By Avtar Mota
After completcng his LLB, he was supposed to join Bar and establish himself as an Advocate ; But Contrary to that, he gave a surprise / shock to his family and conservative Kashmiri Pandit Society ( at that point of time) when he decided to opt music and singing as his career.During those days, it was something like a rebellious act for his middle class family.
I am informed by many elders that he not only composed tune for the song’Lehra Aey Kashmir ke Jhande” but also led a group of boys that sang this song when Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and Sheikh Mohd Abdullah addressed a huge gathering at Palladium cinema lal chowk Srinagar in November 1947 . This song was written by Maulana Masoodi a close associate of Sheikh Mohd Abdullah during those days.
He scored music for first full length kashmiri feature film MAENZRAAT. He scored music for Nadim sahib’s opera ‘ Bombur Ta Yemberzal’ that was widely appreciated and shown to Russian dignitaries Nikita Khruschev and Nikolai Bulganin.His tune for Nadim Sahib’s composition” Bomburo Bumburo Shaam Rang Bomburo “ became popular in the entire length and breadth of the country after it was used in a Bollywood movie.
He scored music for Ezra Mir’s 1953 film ..Lotus of Kashmir(Pamposh).It was produced by Ambalal J. Patel.
He was also commissioned by Muzaffar Ali as a music consultant cum Co composer for his
aborted high profile film ZOONI. The music of the international version was to be done by Oscar winner Japanese composer, Riyuchi Sakamoto, while music for all the songs in Kashmiri was to be scored by Mohan Lal Aima.
As head of music section Radio Kashmir Srinagar, he is responsible for creating innumerable popular songs based on kashmiri folk using only kashmiri instruments . As singer, his soulful Naat ‘Ya Nabi Gosh Fariyaadan Thaav’ or ‘ My Prophet , Listen My Prayers’ moistens eyes of every listener . This Naat immortalised him .
Though he could play any traditional kashmiri instrument with perfection, it was a real treat to see him playing the Traditional Nott (Matka) and Tumbhaknaari. He would dazzle his audience with a unique make, twist and turn of Pitch and tempo; a speciality that remains unsurpassed to this day.
He was a pillar of the Cultural rennaissance in kashmir that had started taking shape in early forties of the last century.
Generations of kashmiris shall remain indebted to him for what he contributed to kashmiri Music.And a generation of Singers and Musicians was taught and trained by him.
He was the first musician to experiment orchestrization of kashmiri traditional music instruments creating what came to be known as “SAAZINA” . Saazina had so many Rabaabs , Tumbakhnari, Sarangis, Matkaas( Nott) and Santoors to play popular folk tunes in one go on stage guided by the main Cobductor. Something like Zubin Mehta’s Orchestra.
In 2009, when I met Smt Raj Begum sahiba, just mention of Aima sahib’s name brought tears in her eyes. Wiping them , she told me:
“ Swargus munz assinuss jaai. Me chha sakh khaaer Aima sahibun” “ May he be happy in Swarga. I am Indebted to him for his help. “
And when I touched Aima sahib’s name , Gh Qadir langoo hugged me saying: “ Tche ma chhukh Aima sahibun rishtedaar. Teli Roz raata assi nishi” “ I believe you are related to Aima sahib. Stay for a night as my guest”
Alas! He stands forgotten in his dear Kashmir. No reward, No award and No recognition from any quarter.
Peace be to his Soul..
Autar Mota is a Blogger , Translator and writes in English , Urdu , Kashmiri and Hindi. His write-ups have appeared in many national magazines and journals.