Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

Breaking down Bijbehara

80, 65, 15, 8, 20, 10, 5, 5,9, 5, 4, 1, 2 ,3, 5, 7, 2, 10, 7, 8, 2, 2 , 3, 1, 12 , 40, 20.

Bijbehara. 1917.
From: 
'Cashmere: three weeks in a houseboat' (1920) by Ambrose Petrocokino
"At Bijbehara, immediately above which the Jhelam begins to narrow considerably, there is one of those, numerous and exquisitely picturesque-looking Kashmir bridges, resting on large square supports formed of logs of wood laid transversely, with trees growing out of  them and overshadowing the bridge itself. This town has 400 houses; and the following analysis, given by Captain Bates [in the 'Gazetteer of Kashmir (1870-72)'], of the inhabitants of these houses, affords a very fair idea of the occupations of a Kashmir town or large village : Mohammedan zemindars or proprietors, 80 houses ; Mohammedan shopkeepers, 65 ; Hindu shopkeepers, 15 ; Brahmans, 8 ; pundits, 20 ; goldsmiths, 10 ; bakers, 5 ; washermen, 5 ; cloth-weavers, 9 ; blacksmiths, 5 ; carpenters, 4 ; toy-makers, 1 ; surgeons (query phlebotomists), 2 ; physicians, 3; leather-workers, 5 ;milk-sellers, 7; cow-keepers, 2; fishermen, 10 ; fish- sellers, 7 ; butchers, 8 ; musicians, 2 ; carpet-makers, 2 ; blanket-makers, 3 ; Syud (descendant of the prophet), 1 ; Mullas (Mohammedan clergymen), 12 ; Pir Zadas (saints!), 40; Fakirs, 20. It wi11 thus be seen that about a fourth of the 400 houses are occupied by the so called ministers of religion ; and that the landed gentry are almost all Mohammedan, though the people of that religion complain of their diminished position under the present Hindu (Sikh) Raj in Kashmir. For these 400 houses there are 10 mosques, besides 8 smaller shrines, and several Hindu temples, yet the Kashmiris are far from being a religious people as compared with the races of India generally. Let us consider how an English village of 4000 or 6000 people would flourish if it were burdened in this way by a fourth of its population being ministers of religion, and in great part ruffians without family ties. 

It is a very rough and uncertain calculation which sets down the population of Kashmir at half a million. The whole population of the dominions of the Maharaja is said to be a million and a half, but that includes Jamu, which is much more populous than the valley. Captain Bates says that the estimate of the Maharaja's Government, founded on a partial census taken in 1869, gave only 475,000 ; but that is better than the population of the year 1835, when oppression, pestilence, and famine had reduced it so low as 200,000. It is, however, not for want of producing that the population is small ; for, according to the same authority, "it is said that every woman has, at an average, ten to fourteen children." I do not quite understand this kind of average ; but it seems to mean that, on an average, every woman has twelve children. That shows a prodigious fecundity, and is the more remarkable when we learn that the proportion of men to women is as three to one. This disproportion is produced by the infamous export of young girls to which I have already alluded ; and it is impossible that such a traffic could be carried on without the connivance of the Government, or, at least, of a very large number of the Government officials. Dr Elmslie's estimate of the population of Kashmir, including the surrounding countries and the inhabitants of the mountains, was 402,700 - of these 75,000 heing Hindus, 312,700 being Suni Mohammedans, and 15,000 Shias. His estimate of the population of Srinagar was 127,000; but the census of the Government in 1869, gave 135,000 for that city."

~ 'The Abode of Snow: Observations on a journey from Chinese Tibet to the Indian Caucasus, through the upper valleys of the Himalaya' by Andrew Wilson (1875) .
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Kashmir, 1903

From: 'Sport and travel in the Far East' (1910) by J. C. Grew.

Entrance to Sonamarg Gorge

The Great Flood of 1903 in Kashmir. A Kashmiri poet of that time named Hakim Habibullah went on to write a work titled 'Sylab Nama' based on this natural calamity.

Houseboats on Canal at Srinagar

The Kashmir Bag [of a Hunter]

Scene at Srinagar

Village Bandipur
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Electric Fish

Based on a folk 'medicine' story I heard a couple of years back from an uncle of my father.

The man was sick - sick unto death with an agony that would have him praying for death.  They laid him in a cot, he felt his senses leaving him. When he regained his senses again, he found himself floating in the air through the trees, through the green paddy fields and towards the black mountains. For a minute he rejoiced at the thought that he was dead and probably being driven to paradise. Up and down. Up and down. Like on a boat. He smiled. But just then a familiar terrible pain, like a needle pick into eyeballs, shot up through his belly and through his body, blasting his head to bits. His body again developed cracks and broke down. He knew he was alive and the thought peppered his pain with grief. He opened his eyes but just then the noon-time sun broke through the foliage and raptured his eyes. He closed his eyes. Frozen, unable to even wither in pain, he felt his irises turning to glass, cutting at his eyelids. Tears rolled down his cheeks but to him it felt like he was crying blood. He knew his days were numbered. But he was losing count. This maddening pain could not go on forever. He would die soon, it was certain. The thought consoled him and he again passed out on the cot, still tied to it with ropes and carried on shoulder of his two sons.

The sickness first came to him a few months ago one sudden afternoon. It arrived in the simple form of stomach ache. Then the fever arrived. Then the burning sensation. He slept over it. Next day he was fine, he went on with his daily business, worked, had Kehwa with extra milk in the afternoon as a precaution, thanked his gods and just felt fine.  But in the evening, once he reached home, a smell of rotting flesh filled his nostrils, engulfed him, he vomited violently till he felt like he would vomit out his intestines. Then he felt like someone had tied his bowels in a knot. He felt shivery and started sweating. It was at that moment that a pain took birth in his stomach and the countdown to his death began. His two young sons took him to all the Hakeems, Veds, priests, saints and peers but none in the city could cure this man's mystery illness. Then a man told them about a great Hakeem in a village who it was said could even breath life into the dead. The young men put him on a cot and carrying him over their shoulders, started their walk to the village of this miracle Hakeem.

'I can't help this man,' said the Hakeen while still listening to the ebbing pulse of a dying man who was expectantly hearing each word coming from the lips of this gentle old man of Shafa. 'I know the disease. I know the cure. But I can't administer it. What this man need can't be easily found. It is no use...instead...' 
On hearing this, the fire in his pits, that had momentarily subsided on the sight of an elderly angelic man with ice cool hand, again ignited and reclaimed his body, burning all his hopes and his body. A lightening struck somewhere. A thunder boomed in the sky. The man again passed out. A furious storm raged outside.

Hakeen Sahib, taking his hand off the man, continued instructing the two boys without loosing a single syllable, '...give him nothing to eat for next seven days. Only water. With sugar and rock salt. No, it won't cure him. But it will reduce the pain. When the time comes, it will make his death easier.' 

The boys shocked at this prophecy of death, forgot all about seeking a cure, disheartened, again picked up the cot on their shoulder and started to head back to the city. But it was now raining outside. So they put down the cot and waited for the bad weather to pass. 

It was evening when the man again came to senses, there was no pain, yet. Instead there was now only a slow burning sensation in his stomach. But he was in senses enough to recognize it was fire of hungry that now haunted him. He cursed himself, for even if he was close to death, he still felt the need to feed himself, to throw things into this unending pit. This pit of death. He called out to his sons. Not getting a response, driven by hunger, he willed himself up. At a distance near a river bank, he saw his two sons sitting down munching on something. He imagined it must be fish. His sons were eating fish while he lay here hungry, while he lay here dying. In his anger he could even smell roasted fish. In a weak feeble voice, infuriated, he again called out the names of his two sons and asked to be fed some food. The sons didn't even turn in response. Thinking that they must not have heard him, the man, a bit dejected, tired, his legs about to give up, turned back to his cot, mouthing curses for his two unworthy sons. Just then his eyes fell on a heavenly sight,  he saw on boulder next to his cot, a freshly roasted fish. Just lying there, waiting to be eaten. The sight of it filled his heart with shame and pride. As he began to dig into the fish like a mad man possessed, like a man hungry all his seven lives, he cried and praised his thoughtful sons, he blessed them and blessed them some more. And he blessed the fish which might well be his last meal and thanked the gods. When he finished eating, fear of impending pain put him into a deep sleep.

A week later, Hakeem Sahib walked from the village to the man's house in the city to witness the miracle. He came to see the man who defied malakul maut - angle of death. A man that he had openly proclaimed dead was walking again. Men were now questioning Hakeem's judgement. 

'Where did you find it?' was the first that Hakeem Sahib asked the two boys and the man who had been given up for dead only a week ago.

'Find what?' They all asked.

'There was only one cure for the disease that this man had. And that was a 'Trath-lej Gaad', a fish that's been thunderstruck.'

The sons were still at loss. But on hearing this everything became clear to the man who had been saved by a thunderstruck fish found on a roadside boulder. He began to laugh and told Hakeem Shahib the story of his Kismet. Kismet for having two dutiful sons and for finding the rarest of rare fish - a Trath-lej Gaad.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kashmiri Folktale: Junky and the Dead Crow

In response to my previous post about short diminutive old Kashmiri women, Man Mohan Munshi Ji recalled an old Kashmiri folktale/song told to him as a kid by his grandmother and mother.

The story goes like this: A crow and a Shod [marijuana addict] were friends and they planned a picnic, got some mutton and cooked it in a lej [Kashmiri pot] on the bank of a stream. Shoda asked the crow to keep watch till he returned after having a wash.The crow out of curiosity lifted the lid [anuit] of the lej but unfortunately fell inside the cooking pot with the lid closed on him. When the Shoda returned he thought that the crow has consumed the mutton and run away. But, when he lifted the lid he saw the dead crow floating along with mutton pieces in the gravy. He was grief-stricken at the loss of his friend and as a sign of mourning shaved off his beard. The stream learning the reason for Shoda's missing beard dried its water. A deer who came to take water dropped one of its antlers in sympathy. A tree under which the deer used to feed also dropped its branch. A calf also used to come to feed under the tree and after hearing the tragic death of the crow, dropped its tail. The cow after hearing the story from the calf, dried her udder. The milkman in sympathy for the crow cut his finger. His wife after hearing the tragic story, started crying and cut her arm. Then, a camel passed by and after hearing the complete story said, "Both Shoda as well as the crow got what they deserved. Rest of you are fools. What did you gain by doing silly things?"

Here are the Kashmiri lyrics and a translation.


Shoda legeji kaw gow

Crow fell in Shoda’s lej

Shodan dar kas

Shoda shaved his beard

Pokri poin chumrov

Stream dried its water

Hanglan haing trov

Deer dropped its horn

Bran Kuil lang trow

Tree dropped its branch

Vatsth harith lot trov

Calf dropped its tail

Gav maji bab gai kain

Cow dried its udder

Gure chat kis

Milkman cut his little finger

Gure Baie chat nar

Milkmaid cut her arm

Wontan dupnak toi chew fatir

Camel said you are all fools

Toi kiaze karew baif kufi

What did you do silly things?

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Cycle Number Plate, Srinagar, 1956-57

Shared by Amandeep S. Sawhney, one of the earliest readers of this blog. 

Number plate/token for a cycle . Year 1956-57.
Cycle tax for year 1967 - 68. Srinagar Municipality. 
Cycle Band: "Robin Hood"
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rickety Tales from Kashmir, 1926



'Mother and Child' by Charles Bartlett, 1916
For short diminutive women of my grandmother's generation. Most things in this world do have a clear reason. 

In school we all must have read about Vitamin D, its relation with sunlight and how lack of it causes Rickets  and Osteomalacia. What we not told in school books is how these simple associations were arrived at and how Kashmir, its socio-environmental conditions, played a vital part in human understanding of this biological association.  

In 1920s, a Superintendent of H.H. Maharajah of Yammu & Kashmir's Diamond Jubilee Zenana Hospital, obstetrician Kathleen Olga Vaughan noticed an interesting phenomena among Kashmiri women. She found that women of rich high-born families were more likely to develop weak bones as compared to poor women of boatmen tribe. Kathleen Vaughan was able to deduct a reason for this strange phenomena. She linked it to diet, place, season, to the presence of veil and to the lack of sunlight. 

These were some of her observations:


There is a marked seasonal incidence; the disease is worse in winter and early spring, during and after confinement to the house in the cold weather, and improves markedly during summer and autumn. A common history is that of confinement to the house at 8 or 9 years of age, marriage at 10 or 11, menstruation at 12 or 14, and close confinement in the husband's house until after the first child is born; in the most high-class families the women hardly leave the house till they die. The ordinary woman has more freedom, and when she has borne two or three children she goes out with other women.
[...]
Purdah, which means a curtain, is used of the system which ensures the seclusion of the woman from all men except her husband and her brothers. It varies in strictness, and is much less strict in Kashmir than in India. In Kashmir it really only affects the women of marriageable and child-bearing age. Among the better classes they are more or less confined to the house.
Girls of 9 are not allowed out alone, and if brought to hospital are often closely veiled. The Hindus, who in theory do not observe this custom, do so in practice. The young girls from 8 or 10 to 15 rarely go out until married, and then not till after the birth of one or two children. Marriage takes place before puberty in many cases, because in order to ensure early marriage the younger the bride the less are the fees to the priests. One of the greatest sins a father can commit is not to have married his daughter at puberty. After marriage she is confined to her husband's house, and her food and happiness depend entirely upon her mother-in-law, who often keeps her short of food, from an idea that she will have an easier confinement if the foetus is kept small by spare diet. It has been pointed out by other observers that much tuberculosis originates in these girls during the first year of married life owing to these miserable conditions.
[...]
The women wear but one garment and go out in the winter as little as possible. They live in the lowest rooms of the high wooden houses in the winter, so as to be on the same floor as the water supply and the fire.The ground floor is the warmest. The windows are sometimes less than half a yard square, and protected against thieves by being near the ceiling and closed by wooden lattice-work. All windows are so made, but on the upper floor are larger. In winter they are covered with oiled paper to keep out the cold. The minimum of available light is thus admitted, and some rooms, specially liked for warmth, have no window at all.
That the light supply is sufficient for health in all ordinary life  is proved by the rarity of rickets and the healthiness of the boat women and the country women working in the fields, but a degree of seclusion which would have little effect on the plains of India produces osteomalacia in Kashmir. A photographer who lived for many years in Kashmir said that he always gave twice the exposure he would in England to get a good result in Kashmir, which looks as if the actinic rays might be deficient. most of the oblique rays of the sun in mid-winter are cut off by the mountains encircling the valley.
[...]
Anaemia and debility characterize pregnancy, with vague pains in the ribs, back, and legs, increasing until walking is difficult or impossible at term.
[...]
Anaemia is always present, and unfortunately is admired, as a fair complexion is considered as a sign of being well bred.
[...]
Rickets is not common in Kashmir. The few cases I have seen were in female children who had lost their mothers in infancy, belonged to wealthy Kashmiri  families and had been kept indoors with the women, Usually even infants go out, and male infants are taken out by the men and boys to show to their friends when very young. A girl child is never made so much of.
[...]
The water of the river is considered sacred that it cannot be defiled. It can hardly be matter for surprise that everyone suffers from intestinal worms. Large round white ones are the commonest, and their leaving the body is often a sign of the impending death of a patient, as a house-surgeon with long Indian experience once pointed out to me.
[...]
There are three indigenous Kashmir cures for "trouble in the bones": (1) a special clay called baramulla earth; (2) pills made of fish liver; (3) rubbing with mustard oil and exposing to sunlight.
1. Baramulla earth is a greyish-white fire-clay used for making fireplaces in wooden boats, and for portable fire-pots on which to cook food. A lump of this earth taken from a patient with osteomalacia, who ate pieces of it, was analysed for me by the Clinical Research Association, which reported that it was a ferruginous clay containing high percentage of calcium phosphate (calcium phosphate 16.2 per cent., ferric oxide 11.8 per cent., hydrated aluminium silicate (in clay) 71.2 per cent., and undetermined residue 0.8 per cent.). Sulphates were present to a very small extent. The radio-activity of the sample was not more than is usually found in any natural earth; arsenic and similar metals were not detected.
2. The fish-liver pills were sold by a Panditani (Hindu woman) living at the city fish market. She makes them herself. The analogy with cod-liver oil is interesting.
3. The mustard oil and sunlight cure is chiefly used by the men for their rheumatic pains.
[...]
Sunlight alone can cure the disease, and cod-liver oil without sunshine is of very little use.
[...]
Many when pregnant are suckling one or two previous children. A man in Srinagar once said to me:"The reason I am so small is that when I was a baby my elder brother took all my mother's milk because he was a strong boy; and then my mother had another baby and gave her mild to him, so I got none" - a common history.

From 'Osteomalacia in Kashmir' by Kathleen Olga Vaughan, for British Medical Journal, 1926 March 6. Via: US National Library of Medicine. A more detailed study on the subject was later published by her titled 'The purdah system and its effect on motherhood : osteomalacia caused by absence of light in India'  by (Cambridge : W. Heffer, 1928).

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ladakh and Kashmir, 1908


33 photographs from 'An eastern voyage: A journal of the travels of Count Fritz Hochberg through the British empire in the East and Japan (1910) by Hochberg, Friedrich Maximilian, Graf von, (1868-1921) ,Volume: 1. Year 1908. With that the total number of photographs uploaded to this blog comes around to about 3000. And my hard-disk is still cluttered with hundreds more!

Ladakhi Woman and Chid, showing the sheepskin headgear.

Ladakhi woman at Leh

Canal between Floating Garden, Dal Lake, Srinagar 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Zaharbaad

"The horse had several ulcers on his legs, which having been healed by internal and external remedies, caused convulsions, and in that state he perished. I afterwards had other opportunities of curing similar ulcers with a simple remedy, according to my medium system, namely, by lamanaria saccharia (probably because it contains iodine), such ulcers being a kind of scrofula. This disease occurs very often in the Punjab, and the natives call it Zeherbadi (venomous swelling), as it ulcerates, and secretes a serous and corroding matter."

~ 'Thirty-five Years in the East: Adventures, Discoveries, Experiments, and Historical Sketches, Relating to the Punjab and Cashmere; in Connection with Medicine, Botany, Pharmacy, Etc.' (1852) by John Martin Honigberger

The frequency with which this word is used by Kashmiris, one could easily mistake it for a Kashmiri linguistic thing. And zaharbaad layuk thing is that Panjabis don't even use the word in situations in which Kashmiris deploy it.

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shruff

One of my favorite sounds
For "as aaye na Chakravan"
For we have been scattered
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Update December 2012: Learnt something new. In some place in U.P., some people actually call it Shoof. And is an important part of Brahmin marriage ritual.

Captured at a wedding.
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Juggernaut, Kashmiri Shawls, 1854

French love for Kashmiri Shawls is well known and well documented. While it seems obvious that these shawls must have been alluring for Indian too, but that business isn't as well documented. There is mention of Indian royals buying these Shawls, but following has to be the strangest patron of Kashmiri Shawls: Lord Jagannath of Puri.

"No.46 is a portrait of Juggernaut. I have taken this portrait as I saw him in the morning, while the Brahmins were making his toilet. He appeared to be well supplied with fine Cashmere shawls and valuable jewels, and the Brahmins were so arranging them as to display the beauties of his person to the best advantage. In the evening he is entirely disrobed, and his shawls and jewels, and also his hands and feet, which are made of gold, are carefully locked up in a strong box."

~ India and its inhabitants (1854) by Caleb Wright, Alexander Duff, John Statham and J. J. Weitbrecht.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

kral, 1920s

Buyer:Pundit:Seller:Muslim:Maker:Muslim
1920s

Came across this photograph in cookbook 'Kashmiri Cuisine Through The Ages' by Sarla Razdan. It's a fine book with lots of recipes explained in simple terms and steps, and on top of that the book is packaged in with many beautiful photographs of Kashmir, both new and old (albeit a bit too casually for my taste). But, do not be misled by the title. This book actually offers no clue about the history of Kashmiri Cuisine. There is however a nice little introductory essay by the author that will find resonance with '9AM Batta' generation. Thanks to my early school days in Srinagar, I could relate to it. And the book has me wondering: how come only Kashmiri Pandit women are writing books about Kashmiri Cuisine (one can find about a dozen listed in online stores) but not Kashmiri Muslim women. 

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Tok and Bricks. Jammu. 2012.
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Buy Kashmiri Cuisine Through The Ages from Flipkart.com
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Monday, July 9, 2012

The People of Kashmir in India, 1868

One of the response of British to the events of 1857 was to try and better categorize the people they ruled. They went around with their cameras and shot all kind of natives, all tribes, castes, races, religions, belonging to places all across the length and breadth of this land and put them in books and added neatly brief captions to these photographs describing in brief the 'must remember' of each native type. All this in hope that it would help them govern these people and more importantly the land better. One of the gigantic product of such an exercise was the eight volume series titled 'The People of India' published between 1868 and 1875. It's a pretty plain book, a book of colonial pen. But it is a picture book. And a picture book is always interesting. Interestingly, there are essentially two type of tribals captured in this famous colonial work: those natives that were still tied to their heathen faith, all looking, well, tribal, and those that had crossed over to Christ, looking like they have just had a fresh scrubbing and headed straight for their study desk. 

Anyway, from various volumes of 'The people of India : a series of photographic illustrations, with descriptive letterpress, of the races and tribes of Hindustan' (1868) by John William Kaye, Meadows Taylor,  J. Forbes Watson, here are photographs of some of the Kashmiris that one could come across in India back then.

Zahore Begum, Mahomedan, Allahabad.
[from Volume 2]
 "Zahore Begum is a Cashmere Mussulmani, and follows the profession of a courtezan. As may be supposed, her charecter is not very respectable. She belongs to the Soonee sect of Mussulmans.
She has a very fair complexion, black hair and eyes; she wears a black silk dress and yellow shawl; a diamond ring on her left thumb, cloth shoes, embroidered with gold and set with precious stones, and her silver anklets have small bells attached to them."

Pandit Aftab Rae. Hindoo Priest - Brahmin. Allyghur.
[from Volume 3]

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Rama Rau Battas from down South

Daughter: Santha Rama Rau spent most of her life defining and explaining India to the world. A citizen of the free world.

Mother: Dhanvanthi Handoo Rama Rau, founder and president of the Family Planning Association of India, fought for women's reproductive rights in India. First Kashmiri girl to marry outside the community. A citizen of free India. 
Grand-mother: A just about five feet tall imposing woman who lived in India but held on to the age-old beliefs of Pandit creed. A woman who worried about finding a suitable 'Pandit' boy for her tall grand daughter. A woman of old world pre-occupations, old world biases, and at times old world charm and wisdom. A citizen of imagined Kashmir. 

In 'Cooking of India', Santha Rama Rau had this to say about her mother's side of the family:

"In all of this, their fierce sense of origins, their strong feeling for the "Kashmiri Brahmin community," remained undiminished even though they were exiled in uncomprehending, if not hostile territory. So intense was this feeling that it never allowed them to realize that their food, like their manners, language, even in some cases their dress, had been strongly influenced by centuries of Muslim rule in Kashmir and later in Allahabad. Unlike most Brahmins they ate meat (though not beef); on the rare occasions when they served rice it was in the form of pulaus (imaginative variation of the Persian polo, or pilaf). They delighted in serving an iced sherbet like mixture of fruit juices, a drink they had adopted from the Moghul courts of North India."


To my collection of Kashmir travelogues, I add Santha Rama Rau's description of Kashmir visited in 1939 when she was sixteen. Santha Rama Rau's Home to India (1945):

The diary I kept of the summer Premila and Mother and I spent in Kashmir was entitled romantically. Journey into Limbo. The reason which suggested the title is obscure, but in retrospect it does not seem inappropriate, for it conveys the timelessness of that summer.On the route to Kashmir you can go by train only as far north as Rawalpindi. From there the hourney has to be made in one of the cars on hire at Rawalpindi station. The stockily built Mohammedan driver of our battered Fiat, with his gaudy turban, knew he was a "character". He warned us before he left the station that he was always sick on this trip, but if we would let him stop the car every forty minutes or so, things could be managed very neatly.
All the way up to Srinagar he used one hand for steering and the other for holding the door on. While Premila, with remarkable imperviousness, slept through the entire journey, the driver talked to me about the good done by the Congress Party for the peasants and small shopkeepers in this part of the country. He said too few people realized how far-reaching the influene of the Congress was in the princely States. Certainly there was a great deal of work still to be done, but while the Bristish protected the Maharajas the people were bound to remain oppressed. I was surprised at his fluent use of political phraseology as he discussed representative government needed in the States which the Congress wanted, and hoped to institute in time, when the power of the Princes could be broken. We of British India, he said, under-estimated the force of the people themselves in the States.
When I asked him why he wasn't afraid to talk to us so freely, he became excited. "Tell the officials if you want to! Tell the Maharaja himself! We will fight them and the British. Wait and see, we'll fight!"
I asked him what he would fight the British with - guns? machines? I reminded him that we had not been allowed to produce armaments in the country.
"Machinery!" he said, and tool his hand off the steering wheel to dismiss the industrial age with a flourish."If we have it, good. If not, still good."
"Then what will we fight with?"
He looked at me with scorn."What we really need is to exploit our unity. If every Indian were to spit once, we could drown the British!"

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

rashomon kashmir

What if everyone is telling the truth.
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Selling Smoke and Pipe Dreams, 1852

Thus, Cannabis Indica grows higher, stronger, and more luxuriantly in Cashmere than in the plains of India, and has been monopolized by the Cashmerean government. The churrus is prepared from it, and sold in India, where it is mixed with tomakoo (tobacco), and used for the purpose of producing intoxication, principally by the faqueers, who smoke it through the hooka. Besides the hemp-plant, two other valuable productions of the country, saffron (Crocus sat.) and the putchuk-root (Costis nigr. Cashm.) have been monopolized by the government. Notwithstanding this fact, and the proximity of the country, it is stated in the Bengal Dispensatory,p.692 [O'Shaughnessy. 1841],"Putchuk-root is brought from Lahore, where it is called koot, it is of unknown origin; it is chiefly exported to China, where it is used as incense,"
~ 'Thirty-five Years in the East: Adventures, Discoveries, Experiments, and Historical Sketches, Relating to the Punjab and Cashmere; in Connection with Medicine, Botany, Pharmacy, Etc.' (1852) by John Martin Honigberger, physician in the court of Ranjeet Singh at Lahore.

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Apropos a place called Mujgund,
and a good samaritan Charsi at Tsrar.
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