Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Witches of Kashmir

"I know no country on earth where so many witches could be enlisted for Macbeth, if, instead of three, Shakespeare had wanted a hundred thousand."

Words of French naturalistVictor Jacquemont in another translated version of his originally in french, 'Letters from India'(1834). I have previously written at length about his letter [here] but after coming across a fresh caustic version of his judgement on un-beauty of Kashmiri women in 'The Asiatic journal and monthly miscellany, Volume 15' published in 1834 by East India Company [Google Book Link] and in 'Letters from India and Kashmir' (1870) by J. Duguid, I felt like borrowing an old insult and digging up his bones from the grave and then burying him again. And what better way than this...

A Pandit Woman by Pandit Vishwanath, 1920. [More about this first Pandit photographer here]
Found on ebay. Phtotographer unknown. My guess Fred Bremner from 1900.

'A Kashmiri nautch girl with a hookah' by Mortimer M. Menpes (1860-1938)[via: christies ]
[More Kashmir work by Mortimer Menpes here]
'Two Natch Girls' by William Carpenter [via: Victoria and Albert Museum].
More works of William Carpenter on Kashmir here
'A Beauty of the Valley' by G. Hadenfeldt, found in  'The Charm of Kashmir' (1920) by V.C. Scott O'connor.  [previously posted here]
Natch Girls, albumen print by Francis Frith from 1870s.

Dancing-girl of Cashmere, a wood engraving from the 1870s by Emile Bayard.
Above two are from the servers of columbia.edu, scavenged from an ebay listing dated 2001 and 2009 respectively. Someone over there must have gone through the same loop that I am going through now.
 [My detailed post on Kashmiri Natch Girls
from 'Our summer in the vale of Kashmir' (1915) by Frederick Ward Denys.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hanji’s Love Song

Photograph from A lonely summer in Kashmir (1904) by Margaret Cotter Morison.
[more photographs from the book here]
Hanji’s Love Song

You are my flower, and I would fain adore you
With love and golden gifts for all my days;
Burn scented oil in silver lamps before you,
Pour perfume on your feet with prayer and praise
For we are one – round me your graces fling
Their chains, my heart to you for aye I gave –
One in the perfect sense our poets sing,
“Gold and the bracelet, water and the wave.”

From ‘Afoot Through the Kashmir Valleys’ (1901) by Marion Doughty. [Photographs from the book here]

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gun Men


A product of Vincent Brooks Day & Son, Ltd., London from "Our visit to Hindostán, Kashmir, and Ladakh" (1879) by MRS J. C. MURRAY AYNSLEY. This was part of the book, but had nothing to do with Kashmir.


Indian and European Hunters with Guns and Trophies Outside Tents at Their Camp 1864 (Via: Smithsonian Photography Initiative) By  Samuel Bourne.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Zethan, north by northwest




Travellers in Kashmir (~1920) by Miss G. Hadenfeldt [more]
Sent in by my Uncle R.L Das.
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Zethan is an obscure village lying north by northwest on the outer fringes of Handwara tehsil. In the year 1998, I was promoted and transferred to Kashmir valley as provincial deputy drugs controller.Even though the militancy had ebbed down it had not been wiped out.Kashmiri pandits still felt insecure over there.I filed a civil miscellaneous petition against my posting,which was dismissed ab intio. I had but to join my new posting. Luckily, no mishap took place during my five years tenure.

During the winter of year 2000, our office received a stream of complaints against one Sarah of Dangiwachi and one Surinder Singh of village Zethan. The complaints indicated that both of them sold drugs without any drug licenses and they indulged in quackery. During the last twenty years, the people of Kashmir have developed a favorite pastime of filing frivolous complaints against one another. I would have taken these complaints lightly, but this time, action on complaints was endorsed by Dy. Chief Minister.

I proceeded towards Zethan with my inspectorate staff taking a route via Sopore, then crossing the Baramulla –Handwara road. We reached a populous village known as Rafiabad. I had visited this village earlier in 1976 when it was still known as Dangiwacha (Kashmiri word for 'animal's calf'). At that time it was a sleepy village with kuchha houses with thatched roofs. This time around these had been replaced by pucca houses with corrugated tin roofs.An expansive Higher secondary school had replaced the old primary school of 1976.

Upon inquiring about Sarah, we realized she was a rather well known in the area. We were directed towards another village a couple of miles up ahead, near a rather new and large military camp . Looking for Sarah
we were led to a big shop that stood out as it looked more or less like a government dispensary. Inside, a plump lady with handsome features was examining female patients, a stethoscope in hand, plugged to her ears. A bearded man, most probably her husband was dispensing medicines. So, the complaint
was right. Sarah was not only a quack but performed  D&C (douche and cleaning) as well.

We asked for her qualification. She said that she was an unemployed auxiliary nurse and that her husband was a plain matriculate. Procedure to be followed in such case was clear and well defined. The shop had to be shut. But as we were about to sieze the medicines and stethoscope, two army-men entered the shop and asked us to accompany them as some Colonel Sahib wanted to talk to us. We went to Colonel Sahib's
camp. After introductions he offered us cardamom flavored Kahwa. He got talking.

'Mr.Das, I am happy you people are doing a good job, preventing misuse of medicines and malpractices but at the same time you must be aware that Kashmir is also covered under AFSP act. This means that we have to see that peace is maintained in the area. I am responsible for effective maintainance of the act in this area.'

Then he got to the point.

'This lady, Sarah, is doing a good job of maintaining peace in the area by looking after sick people and she is doing it on a charitable basis.'

And then in a clear high tone, he ordered.

'I hope you understand, she should not be penalized'.

And that was that. Sarah seemed to be well connected in her territory. It is usually risky to take cudgels with army people especially when they have unbridled powers. So we moved on. There was one more complaint to be looked into.

From here, it was an uphill journey to Surinder Singh's shop. While on way, just as we started, it started snowing. The uphill journey took us to one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen. On the way we could see boulders of different shapes and sizes scattered over a vast area, right up-to the top, on the side of a hillock. Probably caused by a cloudburst, sometime long ago. Off  and on we could see forest huts with trellis and shingled roofs. The snow around their windowpanes reminded me of the scenes from the movie, Dr. Zivago.

We must have walked twenty kilometers uphill to reach our destination. Sardarji Surinder Singh’s pharmacy wasn't hard to locate. The complaint seemed frivolous as he had a very neat premises and his
records were update. He had a drug license also. All clear credentials.

A thought occurred to me, 'Why a city bred person had chosen this remote village near the border for his business?'. It was beyond my comprehension.

While conducting inspection, a curious crowd had gathered around the shop. I had a good look on them. I was surprised to see that most of the onlookers were fair complexioned and wore round frilled woolen
caps. Many of them had steel grey eyes and unlike Kashmiris did not wear Pherans, for they were draped in woolen blankets.

While on our way back, I asked the drugs inspector of the area, a local guy, a Kashmiri, as to who were those onlookers.

' Sir, your guess is as good as mine.' That's all he said

R.L DAS
JUNE 2011

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I couldn't help pointing out to my uncle that in the place high up in the mountains, in that thunderstruck place, in that pass peppered with boulders brought down by clouds and snow, everyone is an outsider.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Stares like Hangul


An old photograph of Kashmir Stag (Cervus elaphus hang- lu). [Came across it at ebay] 
The Kashmiri phrase goes - hangula hyu chu wuchaan

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

KP, KM, 1928

























A Kashmiri Pandit (L) and a Kashmiri Muslim (R) in 1928. Captured by Martin Hurlimann.
Came across these two photographs at ebay. The photographer, unidentified.

Parbat, 1962

Came across it at ebay, going unidentified.

Some wildlife from Jammu Division

[There photographs (and captions) were sent in by Man Mohan Munshi Ji. he tells me that back in his days he was quite a hunter but has now turned a conservationist.]
Chitals on a river bed during dry season
Giant Lizards at higher reaches of Basoli- Bhadarwah track

Himalayan Black Bear, Wardan Valley, Kishtwar
Peacock perched on a Mauruti 800 at outskirts of Jammu
Resus monkeys perched  in a three tire position on a Deodar Tree
Russel's Viper in my backyard
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

vyug


Gaadi ka nambar tharee wan zerow
Asi aaw heerow jaay traavtov

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Killer Weekend Joke

This weekend, a cousin of mine told me a touching little tale about 'going back'. Recently, a friend of his went back to Kashmir, his first return trip after the great final trip out. June for Pandits has come to be the month of return, as a goddess at Tullamulla awaits. In a couple of years, if thing go great, it will be the month of our Hajj. On return, we too will tell great of our Hajj. But this is that story.

 On this Hajj to Kashmir, my cousin's friend, henceforth to be called KP for the lack of writer's imagination, took the time out to meet two of his childhood friends, let's call them, since the tone is already set, KM1 and KM2. Incredible things followed, naturally, nothing melodramatic, after all we are talking about three men. What followed was a meeting-up of three long lost friends after years of decades. Of course, they had stayed in touch, but now they were all united on the same old turf. They reminisced about old places of their childhood, one of the KMs took out his car and out they went visiting those places. Places deep inside the down-town. KP was happy, if nostalgia is a happy feeling. They roared the town late into the night. Certainly things had improved, he thought and was glad to be with his friends. The jokes and the tales kept coming. Someone always came close to dying in some of those jokes and stories. Somehow, those jokes are the best.

After all the places were exhausted, and while there were sill some anecdotes to be shared by the KMs, they headed back to the hotel where KP was staying. On the way back, on a wide open road tinted yellow by sleepy street lights, the car stopped to pick an extra passenger, KM3 who seemed to be looking for a lift. KMs obviously knew him. Greetings were exchanged among the KMs. KM2 sitting next to the driver, turned back to unlock the lock and open the door. As KM3 bend his back and ducked his neck into the car, KP, who was sitting at the back, appearing to make space, even though there was no real need, moved a little towards the door next to him. In form of a greeting, he shot a nervous smile at the new entrant.

As the car started, KM2 with a wide grin asked KP, 'Batta, zanaan chukha Yemis (Pandit, do you know this guy?)'. KP recalled the faces of his other childhood friends, he thought he remembered, Farhan, Yaseen, Kasif...it was pointless. He couldn't tell, they all looked so young. But before he could replay, even as he was shaking his head sideways, KM2 replied, 'Ye gov Bitte Karantay (This is Bitta Karantay)', and he gave a laugh that was picked up by KM1. What followed is pointless. Here my cousin, who is usually great with words, had some trouble trying to express what his friend must have felt sitting in that car next to the famous butcher of Kashmiri Pandits. To put a logical end to the story, as we laughed, my cousin went on to say that in his defense, Bitta Karantay did say to his friend that he only killed four Kashmiri Pandits back then, rest of it is all fabricated lies. He now makes an honest living working as a recovery agent for some establishment into money making business. The pointlessness of it all.

KP had been asked the wrong question in the wrong kind of situation and perhaps and by the wrong people. And now he was in the wrong kind of  'going back to Kashmir' story. Isn't that is a killer joke in which no one dies?

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

An Orchard in Kashmir

(This family history is contributed by my Mamaji, Roshan Lal Das, who previously sent me the story of his ancestral house at a place in Srinager called Kral Khod [Here]. This time around, he sent me the story of a tract of land in his ancestral village. It was a new and interesting story for me.)

My great grandmother, who for most of her life was known simply as 'Haer' (like the bird ‘finch’) belonged to village Harmain in Shopian collectorate. We had inherited a large tract of land from her maternal side.

I had never been to this village till I grew well out of my teens. There was no road connectivity even up to 1973. One had to go to Shopian by bus, and then take another bus up to town Imam Sahib on the route to Kulgam. After getting down at Imam Sahib one had to travel across meadows, brooks, plateaus and unpaved paths on foot to reach Harmain, a distance of nearly 7 kilometers.

In 1967, a distant cousin from Harmain visited us at our Kralhod house in Srinagar. He insisted that I should accompany him and visit our ancestral village. Those days I had no particular liking for villages. But he insisted. Reluctantly, I accompanied him. He took a different route to the village: we took a bus to Anantnag and from there another bus to Kulgam, we got off at village called Qadiyar, a large village on the way to Kulgam town. It was late afternoon, trudging along western direction we were on our way to Harmain. Before my eyes was an endless expanse of meadows and rice fields. As the sun was beginning to set behind the vast western mountains, unexpectedly, I had a sudden surge to hum a Harry Belfonte song:

Down at the way where nights are gay
And sun shines daily on mountain top

The sun was playing hide and seek with bits of clouds. Herds of cows, with bells tingling around their neck, were being driven home, raising a lot of dust (‘gow dhuli’ in Hindi). By the time we reached my host’s home, it was already dark. In all we must have walked nearly 10 Kilometers. I had never walked so much in my life and I was dog tired. I was offered a trough of hot water, the generosity of this act was lost on me as I had no clue what I was supposed to do with it. Then I was told that it would rid me of tiredness. One of the younger sons of my host got down on his knees and washed my feet with this hot water. I started feeling relaxed. It worked. Later, a rolled quilt was put behind my weary back and we got ready for dinner. Food was a simple affair and unlike city food, less oily and less spicy. The rice was an unpolished brown variety known commonly as ‘zag’. After having a hearty meal, I slept like a log.

Next day my host took me around chunks of our ancestral paddy lands.

These packets were scattered around all over the outer fringes of the village. I was also introduced to our sharecroppers. They seemed to be comparatively poorer but contentment was visible on their faces. One of the obvious reasons for this contentment was land settlement established by Sir Walter Lawrence; another reason was the ensuing J&K agrarian reforms act.

Before 1890, the revenue department followed an archaic system created by Todarmal, the revenue advisor of Empror Akbar. Under this system the sharecroppers were not hereditary. Anyone who tilled the land would get his name endorsed in the records. He had to pay taxes as well, and these could be in cash or in the form of crops. Lawrence changed all this and the peasants had a bit of relief. In gratitude, they named a village in Doru Shahbad Pargana as ‘Larnow’ after their savior.

Nineteen Seventies were the days of decaying feudal system. The crops were shared by the absentee landlords and the tillers on equal basis.

Out of curiosity, I entered the house of one Ama Chopan (‘Chopan’ in Kashmiri means a Shepherd) who was one of the tillers. The house was neat with mud plastered walls, trellis and thatched roofs. There was an outhouse which served as cowshed (‘Gaan’ in local lingo),with an attic which served as store place for fodders. I found that almost every villager had a cow to meet day to day diary needs. Ama Chopan invited me to tea in his outer kitchen area. Unlike city Muslims, the village women hardly observe any ‘Parda’. The women here freely mingled with guests. I was offered salted tea with powdered maize (‘Sutoo’).The salted tea had been prepared in an alloy ‘Somavar’. The village folks back then prepared most of their foodstuff in clay pots kept over mud-stoves running on dried cow-dung cakes as source of energy. (The village folks too have now moved to gas stoves)

Next day, I was shown around our ancestral orchard. The orchard was located on a picturesque plateau which was called as ‘Kral Wudar’ which in literal meaning stood for: the plateau belonging to the people living in ‘Kral Khod’ (our native locality in Srinagar city).

The plateau presented a breathtaking view of surrounding mountains which held the lake of ‘kosarnag, which I knew as the source of famous waterfall of ‘Ahrabal’. A small stream flowed down below from this plateau. At the foot of the plateau, this stream took a sharp downward bend near my host’s house, who had ingeniously installed a stone grinder (‘Grat’) at the spot. The villages had not yet been electrified even as Srinagar had it electric wires way back in 1930s. People have always found ways of cutting efforts. This stone grinder would move on and on due to cascading water and the village folks would grind their maize or rice for flour. The husk was retained by the owner of the stone grinder as barter system still prevailed in villages till then.


Next day I left for home. My host accompanied me to another village Hajipur which was connected to Shopian town by a motorable road. Back then village people had a strange way of detecting whether the bus was approaching. They would put their ear to the road and listen-in on the sounds of an approaching bus. They were known to easily detect the approaching bus even if it was a mile away.


It had been a thoroughly pleasurable trip. I made it a habit to visit the orchard twice every year. These trips went on smoothly for next five years. But only five years.

In the year 1973, during one of my bi-annual trips to the village, while strolling in our orchid, among almond trees, I was surprised to see a few freshly planted saplings of cottonseed. I asked our chowkidar, a man known to me as ‘Ramana Chookidar’, about these saplings and if he knew who had planted them. He certainly knew and was willing to answer but said that since he was a native of that village, he should not be named, lest his family be socially boycotted by his neighbors (a phenomena known as ‘Tarki Mowaalaat’ or ‘No Promotion through No Contact’). He claimed that the saplings have been planted by the villagers who had some ulterior motive. I went to village Patwari and asked him for a copy of ‘Intikhaab’ or Mutations. He said that we people had been sleeping over years as the records available with him showed that that the villagers were share-croppers since ages and were planting dry crops such as maize, peas and cottonseeds in our orchard. I told him it is a plain lie and that there were interpolations in the records. He said that all his predecessors could not be lying.

Something snapped inside me. Only then I realized the reason of contentment on those faces of villagers.

The state Government had thought of making the tillers rich by enacting J&K agrarian reforms act. Under this act, tillers had to pay a token amount in the form of a levy. This token amount back then came around to rate of Rs.250 for fallow Land (Banjare Qadeem), Rs.300 for ‘B’ class paddy land and Rs. 350 for ‘A’ class paddy land. In this law there was no mention of dry lands or the pastoral land. With a single stroke of pen, the J&K government achieved what the Russian, Chinese and bunch of other countries took years of revolutions to achieve, and even in these counties the land was accrued to state not directly to the tillers.

I went back to city and informed about the situation to my cousins and uncle who too were the part owners of that Orchid. They too were flabbergasted. Next week we all went back to Harmain and talked to the sharecroppers. We tried to reason with them but having been tutored by one ‘Pala’(a shepherd class by ancestry) they refused and brashly demanded half of the land. We talked to the village Patwari and asked as to how the records could be falsified. He said that it was not him but all his predecessors who had entered mutations of sharecropping and even the records in archives were reflecting the same.

We went down to the police station of Shopian.The SHO was a little bit hesitant after he listened to our pleas. He said that all the matters regarding land had become a holy cow after the government pushed for J&K agrarian reforms bill. We had to pay him a heavy bribe to (effectually) lend us half a dozen cops who could accompany us back to the village. As soon as we entered on our Orchard the village folks along with their families tried to overwhelm the us by their sheer number. The policemen took to their heels.

In Indian subcontinent there is an unwritten law that if your land or house is under occupation of someone else and if you are not able to evacuate him you are liable to lose ownership rights by and by. Desperate, hopeless, we pitched a tent in the middle of the Orchard. Next day, not to be outdone, the ‘tillers’ pitched their own tent in the Orchard. We fought a pitched tent battle. But here too we were doomed.

We being cityfolks had to face a lot of difficulties as we were used to tap-water at home and we were certainly not used to attend call of nature in the open fields. On rainy days we would collect the rainwater dripping down the tent. We realized we couldn’t hope to win the battle this way so in the meanwhile; we filed a petition before the district collector who held his court in comparatively distant Anantnag. The lawyer from tiller side pleaded that we were the exploiter Zamindars since generation and the tillers were a exploited lot since generations. The collector however was not impressed. On hearing the details, he too seemed to be a bit confused. He too concluded Agarian Reforms Act had not mentioned anything about such type of disputes. However, he gave a decision that all the almond produce generated from the trees should be kept in the custody of the owners of the trees till the final decision on the case could be arrived at. To implement the decision, a low functionary of the revenue department (whose palms had to be greased by us) was deputed along with us to the village.

As soon as we reached the orchard and started shaking the crops from the trees, the whole population of the village descended down on the orchard and forcibly removed the crop from our hands. We were stifled by their sheer numbers. In the presence of that government revenue man, the whole crop was forcibly snatched from us.

We again appealed to the district collector. He directed the local police to seize the crop wherever it was. Police claimed inability to lay hands on the crop.

I went back home and had a deep introspection. It dawned upon me that the days of feudal ownership of land were over and a neo-feudalism had taken over. There was little we could do about it. I did nothing about the orchard for next couple of years.

Then one day I had heard a big landlord named Lal Shah who lived at village Hajipur near our village. This landlord had not allowed his tillers to grab any of his land. He along with his six sons had simply used their muscle power to keep his holdings intact. Lal Shah was now eying other lands. A thought occurred to me. I asked my distant relative of Harmain to fix a meeting with him which he did. I was quite impressed meeting him. He had the kind of personality that would remind one of a tribal chief. He had handlebar moustache, mascaraed eyes and presented himself in a red colored velvet waistcoat.

We discussed my situation. He seemed to know everything about our Orchard. I offered him our portion of the Orchard for a price which was much lower than the market rates. He did not agree and insisted that he was interested only if he could get the whole the whole piece in one go.

I went back to city and talked to my uncle and cousin. My uncle agreed but my cousin thought of it as a mad scheme. Instead of following my way of action, my cousin came up with a plan of his own, he went to the villagers and offered them one third of his portion of the land. This plan wasn’t acceptable to me, I yearned to pay the villagers back in the same coin and in a way I also wanted to transfer my headache permanently on their shoulders. Finally I along with my uncle inked a deal with Lal Shah, the real Zamidar. Though the price was much lower than the actual price of the land, the money thus obtained from this ‘distress sale’ (a term that was to haunt Pandits again in a couple of decades) later helped with my younger sister’s marriage.

Due to much changed circumstances in Kashmir, my cousin’s corner of that Orchid is still lying in dispute even as thirty years have passed us by.

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Even though the woman who gets married in the end would be my mother, I had to remind my Uncle that according to Marx it was a simple case of +1 and -1. I said it even as Orwell's Animal Farm came to my mind. What if both men and animals end-up reading Orwell and both claim to have understood it, in entirety, and claim it to be their own gospel? Isn't that more likely to happen in this world? Isn't that what happens? Anyway, I post this story even as I have already dis-owned some of the under-currents that a nuanced reader of literature might pick in this piece. But I believe this ought to be out there, just as counter-stories ought to be out here. I remain open to a counter stories. Especially now.


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Image: Kashmiri Pandit women working the fields, 1890. Came across it on the cover of a popular community magazine of Kashmiri PanditsKoshur Samachar (not surprisingly uncredited in the issue dated December, 2010). 


Update:


From British Library. Dated 1895. Photographer Unknown.

Constructing the Memory of a Room by Gargi Raina

In the book-shack of a resto-bar came across brochure (dated 2007) for an art show by Gargi Raina titled 'Constructing the Memory of a Room'. The name and the way it is presented says it all.





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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Prayers at Hazratbal

Came across this incredible image in a book called 'Bonfire of Kashmiriyat: Deconstructing the accession' (2006) by Sandeep Bamzai ( It's a nifty book to check out if you are into getting the initial timeline, dates, events right). My first thoughts were Henri Cartier Bresson and the people looking at the hair. But the book doesn't credit any photographer and just explains it as 'A huge crowd listens to Shiekh Abdullah'.
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The famous Cartier Bresson:


do the pahada





At Shalimar, 2008
It came back to me a couple of years ago while watching a sequence from Mohsen Makhmalbaf's Iranian film 'Gabbeh' (1996). The poetic sequence involved an elderly teacher singing a lesson to his young pupils [video link]. I remembered the way my grandmother sang table of two to me when I was a kid. It's rustic nature never failed to delight me. In many futile attempts I tried to capture it. Could manage only a few delightful multiplications. I asked my grandmother but she too recalled it only in parts. Last night I again gave it another shot but instead ended up getting distracted by 'Do Ekam Do Do Duni Chaar' song from Dil Deke Dekho (1959) [video link]. But it also made me finally go for closure. This morning I called up my grandmother and over a long call, finally managed to compile the table. It was a fun exercise, which started after I failed to explain her my interest in something so trivial, in fact I am now somewhat in-famous in the family for my trivial interests,  nevertheless, ever the Dadi, she agreed to entertain me one more time with her table song. From the voice in the background, I knew this time she had help, her son and daughter were filling in the blanks (only that my father was adding his own mock ribald version into it,only adding to the confusing). At time she ran so fast with the flow that I had to stop her so that I could follow, and then she would again start from the beginning, with each stop and re-rendering the song kept changing. In any case, I think I now have an acceptable version. Little rhyme, no reason. First line is what could pass off as 'Hindustani' but the second line, the auxiliary for memory, is in Kashmiri. And it goes like this:

do e kaya do
Padow Ladkow


[2 1 za 2]
[Read my Boys]


do duna char
Batt'e Lejj Phayaar (Or Maj'e Dyutnay Mar)

[2 2 za 4]
[Stir the Rice Bowl (or Mother beat you)]

do tiya che
Vothu Batt'e Khe

[2 3 za 6]
[Get up and eat rice]

do chukay aath
Hyer par paath

[2 4 za 8]
[Read a bit louder (Read upstairs (?))]

do panjay dus
Hooyn Kheynay nas

[2 5 za 10]
[Dog ate your nose] (Laugh.Recall point.)

do che barah
Mol chui Praran

[2 6 za 12]
[Father is waiting]

do satay chowdhah
nikkan kori maedaan

[2 7 za 14]
[You kid just shit]

do ahthay solah
mol chui bolan

[2 8 za 16]
[Father is talking]

do navay athara
mol chui laran

[2 9 za 18]
[Father is giving a run]


do dahya bees
ungjan kad tees

[2 10 za 20]
[crack your knuckles]

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I thank my grandmother for teaching me how to spell धन्यवाद्.

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Kashmir Colors, 1908

Colors drawn by  H.R. Pirie for P. Pirie's 'Kashmir; the land of streams and solitudes' (1908).


On The River


Thursday, June 2, 2011

River Tawi (Surya Putri)

Sent in by Man Mohan Munshi Ji. He writes:

River Tawi ( referred in ancient literature as Surya Putri) originates near Kaplas Mountains and flows westward between Jug Dhar and Trisul Dhar in a westerly direction till Udhampur where it takes a southerly bend across the Sivalik range  and again resumes a westerly course passing along the Jammu City  till it joins Chenab River in Sialkot District in Pakistan.




Tawi River near its source at Basantgarh
At Jammu City

River Tawi near Jammu City with Bahu Bridge in the foreground and main Tawi bridge in the back ground
Mahatmaya temple  on the left bank of  Tawi opposite old Jammu City
Part of Old jammu city  from Baghe Bahu.
Note the "Golgarh"  old palace of the Dogra Rulers  on the extreme left
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