Wednesday, July 23, 2008

pandit woman in Traditional Kashmiri Dress

traditional dress of kashmiri pandit women

old lady in traditional Kashmiri pandit dress: Tarang, pheran,

kashmiri old lady in pheran and tarang28/10/2007

Jammu



I had gone to attend a dear cousin brother's wedding. On the night of his yajnopavit (sacred thread) ceremony someone mentioned that in a nearby hall, hosting guests of some other wedding, there is an old lady dressed in traditional Kashmiri pandit costume.



I went to that hall along with a cousin sister and took these photographs using her camera. It felt odd as I went there uninvited. People, mostly woman, were sitting in the hall forming their own mini groups. The old lady was sitting in a corner all dressed. I walked up to her, said 'namaskar' and gave her a hug - touching the feet of elders is not the protocol among pandits, at least not yet. I asked her if I could take some photos of her. For her age, the lady was surprisingly shape minded and cheerful. She was kind enough to let me take her photographs. No, in fact she was delighted.



I went back and showed the photographs around. Everyone was delighted. In the 90s this 'sighting' would have been nothing special, but in this millennium, it was almost a miracle. It got people taking about old days. I remember many times being told stories of grand old pandit ladies who, during kabali raid of 1947, asked their families to leave them behind on road as they didn't want to slow down their families while they were fleeing from murdering horde of Muslim tribal people and Pakistani soldiers.



In 90s, people remembered old ladies who had never been out of kashmir and then suddenly 'post-migration' found themselves in Jummu. Many of them, traveling in local buses - 'meta'dors' or 'muk'bus', would often ask the conductor to drop them off to their home, but on being asked, would give their address as some place in kashmir. The conductor, invariably some dugur boy, dugur kot not yet out of his teens, would yell, "Mata'yee," his voice getting drowned in film music blarring from a pair of speakers kept under the seat next to the door, "aa yammu hai!" Amused and laughing, to the rest of the passengers and to the rest of the world in general, he would ask, "Ku'dru aa gaye yara ay kashmiri!"



-0-



Panditani by Fred Bremner

The picture on left titled 'A Panditani [Hindu] Kashmir' was taken in 1900 by famous photographer Fred Bremner. Just like the lady in the photographs above, the woman in left photograph is wearing tarang (head dress), pheran (traditional kashmiri gown) and athoor/dejhoor(in the ears).



Read more about traditional Kashmir pandit dress at ikashmir



For more old photographs of Kashmir check this

25 comments:

  1. Perhaps your recent photograph of the elderly Pandit woman should be under your entries on Beauty... for beautiful she is.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Not only beautiful...she met me like a genuinely warm and loving person.

    I will label this post under beauty. Thanks for the comment!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm captivated by your site and how you have managed to select the simplest, most elegant, elements to show your passion for the place and people - I feel as though as I have been there.

    From a very distracted (and procrastinating) English blogger...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am yet to get a comment like that from my fellow Kashmiris. You just made my day!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This traditional dress and specially the Headgear would amuse me .....the color of the dress was always the same..and once upon a time (:-() all the lsdies were supposed to wear this dress... It would have been a rather tedious task putting up this dress on a daily basis..

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ah yes, that why "dress" is an important part of any talk about Women Liberation.
    But somehow, the looks of this dress always filled me with warmth.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Of Course this dress reminded of a lovingly and charming old lady..who would call you near just to offer a piece of sweet meal...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes...they always had those sweet sugar Naabad phol and Shirin tied up in a knot at the edge of their drapes. And then the old ladies would call out to children, tempt the kids with the promise of Naabad before planting a big wet kisses on their pink cheeks and giving out those sweets. And if you told them not to wet your cheeks or rumple your hair, you could still expect Shirin from the old ladies.

    ReplyDelete
  9. hey vinayak,

    Beautiful pic.Reminds me of my great grand mother whom we used to fondly address as "dyad".A nick name i guess for every kashmiri old lady in the house. :)
    Also I am just curiuos, is the headgear called as "tarang" or "taragei"?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sheetal,
    you are right that headgear is certainly called tarang or the taragei in Kashmir. And yes, dyed seems to have been used quite generically for old ladies of the house.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi! I'm amazed by your site to say the least. You have managed to put together the essence of Kashmir and more importantly Pandits through your efforts.Your passion to showcase all things Kashmiri and what makes us so unique is refreshing.
    I thank you for reintroducing me to our lost heritage.I've not had the previlege of growing up in Kashmir but I feel so connected to all the things I saw on your site.Great job and a BIG applause for your efforts. God bless or like we say in Koshur "Che lassun" !!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Priyanka,
    thanks for the appreciation and the blessing!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I had left a comment about houseboat??

    Let me know if you recieved it?

    Thanks,, Yaseen Tuman.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Good Job vinayak

    these photographs stoped this fast moving life for some time and moved me back into my childhood days.My grandmother and almost all the grandmoms of that time used to wear this dress.The Nabaad u described i really got back the taste in my mouth.

    thanks a lot for connecting back to the past

    ReplyDelete
  15. Bhawna,
    thank you for the wonderful comment!

    ReplyDelete
  16. She is so very beautiful...just like both my grandmas (although neither of them now wear the "Pheran"). Unfortunately majority of the Pandits listened to that Kashyap Bandhu and now wear Sarees. Pity, as I find the Pheran to be so beautiful (and suitable for the cold weather of Winter time). Not to mention that in a Pheran you can accomodate the "Oh so important" Kangri. I hope that Pandits revert back to our original way of dressing (along with keeping our kashmiri language alive). Remember, nowhere in hinduism does it say that one has to wear a Saree in order to be called a Hindu...That is NOT how close-minded Hinduism is!
    Great website btw:)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Poshaak is just a function of place, time, comfort, utility and society. Changes if any of them changes. In case of Kashmir almost all of them have changed. Still people are free to drape themselves in whatever they want. In winter I do sometimes put on my father's old pheren and it helps the he himself has got a new one from Kashmir:)

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Vinayak Razdan
    Please remember that Kashyap Bandhu went around professing that Pandit women MUST wear Sarees (as it is a "Hindu" dress). Now anyone, who has any remote knowledge of Hinduism, would have understood that Hinduism (Sanathan Dharm) is NOT that close-minded. Saree was an outfit, that HAPPENED TO BE worn by a large sector of Hindu women, and not because it was a "hindu" outfit. Like you mentioned correctly, people can choose to wear what they want....But that is NOT what Kashyap Bandhu did,as he touted himself to be a "spritual Hindu" leader of the Pandits(though i think he was political) and told Pandits (many of whom were "hindu" only in that they celebrated Hindu festivals), that Hinduism REQUIRED women to wear Sarees (for that matter, I'm surprised that he did not get rid of our beautiful Dejhor and Taranga" all together!). I believe that we Pandits have our own cultural identity and we should NOT have to give it up, in the name of Hinduism (which btw is again, not that narrow minded). If Kashyap Bandhu actually had any remote knowledge of Hinduism, he would have never gone around Kashmir telling Pandit women to give up Pheran and wear a Saree. In fact, how exactly is a Saree even remotely suitable for the Winter Cold, over a Pheran? I also find it curious that his very 1st agenda on his long list of "improvements" in Pandit community was "Pheran Trayiv" (give up the Pheran). Should his FIRST agenda not have been for education of women, remarriage for widows etc? He was a deeply misguided person, who has destroyed our Pandit identity in the name of a belief system (Hinduism) he barely understood. Let me end by saying that because I understand the crux of Hinduism, I can vehemently say that to be a Hindu, one does NOT have to give up one's cultural identity. And yes, I have deep regard for various Indian/Hindu cultures (South Indian, North-East Indian, Bengali etc), which most Pandits wouldn't even know anything about. Lastly, thanx for replying back:) God bless and great website btw

    ReplyDelete
  19. Dear Vinayak,

    Loved the incident you have related about matador/muk bus here.

    PR

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm a Kashmiri muslim & I'm just 19.
    I sincerely believe that Kashmir is incomplete without Kashmiri pandits.
    I strongly condemn the ppl responsible (Whoever they r)for ousting u. I've always believed & observed tht Kashmiri pandits are more Kashmiri than we are or we can ever be. Itz a pity that u r nat living with us. i've tears in my eyes after seing this pic. Plz come back to valley ! We need u !!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. For young Suhail : Dear u being only 19 means u were not even born when 90% of Pundits fled their homes. I left in Oct 1990 ( and was 19 then) and have never gone back, despite constant cajoling by my mates. your comments have made my day. Seems hope as they say, is always there. Many thanks. God bless you.

    Dear Vinayak : we had a grand old lady in our neighborhood who used to dress like this. And SHE was a beauty. She was lovingly called Zaper Ded by everybody. I remember every few weeks other old ladies of locality would gather at her home to assist her in preparing her head gear - Targa i believe it was called. An elaborate and complex job. And yes she always had something for us kids - Nabad/walnut/kishmish etc tucked somewhere in her Pharen. She would never disappoint you. Dinesh

    ReplyDelete
  22. What can I say! This is pure gold! Each and every article! I have yet to go through it all but wanted to say Thankyou for it all...The passion with which you have put it all together is just mind blowing...
    Thankyou once again...brought tears in my eyes and nostalgia too...As I write this, its snowing here in Chicago and reminds me of those winter days which feels like a fabled world now!

    ReplyDelete

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