Friday, October 1, 2010

Fakir Kashmir, 1904




Found the photograph in A lonely summer in Kashmir (1904) by Margaret Cotter Morison

'Is he still around?'
'Yes,' the teenage boy took he eyes off the road, one hand still on the steering, turned back and with a victorious smile added,'they tried to shoot even him. But he just swirled and the bullets passed right through his pheren. Not a single bullet touched his body. Yes, he is still around. Wandering.'
'Are you talking about the one that roamed in Ganderbal area?'
'No. There were more with that name?'
'It seems so.'

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On his one shoulder he always carried around a pot of burning coal. Whether summer or winter.  As he walked past, one could see the molten flesh of his bare back.

On a bridge one day, he stopped an angrez couple and much to their shock, announced that within an year they would have a baby boy. Married or not, whether they understood what he said or not, together or not. In an year, a boy was duly born.

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Anini sui, wavum sui, lajum sui panasui.
I brought the nettle, I sowed the nettle, and then the nettle stung me.

In explaining the origins of this Kashmiri proverb about "Ingratitude", James Hinton Knowles in his book 'A Dictionary of Kashmiri Proverbs and Sayings' (1885) tells the story of a Kashmiri fakir who grew soi on his palm.

In olden times there was a famous fakir in Kashmir, who punished himself in the following way. He uprooted a nettle, and fixing some mud upon the palm of his hand, planted the nettle therein. All the day and all the night for several years he held out his hand with the palm uppermost, and the nettle in it. The plant grew and was strong and by reason of this, thousands of Hindus used to visit the fakir, and give him alms. The fakir had a disciple, who eventually became very jealous of the honour which his master received ; and one day in a fit of anger, he hit the nettle, earth and all, out of his master's hand. The fakir then spoke the above saying concerning both the nettle and the disciple, whom he had brought up and nourished from his infancy. The sting-nettle is a plant sacred to Shiva, who is said to have first planted it. Hindus pluck the leaves, and throw them over the god's favourite symbol, the lingam.

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1 comment:

  1. In an article, Fida Hasnain gives the named of the fakir with coal pot as Majzoob Fakir and the year 1946.

    ReplyDelete

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