Wednesday, July 23, 2008
pandit woman in Traditional Kashmiri Dress
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!"
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
at 8:41 AM
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