘madari’ dyed the heads of the monkeys pink. One would notice them from a distance where even the sound of his ‘dholki’ was not audible. Everytime the culmination of his roadside show was, the three monkeys enacting the maxim ‘Bura Mat Dekho, Bura Mat Suno, Bura Mat Bolo’. We had seen him repeat this everytime. So much before the last act, we all anticipated his next item of the tamasha and would leave the place. This however did not deter him from making the monkeys act the last scene of his show. At times he would be the only one to see the three monkeys enact the final scene. Not only the monkey tricks, the man would sing songs in rythm with his ‘dholki’ about India’s glory and also about topless Himalayan Mountains. While doing so, he would dance around in a circle turning and twisting his wrist to make his only musical instrument beat in rythm with the steps of his crude dance.

    But suddenly my vision was disrupted by the loud sound emanating from T.V. Vajpaiji was shouting at the top of his voice ‘Jai Hind’ Jai Hind’. Everytime he did so, the rest of the congregation joined him. These two immortal words were coined by that brave son of Bharat Mata, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Suddenly I remembered the words of poet Coleridge in his poem Kubla Khan:

‘A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw
It was an Abyssinian maid
And on her dulicmer she played
Singing of Mount Abura
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song
To such delight it would
Win me .....’

 Coleridge’s vision was due to an anodyne prescribed to cure him of his indisposition hence rather vague, dim and hazy. Even that vision passed away like the images on the surface of a stream in which a pebble has been thrown, creating numberless circles on its surface. But my vision of the‘madari’ was clear like an image on a smooth and tranquil surface of a lake. I could see him singing about our country’s past glory and describing the natural beauty that abounds in the land of our forefathers.

 This year on 26th January, the grand show of Indian culture and past glory came on the small screen. The Republic Day parade on Rajpath was being shown. After the tableaus of various states, the impressive show of our modern defence equipments was exhibited. Seeing these huge guns, tanks and also the fighter bombers flying in the sky above, my mind went back to the days of Second World War. The tension, the uncertainty and the trauma people had to go through those days is unimaginable. All that came to an end when two atom bombs were dropped on Japan. First on August 6, 1945 on Hiroshima and second on August 9, 1945 on Nagasaki. It was due to this catastrophic event that Japan surrendered to allied powers on August 15, 1945 on board the ship Missouri.

 Nearly the whole of Japan was a colossal devastation. People had no houses to live in, no food to eat, no clothes to wear, no water to drink, leave aside electricity and other necessities of everyday life. But at present after five and a half decades, Japan is the world leader in manufacturing electronic equipments, automobiles, optical instruments, ships and also high potency medicines. Such a tremendous achievement by this small country has been possible because of impeccable character and dynamic leadership of the people who are elected by the masses as their national leaders.

 In 1945 when Japan had ‘nothing’, we in India had ‘everything’. But today, in comparison to Japan, our once great country is reduced to insignificance. Our country is reduced to this sorry state because of flagrant favouritism and blatant nepotism in the rank and file of bureaucracy. All these negative elements have conspired together to turn this ‘Saare Jahan Se Achha Hindustan Hamara’ into a cesspool of rampant corruption. We have numberless politicians but no statesman, who could lead our country without fear and favour, to the zenith of progress.

 Vascodegama looted our country and sailed away with huge barges full of our treasures, which was our national wealth. This happened centuries ago, but today our politicians having over-vaulting greed are not satisfied by draining the country through various scams. Instead of bowing their heads in shame, they even snatch the fodder from the mangers of animals. All these unscrupulous people, instead of mending their undignified ways proclaim with pride that they will govern even from the wrong side of iron bars. We should not expect anything better when people with criminal records win elections by using questionable means. One has to view the most deplorable and disgusting scenes of people prostrating themselves on ground to touch the feet of politicians who have been linked with various cases of corruption involving hundreds and thousands of crores of rupees. It is at times as these that one is really at loss to understand whether these people really know what they are doing. The whole world is seeing India as a country, which is corrupt, dirty, riddled with sycophants and criminals. A friend of mine who has migrated to Australia once wrote to me, “For years in India, I breathed dust and hopelessness. In Australia my family and I atleast breathe fresh air”. Our Hindu caste system is the greatest evil faced by this country. Low caste Hindus are harassed, humiliated and hounded around. Our desperate democracy is only a formation of defection and damnation. But in our country, “Sab Chalta Hai. Chalne Do.’

Oh Mother!

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

Long ago, on reading the article by Kiran Dhar in the Times of India, I was too overwhelmed by the spiritual content of the article. Thinking deeply about the same lulled me to sleep. As I dozed off, the vision of Maa Ragnya of Kheerbhawani appeared to me.

Her visage had a divine radiance. Her penetrating gaze benumbed me. She sat on her throne with one hand raised, to bless me. "Oh Mother, you are blessing me at this moment, but why did you take away from me, in my childhood, the greatest blessing a child has? That blessing is his mother. My mother was in the prime of her youth. Not only that, you also took away my two sisters from me who were in their infancy. Why so revered Mother?" I questioned the divine Mother thus. The glow on Mother Ragnya's face was even more radiant when she said, "My child, your mother was a very delicate being having a sensitive mind, she could not stand all the agonies which she had to undergo at the hands of people around her. I could see she was withering away within herself and turning death pale as she became consumptive. Besides she was surrounded by callous indifference and not by compassion, an ailing person deserved. By taking her away from this cesspool of brazen hypocrisy, I took her to ELYSIUM a better place than planet earth. Over there, peace is overflowing. No doubt I took away your two sisters also, but at the time of their birth, your mother had to hear deplorable and derogatory comments from people with wagging tongues. All these years, they have been looked after with care and concern by people who care for them. They are with you once again in different form only, but not different otherwise. Inculcate in them a feeling of belonging and security. Look beyond and see yonder are the fields of light! Traverse to the edge of these fields.

There you will see a spring of the purest water. As I walked at the bidding of Mother, I realised, I was walking alone in those fields. My strides became faster but I did not feel weary at all. As I reached the outskirts of this field of light, I found myself standing at the edge of a spring, from its midst rose the apparition of my mother dressed in a blushing bride's attire wearing shining jewellery and all. Wondering with amazement at this dazzling sight, I could see two cruel hands approaching my mother from behind and taking away her jewellery piece by piece.

My mother did not protest. She allowed unscrupulous people to take advantage of her and deprive her of whatever she had. Ultimately, she stood there denuded of the jewellery she had worn as a bride. But now she stood without her radiance. Close by a dwelling was coming up, a haven for its inmates. I could see my mother bidding me adieu and floating away from me on the waters of the spring, like a swan in a lake.

Later on I kept on wishing if I could revive within me the divine image of Ma Ragnya, the sight of those fields of light, that celestial spring, that vision of the apparition of my mother! No, I could not revive all that. My wish remains unfulfilled till this day. But that episode has left an indelible imprint on my thoughts, which time cannot erase!

Tribute: Remembering Prof. D.N. Madan - My Mentor

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

Sometimes on Sunday morning, I watch the programme 'Rangoli' on TV presented by the vivacious and eternally elegant actress Hema Malini. I like to watch this programme of songs and dances from old Hindi movies. Their lyrics have meaningful words and are set to music by vetern music composers like Naushad, Roshan, Shankar Jaikishen, C.Ramchandra and others. Lyricists and music composers together created haunting melodies then. I go on a sentimental journey down the memory lane while watching this programme, as most of the sequences were shot in picturesque valley of Kashmir, the abode of my forefathers and my birth place.

Some weeks ago, I was engrossed in watching the sensuous dance of Zeenat Aman, dancing to the words 'Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram' and to the tunes of music directors Laxmikant Pyarelal. The dance sequence was from Raj Kapoor's block-buster movie. These words made my mind travel back to the year 1956 when I was a student of Gandhi Memorial College, Srinagar. My mentor of English Literature at this college was late Prof. D.N.Madan. He took to teaching for the love of English language and literature. To pursue his love of this language, he gave up his father's lucrative hardware business. After acquiring Master's Degree in English from Lucknow University, he started to teach at G.M.College. One of the founding fathers of this college was his father late Pt. S.K.Madan.

Incidently, his younger brother Dr. T.N.Madan followed in the footsteps of his elder brother professionally. He obtained his Doctorate in Anthropology from Australia. On returning to India, he was a luminary professor at Delhi University till his retirement some years ago. As a student at S.P.College, Srinagar, he was the distinguished student of my cousin Prof. Som Nath Dhar. Together they edited the English section of the college magazine those days. Their relationship as teacher and taught was really ideal and worth emulating.

During the very first class, Prof. D.N.Madan gave us a lecture on Keat's poem 'Ode on a Grecian Urn'. My mentor's diction of English language was flawless and impeccable which almost mesmerised us. When he recited the lines "Heard melodies are sweet, Those unheard are sweeter", he gave a simple and laconic explanation that the former represent 'worldy pleasures' which are short-lived and the later signify 'happiness' which is everlasting. One is finite and the other infinite. While I was glued to the small screen, watching Zeenat Aman dancing, the words "Beauty is truth, truth beauty - that is all; Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know" reverberated in my mind, being synonymous with the words of lyricist Narendra Sharma:

"Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram

Satya Hi Shiva Hai,

Shiva Hi Sunder Hai".

It took me quite sometime to retrack from past to present. But the words of Keats side by side with words of the movie song echoed endlessly and simultaneously.

In his book 'How to know God', the internationally acclaimed author and celebrated spiritual thinker Dr. Deepak Chopra says, "God is the source of every impulse of love. Beauty and truth are both children of this God". This shows that intellectuals think alike. Be he a poet like Keats or an author like Chopra.

During one of the last lectures of English Poetry at the college, Prof. Madan took up the poem 'Solitary Reaper' by William Wordsworth. In his own inimitable style, he gave us a memorable biographical description of Wordsworth as a poet of nature and as a precocious child, who would roam about the countryside and talk to the trees, birds, rainbows and all the other aspects of nature, and the emotional parting of ways with his friend Coleridge.

In the words of Wordsworth "Poor Coleridge was in bad spirits and had grown too much in love with his own dejection". After taking a degree at Cambridge, followed by a brief stay in France, but due to the cruelty following the Revolution, Wordsworth was disillusioned and he returned to England to spend his life at the landscape of the Lake District. In 'Solitary Reaper', the poet says,

"The music in my heart I bore

Long after it was heard no more".

These words of the poet are significant for me, as for nearly half a century I have carried within my heart the sound of the sonorous voice of my mentor, even though, death has stilled that voice few years ago. Not only was his explanation of English Poetry absolute perfection, his teaching of English prose was par-excellence. It was his explanatory narration that created our interest in the historical biography of Queen Victoria authored by Lytton Strachey. I still remember his exhaustive character sketch of Prince Albert.

He was well read in Urdu and Kashmiri poetry too. Quite often he would recite a couplet or two from Ghalib who was his favourite Urdu poet, or from Kashmiri poets like Rasool Mir, Habba Khatoon or Mehjoor. He would thus make his explanation all the more lucid and down to earth. Thereby, we students adored him indeed. My friend and batchmate late Chamanlal Koul later known as Poet Chamanlal 'Chaman' turned out to be one of the most original and promising poets of Kashmiri language, mainly because of the encouragement he got from Prof. D.N.Madan and Prof. P.L.Handoo. Unfortunately all the three are no more today.

A connoisseur of the fine arts, Bakshi Ghulam Mohd., the dynamic Prime Minister of J&K state (1953-1963) felt that the youth were drifting away from Indian traditions and were drawn towards the western culture. In order to revive our culture and tradition and to wean away the youth from the western influence, he directed various social and cultural organisations to arrange a festival of dance, drama, music and sports all over the State. The mammoth festival held sometime in mid fifties was called 'Jashn-e-Kashmir'. Students of G.M.College took part in this festival. They staged a drama 'Dhak Ghar', an adaptation of Tagore's play and also a ballet. Prof. D.N.Madan along with his colleagues Professors P.L.Handoo, H.L.Misri, M.K.Ogra, O.N.Bhan, D.N.Kaw and others went out of their way to give the right direction, timely advice and assistance to the participants. The efforts of students and the staff of G.M.College were rewarded by acquiring a certificate of merit from the judges headed by the State's eminent poet and author Shri Dinanath Nadim. The contribution of Prof. Madan towards the success of the events was immense. It was during this period that I realised that my professor not only excelled in academics but was indeed versatile and had enviable knowledge of Kashmiri literature, culture and traditions.

After day's work when in the solitude of home, my weary eyelids fall on my eyes, I hear the cho of his resonant voice and I hum a tune in unison. Not

only in solitude, but even while I travel in Mumbai's jam-packed local trains, I see the vision of my 'Sir' who was one of the most immaculately dressed persons of Srinagar. He carried himself with dignity and commanded every one's respect particularly of his students. I was fortunate to be one of them.

The memory of the time I spent as my mentor's student is indeed very precious to me and the experience of his appearing in my dreams and occupying my thoughts, is celestial experience for me, more valuable than any worldly treasure. I shall guard the same jealously till I am with my mentor once again up there.

Tribute: Remembering Shri Jagan Nath Dhar

By Tribhuwan N. Bhan

In early forties, Europe in particular and the whole world in general was engulfed by the fearful flames of World War II. At that time a young ambitious man Jagan Nath Dhar, son of Pt. Raghunath Dhar of Vecharnag, Srinagar had just graduated from the Punjab University. That time his age was about twenty six years. He then joined J&K Police in administrative department. The dull and sedentary desk job at the office did not suit his temperament. He wanted to be active mentally and physically. It was with this over-vaulting ambition, he joined the Royal Indian Air Force sometime in 1942. He was commissioned and stationed at Kohat, now in Pakistan. At Kohat, he and Mr. Aspee Engineer developed an inexplicable rapport between themselves. Mr. Engineer was his guide, and friend. Aspee later on rose to the rank of Air Marshall. As a Flt. Lt. of the Royal Indian Air force, Mr. Dhar saw action during the second world war, but his heart belonged to Kashmir valley. He would miss his ancestral hometown Vecharnag. He would visit Kashmir during a sabbatical. Whenever he was in Kashmir, he would visit my home at Karan Nagar and spend sometime with my father Late Shri Gobindji Bhan who happened to be his cousin. Whenever he came in Airforce uniform, he looked more handsome and smarter than a war hero of a Hollywood movie. Many years later when I saw the movie 'Farewell to Arms' starring Rock Hudson, I thought of my uncle in his young days of early forties who was more impressive than Rock Hudson! Later on World War came to an end and India got independence in August 1947.

Officers of Royal Indian Air Force were given option by the government that they could continue in the Airforce or join the department of Civil Aviation of India. Mr. Dhar opted for the Civil Aviation. During his tenure in this department, he held many important and strategic assignments.

In October 1947, Kashmir valley was invaded by Pakistani tribals called Kabailis. They unleashed havoc wherever they set their foot. In Srinagar there was absolute chaos. Maharaja Hari Singh, was holding his annual Dassera Darbar on 24th October which turned out to bethe 'Last Darbar' as the Maharaja left Srinagar for Jammu at the midnight of 24th-25th October, never to return.He settled in Bombay where he expired in Feb./March, 1961. The entire valley plunged into darkness as the raiders had reached Mohra and damaged the power station, which supplied electricity to Kashmir valley. It was at that time Indian government came to the rescue of the people of Kashmir by sending troops to fight back the Pakistani raiders. Srinagar Aerodrome assumed a lot of importance at such a moment of crisis, as it was the only airport where Indian planes could land carrying soldiers and supplies. Mr. J.N.Dhar was designated by Government of India to supervise the operations at Srinagar Aerodrome. His first-hand knowledge of the surroundings of the Aerodrome was an added advantage to his functioning at such a crucial stage in the history of the country.

While he was posted at Srinagar Aerodrome, he managed to visit us at Karan Nagar. My father was very fond of his cousin. He held him in high esteem for being a self-made man.

That evening my father and Mr. Dhar kept on talking for a long time. He was describing to him the experiences he had during the war. As it was quite late in the evening, my father asked him to stay on for dinner. He agreed to do so. After dinner my old aunt Kakni asked him how he would go back to the Aerodrome where he was on duty. He replied, "I came by a car and I shall go back by the same car." She then said, "You had dinner. What about your driver? Did he have something to eat?" "But my dear Kakni, I do not have a driver", he said. "But you say you have come by car. Every car has a driver. How come you do not have a driver for your car? I am utterly confused", She said with surprise and confusion reflected from her visage. "I have been driving here myself", Mr. Dhar told her. "My God, while going back please be very careful. The roads are deserted. There are stray dogs around, who keep on barking all the night. Please drive slowly. I hope the lights of your car are working so that you can see the road clearly etc. etc. "Mr. Dhar kept on listening to her with rapt attention. Not even once during their conversation did he give her the feeling that he was not taking her advice seriously. Instead he gave her the impression that he was taking her advice seriously, and he made her feel that she was giving him valuable advice, which was good for him.

Out of love and affection my aunt had so much genuine concern for a young man. To a young man who had piloted planes during the World War II, driving a car would be a child’s play. But he accepted an elder’s advice with all the humility. That was the care and concern felt by elders for young people those days and the younger generation reciprocated by giving due respect to their elders.

Those days, the elders were considered the wise men and women of the society. Whether they had been to any school or college or not. Whatever they said was accepted as the gospel truth. Their advice was followed word by word-nay letter by letter.

Later on Mr. J.N.Dhar was posted in the Civil Aviation department at Delhi. In this department he held significant posts at Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Calcutta etc. etc. Due to the Kabaili raid on J and K state, numbers of Kashmiri youth were displaced, and faced a bleak future, but Mr. Dhar guided and helped them in every possible manner. Almost all of them reached the zenith of professional success in their respective careers. Some of them remember him till today with gratitude. Some often talk about him. Yet, some seem to have forgotten him and the timely assistance he rendered to them when they needed it the most.

For me I would greet him over the telephone on his birthday, he said, "You call me on my birthday. It makes me very happy. I wish you would call me more often.” I did call him lateron. But then I could not do so more often as he was too unwell to talk over the phone.

In Civil Aviation Department the young ambitious man from Vecharnag, an insignificant suburb of Srinagar, rose to hold the office of the Chief of the Operations, International Airports Authority of India. His rise was no cakewalk for him. He had to face opposition from various quarters. He had to struggle and strive to survive in the mess of political labyrinth. At one of the meetings of the Department of Civil Aviation, the minister chairing the meeting had remarked sarcastically, “ Oh, there is another Dhar! A Kashmiri Pandit is here too!!" The minister did not take very Kindly to Kashmiri Pandit community. God had showered on him many a benediction, due to which he stood out even in a crowd. His impeccable diction in English language was appreciated by all who heard him.

There were sad moments in his life. His greatest tragedy was when his only son Dr. Ajay Dhar succumbed to leukaemia at a very young age of 37, in Sept. 1995. This is another example of how powerless God is who watches from the side lines while destiny catches us by the sleeve and does not leave its hold till it sees that we suffer endlessly.

In the first week of May 1971, my family and I were taking a flight from Delhi to Srinagar. I met Mr. Dhar at Palam airport when we were about to board the plane. He came to me and hugged me, "So, you have finally made it." He said. Probably he was thinking of the days in 1960 when I, an N Sweet & Sour - T.N. Bhan unemployed person, stayed with him for over three months, looking for a job. I introduced him to my wife Krishna saying, “He is Jagannath Dhar!.” That was typical informal and crude Kashmiri manner of talking, not prefixing Mr. or Shri before his name.

Hearing me thus, he did not take any offence but took it sportingly and had a hearty laugh, at my coarse diction and said smilingly, “ Your style is sameas your father’s. Now go and identify your baggage. Bye, and have a nice time back home!” After that I met himfor the last time on January 29th,1977at my niece’s wedding at Delhi. Sunday 8th Oct. 2006 was a dark Sunday for all who knew Mr. JAGANNATH DHAR, affectionately called LALA SAHEB by his near and dear ones. On this day LALA SAHEB, was recalled by his Maker to the ultimate abode. This is the cycle of life. Everyone has to depart from this planet, but there are some who leave a void behind which no mortal can fill.

LALA SAHEB was one such person and I salute him for whatever he achieved in life, through discipline, dedication and dexterity, though he started from very humble beginnings.

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