Monday, October 28, 2013

Govind Joo went Karr'e

Govind Joo's house. 2008.
The family moved away in 1970s.

You don't know the story. Khabr'e Chaey Ne. He didn't convert.'

'Umm....Khabr'e Chaey Ne. You don't know the story. He did convert.'

I was supposed to take my Brahminical rites the next morning, and here I was, late at night, in a Pandit Community Hall in Jammu, listening to my Father and Uncles having an amusing discussion about an odd bit of family history. Did their Grand-Uncle Govind Joo Razdan or Goo'ndh Joo, as they called him, turn Christian or not?

An aunt who was married into the family in late 1970s chipped in. 'Well, it might be true. When the Razdan's of Chattabal sent marriage proposal for me, one of my old relatives did ask if it's not the same Karr'e family.' Karr'e being the pejorative term in Kashmiri for converts to Christianity.

The complete story I came across recently in 'Tyndale-Biscoe of Kashmir: An Autobiography' (1951):

"We were at our holiday hut at Nil Nag, in the month of August 1939, when two of our teachers, Govind Joo Razdan, a widower, Sham Lal and his wife, an old boy, Kashi Nath and his wife, asked me to baptize them. They had for years been vey keen on all kinds of social service, so I knew by their lives, as well by their words, that they were truly fit persons to be received into the Christain Church. On Sunday morning I took them to the lake and baptized them.
We, and they, of course were well aware that when they returned to Srinagar, they would have to suffer persecution from the Brahmins, and they did.
[...]
Not many days passed before we heard that the teachers whom I had baptize, were in danger from their fellow Brahmans.
Govind Razdan was the first to be attacked by hooligans while crossing one of the city bridges. Fortunately for him, one of the policemen near by was an old boy of our school and he rescued him from the angry crowd. A few days later Sham Lal was going from my house to his home in the city, after dark, when he was attacked and so badly hurt that he had to be taken to hospital. The man who was the cause of this attack was a Brahmin policeman. Then came Kashi Nath's turn. He was employed by a motor omnibus company and was taking a bus full of Brahmans to one of the most holy places in Kashmir named Tula Mula, where goddess is supposed to live in a tank. After landing his party at the holy spot, he was attacked by the worshippers, but fortunately there were Mohammedans at hand who came to his rescue and saved him."

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2 comments:

  1. Well its a small world. Gobind Joo Razdan was my grand father. Dont know if he was baptized, but he died a Hindu in 1962 in Udhampur. And rest assured his entire family is Hindu!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right. Govind Joo Razdan (who used to usually write his name as 'Raina') died in Udhampur. One of his son's lived there at the time. He had four sons and three daughters. Small world indeed.

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