Monday, October 26, 2009

CHURCHES OF SRINAGAR CITY





































Kashmir history reveals visit of many important Christian missionaries or travelers .Some stayed for moths together and some made Kashmir as their permanent home. The missionaries opened schools and Hospitals and did excellent work amongst poor kashmiris.Who can deny the fact that these missionaries , assisted by Pandits brought modern Education to Kashmir ?. No kashmiri can ever forget the great work done by Tyandale Biscoe ( 1863-1949 ) for spread of Education in Kashmir . Presently Parvez Samuel Koul ( Principal Tyandle Biscoe school Srinagar ) is carrying forward this legacy . Similar good work is being done By Church for spread of quality education in Kashmir through Burn Hall school , Mallinson’s Girls School , Presentation Convent and St.. Joseph School Baramulla . Obviously these Christians built some of the beautiful Churches in Srinagar ( 3 )and Baramulla ( 1 ). St Luke Church in Dalgate ( Drogjan Locality presently closed and no Sunday Mass or Prayers are held ), All Saints Church Ram Munshi Bagh and Holy family catholic Church , Maulana Azad Road srinagar are three prominent churches of srinagar city .

Saint Luke’s Church lies in the South west slope of Shankara Charya hill near the Old TB Hospital . It was built in 1896AD under the supervision of two christians doctors Dr Earnest and Dr Arthur Nev . Both these doctors served poor and helpless kashmiris through their Hospital.One can approach it through the road either from Dalgate or from UNO office in Kashmir . The Church is mostly locked .
All saints church was also built in 1896 in Ram Munshi Bagh in the midst of majestic Chinars . Sizeable Christian population lived in this area in olden Days .This is a well maintained Church .The third Church known as Holy family Church is located in Maulana Azad Road just opposite Gee Enn Bakery House .This is also a well maintained Church of Kashmir . It is a pleasure to talk to Rev Chander Mani Khanna of All saints church .Pastor Leslie Richards is also known for his excellent social work In the valley especially amongst the poorest of the poor.Enjoy the views of these churches of srinagar city along with the poem SHAAM or EVENING of FAIZ translated ably by Agha Shahid Ali .


EveningThe trees are dark ruins of temples,
seeking excuses to tremble
since who knows when–their roofs are cracked,
their doors lost to ancient winds.
And the sky is a priest,
saffron marks on his forehead,
Ashes smeared on his body.
He sits by the temples,
worn to a shadow, not looking up.
Some terrible magician,
hidden behind curtains,
has hypnotized Time so this evening is a net
in which the twilight is caught.
Now darkness will never come–
and there will never be morning.
The sky waits for this spell to be broken,
for history to tear itself from this net,
for Silence to break its chains
so that a symphony of conch shells
may wake up to the statues
and a beautiful, dark goddess,
her anklets echoing, may unveil herself.
( Poem SHAAM translated by Agha shahid ali )

Friday, October 23, 2009

A POEM OF ZUBAIR RIZVI AND SOME EARLY AUTUMN VIEWS AROUND DAL LAKE IN KASHMIR



(Zindagi Tujh Se Mil kar zamaanaa huaa)

zindagi Tujh se mil kar zamaanaa huaa,
Aa tujhe Aaj ham maikade le chalein
Raat ke naam honthhon ke saagar likhein
Apani Aankhon me kuchh rat-jage le chalein
kyaa Haseen log hain
in kii Aaraa_ish-e-Khal-o-Khat ke liye
Apani ankhon ke ham Aaiine le chalein
Ajanabi chehare me dost banate nahin
rishte-Naaton kii chaandi barastii nahin
qurbatein sohabatein jin kii yaad Aayengi
Aise kuchh doston ke pate le chalein
Un kii Aankhon ne jalate sulagate hue
Manzaron ke sivaa kuchh bhi dekhaa nahin
phuul-o-Khushbu sabaa zam-zamein le chalein
zindagi Tujh se mil kar zamaanaa Huaa

(ZUBAIR RIZVI )









Zubair Rizvi ( Born 1935 at Amroha  ) is   finest amongst Modern Urdu Poets of the country. He served All India Radio for about  30 years . He also served at Radio Kashmir Srinagar for some years . He has also  served as secretary of Delhi Urdu Academy for about  two years.

Zubair Rizvi’s  prominent works include Lahar Lahar Nadiya Gahri (Collection of Poems), Hasht-e-Deewar, Musafat-e-shab, Purani Baat Hai, Dhoop Ka Saibaan, etc. He  also  edited the much-admired Urdu magazine, 'Zehn-e-Jadid'.He has tried his hand at all genres of urdu poetry. I quote a sample …



(Zindagi Tujh Se Mil kar zamaanaa huaa)

zindagi Tujh se mil kar zamaanaa huaa,
Aa tujhe Aaj ham maikade le chalein
Raat ke naam honthhon ke saagar likhein
Apani Aankhon me kuchh rat-jage le chalein
kyaa Haseen log hain
in kii Aaraa_ish-e-Khal-o-Khat ke liye
Apani ankhon ke ham Aaiine le chalein
Ajanabi chehare me dost banate nahin
rishte-Naaton kii chaandi barastii nahin
qurbatein sohabatein jin kii yaad Aayengi
Aise kuchh doston ke pate le chalein
Un kii Aankhon ne jalate sulagate hue
Manzaron ke sivaa kuchh bhi dekhaa nahin
phuul-o-Khushbu sabaa zam-zamein le chalein
zindagi Tujh se mil kar zamaanaa Huaa
(Zubair Rizvi)



life! An age passed by when we met last,
Come be my guest at the tavern tonight.
Let these lips celebrate the night with the goblet,
let our  eyes  carry  night’s awakening.
How beautiful  are the people  around ;
let us mirror affection through our eyes
And  see them comfortable .
Strangers do not make friends
Nor does the silvery bond of a relation take its birth.
Whose separation and company shall be remembered  ,
Let us carry addresses of  some such friends  .
Those eyes which saw nothing except
Blaze  and hell fires,
Let us carry  flowers , fragrance ,Morning breeze

and respite for them .

(Simple English rendering  by Autar  Mota )


PS
Zubair Rizvi ( Born 1935 at Amroha  ) is   finest amongst Modern Urdu Poets of the country.He served All India Radio for more than 30 years . He also served at Radio Kashmir Srinagar for some years . He also served as secretary of Delhi Urdu Academy for about  two years. His noted works include Lahar Lahar Nadiya Gahri (Collection of Poems), Hasht-e-Deewar, Musafat-e-shab, Purani Baat Hai, Dhoop Ka Saibaan, etc. He  also  edited the much-admired Urdu magazine, 'Zehn-e-Jadid'.He has tried his hand at all genres of urdu poetry .
( Autar Mota ) 
CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

ART OF PAPIER MACHE IN KASHMIR











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“I am here Dear. How nice to see you People out so early from the bank today

Said Sadiq Ali from Hassnabad Rainawari. We met him At Raina’s News agency near Poloview Srinagar . Raina News Agency was exactly near Mahhata’s Photoshop .Many residents of Srinagar used to go to this shop to buy English News papers . So did Sadiq Ali .He would subscribe to Times of India ( Bombay Edition ) .Sadiq Sahib always used a particular brand of Heavy perfume, which to our knowledge, no one used in Kashmir valley . That made us to sense his presence around. Sadiq Ali’s Father ( Jaffar Ali ) was a renowned Papier Mache artist of Kashmir . Some of us in the bank got attracted to his affable mannerism , Literary temper and in depth study of history and events that shaped the destiny of the subcontinent and more precisely Kashmir .Sadiq Sahib loved music , dressed well and read lot of books , magazines and Travalogues . He was an ace photographer . He had liberal outlook .He married a girl from south Africa .. He loved dogs . The notice board outside his Government accommodation in Gandhi Nagar Jammu still warns “ BEWARE OF DOGS ”. One fine morning Sadiq sahib was nominated as MLC. I know he deserved much more from powers that be . He was treated shabbily. He still does not have any grievance and malice.

Meri Zabaan Pe Shikwaa e Ahl e Sitam Nahin

Mujh Ko Jagaa Diyaa , Yehi Ahsaan Kam Nahin.

( Jigar Moradabaadi )

I happen to be privy to another facet of his personality .He literally fought to get a kashmiri Pandit boy from Rainawari appointed as a clerk in Legislative council . The boy had lost his mother to cancer. I also knew his younger brothers . Immediate younger one to Sadiq Ali ( I do not remember this name ) looked after the business .The youngest Manzoor was Jovial , affectionate and dashingly smart . The family had a white horse . Manzoor spoke fluent English and enjoyed horse rides.

It is only through this family that I got introduced to the art of Papier Mache. They ran their business under the name and style of JAFFER ALI ARTIST , Hassnabad Rainawari .

Kashmir Papier Mache is a traditional craft among Shiite Muslims of the valley. It was possibly introduced in Kashmir in 15th century by Artisans from Central Asia ( Samarkand ) .Pulp is made of paper soaked in water for about five weeks .This pulp is then made to dry in open sunshine . This dried paper is powdered and mixed with rice water so that it can easily coagulate . This mixture is then put in moulds .Papier mache objects are then released from these moulds once they get shaped ,and become dry.These objects are then given two rough coats of coloured paint . The objects are made smooth with pumice stones and again coated with Glue and fine tissue paper .a fine razor blade is then used to remove Bumps on the surface .Now joins a team of very skilled artist for finishing the objects. They again give a base coat with paint and the master artist beautifully sketches details on each object with a soft hair brush. Another artist colours the sketches with poster paints . This is followed by drying prior to which two coats of Varnish are also applied . Thereafter artists also add 22 Karat gold or silver outlines to the sketches . The object is again given a coat of Varnish to make it appear glossy. The inner surfaces are coated with black paint .The object is now ready with floral designs , Birds ,Maple leaves , animals almond eyed women , other motifs and Mughal period images .

. Objects made through this process represent beautiful Talcum Powder boxes , Jewelry boxes , Bangles , Table lamps , Decoration Material , Flower vases . Wall Hangings , Trays , Photo frames ,Bowls , Cups , Containers , Coasters , Letter Holders and pen boxes .

Papier Mache of Kashmir ( Having strong Persian flavor ) has good market in Europe , USA , Australia and some Asian countries . Lately the domestic market in INDIA is also expanding . Tourist coming to Kashmir necessarily shop for Talcum or jewelry boxes and bangles from Papier Mache shops .Enjoy views of some Papier Mache objects taken by me . As usual I need to spice the post with some poetry .

.

Mashvare ( Suggestions )

1 Pirii ( Old age )

Ye Aandhi Ye Tufaan ye tez Dhaare

Kadakate Tamaashe , Garajte Nazaare

Andheri Fazaa Saans Letaa Samandar

Na Humraah Mishaal Na Garduun Pe Taare

Musaafir Khadaa Reh Abhi Jee ko Maare

2 Shabaab ( Youth )

Usii Kaa Hai Saahil Usii Ke Kagaare

Talaatum Me Phuns kar Jo Do Haath Maare

Andheri Fazaa Saans Letaa Samandar

Yuun Hee sar Patakate Rahenge ye Dhaare

Kahaan Tak Chalegaa Kinaare Kinaare

( Kaifi Azmi )

( Fazaa means environment ,

Humraah means fellow traveler ,

Garduun means Sky ,

Talatum means Tumult or high Disturbance in sea

Mishaal or Mashaal means some source of light or visibility )

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

WATER CHESTNUTS OF KASHMIR







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Enjoy 5 views of water chestnuts ( GHOUR ) being sold in kashmir . Kashmiris enjoy them a lot . I have written a good story on this product possibly in my post on Wular Lake .These water chestnuts are procured from Dal , Manasbal and wular lakes . Presently we have another variety of chestnuts( Punjabi Ghour ) grown on Trees . They are being liberally consumed these days . You find them on footpaths being roasted on Charcoal. Sold at Rs200/= per Kg, this Autumn variety of chestnuts is sweet to taste . one view of this Autumn Chestnut variety has also been uploaded .
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Taaliey Peuth Balai Ti Yim GindBaashai

Chirvinai Dhol Tai YirVinay Naav .

Achhi Vaaleyan Hai Asihai Gaashiy

“Telei Kyazih Raavihey Kahan Gaav.”

Chhaalun Gav Nund reshi Sundh Chhalun

Gaalun Paarud Chapun Naar

Nafasuk Muss Hostaa Mudh Vaalun

“Chhalun Chhuy Mandinein Gatkaar”

(Ghulam Nabi Khayal)

The Devil on thy head and this childish behaviour .

Disaster hails and hell opens its gates for thee O Ignorant !.

O God give vision to those whom thee giveth eyes!

Should it be so , Men would not drift apart !

Patience is another name of Nunda Reshi of Kashmir

Patience is like melting mercury and consuming Fire .

O Ignorant control Thy elephant like desires ,

Patience is like embracing darkness at Noon.

( Translation a k mota )

Gh Nabi Khayal is a journalist and leading Kashmiri poet . His Book Gaashir Munaar won him Sahitya Academy award.

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

KASHMIR HOUSEBOATS











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One of the greatest attractions in Kashmir continues to be the House Boat. Moored in front of the fashionable boulevard in Dal lake or near the Ashai Bagh bridge in Nagin lake, these floating houses still lure the tourists . With well decorated Drawing rooms , Dining rooms , Carpet floored passage , luxurious bed rooms ( with attached bathrooms ), balcony providing breathtaking view of the serene water below and absorbing silence all around , you feel to be living in a different world altogether should you chose to stay in these exquisite floating houses in Kashmir .The Tariffs range from Rs1500 to Rs4000 per night stay per room inclusive of everything . The tariff variations are on account of pure law of demand and supply and essentially market driven. You may even pay Rs1000 during the lean season .

It is interesting to note that these floating houses have been categorized depending upon the degree of facilities and luxuries available inside .The department of tourism classifies them as A , B , C and D ( basic minimum facilities ). If you look carefully to the rows of these houseboats from Boulevard , you find that each house boat has a name . This name is displayed prominently on the balcony or at a conspicuous location on front side . Kashmir ki Kali , Maharaja , Manhattan , Yuvraaj, Water lily , Spring Tulip , Dandoo Palace , Shangloo Palace , Tunda Palace and Pink Queen are some names in my long list.

Once inside , one is thrilled to find carved walnut wood furniture , beautifully embroidered rugs , tastefully decorated pantry, Expensive sofa sets in the drawing room and carpet concealed floors. Broadband Internet or WiFi facility is also available in some of these House Boats . Every house boat has a kitchen either in a adjoining Doonga ( big Boat with roof ) or In sheds created on adjoining Land .Round the clock attendant service is also available . Every house boat has an attached Shikara for ferrying the guests across the lake ..

It is worthwhile to mention that Pandit Narayan Bhan( Popularly known as NavNaran ) built the first house houseboat for the Europeans in Kashmir . Pandit ji happened to be the father Swami Lakshman jooo , highly revered Shaiva scholar of Kashmir .I also vividly know in which particular house boat owned by “Butt’s Clermount House Boats ”did Pandit Ravi Shanker or John Galbraith or Rockefeller or Yehudi Menuhin stay while holidaying in Kashmir . So long so much .Some lines from a poem of Firaq Gorakhpuri for this post.

Yeh Nikkhaton ke Narm ravi ,Ye hawa ye Raat .

Yaad Aa Rahein Hain Ishq, ke toote Taaluqaat.

Ek Umr kat gayee hai Tere Intezaar me.

Aisey Bhi hain ki kat na saki Jin se Ek Raat.

( Firaq gorakhpuri )

These perfumed flowers , this evening breeze and

this soft arrival of the night .

O heart! why do thee recall,

those unfulfilled promises of love this moment .

This life of mine ,spent in waiting for thee ,love!

Now Listen “Many folks could not withstand

even a night’s separation in love” .

( Translation by A k Mota from original in urdu . )


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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

QAZIGUND OR ANDAA ,CHHAAY , PARANTHAA AND BATHROOM





QAZIGUND BAZAAR DECEMBER 1971….

( Photos.. Autar Mota .. New Bathrooms ..2009)

“Singh Ji Tussaan baayi ( 22) number Chaabi Haisaan. Povey Traeth , Gaddi Khat Khat Karsaan . Mein Kadseen Zudd, Ki Pataah Kithhey Pareshaan Karseen.”
( Sardar ji , Do you have 22 number Key . Hell with this vehicle . It sounds of some trouble .I would have carried on but you don’t know where it shall put you to some serious trouble.)

This is what our J&K State Road Transport Corporation Bus driver Kartar singh said to a fellow Truck driver who was also sipping tea in the Dingy Qazigund Hotel. Kartar singh wanted to set right some mechanical Problem in the Bus that was being driven by him without a proper Tool Box. Zudd is a typical kashmiri word . Those who live by Zudd know its usage . It implies doing things in a total casual way or attending to skeleton work only. It also , quite often, implies to live very ordinarily making no demands on any one .One could also say that Zudd means dong things without applying mind primarily to pass time.

KARTAR SINGH had brought ZUDD to a level where it involved safety and security of the persons he was carrying to JAMMU in his A Class Bus.

Once the Bus had departed from Tourist Reception Centre , Qazigund was the first halt . Inside the bus , one could see some passengers managing their Full Bladders by shifting postures on their seats . You could see ladies speaking to their Husbands or close family members :

“ Vaen Kotaa Kaal Laggie Qaezgund Taam . Haleinn Ha sa Kho’t vaen “

“ How far is qazigund Now? My full Bladder is now unable to withhold it “
“ Buss Buss Paantch Daah Minute ”

“ Just Five or ten Minutes more “
Sometimes a kashmiri Pandit women travelling in the bus would say to her husband:
"Talaa sa Kath Kurr.Tche Maarakhaa .Tche chhaai na Kath tagaan karien.Ya ma rookie vaen Tunneli appari.Voth sa Sardar ji ti chhu maaeji beni vol"

" Just talk to Sardar ji.You want me to die like this.Can't you speak? I believe Sardar Ji will stop across Banihaal Tunnel now. Get up .Sardar Ji understands .He is a family man"

And the husband would get up from his seat and go near the driver .Finding him focused on his driving, he would come back and look in a different direction after sitting back on his seat.No communication with his wife. She looked at him with anger for his failure on this front.
Sometimes if the driver noticed a passenger getting up from his seat , he would cry:
" Baitho Baitho QAZIGUND Aa gayaa"
" Sit down. Sit Down .We are about to reach QAZIGUND."
And Urdu Poet Firaq Gorakhpuri also could not wait more. He had also desired the end of miseries created by world war when he wrote:
"Sipaah e Roos hai Berlin se aur kitni door? .or How far is the Russian Army from Berlin now?"
Man turns impatient should he be made to carry a trouble .He wants to unburden himself at the first available opportunity.
So Qazigund was a place more connected with Unburdening or release than consuming Tea snacks.

This was QAZIGUND . Lined with row of rickety and shabby looking shops some of which were also owned by Sikhs hailing from village PALAPORA . Wearing Pherans ( Long Apparel worn by Kashmiris ) , they would come closer to Bus windows and cry :

“ ANDAA ..CHAAY .. PARANTHAA … BATHROOM ”
“BATH ROOM…BATH ROOM .. VALEEV MAHARAA .. VALAA BEHAN JI .. VALAA HAAZ ”
“ RAJMAAH .. CHAAWAL.. MURGAA .. BATHROOM ”

Some Muslim hotel owners also lined up closer to buses to market Bath rooms.

"WALLA SA JEJEER TAMOUK MAAZ , BATAAH, THOOL, CHAAI TA BATH ROOM"

"COME..HUKKA TOBACCO , MUTTON, RICE, EGGS,TEA AND BATH ROOM"
Buses would arrive around 10AM at QAZIGUND during winters. Many Kashmiris would be seen going for the Maaz Bataah or Mutton rice lunch straight and then relishing a puff or two from the busy Hukka or smoking cigarettes outside the Hotel.They also kept pricking their gum spaces with a toothpick held in one hand.
Kyaa sa vaen ? Ramban Taam praaerzeihuv " " What you had your lunch so early?you could have waited up to Ramban." " Kyaa pataa buthhi kitchh vuthh Assi ta kar vaatav" " Who knows the condition of the road ahead And when shall we reach Ramban?" There was a Punjabi shop a little away from the main market .The owner had a water tank in the backyard.you could get Poorie, channa, Pakoda at this shop.He would also send his boys near the Buses who would keep crying: "Aao Aao Garam Chaai, Poorrie, Chhola, pakoda, Rajmah ,Chaawal ,Paani Tunki, Haathh munh saaf karo, Bath room " " Come come ,Hot tea, Poorrie, Chhola,Pakoda, Mathi, Rajmah rice, water Tank,wash your face and hands,Bath room" When some passenger would say : " O yeh hotel door hai..Idhar se Gaadi nikal jaayegi." " Your hotel is far off.The bus may leave dropping us here only" The hotel boys would reply: "Driver naal gal ho gayi.Aap ko udhar se hi uthaayega. Chalo chalo Do kadam hai .Khula Bath room" " It has already been fixed with the driver.He will pick you up from that shop.Come Come just a few steps.Open Bath room"
For any Hotel, Bathroom was a USP... I
The drivers of Buses ferrying people to Jammu would be entertained free by Hotel owners . They would generally stop near the Hotels which offered them Free Breakfast . On this jammu Srinagar Highway , Darbar Move rush would continue till Schools in kashmir valley Closed for winter Break.
Buses of J&KSRTC held something like Monopoly on this Highway. You had A and B Class Buses that moved almost together and covered the hilly journey in 10-12 hours . No Tata Sumos , No Video coaches or No Taxis as these ply currently round the clock.

Public conveniences were known as Bath Rooms in Qazigund . Every shopkeeper marketed them. Once inside these dark and dingy wayside hotels , you were led to open fields from the back door . The world outside was a bath room . Kashmiri Pandits would straightaway go to a Sardar Ji's Hotel..

“ SARDAAR JI , BATH ROOM KIDHAR HAI ? “
“ sardaar Ji , Where is the bath room ? “
“ BAAHAR SAARA BATH ROOM HAI. YEH DUNIYA BHI TO BATH ROOM HI HAI ? JAHAAN MARZI HAI BAITH JAAO . PEETH PARTO AUR KARO . “
“ Outside the shop , everything is a bath room .Isn't this world also a bath room ? Don’t Look back. Unburden yourself “
Neither Humour nor satire was intended in the reply from the Hotel owner . Fed up with recurring questions from passengers who desired to know where Bath room was , The proprietor had no other argument to offer .That also put end to further questions.

Sometimes a Punjabi Passenger would tell the Hotel Owner :

" Sardaar Ji Gussa Kaade Waaste Kardhe ho ? Koyee Gul Nahin. Oney te Poochha si bath room Kithey hai , Tussi Peeche Duss dena si ta Gull Mukki "
" sardaar Ji Why do you get Angry ? He simply asked where is the Bath room and you should have told " On Back side of the hotel " And it would have been all over. "
" Me Jaanda Inna Noon . Aey kashmiri Pandat hegain. Chhada mootar karan Vaasde Ithey aandhe hain . Aey te safar vich Apni Roti naal Laandhe hain. Asaan Ki Khatnaa inaan Kol . Haan Kadhe koyee ekk adhaa Andaa Paraantha le leve to o vakhri gul hegi. "
" I know them . They are Pandits .They come to these shops only to urinate .They carry their home cooked food in this journey. What have we to earn from them? Yes sometimes some one among them buys our Egg Paraantha ."
Yes that was all a bath room . Except the Hotel , the world outside was a bathroom. You had the fresh air , greenery and natural beauty around this huge bathroom. It was all up to you .You had to Grab your share in it .Gender distinction was beyond the comprehension of these hotel owners .This applied to Muslim Hotels as well.
Tea prepared with Firewood , smoky in taste, served in shabby cups or poor quality glasses with PARANTHA smelling of raw edible oil was what you could order for . No biscuits . No cookies . No butter toasts . Coffee was unknown to them. Hardly any shop sold cold drinks though COCA COLA had arrived in India and at Ramban across the Banihaal Tunnel, you could get some local Brands like TANZA , FANTA , GOLD SPOT and BAANTA SODA BOTTLE .
After getting free from the Bath-Room Worry , Some passengers would pull out kangris held underneath their Pherans and make a request to the Hotel owner for Burning Charcoal to be put in their Kangris . During Winter season, many kashmiri passengers carried kangris to keep their bodies warm inside the bus.
It was followed by the usual GUPSHUP or Gossip and payment for something which was forced on you.
Albert Camus had rightly felt :
“Human beings suffer should they be denied freedom of Choice .”
And Camus was proved right by the Hotel owners of QAZIGUND.
Everything in Qazigund has changed now. About 90 kms from Srinagar city ,It is a Tehsil Head quarter now . The road has been widened . It has also been put on a Railway link presently. New shops with new owners demonstrate progress and affluence . The new hotel owners continue to be obsessed with BATHROOM which they keep marketing to the Travelers .You have so many shops selling dry Fruits and handicrafts , cricket Bats, Duplicate saffron , Kangris and fruits . The Sikh Hotels of the bygone era are nowhere to be seen . A few residual old Hotels owned by Sikh Community stand upgraded and present a new look. The Crockery and Plates look Better and Newer .

Sikhs continue to live in valley .Most of them stayed back and lived through the dark days of militancy even under very grave provocations like the Chithi Singh Pora killings.The community has moved to a better life with education and hard work. They have proved quite enterprising and Now many families have built good houses in New colonies in Srinagar city . The community has also produced some Good doctors , Engineers , Lawyers ,Bankers and Businessmen . So Many families own Trucks and other Commercial Vehicles and some of them have become successful transporters . Young Boys and Girls from this community are as competitive as children from any other community. The younger generation is opting for better professional education and that has brought about a sea change in their lives. They readily move for employment to any corner of the country or overseas . This mobility is sure to pay them rich dividends.
They speak fluent kashmiri , Pahari and typical Punjabi spoken in Multan and other frontier areas of Pakistan. Some trace their origin to Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Army. Some are kashmiri Pandit converts to the new faith .Some have come from Poonch , Bhimber and Villages along old Jhelum Valley road .
As a peace loving community , They are entrenched in purposeful social service and mutual self help . They continue to hold an unshakable belief in the culture of service to Humanity or traditions of their Glorious Gurus..This was demonstrated by them during the devastating floods of September 2014 when every Gurudwara in Srinagar city was opened to accommodate flood victims irrespective of caste or religion. Inspite of the fact that they have adopted some of the kashmiri traditions , They maintain a distinct identity .
Unfortunate victims of time and circumstances , some among them are still poor or dependent on their agricultural output only. This group that lives mostly in villages , has also faced inattention and apathy from successive Governments .

So Long so much for this post on Qazi Gund . I end this post with two couplets from a Gazal of Mirza Ghalib…

Aey partavey khurshid jahaan-taab Idhar bhi,
Saaye ki tarah hum pe ajab waqt Padaa hai...
Begaanagi e khalq se Bedil na ho "Ghalib",
Koyee nahin tera to meri Jaan khudaa hai.

( Autar Mota )


























Based on a work
at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.