Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Kashmiri Film: Arnimaal (1977)


Extracts from television film "Arnimaal" by Siraj Qureshi shown in 1977 (1982 according to some sources). It was based on the popular folklore surrounding the poet Arnimal (Mrs. Bhawani Dass, circa 1738 - 1778). Story, Screenplay and dialogues by poet Prof. Sattar Ahmad Shahid (b.1931). The film was uploaded in parts by Dara Nazeer.

I have compiled them together sequentially as they should have been in the movie. Also, adjusted the video and audio quality a bit.



video link

The story goes that Arnimal was married to rich boy from Srinagar Bhawani Dass who was a good poet. Arnimal (played by Reeta Jalali) is also gifted at weaving words. There is much love between them. Bhawani Dass becomes a high officer in Afghan court and slowly starts drifting away from Arnimal and instead spending time with the courtesans. Out of her grief Arnimal becomes a great poet while Bhawani Dass has a reverse of fortune. Today no one remembers Persian poet Bhawani Das but Kashmiri poet Arnimal is still sung. The film gives a beautiful glimpse into the culture and way of life of Kashmiri Pandits. The Pooza scene and the wedding scene particularly stands out for freezing the memory of that fading culture. Another notable thing is a casual scene in which the recipe of Kashmiri Sheera (a kind of syrup...Arabic 'sharab') is given (Raisins + Melon seeds).

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Rituals of Food and Music

18th February

Muniwar, Srinagar

"Bandara" of late sufi poet Chan Rasool Mir

[text later]







Rashid Hafiz












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Friday, June 10, 2016

Abhinavagupta's cave, Beerwah, 1935


This is the account of the Bharava Cave, Beerwah, Magam Kashmir. It records the oral tradition of Kashmiris, not just pandits about the place with quoted testimony coming from a Muslim. From "Abhinavagupta: an Historical and Philosophical Study" by K C Pandey in 1935. This is much before anyone would have thought Pandits would have to one day furnish such proofs about their claims on a belief that was once commonly held by all Kashmiri. And note there is no green painted Sufi shrine there.




Previously in "Tarikh-i- Hasan" of Moulvi Ghulam Hasan Shah (1832-1898) we again read about Birwah Cave:

"Hasan says that adjacent to Qasbah Birwah, there is a cave extremely long, the end of which no one has seen. They say that there was an ascetic by the name of Anbud who entered this cave along with twelve of his pupils who were all reciters of the Vedas, but then he never came out. Inside the Cave there is a very deep well."

Interestingly, this also gives us the number of followers as twelve. 
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