I am Wazwan, I am always late

As you all know my name is Wazwan which is served in Kashmir on special occasions, like on marriage ceremonies, on engagement ceremonies, on special functions and now also have the dubious distinction of being served in mourning ceremonies which is known as ‘Czoorim batta’. I myself am uncomfortable with being served on mourning ceremonies as I don’t at all fit in gloomy scenarios but tragically that is not in my hand. I am called ‘The Kings Feast’ and many modifications have been done to me which I don’t at all like but I being robust and rigid don’t at all let people make any modifications to the seven main dishes though there have been additions which change from time to time. Instead of humans, many times machines have taken over for purpose of grinding and mincing the meat but true to my rigidity, men are still needed to pound me. You should see the synchronized pounding (thud thud sound) with wooden Thor Hammer on a butcher block when scores of white clad and white capped junior Wazas sitting on ‘Wagu’ or ‘Patij’ (both are Kashmiri Floor Mats laid on the ground) and smoking the traditional ‘Jajeer’ or Hubble Bubble giving you that longing of festivity. My origin is dubious, some say I am from Iran, some say I am from Central Asia and some say I am indigenous also. When I am being cooked, people always talk about my origin but still no one is able to reach the conclusion from where I have originated but one thing is clear that in old times I was feast of nobility not of commoners like the present times. I am mostly made of lamb in Srinagar with some vegetables thrown in just for sake of it. Kashmiris have always taken me for granted with regard to time but have given me much love when it comes to making me with fresh slaughtered lamb and superb quality of spices and more than sufficient Ghee (Clarified Butter).  The amount of ghee which is added to me is something which will put Haryanvis and Rajasthanis, the notorious ghee eaters cornered in a dark room. I am telling you all a secret as my collective conscience compels me to say it that the Wazwan is not the magic of Waza making me the thing I am but it is the perfect blend of open fireplace of wood, copper pots, fresh lamb meat, ghee and spices. Go figure out, this is my secret but hush hush…….don’t tell the Waza or annoy him in any way because it is in his hands that you have placed the responsibility of the feast. If the Wazas asks for Tea, give them as early as possible; don’t make them wait as their temper is directly proportional to how bad they will make the Wazwan. Well I don’t want to be called as being regionally biased but Srinagar and North Kashmir Wazas cook me better than South Kashmir ones, just taste me in Kamraz(North), Yamraz(Central) and Maraz(South) regions, you will notice it yourself.

My foremost complaint with Kashmiris is that they have linked as well as cursed me with unpunctuality. You know how it feels after how much money, time and oily sweat of Waza is put in me and yet I am not served on time? It feels as that beautiful ornament clad bride into whom none is interested for a second look because everyone is hungry and ready to pounce on me. I being the Kings Feast have the luck of being garnished on copper platter perhaps the only time Kashmiris feel presentation of food is important. The Waza puts rice on the big copper plate known as ‘trami’ and puts the required mandatory starters for 4 people equally spaced. One elderly uncle, mostly a mamaji who takes the position on plastic chair near the waza puts napkin on the trami for it to look more decent (that napkin is also used to wipe hands at end of Wazwan). It doesn’t end there, they put a ‘Sarposh’( a copper covering) on me so that I remain covered till it reaches the white Dastarkhwan which is laid where guests are sitting. The white color of Dastarkhwan reminds me of the shroud in end I have to face which is the reality of life. In between the Wazas place and the sitting place of guests which is either a big hall situated mostly on the third storey of house (the only time when it is used apart from some sad demise of a family member) or a tent which either crewel clad or white house type. I have an exceptional relationship with the hall of the house as Kashmiris live to earn for these two things specifically. The hall otherwise remains mostly shut for rest of the time. OK, enough of hall and tent, I was going to say about how I reach the hall or tent from Wazas place as it is unique in itself as it may signify a political statement, I reach through human chains! I am being made political for no reason; this is how mischievous Kashmiri mind works! Also to increase publicity maximum photo ops happen during the kursi clad mamaji putting the fancy napkins on me till the human chain ends at the guests sitting place. As you know Wazwan is mostly associated with marriages which are uniting families together but I have an evil side too, I can break the families and friends. In this busy world when none has time to meet the FnF, it is only the occasions of marriage and some unfortunate death apart from the two Eids that FnF see each other and interact. As I am put on Dastarkhwan, helter-skelter takes place and I make sure only four of a group come and sit around me making others disperse and those who disperse into some random tramis sense a grudge but the show continues. If the trami is put along the sides of room/tent, then by convention the elder two sit along the sides and the younger two sit opposite showing values of Kashmiri culture. I forgot to tell you that during starters and napkin placing on tramis at the Wazas fireplace, another activity occurs at the sitting place and that is the laborious hands washing with Taesh-Naer where the young men are given the job of making the hands wash of guests. Guys when the hands are washed before the meal it is very easy but after meals it becomes tedious after me being devoured especially by women. I don’t know what it is with women when having me, they wash hands as if they will never be clean in future making the guy pouring the warm water bursting in anger but he keeps calm as the woman out of nowhere shows affection as the young boy may be some distant cousin’s son! This is a unique torture method, seriously!

OK guys let’s get started but who will start! When the trami reaches 80% of people, all eyes begin to roll as question is asked to oneself that who is going to start and somehow somebody starts and rest follow them and their begins the cherished Bismillah! Now I am delegating the talk to my constituents who actually make me and they will speak now for themselves.

Rice – I am rice, the staple food of Kashmiris, the thing which fills the Kashmiri tummies on routine days and even if how much junk food or bread a Kashmiri eats in day, until he eats the rice on dinner, he will be considered starved or ‘faqai’. Go figure yourself. Now coming to my role in Wazwan, I am the one which fills the trami and I being the medium through which people taste the curry otherwise I am not that much of a delicacy in Wazwan but I am useful in being drawn as boundary for the persons sitting in the trami so that the other person by not any chance encroaches in other territory and if the boundary begins to become weak, more rice is put to make it strong. There is a cliché; I am more eaten by women than men not out of love for me but out of love for family at home as most women carry the cooked meat delicacy in packets to their homes so that the family at home enjoys it. I am time to time being served during the course so that the trami never remains empty till the end whether it is change of gear from red curry to white curry or vice versa, I am being put by the service guys and mostly the elder guy in trami adds me to the four territories. I have a grudge too; no one puts me in the packets provided by host unlike my counterparts.

Meethi – I am a misnomer now, I am actually Meethi Maaz with traces of meeth (fenugreek) only found. I am made up of pieces of stomach, intestines in ghee and I have the distinction of being the first dish to be tasted with rice opening the gate of stomach valves. I am equally distributed and spaced on four sides of trami, in fact I am aligned such that all four people are adjusted and placed comfortably while eating me.

Chicken – I don’t at all know why I am in Wazwan and if you have to pick the odd man out in Wazwan, it should be me. In the whole meat world, I am considered a healthier option than lamb/mutton but thanks to Wazwan in which I am stir fried in ghee that I end up having around 900 calories for a person’s single serving, the highest compared to any other dish in Wazwan has for one person per serving. In fact I laugh at myself as well as those people who eat me thinking that their fight against high calories will be compensated by eating me more and other dishes less; I just am the devil for those who think that i am a blessing. Coming to taste I am the blandest one that is why I am the odd one out. However, nowadays few have started to marinate me in better way making me much presentable to eat but the other Wazas still think that I am waste of time so I should not be tinkered. I may be one or two on a trami depending on the host.

Kabab – I am minced mutton made by wrapping me around Seekh so I am a seekh kabab with two long pieces placed diagonally and the two persons cut the kebab with hand equally with precision so that all four persons in trami get it. Thanks to ghee, I get calorified high unfortunately compared to kabab you get in simple as well as posh restaurants. I don’t know why but people take interest in how much salt has been added and true to a Kashmiris character, some guest whispers in other ones ear that i have more or less salt. But irony is that in spite of complaining of my salt they keep on relishing it but still complain. Human nature!

Tabakmaaz – Hand upon my fatty heart, I am the most eyed dish. I am the tastiest as I am made of rib cage of lamb and deep fried in ghee. You should see me that how I party in hot ghee as it oozes into me with heat from below just to make me crispier. The real problem with me is not even about my making in ghee, it is about how to divide me between the two persons. As there are two pieces of me, one piece has to be divided between two persons. The two individuals in order to be divided between them pull me towards each other when I am hot, it appears as if my sins were not enough pardoned in hot ghee that I have to be tortured by pulling. I being stretchable compels the individuals do some work and burn fingers till I get divided between them. Rarely do I get divided equally, well fortunate are the ones who get my crispier layer wholly but that is fate! And unfortunate ones who get only the rib bones with meat attached as they have to single out the rib bones and throw them away.

Daniphol – I am single piece cortical bone having sweet taste, many times I am not even touched and many times due to my small size, I am touched in the middle course. Often I get a religious touch that I was the most favorite meat of Beloved Prophet Peace Be Upon Him and I take pride in that. Just saying that if an elderly gets by any chance in your trami then he will say that he used to eat Wazwan twice in a day when he was younger and the current generation doesn’t have the capacity to eat much. Really! I don’t know why Kashmiris repeat the same thing again and again like a broken record. It is the poor young fellows who have to listen to this dialogue only!

Rista – I am the one from where main course starts, pounded with wooden hammer of Thor as described earlier along with Gushtaba, my other fairer brother. I am made into small balls with each person getting one ball. My problem is when i am put on trami, I have to squeeze my way as it is congested due to the starters and sometimes luckily I get straight into persons eating territory when Waza puts all 4 of me into trami.

Rogan josh – I am the most widely celebrated and famous dish all over the world comprising of four meat pieces given to each person along with curry having all sorts of spices. Rogan means ‘oil’ and josh means ‘fire’, that is how I got my name.

Pulao – I am pulao, made from rice, meat juice and dry fruits. I stand alone as instead of meat, I am only rice. I am served mid-way parachuted in boxes now. Earlier I was directly put on plate but thanks to modernity that I am now compressed into a silver foil box. The degradation of presentation is something I am angry about. If I had some meat pieces in me like the biryani of other regions, I would have been treated better definitely.

Chutney and others – Well of many kinds served on a disposable or copper platter, like pumpkin chutney (sweet or salty), Cucumber chutney, Zirish chutney (berry + red chilly powder), Walnut chutney (walnut + curd), Onion chutney(sliced onions in vinegar and red chilly powder), Salad(having no presentation) and mixed pickle. After the Waza makes these things and puts them in Sarposh, the art of putting them in a platter is assigned to the man who is in charge of store-room and he calls up young ones to help him in setting up of platter. Mind it before going to the guests we are relished by those who set me on platter, mostly picking up a radish or carrot or cucumber piece and dipping in chutney and tasting the combination. I am made in equal number as the number of tramis which is expected to be served. Mostly alongside the platter a medium sized basket is also made in which accessories like water bottle, packed curd, cold drinks, towels, knives and spoons and packet containing paper soap, wet tissue and sweet fennel mouth freshener is put. Coming to wet tissue, it is the most useful thing which has been added to Wazwan over years where the guest wipes his hands with it and those who are late due to Wazwan being served late can go out without waiting for Taesh-Naer. The most useless thing on platter are pineapple slices, why it is put and what purpose does it serve, no one has been able to answer it properly.

Palak – Well the only green you will find literally in Wazwan but that too has little baby ristas. Being the only green thing, it is always eaten by everyone out of love.

AabGosht – I am something which makes the population divided. Some hate me as if I have stolen something from their bored lives and some love me that they would do anything to get more and more of my curry made of milk. May be haters hate me because i am sweet in taste, whatever; I am prepared of milk powder and tail part of lamb and scapular portion. Till recently the scapular bone having a triangular shape was used to cut Gushtaba and it was the best thing but it is now abandoned and the cutting work is done by knives.

Tamattar Czamman – Earlier I was made in tomato and cheese slab, now it is tomato puree and cheese slab. To laugh or weep, I don’t know as I am satisfied till the guest loves the cheese. It may seem I may be vegetarian but somehow the big spoons of Wazwan are interchanged while making the various dishes of Wazwan so to expect I may not have a hint of non-veg aroma and flavor is a little bit too much.

Mirchi Korma – I am the penultimate dish and have the maximum red chilli powder among the dishes and true to word, I am red fiery in color but you should also be careful, sometimes the head Waza in order to have redness in me puts coloring agent without telling the host. I am made up of small pieces of mutton and people often love to find the cartilage pieces so that truk-truk sound happens in mouth. By the way the Wazas prefer to take their dinner with me, check it out.

Gushtaba – I am the famous Gushtaba, some call me full stop, some fat bomb. I am made up of the same material as rista but boiled in curd known as yakhnee. I am unnecessarily dragged into something as being mostly fatty just because I am white but as I said rista is also of same material but no one points fingers at it. Both I and rista have one-third portion of fat and rest is lean meat. In fact a person per serving who eats me gets less number calories compared to kabab or chicken in Wazwan. Being served last, people often wait to see me and to eat some dip me in cold curd as if being boiled in hot curd was not enough. Guys my texture is something like sausage as a foreign guest once said. After eating me, the most senior or religious of the guests draws his both hands forwards as in Dua and says Alhamdulillah! That is the end and immediately every one stops eating though drinking water is allowed, so unique it is. Kashmiri things! And the tramis are pulled out of guest room, the white dastarkhwan, a shroud for me is turned yellow because of the leftover bones and meat. And then the hand cleaning process starts.

This is my actual story which no one actually says and I am being realistic here. I am now canned also for the people who can’t come to Kashmir to taste it so that you can enjoy wherever you are in world. Also buffet system has been in style for sometime but the essence of Kashmir culture is lost somewhere, may be at that time, we just sob silently that time is not the only thing, our unique culture is. Hope you get to enjoy me often in your life with no doctor’s warnings about me.

And It Snowed…. 

I guess everyone has enjoyed the snowfall which was being waited quite eagerly in this ChilaiKalaan, the harshest 40 day winter period. Sonam Lotus, the chief weatherman had given us the forecast which had come correct after a series of wrong predictions. Snow to each generation means different things. For the young ones who had seen snow in winters in past it was a refreshment of the past memories echoing in our minds. For the elder ones, well they will always be hard on snow, either they will say that this snowfall is nothing as compared to past when they were young and in the same breath will complain that this snow needs to stop. Well most of the times the old age problems which have set in like ortho or respiratory disorders which we find in young ones also compels them to go against the nature and gaze upon the sky to stop the white stuff and be melted down as soon as possible. For kids, well it is Christmas, an opportunity to witness and relive the spectacle witnessed in Disney cartoons which the fortunate ones are blessed to see. Whole place is converted to a la Disneyland and Voila the kids can mould the snow to any character they want which won’t be scarier and uglier at least as compared to the scarecrow. I am not a good writer and neither do I know why I am writing this but as soon I started to drive slowly which also was dangerous after a days snowfall, I was smitten by it, no words to express. As soon I reached the destination, the radio started to play ‘Guloon main Rang Bhare’, a Faiz sahib Kalaam in the melodious voice of Mehdi Hassan. I swear I haven’t enjoyed the verses more as I was watching the white snowy field and I didn’t at all move out of the car till Mehdi Hassan’s voice ended. People say that enjoying music in rain has its own charm but enjoying music with Faiz’s words in snow, it is something I cannot say it in words, I can only explain in snow.

Driving on the banks of Boulevard Road with snowy atmosphere is something which is cherish-able and you kind of witness many things like the snowmen made by boys and taking Selfies with it and the mandatory Sheen Jung or snow fight between friends. It was kind of much needed change after the burning summer as the collective moods were still off even after autumn had passed. Young couples, boys and girls were stopping their cars on the banks of Dal Lake and were posing for the pictures, all enjoying the happy snowy moment, after all the snow had come to visit us after two years. The skewer makers were having a merry day, the peculiar smell of meat roasted on the burning charcoal surrounded by snow, well imagine! Imagine! And I am leaving the imagination to you for how savory it would have been 😉😉.
Snow is something which jogs us to think that why there are seasons, why we need changes in life if it has been on a constant, snow certainly will not make you philosophical or a poet but will make you feel different for a while, a nature’s reminder that life can be beautiful outside of dreams too. Snow Hafiz.

A Solicitous Enquiry after the Mental Health of Arnab Goswami

KAFILA - 10 years of a common journey

Arnab,

I am wondering if all has been going well with you. I saw your show on television the other night and you were shouting at a young man who has now been accused of sedition because of a meeting he attended on his college campus. In this show you shouted this young man down, did not let him speak, turned off his mike while he struggled to make himself heard. You called him a terrorist. You said people like him are dangerous elements and wondered who was funding him. You told him he should be grateful for things that India has apparently given him and others like him. You even had a tweet for the purpose #FlashpointAfzal. We will not go into the extraordinary idiocy you displayed in your own version of what you are pleased to call an ‘argument’. It seems in the world you inhabit, and people…

View original post 2,548 more words

Lal Bazar

aatish e chinar 🍁

In the early 90s, people in downtown Srinagar faced the brunt of Indian military forces’ brutalisation. Downtown or the Old Srinagar has been at the forefront of the Kashmiri struggle for independence since centuries. In fact the first revolt against Dogra in 1864 started in its Zaldagar area.

In 1990s, the rebels found home in the maze of alleys and lanes. The underground movement had massive support in Downtown. Thus the military choked this area with a camp or a bunker at almost every nook and corner. It resembled casbah in Algiers when the Algerian armed struggle to overthrow the French started.

The arsons of Kaw Dara and Noor Bagh in the early nineties saw more than 300 properties summarily burnt down (including homes, schools and shops) shocked people. No one expected this incursion in their daily lives. Fear grew by the day. It forced many to consider leaving downtown…

View original post 1,114 more words

Solidarity with Palestine through a Kashmiri Prism

As we are in the last 10 days of holy month of Ramazan, this month reminded of 2010 protests in Kashmir by seeing and hearing the disgusting war upon Palestine people by Israel. Even the Pre Ramazan days were also having a somber political air, firstly because of the ISIS conquests if Iraqi Territory and the killings of three Israel and one Palestine youth which were covered widely by the media around the globe. Belonging and brought up in a place of conflict has some effect on how you think and what makes you interested so being interested in the Iraq issue and also Palestinian cause was natural to most of my fellow people. Just like you have a thousand and one views on Kashmir issue, same thing happened over Iraq. Well Palestine was an exception, as any Human in his senses cannot tolerate the Israel aggression currently so we had a rare opportunity especially on social media where voices were united against Israel for Palestine. Of course there were Israel supporters too from the Indian heartland. In the Pre Ramazan days when majority of Muslims were vocally against what ISIS was doing in Iraq, and also knowing that the Iraq Government is also responsible for the macabre condition prevailing there, there was a minority sitting on the couches like us all supporting the ISIS and when ISIS declared self-proclaimed Caliphate on 1st Ramazan, the joys of supporters of self-proclaimed Caliphate hit the roof top. And when asked why your joy has hit the roof top, their views were disgusting like they would abolish other sects who will not comply with what ISIS says, they will destroy Shia Masjids and Sunni Shrines, etc. and all this was propped by the so-called educated class. Also interesting to know was that the school of thought considered closest to them (the followers of official Saudi school) were also hand in hand with other Muslims in ignoring the self-proclaimed Caliphate. Anyhow this issue got overshadowed by the Israel aggression on Gaza. Gaza has been bombarded three times over last decade with huge casualties and yet Israel continues to get support of nations without an outcry. This Ramazan has all been about getting numbers of killed in Gaza during ‘Sehari’ and ‘Iftar’ time. A global outcry by the people all over the world irrespective of religion even Jews included who are against the blatant racist Zionism. How can Kashmir remain far behind ? Kashmiris always felt for Palestine whether Pre Militancy or Post Militancy. The elder ones still remember Yasser Arafat. Some people say that we have nothing to do with the Gaza issue are speaking a white lie straight on your face. If that would have been not the case, there would not have been a death of a 15-year-old boy at the hands of security forces in Kulgam, Kashmir who was protesting against Israel aggression on Gaza. Every where protests happened but no deaths were reported but continuing the tradition in Kashmir, the trigger happy forces killed this young boy. To top it all, this twitter savvy chief minister who probably has no understanding of grass root level politics and psyche of Kashmiris took a dig on those ‘organizing and orchestrating these protests’. This man should look at his own party, National Conference, who themselves were also protesting in front of the UNMOGIP office, thankfully with no candles in this summer day. The chief minister has left no stone un-turned in shaming Kashmiris on social media platform and has also not taken any lessons from 2010 protests where over 120 young ones died under his vigil. His only dictum seems, ‘Damned be Me, Damned be the people’. I see no difference in being apologetic & giving idiotic reasons for the death of the 15-year-old boy and those who are supporting Israel in India. Strange that a country who was once a supporter of Palestine nationhood has now become the closest nation of Zionists, after all now Israel is the largest weapon supplier to India. Also we would see the experts on News TV Channels openly supporting Israel aggression under the garb of decimating HAMAS. Well most of these experts out of straight hatred for Muslims have come out of cupboard with the Hindu Right wing party in power. These so-called experts act as blind when told about History of Palestine. Not only these experts but also a part of Indian intelligentsia parrot the same narrative of Israel. Well it is not surprising for me, if Indians have elected a right-wing party this year, that wave is continued by organizing social media campaigns by being in favor of Israel. I would like to emphasize whether there be HAMAS or no HAMAS, Israel aggression against Palestinians would continue as it was in past and those who are giving this self defense of Israel theory should read History of Palestine but alas! They even don’t know the History of Kashmir so i don’t expect much from the Indian trumpeters of Israel. The solidarity for Palestine cause by a common Kashmiri was there, is there and will be there even if India supports or not supports Israel.

If the establishment is expecting the anger against Israel to tone down which in turn is also a manifestation of anger against the Forces in Kashmir then they are wrong. Take for example the summer vacations in Kashmir schools were ordered a bit earlier from 15th July so as to thwart the protests but the protests still happened and till date it has resulted in one death. With Quds Day (on Last Friday of Ramazan or Jummatulvida) round the corner which actually was started decades earlier by Iran and is now commemorated all over the Muslim world including Kashmir, the protests are not going to tone down till then at least. With the world getting closer and closer and everyday the civilian death toll in Gaza getting higher and higher which include children and women, all we can do is hope against hope that it would end soon. I would like to end it with Faiz Ahmed Faiz lines,

Duur pardes kee be-meher guzargaahoon main
Ajnabi shahr kee be-naam-o-nishaan raahoon main
Yeh zameen par bhi khulaa merai lahuu ka parcham
Lahlahaata hai wahan Arze-e-Filistin ka Aalam
Terai aaqa ne kiyaa ek Filistin barbaad
Merai zakhmoon ne kiyai kitnai Filistin aabaad

On the unmarked roads of foreign lands,
In the unknown streets of foreign streets 
wherever my blood-stained flag was unfurled
there flourished the flag of Palestine. 
Your enemies destroyed one Palestine 
my wounds populated many a Palestine.

 

NC Debacle In Kashmir in The Modi-fied Phase

As i  am writing, the Right Wing BJP has emerged as the single largest party with Absolute Majority in the Elections 2014 of India and the ruling UPA has been reduced to a miserable double-digit number in the Parliament. As the opinion polls along with the exit polls of various hues had correctly predicted the gain of BJP lead NDA, still there was a counter opinion that the BJP may not win that big because of the faulty exit poll results in last two General Elections but this time they correctly predicted the wave of Modi which many had rubbished as a myth. It is after a very long time in the electoral history of India that a clear mandate has been given to a single party which is also a right-wing party drawing its inspiration from Sangh Parivar. The rise of Modi in India has opened a plethora of questions about in which way India is going which will be probably be answered in coming five years till the next elections. Everyone will have an eye on Modi’s policies from across the border to within the border and how Modi will deal with issues pertaining to Ram Mandir, Article 370, Minority welfare plus the economic issues. As a Kashmiri, like all other fellow citizens of Kashmir, observed the elections with keen eye even though a common Kashmiri knows that whether it be UPA or NDA, Kashmir Policy will remain same. If we look at the overall poll percentage of J&K, it is near about 50% with individual Poll percentages of Jammu as 70% and Kashmir standing at nearly 30%. There appears a clear division on the mood of people present in both regions with majority of Kashmiris not wanting to vote & majority of Jammuites wanting to vote. Looking at the results, out of the 6 Parliament Seats in J&K, PDP has bagged all 3 seats & BJP in Jammu has bagged the remaining 3 seats, two from Jammu & one from Ladakh leaving the coalition government of NC-Congress to bite the dust. Although Kashmiris by and large hadn’t voted in the elections but still everyone wanted to know the result for the curiosity purpose. Many pundits had predicted that PDP will do well in the Kashmir seats but this came as a surprise that they went on marching on all the three seats of Kashmir leading to defeat of veterans like Dr. Farooq Abdullah & his two associates.

APRIL 13, 2002 - FAROOQ ABDULLAH, then part of NDA, JUMPED INTO THE DAL LAKE  TO MARK THE TWO DAY BAISHAKI FESTIVAL AIMED AT ATTRACTING TOURISTS AND REVIVE TOURISM IN KASHMIR.  FAROOQ IS SEEN SWIMMING IN WORLD FAMOUS DAL LAKE . PTI PHOTO
APRIL 13, 2002 – FAROOQ ABDULLAH, then part of NDA, JUMPED INTO THE DAL LAKE TO MARK THE TWO DAY BAISHAKI FESTIVAL AIMED AT ATTRACTING TOURISTS AND REVIVE TOURISM IN KASHMIR. FAROOQ IS SEEN SWIMMING IN WORLD FAMOUS DAL LAKE . PTI PHOTO

Let me remind you all that these Kashmir elections came after a series of catastrophic events in Kashmir with a government headed by Omar Abdullah whose tenure will be remembered more on Twitter than in real books. The way Omar Abdullah led coalition has been routed is something to be worth discussing. After all with the Shopian Gang-rape flip-flop incident in 2009, 2010 mass protests against excesses of security forces leading to death of around 120 men, the J&K Cricket board scandal with Dr. Farooq Abdullah involved & the state government’s silence on Afzal Guru’s hanging in 2013, how can anyone dismiss the backlash of all these years of miss-governance. If we look at the state of affairs of Omar Abdullah Government, it appears only on Twitter through his tantrums. Mr. Omar Abdullah would be only head of state who would curtail the internet connection of his own subjects & go on giving messages for the general public through that medium. If anything we could deduce from the messages he posts during tough times, it appears as if he got a dictation from corridors of Delhi and he is reciting back the words pampered to him for the Indian Media. Even during the current election campaign he shot up with statements which appeared more of arrogance than as a head of state, that he is not accountable to those people who don’t vote in the elections, crossing all limits of decency of the chair he is holding through the glue provided by Delhi. How can the legitimate anger which everyone holds against the regime of National Conference be not foreseen trough the tremors which was felt on May 16 ? How can Dr Farooq Abdullah who had a Kashmiri speaking father tell that fellow Kashmiris are ‘Mahachors’ & get away with it ? For how much long Kashmiris have to bear the tantrums of Delhi by imposing on us the Abdullah Family & not doing anything to solve the Kashmir problem. How long before a Kashmiri CM who in a state assembly says, ‘Main kya karsakta hoon’ on Killings done by security forces ? How long before the Abdullah clan raise the bogey of Secularism & all that stuff which by the way no one buys in Kashmir. These are legitimate questions which a Kashmiri always asks to Kashmir policy makers in Delhi but gets no reply.

Having said everything against NC, it is not that PDP will do wonders, if one is an evil the other has been accused to be a lesser evil and at times the collective lesser evil has done also a damage to the Kashmiri psyche. With results pouring and with it  jubilation of Modi supporters across India being seen, across the border, Mian Nawaz Shareef has congratulated Modi & also invited Modi to visit Pakistan which may be seen as a positive signal from Pakistan having a will to cooperate on Kashmir issue and it seems that Pakistan is less concerned how Modi is viewed internally in the country. We all know that BJP is against Article 370 which is actually now only a symbolic article ( which Congress Party at Center has made hollow in all these years) in Indian Constitution which lays the foundation of Kashmir acceding to India, whether Modi is going to touch it or not is going to be seen in future. Although Article 370 bogey is run by National Conference to hoodwink the Kashmiri public yet the public knows that National Conference has been a party to the erosion of Article 370 all these years.

In the post Modi scenario, definitely across all spectrums there will be an introspection that what lead to rise of Modi and what lead to fall of Congress. Definitely the fall of Congress has more to do with the rise of Modi. The desperate measures of UPA 2 like the hanging of Afzal Guru out of his turn & not returning the dead body to his family will definitely haunt Congress and its partner NC in Kashmir for years to come. The scams done by UPA, the passing of Bills in Parliament hastily, the ever arrogant attitude of Congress men, the failure to estimate the popularity of AAP in Delhi, having a weak PM candidate who delivered wretched speeches in election rallies, etc all lead to the downfall of Congress which stand as a two digit Party. Saying this i know Congress Party will do a home work rightly next time or next next time but of National Conference, i assure you all, even all the perfumes of Arabia & all the wisdom in Humanity will not help the National Conference and its first family to have a soul-searching within self because their souls remain buried somewhere in North & South Blocks of Delhi at unknown destination there.

The Social Media Musings of this Autumn

Last few days have been hectic for the people of sub-continent, well it always has been like that. Being from Kashmir has always been a tough job to be on Social Media as along with Kashmir, you have to keep an eye whats happening in India and Pakistan which Kashmiris manage quite well. First of all let me start from the Hometown where the talk of the town is the most recent BOPEE Scandal involving its former chairman and some agents who sold the Entrance Question Papers to some wealthy people in order to get admission in the prestigious medical colleges of J&K. As the scandal was about one of the most important exams in any medical students life or for that matter the parents hopes, it naturally had to get over the top reaction from the general public. Naturally the students who had been burning the midnight oil for qualifying the most prestigious exam would have been most aggrieved and the mental trauma is understandable and so of their parents also. Well its not the first time that medical entrance has been plagued by this BOPEE scandal, similar thing happened in 2003 BOPEE exams. Same level of hue and cry was raised and same tone of reaction was aroused in general public and what happened to that case, need not to mention. But in this case another thing was added which was not only discussed in social media circles but in newspapers also. A section of public including a well to do journalists looked like they were more interested in the name of the BOPEE ex-chairman than the grievous crime itself. When i saw the discourse of this scandal involving Mr. Mushtaq Peer, i was confused that are people discussing the scandal genuinely as should be the case, are people discussing the scandal because it just involves Doctors ( as it has fake glamour attached to it ) or people are discussing it because the surname of the accused person is Peer. And to add insult to the injury big columns were written discussing that the said person has Peer as surname and also attached his name with the fake Peer who would love to proclaim his name as Syed Gulzar Ahmed Bhat involved in the infamous Sex Scandal. With such discussions, Kashmir earned a distinct title of distinguishing crimes based on his or her caste. No one can give a satisfactory answer that how does a crime committed depend on ones caste, whether he is Bhat or Peer in Kashmir. Further more the Chief Minister of J&K went a step further in this tragicomic situation, he said that the accused Ex BOPEE Chairman is a Muslim, no wonder what happens to the secular state at that time. The prisms with which these so called intellectuals see the picture seems to be biased. Few years back i read a book on Kashmir written by David Devdas in which he pointed out that Kashmiri politics is also caste based and gave his explanation. Well to my knowledge and  understanding of nature of Politics in Kashmir, i couldn’t understand on what basis he said it. Did it matter for the common masses that Muhammad Abdullah was a Sheikh or Peer, Maqbool Bhat was a Bhat or a Peer, Yusuf Shah was a Syed or Bhat and so on and on. Not justifying the crimes committed by the so called upper caste including Peers in any way but a place where society is divisible at many junctions, having this kind of notorious discourse whether the crime committed by peer or a non-peer is beyond any logic of understanding. Castigating one community alone is not going to solve any-ones problem, the rot runs deep in the society as corruption or any vices has become more and more part of this fragile society from bottom to top.

Now opening a window to the Pakistan where there is usually a bad news coming in every day. Few days back a riot took place in Rawalpindi involving two sects of Muslims on 10th Muharram where many died and dozens got injured. On the social networking sites, people were more interested on who actually were responsible not for breaking the law of land but just for they get some brownie points in criticizing the other sect tarnishing all the values of humanity if ever it was present. There were proofs given by people who actually were sitting some thousands of miles away from Rawalpindi on who were the perpetrators of the riot. Whosoever were the minds behind the riots, how does it matter with which sect they belong to ? More icing on the cake when twitterati began giving suggestions to stop these kind of riots in future by suggesting to ban Ashoora and Mawlid processions . Wonder, how will it help in country where Masjid and Imambargahs were not spared of bombs by terrorists, so how does these kind of shallow ideas emerge from anyone’s mind. I have never participated in any Mawlid or Ashoora processions but banning any religious procession is strictly against the tenets of freedom of speech and religion. And the irony is those demanding ban on religious processions were, are and will be the most iconic voices in portraying the Islamophobia in West, a simple case of one bigot calling a other bigot, a bigot. If anyone doesn’t give right to express his or her own opinion in his or her own way, never expect that this person will give you to raise your own voice tomorrow on any other issue. Now it has been a routine on social networking sites to discuss religion freely with the availability of Sheikh Google. Come Muharram – discuss Shias, Come Rabiulawal – discuss Barelvis and Sufis, Come the stupidity and abuses by the family of Saud – discuss Wahabis and Come some unusual Fatwas – discuss Deobandis. You will get bundles of Fatwas of Shirk and Kuffr from those who even don’t know you and will be targeted in groups as if the only thing left in their life is to prove that they all along are right, rest can and should go to hell. Some of us hold our head so high that it gets impossible to argue but little they know that this arrogance can also fall just like the Tehelka Head.

Coming to the Indian Media where the most covered news this time is the Tehelka scandal involving Tarun Tejpal. A magazine which began with humble origins with the motto of crusade against the wrongdoings finds itself entangled in the web of accusations which are very gory. And many media houses and political parties grinding there own axes against the Tehelka Magazine. Well the idea of Tehelka was shattered long before and some shine it had left, also is now faded. Being an avid newspaper reader, i remember that day when Tehelka became a print newspaper ( don’t remember it was weekly or fortnightly) and i bought it for ten bucks few years back and also remember the scold i got from my grandfather when he asked me why i bought a newspaper for ten bucks !! Such was my trust with the brand of Tehelka but it soon started to fade out. The Tehelka is all there, it has fallen in this season of fall, leaf by leaf in front of the 24*7 circus of TV News channels.

Now moving on to the biggest news this week is that of successful talks between the Global superpowers including USA with Iran. The Iranians celebrated it with fervor in view of easing of sanctions against them on the issue of nuclear energy. The success can be attributed to the new moderate President of Iran, Mr. Rouhani along with his Foreign Minister. But the successful talks have made some angry which include Saudi Family and Israel. Not to forget to mention that what murky things Iran is doing in Syria has nothing to do with the Common Iranians who are suffering due to the harsh sanctions against their own country. A common Iranian and the Ayutullah regime are two separate entities. Long before if u would be discussing Iran with anyone, two separate views emerged, one being blinded by his pro-Iran regime loyalties and other being blinded by his anti-Iran stance with both having shades of sectarianism associated. When confronted with own middle-path unbiased views, none believed, each giving its own version. The truth being mixed with the tales of Iran by the Iranian Press TV and the Pro-American Media including CNN and FOX. That is what happens when a country lives in isolation for more than three decades which makes it difficult to tell people the real picture.

And the social media musings with its fallacies go on………………….

Indian Media’s obsession with Young India Protests in Delhi

Last few days has been one of the busiest days for media in Delhi with the bigwigs of media going live from Raisana Hill & India Gate as the protests are going on over the gruesome gang-rape incident which happened in a bus in Delhi. It has been a week & the girl still remains in critical condition. The media reports say that the clash in Raisina Hill resulting in over 100 injuries has been the biggest since 1991 & which continued the next day also with more injuries including a cop battling for his life. The protesters which represent the young generation demanding action be taken against the accused arrested swiftly & there be a stricter laws for punishment of heinous crimes of this type. Well the situation now has turned a little bit violent & the media seems to be in a frenzy mode by constantly focusing not on the issue itself rather on how the young people in the Delhi Metro want to spring up a new spring & India has woken up just now. Well seems the media forgot that in case of Anna Hazare agitation earlier, same connotation of new found romanticism with protests were used. With every protest in Delhi, the comparison with Arab Spring is done loosely which started two years back. Media constantly pointing out Jantar Mantar, Raisana Hill or India Gate are India’s Tahrir Square. Why not ! The Arab spring was successful & is currently going on to uproot the regimes. But can the media don’t go far away to the Lands of Arabia & come back to north of Delhi & also rewind the time to the summer of 2010 in Kashmir. Can’t the media draw the similarity or you believe the dictum that public memory is short & lets catch what is hot. Here the media is criticizing with its head on that the police force used in Delhi is excessive & with excessive they say water cannons & Tear Gas Shells. Both interesting & intriguing to know that no gunfire is used & may it not be used yet the media say it is our Tahrir Square. In Arab Spring, in any country, every sphere was involved but here in India, the protest hasn’t at all been some pan-India movement apart from some minor protests in some cities. Well it doesn’t matter whether protests are held all over India or not but the thing is that why is the media pinning so much hope on the protests ? There were protests in Kashmir in 2010 too. What happened ? Excessive or you can say harsh & brutal force was used to quell the protests in Kashmir but very few in the heartland opposed it just all in the name of nationalism & when force of water cannons & tear gas shells are used against the protesters, media says the Delhi Police needs reforms ! Is the young India in Delhi just violent & the young Kashmir some obnoxious species ? Yes, the anti-social elements are there, were in Kashmir protests too, no doubt but that does not paint the whole picture black. You say that when stones are used, bottles are hurled on policeman, wooden poles are uprooted at India Gate, they are due to oozing of emotions & should be duly addressed but use different yardstick for Kashmir which had led to over 100 deaths of youngsters in 2010 & no restraint was used. There too emotions were oozing, they too had hearts pouring in grief, not also to forget to mention that the conscience of youngsters were jolted. They too were the representatives of young Kashmir. There also the civil society was aghast over the brutal use of force & called for police reforms but none in the media listened. From 2008 – 09 – 10, many people died due to the excessive use of force in controlling the riots, never heard of any punishment in Kashmir. May be the media thought that it is not fashionable just because of this K conundrum. Last two years have been dormant & government says that they are fully prepared in controlling any riot in Kashmir but can the past be forgotten ? It keeps on flashing back when the protests in Delhi are seen on Television sets. Had the Indian media & the elite been as outraged as they are now, some expectations i would have thought but i see the success of the ongoing protests as very bleak. Media is throwing weight behind this agitation in Delhi just for the sake of it, we know it, Kashmiris have had their bitter experience. The people of India haven’t yet understood, they are pinning hopes on the government to do some miracles. They think that system will change by these protests, little do they know the designs & the games of the politicians. The young India hasn’t understood India but a common man in Kashmir has understood how India works so he will easily brush off these Tahrir like connotations. If young India thinks that standing up on iron poles will lead to anything then they should know Kashmiris have conquered & climbed the famous tall clock tower in Srinagar many times to address their demands & it hasn’t helped. Getting baton charged by Policemen will also get you nothing except some bruises. The system just plays with you & your emotions & fools you with the help of the lip movements of the constantly babbling politicians who run the system. The whole media saga reminds me of tweets of a popular Female TV journalist who faces the nation at night in India. In August, 2000 at the height of the protests in Kashmir, she had written, ‘In kashmir, little boys are dying or getting hurt.In rest of india, rich mums,dads converting india into a playground for their spoilt brats.‘ Another tweet was, ‘Kashmir’s future shd surely be decided by the kashmiri people. Not by India’s armed forces.’   As more than two years have passed & still the journalist appears optimistic that the system will deliver by constantly beaming from Ground Zero in Delhi, she is either fooling herself or making a fool of us by constantly igniting false hopes. I have not pinned any hopes that the current outrage over the heinous issue will reach to any logistic conclusion as the issues fizz out sooner or later here. India being said as a reactionary nation is rightly called because due to the vastness in incompetence bugging the governance as whenever they try to fix an issue, another hole props up to sink the ship & the vicious cycle continues leading to forgetfulness of earlier issue. Besides don’t understand the logic of protesters that harsher punishment will stop the crime as i think the problem is that the already existing laws are not applied with full conviction. India being a patriarchal society has to change its attitude towards women not just by words but by showing the respect. And as far as Police over-reaction is concerned, have a look on Kashmir, you will not talk anything on the police action in Delhi then. A week has passed since the incident, the girl is still not out of danger. Let us hope the media doesn’t forget her in the wake of the globalized Christmas celebration & the Indo-Pak cricket series going to start this week. Merry Christmas…..

Social networking has definitely revolutionized the way we think nowadays but it has its own negatives. One of the most distasteful phenomenon in the social networking sphere especially on Twitter & Facebook is that everyone carries his or her own measuring tape for grief. Not only has everyone the measuring tape but each one cries out loudly that he or she has the most accurate one & everyone should believe it. Our sense of outrage is getting disgusting day by day by comparing one grief with another grief & with just a click, we go on a rampage, which we consider as not our birth right only but a biblical duty also. Let me give you few examples which happened recently starting with Malala Yusufzai shootout. First of all hats off to the girl who braved all odds for the education of girls by fighting with pen against the terrorists present in Swat valley in Pakistan. After she was shot in head & is recuperating now in a London Hospital, various kind of absurd theories & words were linked to her name. Some ridiculous conspiracy theories propped up like Malala is a CIA agent, or she was not actually shot in head and also that the CIA shot at her so that a the US army will get a genuine reason so that they will attack Pakistan. Well hats off to these disgusting conspiracy theorists who in spite of appreciating & sympathizing with Malala were & are more keen to exploit her name for their own murky reasons. Ask the terrorist apologists why you doing so ? They reply back that USA does drone attacks in Pakistan & the drone attacks kill innocent children which are not given much attention so why Malala be given this much appreciation ! Poor minds co-relate two things for which Malala is herself not responsible & it seems from their language as if Malala herself was leading the drones which killed the innocent children. Yeah ! That’s what they try to imply. Now come to another incident of recent Connecticut shootings in a school by a mentally challenged person. Well from last few years these kind of uncontrollable shootings in campuses are on rise as it is said that easy availability of guns is one of the reason. Whatever the reason, this tragedy too had to bear this barometric comparison on Facebook & Twitter by the dimwits. Those little kids killed in Connecticut shootout were again compared with the innocent kids killed by the drone attacks in Pakistan & elsewhere done by the USA. Well like all cryptic logic of the apologists, this too had no merit. The apologists through their myopic vision implied that  the little kids killed got the punishment of the drone attacks done by the USA, which has no validity in religion & is beyond the sphere of humanity. In both the above incidents the apologists demanded that the media should not over hype these issues which looked quiet illogical. As Connecticut is in USA itself & Malala was shot in the Militant infested Swat area in Af-Pak so it was bound to get international media attention. And from last hours another horror has struck Pakistan which is the killing of health workers who are related to the anti-polio campaign as Pakistan is one of three countries where Polio is not eradicated. The reason given by the terrorists is that some health workers allegedly work as CIA agents. Well if we look back to last year incident of Abbotabad in Pakistan where Osama Bin Laden was captured, the homework was done initially with help of a doctor & his team who were doing a vaccination campaign in the area but were focussed really on the compound of Osama. Now giving that as pretext & attacking the health workers indiscriminately by the terrorists in their latest round of attacks is a bizarre & a cowardly act. The terrorists think by crippling the polio campaign which in turn will lead to more crippled children are doing some heroic jobs. Little do they know how many curses they are getting for doing such a inhumane act in the name of religion.

Well lastly another incident happened in Delhi, India where a girl was gang-raped in a moving bus which has shocked the country. In India rapes occur every 22 minutes according to an estimate and the news items related to rapes are passed as one of the news but this time the media & civil society is on some action mode, maybe the incident happening in the capital city is the reason. It seems the incident is not going to cool off soon. But looking on the flip-side on the social networking sites, instead of some constructive conclusion, the blame-game of ‘My grief bigger than your grief’ has started. It should be noted in last two decades numerous cases of rapes & mass rapes have been done by the security forces in Kashmir  & North-East which is shameful as no justice has been done who had done & perpetuated the heinous crimes. As soon as the Delhi Gang-rape news went on air, the other side talked of the old wounds which had been inflicted & thus the story began. The dramatic comparison of two tragedies not only started a war of words but each one took extreme position in order to highlight the crime. No one can deny the fact that the crimes were heinous in nature but is it right to compare two crimes at this time or any time ? If conscience is left in us, we would never use the tragedies for our own self-interest. It is time to empathize with victims & rise above all petty interests but alas! All the people on social networking sites act as saints unfortunately leaving no space for constructive debate and for these social networking saints no grey areas are there, there is either black or more black & no white. May we stop comparing the tragedies of our time with the previous tragedies & look forward to embalm them. Let sanity prevail…

 

William Carpenter’s Kashmir Paintings c1855

William Carpenter Junior (1818-1899) was a water colorist, born in London to a portrait painter Margaret Sarah Carpenter who had come to India first time in 1850. William Carpenter spent several years in northern part of India between 1850 and 1857. Some extract from the book, “INDIAN LIFE AND LANDSCAPES BY WESTERN ARTISTS” is written as under :-

WILLIAM CARPENTER IN KASHMIR
The first of at least three annual trips to Kashmir was probably in 1853, when he may have stayed for many months. Surrounded by a continuous range of snowy peaks, the oval valley of Kashmir, the Dal Lake with its floating gardens of lotuses and lilies, and the delightful climate especially in early summer and autumn had attracted European travellers for several centuries. The Emperor Akbar conquered the country in 1588, and the Fort of Hari Parbat on an isolated hill west of the Dal Lake was built subsequently as a Mughal stronghold. It was Jahangir, however, who created the pleasure gardens, notably the Shalimar Bagh on the shore of the lake, where he regularly spent the summer months. Romantic concepts associated with the Vale of Kashmir developed, finding expression in literature. François Bernier, for example, was one of the earliest Europeans to visit and describe the region. One of the most popular and widely read poems of the nineteenth century was Thomas Moore’s Lalla Rookh, which had five editions within eight months of its first appearance in 1817. Based on various travellers’ tales and pictorial sources the poem focuses on Emperor Aurangzeb’s daughter, Lalla Rookh, and provides a generalized view of the Orient using exotic imagery and a mixture of Indian, Persian and Turkish elements. While travelling through Kashmir in 1838, Godfrey Thomas Vigne wrote approvingly: ‘At one glance we have before us the whole of the localities described in Lalla Rookh. I use the word described, for there is great justice in the ideas of scenery to be collected from the poem.’ As one of the early explorers in the region, Vigne was probably among the first observers to be captivated by Moore’s romantic vision of Kashmir. It was only after the annexation of the Punjab in 1846 that the area became more accessible to European travellers of the nineteenth century. That Carpenter had also read Lalla Rookh is obvious from the title to one of his watercolours, ‘The Shalimar garden; scene of the festivities at the marriage of Lalla Rookh, daughter of Aurunzebe’. Judging from the sequence of the Kashmir watercolours listed in Carpenter’s exhibition catalogue of 1881, these were almost certainly displayed as a group. Besides general views of the valley and lakes, Shah Hamadan’s Mosque, they included the quaint wooden houses and streets of Srinagar, bridges across the Jhelum River and Mar canal, Kashmiri women and nautch girls, and the Temple of the Sun at Martund, to which Carpenter made a special excursion. He also obviously met the Governor of Kashmir, Nawab Shaikh Imam-ud Din.

 

Two natch girls, Kashmir 08/1854 (made)
Two natch girls, Kashmir 08/1854 (made)
A boatman's children at Srinagar, Kashmir ca. 1855 (painted)
A boatman’s children at Srinagar, Kashmir c1855 (painted)
The Nishat Bagh c1855
The Nishat Bagh c1855
Hindus bathing in the early morning during a festival in Kashmir c1855
Hindus bathing in the early morning during a festival in Kashmir c1855
Painting c1855
Painting c1855
Nawab Sheik Imam-u-din, late Governor of Kashmir c1855
Nawab Sheikh Imam-u-din, late Governor of Kashmir c1855
Gulab Singh with Child
Gulab Singh with Child
The fort of Hari Parbat from the lake c1855
The fort of Hari Parbat from the lake c1855
On the Mar Canal at Srinagar, Kashmir c1855
On the Mar Canal at Srinagar, Kashmir c1855
View on the Mar Canal at Srinagar, Kashmir c1855
View on the Mar Canal at Srinagar, Kashmir c1855

View on the Mar Canal at Srinagar, Kashmir.

Shah Hamadan's Mosque c1854
Shah Hamadan’s Mosque c1854
Interior of Shah Hamadan's Masjid during a religious ceremony c1855
Interior of Shah Hamadan’s Masjid during a religious ceremony c1855
The tomb of Makhdoom Sahib c1855
The tomb of Makhdoom Sahib c1855
An arch of the second bridge at Srinagar, Kashmir c1855
An arch of the second bridge at Srinagar, Kashmir c1855
On the second bridge at Srinagar, Kashmir c1855
On the second bridge at Srinagar, Kashmir c1855

Source : From the V&A’s collections

Some Paintings of Kashmir (1760-1886)

Some of the paintings of Kashmir made by outsiders between 1760 to 1886. For description, click on the image.

Sheik Imam-Ud-Din, Runjur Sing, and Dewan Dina Nath by James Duffield Harding in 1847
Sheik Imam-Ud-Din, Runjur Sing, and Dewan Dina Nath by James Duffield Harding in 1847
Village life in Kashmir by Mir Kalan Khan, working in the Lucknow/Faizabad style, Year 1760.
Village life in Kashmir by Mir Kalan Khan, working in the Lucknow/Faizabad style, Year 1760.
Bijbehara by James Duffield Harding in 1847
Bijbehara by James Duffield Harding in 1847
Mosque of Shah Hamadan by James Duffield Harding in 1847
Mosque of Shah Hamadan by James Duffield Harding in 1847
Wular Lake by James Duffield Harding in 1847
Wular Lake by James Duffield Harding in 1847
This chromolithograph is taken from William Simpson's 'India: Ancient and Modern' . Year 1867. It illustrates the return visit made by Viceroy Lord Canning to Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Kashmir on 9 March 1860, during the viceroy's progress through upper India. The Maharaja had come to meet him a day earlier. The Maharaja's tent was decorated with cashmere shawls, and silk and gold materials were placed beneath the chair reserved for the viceroy.
This chromolithograph is taken from William Simpson’s ‘India: Ancient and Modern’ . Year 1867. It illustrates the return visit made by Viceroy Lord Canning to Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Kashmir on 9 March 1860, during the viceroy’s progress through upper India. The Maharaja had come to meet him a day earlier. The Maharaja’s tent was decorated with cashmere shawls, and silk and gold materials were placed beneath the chair reserved for the viceroy.
Water-colour painting of the source of the River Jhelum in an octagonal tank at Verinag (Kashmir) by Charles J. Cramer-Roberts (1834-1895) in 1886. .'The spring is situated approximately 80 kilometres from Srinagar at an altitude of 1,876 metres and is believed to be the chief source of the Jhelum River. It was originally enclosed by a circular wall with a circumference of 80 metres. The emperor Jahangir (r. 1605-1627) had the shape changed to the favoured Mughal octagon in 1620.
Water-colour painting of the source of the River Jhelum in an octagonal tank at Verinag (Kashmir) by Charles J. Cramer-Roberts (1834-1895) in 1886. .’The spring is situated approximately 80 kilometres from Srinagar at an altitude of 1,876 metres and is believed to be the chief source of the Jhelum River. It was originally enclosed by a circular wall with a circumference of 80 metres. The emperor Jahangir (r. 1605-1627) had the shape changed to the favoured Mughal octagon in 1620.
Water-colour painting of a ruined temple at Boniar by Charles J. Cramer-Roberts 1876
Water-colour painting of a ruined temple at Boniar by Charles J. Cramer-Roberts 1876
Udhampur by James Duffield Harding in 1847
Udhampur by James Duffield Harding in 1847
Water-colour painting of Rajaori in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir by Charles J. Cramer-Roberts (1834-1895) in 1886.
Water-colour painting of Rajaori in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir by Charles J. Cramer-Roberts (1834-1895) in 1886.
Jammu by James Duffield Harding in 1847. This depicts a view of Jammu with the residence of Maharaja Gulab Singh on the banks of a tributary to the Chenab with mountains in the background and a hunting party in the foreground.
Jammu by James Duffield Harding in 1847. This depicts a view of Jammu with the residence of Maharaja Gulab Singh on the banks of a tributary to the Chenab with mountains in the background and a hunting party in the foreground.
Kashmir Shawl Factory - This chromolithograph is taken from William Simpson's 'India: Ancient and Modern' . Year 1867
Kashmir Shawl Factory – This chromolithograph is taken from William Simpson’s ‘India: Ancient and Modern’ . Year 1867

                                                           

 
Source : British Library

 

Tallest Kashmiri or The Two Kashmir Giants

Whenever the name of tallest Kashmiri in history is talked, we spontaneously understand that the name of Sheikh Abdullah is being said but here the phrase of ‘tallest Kashmiri’ is really about tallest Kashmiri in true sense. An American, Professor James Ricalton was friends with two Giants (twin brothers) of Kashmir with whom he clicked photos in Srinagar as well as in Delhi in 1903 during the Delhi Durbar. The two giants are known by Cashmere Giants or Kashmir Giants and were elite riflemen of Maharaja of Kashmir. One of them was 7ft 9in & other was 7ft 4in. The taller one was considered the the tallest of men in India at that time. At Delhi Darbar the photos were taken by George Rose in 1903. According to the notes available, we get to know that the Giants belonged to Balmokand, Kashmir. After searching, i can’t find where Balmokand is. It seems Balmokand’s name has been changed to something else now.

At Delhi Durbar
At Delhi Durbar
The Brisbane Courier Wednesday 4 February 1903. (Durbar took place in January 1903)
The Brisbane Courier Wednesday 4 February 1903. (Durbar took place in January 1903
At Delhi Durbar
At Delhi Durbar

GiantsGiantGiantGiantGiant

At Delhi Durbar
At Delhi Durbar
At Srinagar
At Srinagar

Kashmir and Sheikh Abdullah in Australian Press (1947-53)

Following are some newspaper clippings related to Kashmir and Sheikh Abdullah from 1947-53.

Click on the Pictures to enlarge and for your convenience please open the pictures divided into parts as a,b,c… in different windows so that there is less difficulty in reading & understanding.

old man
The Mail (Adelaide, SA ) Saturday 17 June 1950
Kashmir Is A Sportsman's Mecca  (By Harold K. Milks)  SRINAGAR (Associated Press). — Kashmir may be one big headache lo the United Nations. But it is paradise to the sportsman, especially if — like the writer — he prefers his hunting and fishing served up on a platter.  Mention the word trout within hearing of a Kashmiri and there arc dozens of fishermen clamour ing to lake you to their favourite streams. Mention black or brown bear. Inquire about any or a half a dozen species of mountain goat from the seldom-shot markhor downward. Whisper a desire to shoot scrre deer, a giant panther, a snow leopard, some wild sheep. Suggest that your favourite sport is downing giant geese or ducks from a blind. The answer is all the same from personable Colonel Ghulam Qadir (Director General of Kashmir Tour ism), who has hunted in both North and South America. Africa and Europe — who still - says there is no sporting place like Kashmir. 'Wo have them all, just wait ing to be hunted,' he said. 'In most cases the hunting is not too difficult. This correspondent mentioned in an off moment that he had never shot a bear. 'Well fix that,' said Colonel Qadir. Forty-five minutes after leaving Nedous Hotel, the famous Kash mir resort founded in Srinagar by Qadir's grandfather, we were in bear country.  Twenty onnutes later, after a walk of only 10 minutes from our jeep trail, 1 had the sights of a heavy double rifle on a husky voun'g bear, and within seconds the 3001b. animal was on his way to being a fur rug in this cor respondent's home. The personable colonel pro posed a return hunt and promised that it would include a good stag, plenty of geese and ducks, and — if the snow was not too heavy on the Himalayan Ranges — a monster brown bear as big and as dangerous as the North American grizzlies. 'This is the poor man's para dise,' insisted the colonel. 'Once you have a licence (and it is 130 rupees for the whole season) there are few other costs. Bring your own guns and ammunition, spend a few rupees for a shikarie (hunting guide) and shoot until the cows come home.' Black and brown bear are plentiful within 15 miles of Erinagar, Kashmir's capital, the black bear ranging upward to 5001b., the brownies weighing in at a top mark of around 8001b. Giant red stags are found in the highlands, especially during the autumn and winter. Higher up on the slopes of the Himalayan Ranges are no less than half a dozen varieties of wild goats, including the mark hors, which Colonel Qadir said is the world record markhor. Besides markhors, there are plenty of ibex, thar, gorel and serow, all types of mountain goats, plus Tibetan gazelles (goa) and Tibetan antelope (chiru). Wild sheep, cousins to the high-climbing goats, include ovis ammon (Hodgson), Sharpu (ovis vignei), and gharal or blue sheep (preseudois nayaur). HUGE ANTLERS Deer family members in the Kashmir shooting grounds are the hangul or Barasungha (Kashmir stag), whose antlers range up to a record mark of 51$ inches, and musk deer with four-inch tusks. Autumn brings some of the finest small game shooting in the world, and Colonel Qadir's guest book lists the names of some of the world's best known sports men who have shot from his blinds. Geese, duck, snipe, pheasants, and other game birds are found in plenty. Geese and ducks swarm into Keshmir in October, stay on until March, feeding over the lakes, rivers, and canals of the Kashmir Valley. Game and game birds are so plentiful— and hunters so few— that except for stag the Kashmir State Government has not found it necessary to fix bag limits. Even market hunters— boatmen who have mounted punt guns, muzzle-loading weapons with nails of old scrap iron on their boats— make no visible impres sion in the number of geese or ducks available in Kashmir. Pishing is much the same story. Several decades ago British sportsmen— with a financial boost from the then Maharaja of Kash muv-decided to stock some glacier-fed mountains with trout. To-day brown and rainbow trout are so plentiful that a season angler is guaranteed for his annual permit costing 400 rupees the right to fish in a dif ferent stream by himself every day between April 1 and Septem ber 30. Completely acclimatised, the trout reproduce on such a scale that fish and game wardens have found it un necessary to restock the streams from either of Kash mir's large trout hatcheries. For the man who wants a few days' fishing, Kashmir offers a choice of trout streams for a daily fee of only seven rupees. Top catch in the 1951 season was a trout of HZ-lb., taken oh a flv.  The disturbed political situation between India and Pakistan over Kashmir is in part responsible for the glut of fish and game in this Himalayan State. Colonel Qadir said the situation had kept away many sportsmen who feared hunting and fishing areas would be closed, or pro hibitions imposed on bringing firearms and ammunition into a 'disturbed area.' Actually, Colonel Qadir said, there are no restrictions on any of the hunting and fishing re gions in Kashmir.
2a Nambour Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser Friday 18 January 1952
2b Nambour Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser Friday 18 January 1952
2c Nambour Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser Friday 18 January 1952
2d Nambour Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser Friday 18 January 1952
3a The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld) Friday 31 October 1947
3b The Courier-Mail (Brisbane) Friday 31 October 1947
3c The Courier-Mail (Brisbane) Friday 31 October 1947
Capture 2
4 The Daily News (Perth, WA) Tuesday 4 November 1947
5a The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.) Tuesday 24 May 1949
5b The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.) Tuesday 24 May 1949
6 The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA) Thursday 22 May 1952

7b The Argus (Melbourne, Vic) Monday 23 March 1953
7a The Argus (Melbourne, Vic) Monday 23 March 1953

8a The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA ) Wednesday 8 April 1953
8b The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA ) Wednesday 8 April 1953
9 The Mercury (Hobart, Tas) Thursday 30 July 1953
8c The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA ) Wednesday 8 April 1953
10a The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW )Sunday 16 August 1953
10b The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW ) Sunday 16 August 1953
11a The Sun-Herald (Sydney, NSW) Sunday 29 November 1953
11b The Sun-Herald (Sydney, NSW) Sunday 29 November 1953
12a The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA) Saturday 5 December 1953
12b The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA) Saturday 5 December 1953

As i was searching on the topic of Kashmir Medical Missionary, i came across two books written by the two Missionary Doctors of that time which give us interesting information about life & times of common Kashmiris. The first book which i got hold of is ‘SEEDTIME IN KASHMIR’ which is a memoir of Dr William Elmslie & the second book is ‘BEYOND THE PIR PANJAL – LIFE AND MISSIONARY ENTERPRISE IN KASHMIR’ written by Dr Ernest Neve. Both the books lay emphasis on the missionary activities for which they were actually sent by the Church to Kashmir. William Elmslie’s book, ‘Seedtime in Kashmir’ is titled so as to denote the start of the Christian Missionary activity in Kashmir. William Elmslie was a Scottish Doctor who started first dispensary in Kashmir in 1865. This book has a collection of his notes, his letters to his mother and what he told to his friend & his wife. In the book, Dr Elmslie describes valley of Kashmir as Valley of Sin because according to him, the valley is reeling under darkness of other religions & not his religion. He at various times mocks the religions being followed in the valley. The major emphasis of this book as well his purpose of him being in Kashmir was  the missionary activity. The doctor talks of numerous instances where due to his missionary work, he was confronted by the Muslim Preachers & the Maharaja of that time. He talks of an event in which he was warded off by the preacher when he went to Hazratbal. He also talks of an unofficial offer being given by the Maharaja that if he stopped his missionary work & concentrated only on the medical work, he would be given thousand rupees per year. With all this written in the book, he also has some firsts in the medical field in Kashmir. Following are some of the excerpts of his book :

“But what is this oppression that I have spoken of? It is this — that at one swoop half of every man’s produce goes into the Government treasury. Half of everything, not merely of his grain, but even of the produce of his cattle, or whatever he has ; so that from each cow he must give every second year a calf to Government, and from every half-dozen of his chickens three go to the all-devouring sirkar. More than this even, his very fruit trees are watched by Government and half taken for the Maharajah. A poor Kashmiri can call nothing his own. But, in reality, it is not only half a man loses, for at least another quarter is taken by the rapacious government officials who have to collect the nominal half. Shakdars, Kardars, Ziladars, soldiers, and others, all come in for their share. The wonder is, how the people exist at all. Of course I am a credulous missionary, and believed every story I heard, but I should like to find the man in Kashmir who could deny these facts. But it is not only the poor peasants who suffer ; perhaps the condition of the shawl weavers is worse still They are all the servants of the Government, which supplies them with material, and doles out to them a scanty pittance of two annas a day, and then sells them the rice (which it has taken from the peasants) at any price which it chooses to set upon it. These shawl weavers are a lean wan race, recognizable at once from their sallow complexion, thin cheeks and despondent look………….

         “But there are other things in Kashmir which most terribly detract from its pleasure as a place of residence. The dirt is beyond description. Who can tell what Kashmir smells are ? Not the odours of roses, such as one has expected to fill the air ; but, oh ! such, that the dirtiest of London courts is sweeter than the cleanest of Kashmir villages. The clothes, too, of the people are filthy; not that the filth shows much, for all their garments are of grey wool, which is a most perfect concealer of dirt ; but not a few of their diseases are the result of their uncleanliness, and how often I have almost shrunk away from them, as, in my dispensary, when I have been examining a patient, I have seen the lice crawling on his clothes and his fleas skipping over to me…………..

Dr Elmslie had the habit of recording the events of his daily routine. Some of them which have a significance are noted below :

9th May,1865To-day is memorable in the history of the Kashmir Medical Mission, from the fact that I opened my dispensary this morning. I had given notice that I intended receiving patients from this date. The verandah on the southern aspect of the house was prepared for the sick people to meet in. Punctually at seven o’clock a.m., I, Qadir, the catechist, and my two native assistants went into the verandah, after supplicating together the blessing of God on the work which we were about to initiate in Srinagar. Qadir read the opening verses of the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, and made a running and suitable commentary on the passage. The service was closed with a brief prayer for the divine blessing. I now retired to the small verandah on the east side of the house, which I had fitted up — very rudely, I must confess — as a dispensary. Here the patients were seen one by one. The number present to-day was ten.

” 18th May,1865 — The number of patients this morning was forty. Excised a cystic tumour from a young man. Having explained the object and effects of chloroform, I asked him if he wished me to give it to him.. After some slight hesitation he consented. In all probability this is the first time a native Kashmiri has been anaesthetised in the valley with chloroform

 “31st May,1865Opened my small hospital to-day. It accommodates from four to five patients. The verandah, in which the patients used to assemble to hear the address, has been fitted up for this purpose, while the long verandah downstairs is in future to be our meeting-room, being much larger than the one above. Vaccinated the two children of the Brahmin at the head of financial matters in Kashmir.

” 15th June,1865 — With the aid of chloroform, removed a large staphyloma. The people are becoming acquainted with the fact there is a medicine that takes away pain by making them sleep, and readily take it when it is required. Heard to-day that orders had been issued by the heads of the native Government that no sepoy is to come to me for advice and medicine.

” 17th June,1865 — A poor coolie, who had been accidentally shot in the thigh, died this morning in hospital. His relatives would not grant a postmortem examination. It is impossible for medicine to make much progress in India as long as it continues to be so difficult to obtain specimens of morbid anatomy.

 ” 19th June,1865 — Assisted by the Eev. Mr. Yeates, performed resection of the wrist-joint. The patient was a young woman. Her parents were present during the operation.

” 21th July,1865 — (Srinagar). In the afternoon, performed Chopart’s operation for caries of the bones of tarsus. The patient was a girl, whose father and mother were present during the operation. Chloroform was administered to the patient, who went off very quickly. In operating, my difficulties are legion, for I have everything to do myself.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Some portions from Dr Ernest Neve’s book, Beyond The Pir Panjal : To begin with, a Kashmiri saying in the book

                     ” Haki’mas ta hakimas nishh tachhtam Khodayo.”

                     ” O God, save me from physicians and rulers “

‘In spite of his great physical strength and powers of endurance, the Kashmiri is highly strung and neurotic, and he will  often weep on slight provocation. In the presence of very little danger he will sob like a child. These people can bear pain much better than Europeans, but owing to want of self-control they make more fuss. Naturally impulsive and huffy, they respond readily to tactful handing  On the whole they are grateful for benefits. Their moral sense is  fairly well-developed. They readily distinguish between right and wrong. In money affairs they are close, and the more wealthy are mean. They spend little,  and except at weddings care nothing for show. Even the rich wear dirty clothes  lest they should be thought too well off. …………………….

A widespread cholera epidemic in 1867, while diminishing  the  number of  ordinary  patients, gave  the  Medical Mission the opportunity of helping the cholera-stricken. When Dr Elmslie laid down his work in 1869, he had achieved much. The opposition of the State authorities overcome  the confidence had been, to a considerable extent, of the Kashmiris had been won, and an immense amount of relief had been afforded to sufferers. Four Kashmiris had become Christians. One of these for many years continued to render faithful service in Kashmir as a Christian teacher. As an indirect result of the work of the Medical Mission, the first Kashmir State Dispensary had been started. And this was the forerunner of the present extensive State Medical Service…………

                  Dr Theodore Maxwell, who was Elmslie’s successor, was fortunate in meeting with a very friendly reception from the Maharajah Ranbir Singh, who, hearing that Maxwell was a nephew of General John Nicholson of Delhi fame, promised to grant good house accommodation. The work was reopened in 1874 under favourable conditions. Official opposition was  withdrawn. The State medical officer was friendly. The Maharajah granted a site for a hospital,  and at State expense a small building was erected on the north side of the Rustum Gaddi Hill………

                  From 1877-1879 Kashmir was limited by an appalling famine. In some parts of the valley, including Srinagar, it  is  said that the population was reduced by more than a half. Heavy rain fell  in the autumn, before the crops were gathered in. The rice and maize which arc the staple foods rotted. During the winter, rain continued. The cattle died from want of food. The spring harvest failed owing to bad weather. The authorities made a fatal mistake and ordered a house-to-house search for seed-grain, which the cultivators had stored for spring use. Believing, probably with good reason, that this grain would be confiscated by tyrannous and absolutely unprincipled officials, the people consumed the seed-grain themselves, or by hiding it in damp places they so damaged it  that it was no longer available for sowing. As a result, the  famine continued until  October 1879. Oil-cake, rice, chaff, the bark of the elm and yew, and even grasses and roots were eagerly devoured by the  starving people, who became absolutely demoralized and like  ravenous beasts, each struggling for his own life.The corpses of those who had perished were left lying or hastily dragged to the nearest well or hole, until these became choked with dead bodies. Dogs wandered about in troops preying upon the unburied carcasses  Pestilence dogged the steps of want and cholera broke out. Everything combined to intensify the disaster. Many officials in high places proved apathetic, or worse still, for selfish purposes, aided and abetted in keeping up prices, and even  intercepting the grain which was being sent in over rough mountain tracks for the relief of the dying.

                Quoting Dr A Neve, ‘Of recent years the completion of the  Jhelum Valley Road and the greatly increased traffic  to and from India have unfortunately made outbreaks of  cholera more frequent. In  twenty  years  there  have  been  five  serious epidemics with at least  forty thousand deaths. The fatal years were 1888, 1892, 1900, 1907 and 1910. Before the year 1900, however, a supply of pure water had been laid on to most parts of the city,  and thousands of lives were saved thereby. In 1888 and 1892 Srinagar was a City of Dreadful Death.” We are looking from the bows of our matroofed boat for the first sight of Srinagar, the so-called Venice of the East…’

               Until the introduction of general vaccination, practically the whole population  of  Kashmir contracted smallpox in childhood. The mortality was appalling. From this and other causes fifty per cent, of the children of Kashmir are said to die in infancy. I often wish the opponents of vaccination could be present in our consulting room to see the melancholy procession, day by day, of those who have lost their sight from smallpox.  For this disease is the most frequent cause of total incurable blindness. Like many other towns with large rivers, Srinagar, in a marvelous way, escaped having plague in a severe form. There was, however, a sharp epidemic in 1903. A man died immediately after his  arrival in the mail-cart from India. His body was buried  in  quicklime. His  friends  secretly exhumed the corpse in order to re-inter it near a sacred shrine. They were attacked and the  disease  spread rapidly. It assumed the pneumonic form. And curiously enough there was no  associated  rat  mortality. The authorities  took vigorous measures, at first burning down all plague-infected houses.They were, however, compelled to abandon this, owing to popular opposition. The disease gradually died out, after lingering with singular persistence in some isolated villages near the Wular Lake.The mortality, all  through, was terrible—over 95 per cent. Kashmiris, who were under European influence, were willing to submit to prophylactic inoculation. No European was attacked by plague.’

I was searching that how the allopathic medicine started in Kashmir & stumbled across a few references and papers on it which i would like to share with you people. I got references from the Indian Medical Gazette & Journal. Also i got a reference from a paper published online by the Royal College of Physicians in 2008.

Following is the Paper : 

mir-page-001

Paper J R Coll Physicians Edinb 2008;38:85–8© 2008 Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

Inspirational people and care for the deprived: medical missionaries in Kashmir

 NA Mir, V  Connell  Mir

Consultant Paediatrician, North Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust,Warrington; Clinical Lecturer (Hon.), University of Liverpool; Clinical Nurse Specialist, Royal Liverpool Children’s Hospital, Alder Hey, Liverpool, UK

Published online March 2008

 In the European cemetery in Srinagar is the grave of Lieutenant Robert Thorpe, a British soldier who gave up his life for the people of Kashmir in the late nineteenth century. Like many other British officers, Thorpe came to Kashmir, in 1860, to escape from the heat of the plains and to shoot big game in the mountains. However, he was overwhelmed by the sorrows and the suffering of the people under the maharaja’s rule. He tried to bring the harsh conditions of the people to the attention of the maharaja as well as the British administration in New Delhi, and wrote to various newspapers in England. Thorpe was then ordered to leave the country and, when he refused, was bound to his bed and carried towards the border by other soldiers. He managed to escape and returned to Srinagar; however, the next morning he died of poisoning after taking his breakfast. There was no further investigation from the British authorities in New Delhi, and Thorpe was quietly buried in Srinagar. Other British officers who had been aware of Thorpe’s efforts raised 14,000 rupees for the CMS in London and requested them to send a medical missionary team to Kashmir.

   The picturesque valley of Kashmir is situated at an altitude of 1,730–7,077 metres above sea level and has a present-day population of more than 6·3 million people; it has two state-run medical schools, multiple tertiary healthcare centres including a supra-regional medical centre, and a large network of district and sub-district hospitals and dispensaries, offering free medical facilities to the people. At the beginning of nineteenth century, however, there was no hospital or dispensary in the state. Then, the country was very poor, and people died of malnutrition and in epidemics of cholera, plague and other illnesses.

EARLY MEDICAL MISSIONARIES

In 1864, the Reverend Robert Clark, the senior CMS missionary in the Punjab, went over the mountain passes into the Kashmir Valley. He was accompanied by his wife, who, without asking anybody’s leave, quietly opened a dispensary for women – now the site of the Government College For Women, Nowakadal – in Srinagar. Clark’s wife was not a qualified doctor, but knew more than the native hakims (herbalists) and very soon hundreds of women, who would have otherwise died of simple illnesses, came to her to receive treatment.

A young Scottish doctor of distinction, William Jackson Elmslie (born in Aberdeen in 1832), a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, responded to the Punjab Appeal initiated by the British officers after Thorpe’s campaign,and the following summer arrived and opened his dispensary on 9 May 1865. Elmslie (Figure 1) worked under extremely hard conditions; there was no hospital and he held his clinic in the open under a tree. During that first summer he saw more than 2,000 patients. There was opposition from the maharaja and his officials, who put firm conditions on the team: they were not allowed to stay in winter or purchase any land or buildings. Hence, Elmslie had to use a tent, adapting its inner part for inpatients. In the summer of 1866, more than 3,500 patients were seen by just two doctors. The work went on for seven summers,and overseas visitors helped Elmslie to carry out his work.The maharaja surrounded the dispensary with a cordon of soldiers to mark who attended, and opened a rival hospital himself, which was all to the good as there had not been anything of the kind before.

 Elmslie was a keen surgeon and performed many procedures under abysmal conditions but with successful results.This included the first lithotomy, for bladder stone, performed on 23 May 1866. He reported 30 cases of skin epithelioma and suggested its relationship with the use of Kangri, a clay fire-pot used close to the skin to keep warm in winter. Elmslie died while crossing the mountains in 1872.

Dr Theodore Maxwell, who succeeded Elmslie, was the nephew of General John Nicholson and exerted his New Delhi influence.Thus, the maharaja’s government became more favourable and gave land at the foothills of Solomon’s Temple in Srinagar for the construction of a hospital.

There was no end to the hardships of the people, with terrible famine following an exceptionally early winter in 1877. Another eminent physician, Dr Edmund Downes, and his team undertook much relief work, distributing food and helping to dig a canal.The plight of the mentally sick was distressing and, as these patients had no home or carers, they wandered through the streets and living as beggars.An asylum was built by the state in 1881–82 and handed over to the Mission Hospital team. Downes opened the asylum for the mentally sick; during its first year more than 250 patients were treated as inpatients. This was followed by the opening of a Leper Hospital, built in 1891–92, in Srinagar. On 15 August 1888, a dispensary that later became a hospital exclusively for women was opened by the Church of England Zenana (Ladies) Missionary Society. Among the notable female medical missionaries who worked hard to run this hospital were Dr Fanny J Butler and Dr Kate Knowles, with trained nurses Miss Irene Petrie and Miss Elizabeth Newman. During 1877–1880 Downes and the Reverend Mr Wade opened an orphanage where more than 150 children were cared for.

THE MISSION HOSPITAL

Two significant events changed conditions for the better in the Valley of Kashmir. The first was the arrival of Dr Arthur Neve in 1882 and the second was the Maharaja Rhanbir Singh’s death in 1885, leading to his son, Maharaja Pratap Singh,taking over the reigns of the state. Upon his arrival, Dr Neve  found the hospital to be a line of mud huts on the side of the hill. His vision was to develop a modern hospital. He and his brother, Ernest Neve, who joined him four years later, gradually gathered enough funds from donations to build and run the 80-bed Mission Hospital, which opened in 1888. In 1893, the then 135-bed Mission Hospital catered for 20,606 patient visits, including 853 inpatients and 2,589 operations. Other British staff who joined included Dr Cecil Vosper, Dr MR Roche and three English nurses, Nora Neve (Neve’s niece), Lucy McCormick and H Smith.A large number of visiting British physicians, surgeons and nurses helped them during the peak periods.

The new maharaja, Pratap Singh, was a reformist who took steps to eradicate poverty by abolishing harsh taxation laws and forced labour. He was very impressed with the Mission Hospital work and gave annual donations and free power supplies, and visited the hospital on several occasions. He also ceased the decree that demanded expulsion of foreigners each winter. However, the maharaja was unable to implement any real social and welfare plans for the improvement of people because of his weak and corrupt administration. Consequently, in 1889 the British government in New Delhi decided to hand over most of the maharaja’s administrative powers to the British Resident, Mr C Plowden, and his council in Srinagar. Kashmir Valley had an epidemic of cholera in 1896 and an outbreak of the plague in 1903–1904, which cost thousands of lives.The Mission Hospital team was at the forefront of relief work and helped the local administration in setting up medical facilities in various towns; including the opening of a new well-equipped hospital in Srinagar. In 1899, the now 150-bed Mission Hospital treated 16,158 outpatients with a total attendance of 38,954 patients, which included 4,143 operations.

 DR ARTHUR NEVE, FRCSE (1859–1919)

Dr Neve undertook his medical training at the University of Edinburgh in 1876. After working as a house physician in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, he was appointed resident medical officer to the Livingstone Memorial Dispensary and Training Institution in Edinburgh, under the Medical Missionary Society. In 1881 he worked as a resident physician at 39 Cowgate, a dispensary and hostel for senior students in one of the poorest districts of Edinburgh. He later joined the CMS and went to Kashmir in 1882. Besides publishing several medical papers in The Lancet, he was the author of numerous books, including Kashmir, Ladakh and Tibet (1899), Picturesque Kashmir (1900), ThirtyYears in Kashmir (1913), and TheTourist’s Guide to Kashmir, Ladakh and Skardo (1923). He was a keen mountaineer and paid three visits to the 23,409-ft Nun Kun mountain peaks in 1902, 1904 and 1910. Romesh Thong Peak is also called Sunset Peak, a name given to it by Neve. He was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind Gold Medal by the British government in India in 1901, served as the vice-president of the Indian Medical Congress in 1909 and was the president of the Medical Missionary Association of India from 1908–1910.

In 1915, Neve joined the British war effort, returning to Kashmir in the spring of 1919. At the end of August 1919, he was suddenly struck down by a fever and died in Kashmir, at the age of 59, on 5 September. He had spent 34 years of his life in the region, with the sole objective of helping the poor and the sick.The state had never before witnessed such a large gathering of local people to mourn the death of a hero.

DR ERNEST NEVE, FRCSE (1861–1946)

Ernest Neve was Arthur Neve’s younger brother by two years. He joined Arthur in medical training at the University of Edinburgh in 1878 and then followed him to Kashmir in 1886. Ernest was also the author of several books, including Beyond the Pir Panjal. Life Among the Mountains and Valleys of Kashmir (1912); A Crusader in Kashmir (1928), the story of his brother’s life and work;and Things Seen in Kashmir (1931). He pioneered work on Kangri cancers, which, as Elmslie had suggested the previous century, are epitheliomas induced on the abdominal wall or inner surface of the thigh of Kashmiri people, who warm themselves by braziers containing live coals held under their clothing and thus sustain recurrent burns. In 1923, Ernest Neve reported the results of his success with the surgical treatment of Kangri-burn cancer in a series of 2,491 cases in the British Medical Journal.

CONCLUSION

Within the wider history of the British empire, the work of medical missionaries in India offers an interesting and important insight into the humanitarian role played by these physicians and nurses. It also reflects the level of their dedication in providing modern medical treatment to the sick and the needy. Scottish medical missionaries were the first to establish modern medical care in the valley of Kashmir in 1864. With their own distinct Scottish missionary zeal and healthcare traditions, they were able to initiate, guide and influence the development of medical treatment facilities in the state of Kashmir.They continue to inspire and remind us of the core values of caring for the sick in deprived areas.At the site of the old Mission Hospital in Srinagar now stands the largest Chest Disease Hospital in the valley, a monument to the great medical missionary pioneers who laid down their lives in the service of the Kashmiri people.

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

From The Indian Medical Gazette published in January 1907, i also got some clinical conditions which were treated in Srinagar by the doctors of The Kashmir Medical Mission.

CASE OP PYONEPHROSIS WITH CALCULUS. KASHMIR MISSION HOSPITAL. Undbbthb care op A. Neve, F.R.C.8.B.

A WOMAN aged 30 was admitted on April 4th 1903, with a history of pain for some months. A large hard swelling was felt in the right hypochondriac region, extending downwards to near the crest of the ilium, and forwards to within three inches of the umbilicus. The dullness could be marked off above from the liver. The fever and anaemia of the patient indicated suppuration. Being sure that adequate adhesion must have formed, an incision was made over the most prominent part, and at no great depth pus was tapped. On exploring, a stone was felt, and withdrawn with narrow bladed forceps. It was not firmly embedded. It was a black irregular calculus, about the size of a water chestnut. The wound was drained with a rubber tube 3 inches long, and for the first fortnight the suppuration was free, and the temperature several times went over 102, but later on she made good progress. After a month the temperature remained normal, and there was very little discharge, although a sinus remained. She was dismissed on tlie 18ch of June.

CASE OF LARGE GOITRE; EXCISION THYROIDISM: RECOVERY. By B. F. NEVE, p.b.c.8. (Kdin.), Kashmir Mission Hospital.

Fatah, cbL 23, male, was admitted on September 8th, 1903, suffering from a large bronchocele. The tumour, which w?is the size of a small cocoanut, was on the right side. The isthmus was flattened out and pressing on the trachea. The left lobe was also somewhat enlarged. As a general rule, Kashmiris are well satisfied with the result of the action of the biniodide of mercury ointment, which has a great reputation, and for which they frequently ask. Consequently, unless the goitre is giving considerable discomfort, they decline operative interference. The following day, I removed the tumour with the kind assistance of Dr. H. T. Holland of Quetta. The operation presented no special difficulty, but was tedious and involved the h’gature of an enormous number of vessels, although we were working well beyond the limits of the capsule. And the isthmus was broad and very adherent. There was a good deal of unavoidable handling of the tumour mass. After excision I noticed that the cut surface of the isthmus was oozing freely and continued to do so, but the blood was thin and watery. The amount of blood lost was small. This was fortunate, for an hour afterwards, I was urgently summoned to the wards on account of haemorrhage. On removing the dressings, there was an appalling gush. I opened up the wound and, passing my thumb round immediately above the clavicle, commanded all the vessels and secured a branch of the internal jugular, which had been cut near the main trunk and had retracted. The ligature had apparently slipped off from the stra n of vomiting. The patient had lost 15 to 20 ounces of blood in the interval. He was fairly well till the following day, but began then to get restless, and a troublesome cough set in, and his condition soon became critical. He kept on trying to clear his throat and complained of severe headache. The pulse rate was found to be very high — 148, while the> temperature was 100 2**. The patient’s face was”” rather suffused. The dressings were soaked with a thin discharge. The combination of symptoms was unmistakable  and pointed to thyroid intoxication. The following treatment was adopted. The wound was opened and irrigated, and then carefully stuffed with iodoform gauze. As often as this got moist every few hours, it was removed, the wound again irrigated and fresh gauze inserted. Immediate improvement set in. The patient himself remarked upon the relief experienced every time the wound was dressed. On September 13th, the temperature was normal, the pulse had dropped to 90, and from that time recovery was uninterrupted. The points of interest about the case are that the symptoms did not at once follow the haemorrhage and slowly pass off, but that they gradually set in during the 24 hours following the operation, reaching their maximum intensity after 24 hours. The peculiar cough, restlessness, rapid pulse and suffused face, and the copious watery discharge were all, I think, characteristic of thyroidism. The actual poison was, no doubt, in the discharge and probably was derived from the isthmus. Possibly cases with a broad isthmus are more likely to suffer from this complication. In doing the operation the tumour should be very gently handled and not squeezed, and, if possible, the isthmus should be ligatured en bloc. If this is impossible, and oozing is occurring from the surface, it would be wise to sear it with the thermo- or electric cautery. It is important to recognise thyroid intoxication when it occurs and to treat it promptly, as otherwise it is likely to prove fatal.

THE KASHMIR MEDICAL MISSION. Our pages for many years past have been enriched with the records of the good surgical and medical work done in the hospitals (of the Sept. 1904) NOTES ON CURRENT TOPICS. Kashmir Medical Mission, and to our readers the names of Mr. Arthur Neve, F.R.C.S., (Ed.) and Dr. E. F. Neve are very well known. We have received the annual report of the medical work of the mission for 1903. The introduction describes the floods of June 1903, which did so much damage in the neighbourhood of Srinagar. So with flood, scarcity and even plague, the ” Happy Valley ” was not so pleasant as is usual. The summary notes no less than 3,390 operations. The writer comments upon the rarity of tuberculous disease of glands and joints as compared with their frequency in British hospitals. ” Appendicitis is extremely rare. If we except the peculiar kangH-huvn cancer, of which we had 65 cases, malignant disease is not common in Kashmir. Our returns for the past year show only two cases of carcinoma of the breast, and 19 instances of sarcoma. Two more successful ovariotomies were performed. Both ovarian and fibroid tumours are relatively quite rare. On the other hand, as is usual in the East, eye diseases are common. For entropion alone,480 operations were required, and for pterygium 237. Altogether there were more than 1,000 operations for eye diseases,’* (including 80 for cataract).

The carcinoma statistics quoted in this paper hear out the general principle that cancer tends to occur at the sites of chronic irritation where there is constant need for cell repair. Fifty-eight cases of epithelioma and 36 of rodent ulcer occurred in the skin, which in India is almost constantly the seat of injury, owing to the scanty clothing worn by the Natives. Many of these are the scalp. It seems possible that they are set up by irritation caused by cuts with a blunt razor, for most Mahomedans shave the head as a whole, while many Hindus shave a portion. In patients from Kashmir an epithelioma of the skin of the exterior abdominal wall is common from bums produced by small charcoal fires in earthenware vessels, which they hold against the bare skin under the long, flowing skirt in winter to keep themselves warm. The freedom of Mahomedans from cancer of the penis, and their practice of circumcision, bears upon this point.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

From the Indian National Medical Journal Vol.23, No.1, 2010, the following pages i have extracted which are in relevance to Kashmir :

Classics in Indian Medicine

Capture

William Elmslie initially studied at the University of Aberdeen and graduated in 1864 from the University of Edinburgh. He went to Kashmir in 1865 when he heard of the plight of the people there because of the practically non-existent health services. Elmslie was the first person to practise western medicine in Kashmir. He was a dedicated surgeon who, because of resistance from the Maharaja and the local officials, was forced to hold his clinic under a tree and later in a tent! In fact, after some years, the Maharaja opened a rival hospital. Elmslie was perhaps the first person to describe what we now term as ‘kangri cancer’ and also correctly suggest its aetiology. He also did lithotomies for bladder stones and contributed greatly during the cholera outbreaks. He had planned to bring out a dictionary of the Kashmiri language, but died young of a liver disease in Gujarat on 18 November 1872.

Arthur Neve did his medical training at the University of Edinburgh in 1876. After working in Edinburgh for some years, he joined the Church Missionary Society and went to Kashmir in 1882. He was head of the Kashmir Mission Hospital for 37 years until his death in 1919. Besides being a skilful surgeon, he was a Himalayan mountaineer of repute and was the author of such books as Kashmir, Ladakh and Tibet, Picturesque Kashmir, and Thirty Years in Kashmir. During World WarI, he served as a Major in England, and later, in France. In 1919, he returned to Kashmir where he was given additional charge of the State Leper Asylum. He died of a fever suddenly on 5 September 1919 and was awarded a state funeral by the Maharaja of Kashmir. He was the subject of two biographies, Arthur Neve of Kashmir written by A. P.Shepherd and published by the Church Missionary Society, London in 1926 as well as A Crusader in Kashmir written by Ernest Neve.

Ernest F. Neve followed in his brother’s footsteps and trained at Edinburgh and joined him in Kashmir in 1886. He served as honorary/consulting surgeon at the same hospital until his death. His range of surgery and his contributions to the people of Kashmir are evident when one realizes that he published papers on cataract surgery, tubercular lymphadenitis, caesarean section in osteomalacia, besides kangri cancer. He was also one of the founders of the Kashmir State Leper Hospital in 1892 and was an honorary superintendent. Like his elder brother, he was a mountaineer and writer and wrote Beyond the Pir Panjal, Things Seen in Kashmir and A Crusader in Kashmir, a biography of Arthur’s life and work. He too served (as Captain) in the army during World War I. For over a decade after retirement, he continued to stay in Kashmir, where he eventually died in 1946.

ETIOLOGY OF EPITHELIOMA AMONG THE KASHMIRIS

BY  W. J. ELMSLIE.

In the beginning of the month of May, 1865, a Medical Mission Dispensary was opened in Sirinagar, the capital of Kashmir, under the auspices of the Punjab Medical Mission Society, and was kept open till the middle of October, when the season, as it is called, comes to an end, and all Europeans, whatever may be the nation to which they belong, are compelled to quit the valley, unless they be in the pay of His Highness the Maharaja of Kashmir and Jummoo. About the same time this year the dispensary was re-opened, and has been daily frequented by the sick, both men and women of the city and the adjoining country. The total number of patients belonging to the valley who have, up to the present date (18th September), applied at the dispensary for medicine and treatment is 5,080 and of this number no fewer than 30 have been cases of unmistakeable epithelioma, as was clearly and indubitably shown by the history, symptoms, and microscopical characters of the disease. These figures yield the most remarkable and unusually high proportion of one case of epithelioma in every 254 patients. The following table exhibits briefly, at a glance the names, sexes, ages, country, sites of disease, and treatment of these 20 cases of epithelioma.

 Epithelioma, as it occurs at home, is a disease which seldom makes its appearance before the age of 40; more frequently affects men than women ; as to situation, is partial to the lower lip, the penis, the scrotum, the vulva, the os uteri, the bladder, the larynx and the tongue, and is generally supposed to be produced by some sort of irritation. Now it will readily be observed, on inspecting the prefixed table, that there are certain remarkable differences existing between the disease as it is met with in England, and

Table of twenty cases of Epithelioma treated at the Medical Mission dispensary, Sirinagar, Kashmir.

Number Names Sex Age Country Site Treatment
1 Mukhti… Female 20 yrs Kashmiri Abdomen Excision
2 Rajbah… Male 38
3 Razakh… 30 Left thigh
4 Gafara… 24 Right thigh
5 Razakh… 50 Would not
submit to
treatment
6 Naki… 21 Abdomen Excision
7 Gulab… 60
8 Jamil… 70 Right thigh
9 Doni… Female 40 Abdomen
10 Adna… Male 50 Left thigh
11 Alam… 50 Abdomen
12 Hatim… 50 Left thigh
13 Fazli… Female 42 Abdomen
14 Sadik… Male 19
15 Gafara… 3
16 Jamah… 60
17 Mouli… Female 60 Caustics
18 Sadik… Male 50
19 Akldar… 60 Right thigh
20 Masihena… 50 Abdomen

the affection as it presents itself in Kashmir. While the disease is rarely met with before 40 in England, no fewer than 7 out of the 20 cases treated at the Medical Mission Dispensary, Sirinagar, occurred before that age, and one little patient was only three years old.

It must not be supposed that the table gives the true state of matters with respect to the comparative frequency of the disease as occurring amongst males and females ; for very many of the women, in common with the great majority of Asiatic women, entertain a strong and all but insuperable antipathy towards European skill and medicine, more especially when their ailments are situated in parts of the body where a spurious delicacy dictates to the pitiable and ignorant sufferers that it is preferable to allow them to remain uncared for and untreated, than expose them to the gaze of a foreigner and a white face. It seems probable that the apparent dislike of the European physician entertained by native women is mainly due, in very many instances at least, to the evil and bigoted influence of their male relatives and friends. But be this as it may, this antipathy of native women towards the Doctor of another continent is nevertheless true, and should be constantly remembered when statistics are brought forward to show the comparative frequency of particular diseases among native men and women, for if it is forgotten, the statistics are sure to lead to an erroneous conclusion. Although, therefore, it would appear from the mere inspection of the table that the frequency with which epithelioma affects men and women in Kashmir, is pretty similar to what it is at home, nevertheless, knowing and remembering this fact respecting the strong objections which native women have to European physicians, we have good reason for believing that a much larger proportion of women suffer from epithelioma than the prefixed table would lead us to conclude.

One of the most curious and interesting points connected with epithelioma as it obtains amongst the degraded Kashmiris, is its remarkable preference for the abdomen and inner aspects of the thighs. It would be hasty and unwarrantable, with our present very limited observation and experience, to say that epithelioma occurs in no other situations among the pitiable inhabitants of the Fair Valley, but certainly, so far as the disease has been seen at the Medical Mission Dispensary, Sirinagar, these are the two sites it has invariably occupied. What can be the cause of this most note-worthy preference as to situation? That there must be something special and peculiar in the habits and customs of the Kashmiris to account for this exclusive choice of the abdomen and thighs on the part of epithelioma, seems pretty certain, and we believe that something to be what we shall now proceed to relate.

The clothing of the Kashmiris, both men and women, consists essentially of one long loose woollen garment, which extends from the neck to the ankles, and is not very unlike a woollen night-gown. So far as this article of clothing is concerned, men and women are dressed exactly alike. The men, however, frequently wear a kamarband round their waists when they have a journey to make, or some piece of work to perform which requires more or less of activity. The sleeves of the garment being wide and capacious, the wearer can with the greatest facility take his or her arms out of them, and place them alongside the body, in immediate contact with the bare skin. So much for the dress of the Kashmiris, in so far as it concerns our present subject; and now for a word or two respecting the climate of the valley.

Kashmir, a valley about forty miles long from north-west to south-east, and on an average fifteen miles broad, is situated in 34° 05′ 28″.69′” north latitude, 74° 58′ 00″ east longitude, and 5,350 feet above the level of the sea. The climate which this proverbially beautiful valley enjoys is in some respects similar to that which prevails in the most favoured spots in the south of England. The winter, however, is said some years to be extremely severe, as many as two feet of snow sometimes falling. We know for certain that many of the mornings and evenings of the months of April and May, and September and October are very cold indeed, although no snow falls in the plains during these months.

The houses of the Kashmiris are not at all calculated to afford efficient shelter to their occupants against the inclemency of the weather, being for the most part built of wood, and being besides generally in the most rickety and tumble-down condition imaginable. So far as the writer is aware, they are entirely destitute of fire-places, and when a fire is kindled inside one of them, the smoke must find a way of escape, either by the door or the window, which is never of glass, but as a rule, of trellis work, which is often very pretty, and for which Kashmir is justly famous.

Coal being unknown in the valley, wood is the material generally employed as fuel. The very poorest of the people, however, collect in the summer and autumn the ordure of cattle, which they mix with straw and then form into round cakes which they dry in the sun’s rays and carefully preserve against the coming winter. Having premised so much respecting the clothing and houses of the Kashmiris, and the climate and fuel of the valley, it only now remains briefly to describe a remarkable custom which the Kashmiris have, and which has an important bearing on the etiology of epithelioma, if we are not very much mistaken.

The Kashmiris being extremely poor and inactive, and the climate at different seasons of the year being unpleasantly and bitterly cold, the inhabitants of the Fair Valley are in the habit of carrying about with them, wherever they go, earthen-ware pots, which they have denominated kangris. These kangris or portable braziers are made of clay of varying fineness, and are usually covered with wicker-work, more or less ornamented according to the price of the article. Men and women, young and old, rich and poor, Hindu and Mussulman, all have their kangri, and all consider it indispensable in the cold season. The annexed rough pen-and-ink sketch will perhaps enable the fancy to form a dim conception of the shape and general appearance of the utensil as used by the Kashmiris.*

When the weather is extremely cold, it is customary for both men and women, while walking about out of doors, to carry the kangri under their loose woollen gowns, and in close proximity with the bare skin of the abdomen. When in doors, or in a sitting posture, the Kashmiris place the kangri between their thighs. The fuel consumed in the kangri is charcoal, and the heat evolved is often considerable. These then are the facts concerning epithelioma, and the use of the kangri or portable brazier used by the inhabitants of the valley of Kashmir ; and to say the very least, it seems highly probable that the disease is caused by the injurious effects of the heat of the kangri on the skin of the abdomen and thighs, the very part with which the utensil comes in contact when used. Do these facts respecting epithelioma among the Kashmiris throw any light on the disease as it occurs in the lower lip of smokers at home? It seems probable that they do, for the disease is said most frequently to affect those who use short-stalked pipes, as is generally done in Scotland. If the heat of the kangri acts injuriously on the skin, giving rise to epithelioma, it is just what we should have expected that those who use the shortest-stalked pipes would be the most liable to the disease at home, because then the heat of the stalk, coeteris paribus, will be greater.

With respect to the use of portable braziers for the purpose of warming, the custom is not altogether unknown in England, for in the straw plait districts the children employed in that work are said to carry earthen-ware or tin pots with them to warm themselves with in winter while engaged at their work. The writer saw with his own eyes, during a tour in the north of Italy, the inhabitants of Florence making use of a vessel not very much different from the Kashmirian kangri, and for exactly the same purpose. The use of portable braziers is not calculated to act injuriously in a similar manner in the case of the English and Italians, as the arrangement of the dress is considerably different to what obtains among the poverty-stricken inhabitants of the Fair Valley.

SQUAMOUS CELLED EPITHELIOMA DUE TO KANGRI BURN

BY  ERNEST F. NEVE, M.D., C.M., F.R.C.S.E., Senior Surgeon, Kashmir Mission Hospital.

AT the present time the causation of cancer is being so vigorously investigated that at any time a flood of light may be thrown upon the whole subject. Meanwhile, although the origin of many forms of malignant disease is involved in profound obscurity, there are certain types of cancer, which have a sharply defined causation. The kangri cancer is a case in point.

The affection is considerably commoner in men. This is perhaps due to women not using the kangri so continuously as men, owing to domestic occupations, cooking, etc. The essential cause of the disease is constant irritation by intense heat from the kangri (Fig. 1) being held against the body and producing first dermatitis, then proliferation of epithelium, followed by escape of the overgrown cell elements from trophic control. Heat is the prime factor. Wood charcoal is consumed in the kangri. Products of combustion, wood ash, and volatile substances may play a secondary part. There is a series of epitheliomata. At one end of the scale we have tar, paraffin and soot cancers. Intermediate are clay-pipe lip cancer and tongue and lip cancer probably caused by smoking cigarettes. At the other end of the scale are the cancers due to heat irritation. I have not met with cases due to the sun’s heat or to light rays, but further down the spectrum the minute x-ray waves and radium are dangerous. Then there is a group due to chemical irritants, caustics, the betel chewers’ cancer, and the mysterious action of arsenic which ought to be a help in elucidating the problem underlying cancerous cell proliferation.

The epithelioma of workers in comb factories, due to contact of hot water pipes with the skin, is important because it appears to be an instance of simple heat action apart from chemical agencies euxetics, etc.

The kangri burn cancer is I think also due to simple heat. The temperature to which the skin is exposed is, I have found by experiment, between 150° and 200° F. Thus, year by year we have going on under observation the experimental production of cancer by the action of one particular cause. The average age of the patients affected is 55. I have seen a few cases in patients under 40 but they are rare. About 6 or 7 per cent. are over 70 years of age. There may be some pre-disposing factor. Many elderly Kashmiris exhibit small localized papules or macules. These are dry, slightly scaly and usually pigmented. Curiously enough they are found not only on areas exposed to heat irritation but also on extensor surfaces and on the back, although they are more abundant on sites liable to intermittent kangri burn. Does heat irritation in one area stimulate epithelial growth elsewhere?

Where there is actual exposure to heat rays, every stage of chronic dermatitis may be seen, from redness with or without desquamation to thickened patches, warty induration, or even horny outgrowth projecting from the surface. The skin of the thighs and abdomen, owing to the constant application of heat, often appears dry and horny. Pigmentation is increased over the distribution of the superficial veins, the course of which is marked by brown discolouration. Such patients are especially prone to epithelioma. The frequency of actual scars from previous burns is noteworthy. And it is these which usually form the starting point of the malignant growth.

Thus we have under observation, in different patients, every stage, from the earliest signs of epithelial proliferation to the most advanced cancerous growths with secondary deposits.

The evidence of the kangri burn cancer is indeed strongly against the parasitic theory of cancer. It is a local disease from a local cause, arising on a site which is in a protected position. The hands, face and feet, which are exposed without clothing are never attacked. Parasitic diseases are more apt to attack young people than the elderly. The local infectivity of cancer is no proof of parasitic origin. Skin grafts by Thiersch’s method not only adhere but grow, and the more sterile they are the better they grow. The peculiar vital stimulating influence of such a graft has probably some bearing on the problem. The essential factor in epithelioma is the outlawing of a mass of tissue, over which the nerve influence controlling growth has

ceased to act. What is the mechanism of regulation of epithelial growth? What part does trophic nerve influence play? What share have endocrines? The skin changes in Addison’s disease are suggestive. So are the influence of the ovarian internal secretion on mammary cancer and the action of arsenic in the occasional production of epithelioma. All these considerations are adverse to the parasitic theory of origin of epithelial cancer. The incidence in elderly people emphasises the probable relation to impaired functions of growth and repair and unstable equilibrium of endocrines.

The kangri burn epithelioma is usually met with as a single or multiple growth resting on a scarred skin surface. It is confined to the flexor aspects of the body. In the earliest stages warty or keratinous thickening may be present without erosion. But more commonly there is an ulcer. There may be excavation with little increase of tissue. But there is also a type with fungation. The eroded type is more characteristic of the aged. It consists of ulceration with irregular steep edges, undermined in places, and a ragged floor with necrotic areas and deep recesses, the whole bathed in thin, intensely foul discharge which has overflowed at some dependent angle and dried on the skin around. In many cases, however, overgrowth is more evident and there is a projection of two or three inches diameter approximately circular or oval with a crater like ulcer (Fig. 2). Sometimes the overgrowth is the most striking feature and there is a fungating excrescence projecting one or two inches from the surface and measuring three or four inches across. In advanced cases muscles, peritoneum, costal cartilages or even bone may be encroached upon by the infiltrating base of such tumours. More than fifty per cent. of the cases, when first seen show secondary infection of lymph glands. If the growth is above the umbilicus, the anterior axillary glands may be attacked. As, however, the tumour is usually on the thigh or lower abdomen it is the glands of Scarpa’s triangle and along Poupart’s ligament which require examination and especially those close to the pubic spine. In advanced cases the deep femoral and even the external iliac glands are involved. Infected glands soften early. They may attain the size of a pigeon’s egg. When they break down, rapid diffuse infiltration occurs, the overlying skin becomes red and brawny, and suppuration follows. Such a secondary growth in the groin or axilla then presents a similar appearance to the primary cancerous ulcer except that it is deeper and undefined in extent (Fig. 2). From its ragged cavities and deep recesses there is copious foul discharge until, after months of suffering the patient dies of exhaustion, septic intoxication, or haemorrhage. The external iliac, femoral or axillary arteries may be opened up by ulceration with rapidly fatal result.

The appearance of the kangri burn cancer on section are characteristic. Stiles’ method is useful in demonstrating the epithelial neoplastic infiltration. The substance of the tumour consists of a framework of fibrous tissue with numerous blood vessels and masses of friable tissue, mottled red and grey.

Sometimes woolly looking patches are found, composed of cholesterin crystals. The surface of the tumour shows thickened and heaped up edges. The floor is thinner and grey or cream coloured with translucent opaque patches. Microscopically, the growths present all the characters of typical squamous–celled epithelioma with abundant cell nests (Figs. 3 and 4). The lymph glands are often mere bags of soft septic epithelial debris. In the early stages they show on section grey spots or patches and later on granular pultaceous areas. These are found to consist of large

epithelial cells of the same type as the primary tumour. Microscopically, nucleated cells are found in the sinuses, arranged concentrically, the inner layers being flattened and keratinous (Fig. 5).

During the past thirty-five years, on an average, we have performed 45 operations annually for kangri burn cancer as compared with 10 per annum for other forms of cancer.

The first procedure is to remove the lymph glands through a separate incision. The “Scylla” of imperfect removal or damage with wound implantation and the “Charybdis” of excessive dissection in subcutaneous tissue, imperilling the vitality of the thin skin of the groin or axilla, must be equally avoided. The glands, if softened, may have septic contents. Rough handling must be avoided or they may rupture. Small glands of the external pubic group are apt to elude observation. In epigastric tumours both axillae should be carefully examined.

There is a knack in excising the primary growth in such a manner as to avoid infection of the fresh wound. It may previously be cauterized with pure carbolic acid or chloride of zinc. Too much care cannot be taken in striving to render the surrounding foul and sodden skin aseptic. With the aid of two or three volsellae fixed in the skin well beyond the tumour above and below and perhaps at the sides and held by an assistant, the growth is raised as far as possible and then excised with a rapid clean incision. Frequently underlying muscle requires removal and small areas of peritoneum may require excision. Even where the edges cannot be brought together and omentum is

exposed, I have obtained healing under a dressing of ambrine wax. In advanced cases very extensive operation may be required. An incision more than a foot in length may be required to clear tumour, intervening area and axilla or groin. Ill defined induration and redness in a lymphatic area almost invariably preclude operation. Such cases if dealt with are largely responsible for mortality from rapid recurrence, or early haemorrhage due to ulceration into a large vessel. Occasionally it may be worth while to excise the primary growth, even if the glands are inoperable.

A large number of cases when first seen are, however, too advanced for surgical treatment. Many patients after discharge continue to use the kangri and sometimes get a recurrent local growth. Recurrence in lymph glands is doubtless due to an incomplete operation. Most patients in whom a return of the disease occurs probably come back to us. Such cases form certainly less than 20 per cent. of the total.

Summary.—The cause of the kangri burn epitheliomais definite irritation, viz., the continued application of intense heat. In this respect it is similar to the cancers arising from electrical, chemical, thermal and mechanical stimulation. The nature of this causation is against a parasitic theory of origin and favours the view that direct irritation is sufficient to start epithelial proliferation, uncontrolled by trophic nerve influence. In early stages the malignancy is mild and glandular infection supervenes slowly. Distant metastases do not occur. The disease is very amenable to operative treatment. It is a typical squamous celled epithelioma.

 

Curious Case of Queen Victoria’s Boat in Kashmir

Few months back, the Queen Victoria’s gift which was a steam boat presented to Maharaja Ranbir Singh was in news. First i would like to share the news items related to it written in two newspapers below:

From Indian Express :

Victorian era boat rusting in Kashmir museum

Srinagar, Wed Apr 04 2012

A Victorian era boat, evidence of Kashmir’s historic connections with the British empire, is decaying and rusting in an open parking lot of SPS Museum here.

The boat was a gift from Queen Victoria of United Kingdom, who was coronated in 1838 and remained the Empress of India from 1876 until her death in 1901, to Maharaja Ranbir Singh, a monarch who ruled Jammu and Kashmir from 1857 to 1885.

In today’s Kashmir, this royal gift is withering in sun, snow and rain as it remains lying in the open parking lot of the Sri Partap Singh Museum, named after the Maharaja’s son.

What remains of the nearly 30-feet-long boat, which is up to eight feet in width, is the rusted decaying structure.

The entire body of the boat is covered with rust, at places several layers deep, and a large hole has damaged the lower frontal part of it.

Several smaller holes, of the size of a football, have also punctured the boat at its bow and stern.

The museum has no details about the year when the boat was gifted and when it reached Kashmir.

From the timeline of the two rulers, the boat was gifted to the Dogra king of Kashmir anytime between 1857 and 1885, when he was the Maharaja.

A marker on the boat, which has words engraved on it, is the only testimony that it was exchanged between the two Royals.

“Presented by H.M. Queen Victoria to H.H. Shree Maharaja Ranbir Singh Ji Bahadar,” the text — on the marker, which is a sort of an epitaph — in bold capital letters reads.

The initials mentioned in the text – H.M. – meant ‘Her Majesty’ as the Queen of United Kingdom was called and H.H. meant ‘His Highness’, then attributed to the dynastic heads of the major princely states.

The only detail available in the museum records show the boat was transferred to the museum from Tosh Khana, treasury of the Kashmir’s erstwhile monarchs, in 1987.

Since then the boat remained decaying, year after year, in a damp pit, adjoining the main museum building, until the construction for a new building began when the pit was filled, leading to boat’s relocation to a new spot — the open parking lot.

“We have a proposal with the government to have a glass fibre cover for the boat,” the curator of the museum, Mushtaq Ahmad Beigh,said.

He said the glass fibre cover will be in place once a permanent spot is decided for the boat.

“We have to wait for the designer to decide the spot,” Beigh said.

The designers, a Mumbai-based interior designing consultancy, has been tasked to design the new building, which is under construction for the last five years.

From Daily Mail :

Queen Victoria’s gift rusts in peace: Royal present reflecting Kashmir’s connection with the British Empire ends up in parking lot

PUBLISHED: 00:12 GMT, 19 August 2012

To the naked eye, it’s just a piece of rusty junk.

But look closer and you’ll find this rusty boat is of royal lineage.

Engraved on a plaque are the words: ‘Presented by H.M. Queen Victoria to H.H. Shree Maharaja Ranbir Singh Ji.’

The boat presented by Queen Victoria to Maharaja Ranbir Singh has corroded after it was shifted to a parking lot in SPS MuseumThe boat presented by Queen Victoria to Maharaja Ranbir Singh has corroded after it was shifted to a parking lot in SPS Museum
 Blue blood couldn’t be thicker. But this Victorian-era boat, which reflects Kashmir’s connection with the British Empire, has been kept in a parking lot at Sri Pratap Singh (SPS) Museum in Srinagar.

The already rusty piece is thus open to the ravages of the elements. Ranbir Singh, a Dogra Maharaja, ruled Kashmir from 1857 to 1885.

Queen Victoria, who was crowned in 1838, remained Empress of India from 1876 to 1901.

Mushtaq Ahmad Baig, the curator of the museum, said the boat will be shifted to a new museum whenever it is open.

The plaque showing the boat's royal heritageThe plaque showing the boat’s royal heritage

The new museum was built by Ghulam Nabi Azad when he was the chief minister of the state in 2007.

Azad used to personally monitor the progress of the museum.

The building came up in a record six months time and finally Azad laid its foundation stone on March 20, 2008.

He had set an 18-month deadline to complete the interiors of the building.

Azad wanted to throw the museum open during his tenure but couldn’t, thanks to his premature exit from the government in the wake of the protests against transfer of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board and subsequent withdrawal of support by coalition partner People’s Democratic Party(PDP).

The museum hasn’t been opened to public since then.

The present SPS Museum has been declared as an unsafe building.

Maharaja Pratap Singh had established it in 1898 in his guest house at Lal Mandi.

The SPS Museum houses a precious collection of archaeological excavations, ancient coins, seals, terracotta, inscriptions, paintings, shawls, stuffed birds and animals and silver and bronze utensils of different civilizations.

But the delay in the completion of the new building has hampered its shifting.

‘It is sad that the royal boat is in the open. It should not have been there at the first place.

‘But because of lack of space in our old museum, we have no alternative,’ Baig said.

The curator also said that a number of artifacts  mostly stones, have been kept in the open as they would not face any damage.

‘We have kept less important things of archival value in open air.

‘But once the new museum is handed over to us, we will select a proper space for the boat and cover it with fibreglass.’ Baig added.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Recently i came across a book which talked about the above mentioned Steam Boat in detail & out of curiosity also began to search more about the steam boat. First on searching upon the subject, i came across another book Titled, ‘Central Asia: An Outline History’ written by Professor Ram Rahul. The writer on Page 83 writes :

Muhammad Yaqub ( who actually was a Fort Commander of Kashgarh) sent Yakub Khan Tora as an envoy to Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Jammu and Kashmir in 1871, with the request that the British Government in India could be persuaded  to enter into a political alliance with him. Maharaja Ranbir Singh supported his request. From Srinagar, Yaqub Khan went to Constantinople (now Istanbul), There he agreed to the recitation of the Khutba in the name of Sultan Abdel Aziz of Turkey in the mosques of Kashgarh, i.e Sultan Abdul Aziz as the Khalifa of the Muslims of Kashgarhia. Sultan Abdul Aziz gave Muhammad Yaqub the tile of Amir ul Moomineen, ‘Commander of the Faithful’, i.e the Muslims.

          Lord Thomas George Baring Northbookof Stratton, the Viceroy and Governor-General of India (Calcutta) from 1872 to 1876, appointed Thomas Douglas Forsyth to conduct a mission to Yarkand, Kashgarhia. The staff, native assistants of the Forsyth Mission included Nain Singh & Kishan Singh – the surveyor pandits of Survey of India. Yakub Beig who was on his way back from Constantinople, accompanied the Forsyth Mission. British India and Kashgarhia concluded their treaty of commerce at Kashgarh on 2nd February 1874. Queen Victoria sent a small steam boat to Maharaja Ranbir Singh for his services to the Forsyth Mission. 

So from the excerpt of the book, it is clear that Queen Victoria had given the gift of Steam Boat after February 1874 to Maharaja Ranbir Singh.

It should be noted that Cecil Earle Tyndale Biscoe   mentions about the Steam Boat also in his book here : ‘Moored to the bank (on Jehlum, near Shergarhi) opposite the palace is an elegant steam launch presented to his Highness by Queen Victoria, also a modern fast motor launch from Thornycroft’s.’ 

The most detailed account ( actually the book i was reading initially) talking about the Steam Launch is the William Wakefield’s book, The Happy Valley: Sketches of Kashmir & the Kashmiris. In the Preface of the book, the author, who actually served as a medical officer to the Forces writes that he had visited the valley in the Summer of 1875. The author writes in his memoirs that he was fortunate that during his visit to Srinagar, he received an invitation from Maharaja at the Shalimar Bagh on the occasion of launching of a small steam vessel on the Dal Lake. Following is the excerpt from the book telling us about the launch of steam vessel in the summer of 1875 :

In a minor degree we were so fortunate as to see it in its greatest perfection, even if shorn of some of its former elegance, as we were bidden to a fete within its walls, given by the Maharajah in honour of the launching of a small steam-vessel upon the lake. 

               This event, and the subsequent festivities at the Shalimar, were very diverting to us, and, by way of concluding the description of the Dal lake, a short sketch of that memorable day in the history of Kashmir may very well here find a place. A memorable day indeed it was to the inhabitants of the Valley, and long talked of both before and after ; for steam power was a mystery to them, and never before had the mountains surrounding their homes echoed back the sound of the whistle, the shrill scream of that invention which proves wherever it is introduced the most civilizing agent, and the most potent uprooter of old ideas and prejudices known to man. At an early hour of the day which was to mark the first step of the onward march of progress in Kashmir, the city was full of people, and the river crowded with boats of every size and description. The entire population of the Valley were gathered together, all thrilling with excitement, and all actuated by the same motive, that of getting as good a place as possible near the scene of action, so as to obtain a sight of that mystery of mysteries, a boat moving over the water without the usual, and to them well known, agency of hands. Their first introduction to this new and unknown motive-power being made in connection with a boat one of the institutions of the country, and with the working of which all were familiar undoubtedly explained the great interest taken in the proceedings by both young and old ; for I question if the first essay had been a piece of machinery applied to any other purpose half the curiosity manifested would have been aroused. But to move a boat was intelligible enough, although the means employed were incomprehensible ; and already hopes were aroused and visions were opened of the day when the weary work of towing and paddling should be a thing of the past, and their floating homes should walk the waters, like things of life, without any exertion on their part. If applied to the vessel they were about to see, why should it not be applied to all and sundry ? 
Full of these hopes and aspirations, and bursting with curiosity, the people all .wended their way, hours before the time fixed for the ceremony, to that portion of the lake devoted to its performance, and soon the capital presented a deserted and forlorn appearance. 

    The hour fixed for the important ceremony was four o’clock ; and arriving on the scene about that hour, we found ourselves in a mass of boats, all wedged closely together and ranged in a double line, so as to keep a space of clear water in the centre for the steamer to proceed on her triumphal way. On the bank of the lake at one extremity of this space a grand stand had been erected, which was occupied by the Maharajah, his court, and the 
majority of the strangers then visiting the Valley. Soldiers stood all around, and the royal musicians were discoursing the music of their native land, which, lacking sweetness or even harmony, was yet loud enough to satisfy the Oriental taste, and add to the noise and uproar incidental to any show in the East. Directly in front of the stand’ and resting lightly on the water was the innocent cause of all this excitement ; for it was not so much a launch as a trial-trip we were to witness, the vessel having been put together and committed to its 
proper element some time before. The boat itself was one of the steam-launches usually carried by the ships of the Royal Navy, and was a present to the Maharajah from our gracious Queen, having been sent to his country in pieces, which were finally put together, under the direction of a European engineer who accompanied the gift, and who remained in charge to instruct the recipient and his attendants as to the management of the machinery. 
Very soon after our arrival the occupants of the boats that surrounded us, for we did not attempt to land or make our way to the place of honour, became if possible more excited than ever, and shrieked, gesticulated, and swayed about on their frail crafts, each laden with human beings to the utmost extent of its carrying power, and we knew the crisis was at hand. The Maharajah took his seat on the deck in a solemn and dignified manner, but having withal an anxious appearance, as if not quite certain what was going to happen. Probably he had been told that steam, like fire, is a good servant but a bad master, and that boilers sometimes burst, and accidents will happen, despite every reasonable precaution. This may have had some effect, as he was that day brought into personal 
contact with the power of steam for the first time, for he looked grave ; but with the courage worthy of his regal descent he took his seat, and gave the word to start. The whistle sounded, the musicians blew their loudest, the drummers smote their drums until their arms ached, and the people shouted so that the mountains echoed back the sound. Yet with all this the old adage of ‘ man proposes ‘ was exemplified, for the vessel would not move. We 
observed much running to and fro on the part of the engineer and his assistants, and our ears were assailed with loud and discordant shrieks from the steam whistle and escape-pipe ; but it was all of no avail, the vessel stirred not. We waited some time, but not finding our patience in. any way rewarded, pushed our way without the heaving mass, and 
rowed straight across the lake to the Shalimar Gardens, where the second part of the entertainment, the feasting, was to take place. We were almost the first to start, but the remainder of the guests were not long in following our example ; 
while the bulk of the Kashmiris, hovered about the scene for some considerable time in hopes of witnessing something remarkable. Their hopes were not, however, then fulfilled ; for it was not until the following day that the defect in the machinery which caused the failure in the proceedings was rectified. That having been done, the boat was brought through the canal from the lake on to the river Jhelam, when its acquisition proved a source of great amusement to the Maharajah, who every evening steamed up and down the 
watery highway of the city, looking as pleased as a child with a new toy, much to the delight of his faithful subjects, who clustered like bees on every commanding point that afforded a view of the royal progress. 

Thus it is clear that the steam engine presented by Queen Victoria to the Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Jammu Kashmir was in the summer of 1875 for his services to the Forsyth mission.

It was in the year 1877 that on behalf of Maharaja Ranbir Singh of the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir, the Indian Telegraph Department supplied the first telegraph line between Srinagar and Gilgit. Telegraph line between Jammu and Srinagar was completed in May 1878. At 4pm, 1878, Maharaja Ranbir Singh personally had visited the Jammu Telegraph office. Telegraph line from Srinagar to Gilgit was completed & opened in 1894.

                                     THE TELEGRAPH TREATIES

{ Source of Treaties : Kashmirstamps.ca }

I.  The Treaty of 1878.

Agreement entered into between the British Government and the Cashmere State in regard to the Construction of Telegraph Lines from Jummoo to Srinuggur and from Srinuggur to Gilgit—1878. Whereas His Highness the Maharaja of Cashmere is desirous of obtaining the assistance of the British Government towards the construction of lines of telegraph from Jummoo to Srinuggur and from Srinuggur to Gilgit, the following terms are agreed upon by Major Philip Durham Henderson, C.S.I., Officer on special duty in Cashmere, on the part of the British Government, duly empowered by the Viceroy and Governor-General in Council on that behalf, and by Baboo Nilumber Mookerjee, M.A., B.L., Judge of the Sadr Adalut of Cashmere, duly empowered by His Highness the Maharaja on that behalf:

1.  The British Government agrees to construct for the Cashmere State two lines of telegraph, each consisting of one wire, to be carried on such suitable supports as are procurable in the vicinity, the one to be erected between Jummoo and Srinuggur at a cost of Rs. 21,600 more or less, and the other between Srinuggur and Gilgit at a cost of Rs. 31,900 more or less, provided in each case the following conditions are observed:—

   (a)  That the transport of all telegraph materials from Sealkote to the Cashmere frontier and within the limits of the Cashmere State shall be directly arranged and paid for by some duly authorised officer of the Cashmere State.

   (b)  That all labourers, whom the officer in charge of the construction of the line shall require to employ, shall be engaged and paid by a duly authorised officer of the Cashmere State.

   (c)  That on due notice being given by the officer in charge of the construction of the line, the Cashmere Government shall, to the utmost of its power, comply with requisitions for transport or labour.

   (d)  That sound seasoned deodar posts, where these are procurable, suitable for telegraph supports, shall be provided by the Cashmere State and distributed along the route to be taken by the telegraph lines, in such manner as the officer in charge of the work may direct.

   (e)  That no bracket or insulators be used in the construction of the lines, as their cost has not been provided in the estimated amounts stated above.

2.  The British Government guarantees that all telegraph materials, including the wire supplied by it, shall be of the best quality used for its own lines, and that the lines shall be handed over the Cashmere Government in full working order.

3.  His Highness the Maharaja agrees to pay to the British Government, as the money may be required, the actual cost incurred by it in the construction and establishment of the lines, such cost being inclusive of:—

(a)  The salaries and allowances of all members of the Indian Telegraph establishment for the whole period they may be detained on duty in Cashmere; and

   (b)  The cost of insulating the line, or of any other charges in the original scheme that may be made hereafter with the concurrence, or at the request of the Cashmere State.

4.  The salaries and allowances of all members of the Indian Telegraph establishment will be paid to them by the Government of India through the Officer on special duty, and the amounts of such payments will be recovered subsequently from the Cashmere State.

5.  On the application in writing of the Cashmere State, the Telegraph Department will supply at cost price all telegraph instruments and material required from time to time for the maintenance and working of the telegraph lines and offices about to be established.

6.  On the application in writing of the Cashmere State, the Telegraph Department will afford such advice and instruction as may be required and desired by the Cashmere State for the maintenance and working of such telegraph lines and offices.

7.  On the application in writing of the Cashmere State, the Telegraph Department will lend the services of any Native signallers, who may volunteer for the duty, and whose services can be spared, for such specified periods as may be sufficient to enable the Cashmere State to train its own signallers.

8. The foregoing provisions are accepted by the British Government as a mark of friendship and good-will towards His Highness the Maharaja; but it is to be understood that after the lines are delivered over [to] the Cashmere Government, no responsibility whatever attached to the British Government in respect of their subsequent maintenance and working. (Sd.) P.D. Henderson, Major. Officer on special duty in Cashmere. (Sd.) Nilumber Mookerjee. Judge of the Sadr Adalut of Cashmere. The 9th March, 1878.

II. The Treaty of 1890.

In 1890 a further agreement was entered into by the two Governments for the maintenance and working of a third line of telegraph along the State Railway from Suchet Carh to Jammu. It was signed at Gulmarg on 3rd July, 1890, by R. Parry Nisbet—British Resident in Kashmir, and by Raja Amar Singh—Prime Minister and President of the Jammu-Kashmir State Council, being further approved and confirmed at Simla some three weeks later. 

Following is an 1897 newspaper page of New York NY Tribune pertaining to the Srinagar-Gilgit Telegraph line titled ‘PERILS OF ASIATIC TELEGRAPHING’ :New York NY Tribune 1897 Perils of Asiatic Telegraphing - New York NY Tribune ReportPerils of Asiatic Telegraphing - New York NY Tribune Report

Ancient Buddhist Site situated at Harwan in Kashmir

At Harwan in Srinagar, a very important Buddhist site having stupas was discovered by R.C. Kak in 1925 on a slope of a mountain. Sir Aurl Stein identifies ‘Harwan’ with Shadarhadvana (grove of six saints), a locality mentioned in Rajatarangini.

Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 5

 

As we see in the pictures, the walls were constructed in what has been called “diaper rubble style,” wherein a number of large undressed boulders are placed in one row with intervening spaces filled with smaller stones.

World’s 500 most Influential Muslims in 2012 (particularly from India and Pakistan)

Well this years worlds 500 most influential Muslims list is out which is done by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center of Jordan. The report is issued in cooperation with Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at George Town University in the United States. The list was first published in 2009 and since then it is published annually. The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center is an independent research entity affiliated with the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought which is headquartered in Amman. The books chief editor, Abdallah Schleifer, who is a professor emeritus at the American University in Cairo in the book’s Introduction talks about the euphoric romance of the Tahrir Square, the Syrian uprising & the insurgency, the intervention in Libya, the Arab-Iranian cold war undergoing currently, the rise of Turkey, Muslim Brotherhood & Salafis and also about the Facebook generation, as how they have influenced the Muslim world. The editor tells us that more western Muslims have made into the list than expected but explains that the book is not about the Most Influential Muslims in the Muslim world only but Most Influential in the whole World so the Muslims residing in west have greater role in allaying the fears of any proverbial Clash of Civilizations for a peaceful Common World. It needs to be mentioned that American Muslims have dominated the list for the first time in four years since it began its publication. The book points out that it is to ascertain the influence some Muslims have on this community, or on behalf of the community. Further the book says that, ‘The influence can be of a religious scholar directly addressing Muslims and influencing their beliefs, ideas and behavior or it can be of a ruler shaping the socio-economic factors within which people live their lives, or of artists forming popular culture.’

       The publication has selected Muslims from a range of categories of influence which are 13 in number. These are :-

  1. Scholarly
  2. Political
  3. Administration of Religious Affairs
  4. Preachers and Spiritual Guides
  5. Philanthropy/Charity and Development
  6. Social Issues
  7. Business
  8. Science and Technology
  9. Arts and Culture
  10. Qur’an Reciters
  11. Media, Celebrities
  12. Sports
  13. Radicals                                                                                                                        

              Most of the top 50 slots are dominated by Political & Religious figures with all of top 10 being Political and Religious figures. The top position was maintained by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud who is holding this spot continuously for last 4 years due to the vast influence as proclaiming himself the Custodian of Holy cities of Mecca & Medina, being the controller of globes largest oil reserves & heading the worlds largest Daawa network promoting the Salafism. He is followed by Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is numbered as second due to his charisma in driving his country to success. At 3rd position is Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, a descendant of Holy Prophet (SAW) and has been talked as someone who successfully blended reforms & evolution not a revolution for his country. Fourth place went to Dr Mohammed Badie, a veterinary pathologist, the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood at present. At 5th place is Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani who is more known for the establishment of Al Jazeera Network. At 6th position is Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei & at 7th is King Of Jordan who is the custodian of Holy Sites in Jerasulem also. Sheikh Al-Azhar Dr. Ahmad Al-Tayeb is numbered at 8. Indonesian president who is also a pop singer is numbered at 9 & Turkish spiritual preacher & thinker, Fatehullah Gullen, a follower of Said Nursi is listed at number 10. His Gullen Network has considerable influence in Turkish society which also run the Turkish newspapers, ‘Zaman’ & ‘Todays Zaman’ besides a bank & a TV & Radio Channel. Others in Top 50 include :

  • Muhammad Morsi Isa Al-Ayyat
    Egypt
  • Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id Aal Sa’id
    Oman
  • Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hussein Sistani
    Iraq
  • Sheikh Dr Ali Goma’a
    Egypt
  • General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
    United Arab Emirates
  • Sheikh Dr Yusuf Al Qaradawi
    Qatar
  • Amir Hajji Muhammad Abd Al Wahhab
    Pakistan
  • H.E. Sheikh Abdul Aziz ibn Abdullah Aal Al Sheikh
    Saudi Arabia
  • Dr K.H. Said Aqil Siradj
    Indonesia
  • Sheikh Salman Al Ouda
    Saudi Arabia
  • H.E. Sheikha Munira Qubeysi
    Syria
  • Sheikh as Sultan Muhammadu Sa’adu Abubakar III
    Nigeria
  • Sheikh Ahmad Tijani bin Ali Cisse
    Senegal
  • President Abdullah Gül
    Turkey
  • Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah
    Brunei
  • Mufti Muhammad Akhtar Raza Khan Qaadiri Al Azhari
    India
  • Sheikh Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan Al-Bouti
    Syria
  • Seyyed Hasan Nasrallah
    Lebanon
  • H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah
    Mauritania
  • Mohammad bin Mohammad Al-Mansour
    Yemen
  • Shah Karim Al Hussayni
    France
  • Justice Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani
    Pakistan
  • Sheikh Mohammad Ali Al Sabouni
    Syria
  • Dr Amr Khaled
    Egypt
  • President Mahmoud Abbas
    Palestinian Territories
  • Habib Umar bin Hafiz
    Yemen
  • Queen Rania Al Abdullah
    Jordan
  • Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser Al-Missned
    Qatar
  • Professor Dr M Din Syamsuddin
    Indonesia
  • Maulana Mahmood Madani
    India
  • Habib Ali Zain Al Abideen Al Jifri
    United Arab Emirates
  • Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson
    United States of America
  • Professor Dr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu
    Turkey
  • Professor Dr Seyyed Hossein Nasr
    United States of America
  • Sheikh Mehmet Nazim Adil Al-Qubrusi Al-Haqqani
    Cyprus
  • Sheikh Professor Dr Mustafa Ceric
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri
    Saudi Arabia
  • Khaled Mashaal
    Palestinian Territories
  • Dr Aref Ali Nayed
    Libya
  • Timothy Winter (Sheikh Abdal-Hakim Murad)
    United Kingdom
          From the subcontinent, at 17th position is the 89-year-old Amir (leader) of Pakistan’s Tablighi Jamaat, Hajji Abd Al Wahhab.
           At 26th position is Mufti Muhammad Akhtar Raza Khan Qaadiri Al Azhari, a Barelwi Leader and Spiritual Guide from India having given over 5000 rulings till date.
           At 32nd position is Justice Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani, a leading scholar of Islamic jurisprudence of Deoband school of thought from Pakistan.
           At 40th position is Maulana Mahmood Madani, Leader and Executive Member of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, India.
           Also American Muslim Scholar, Shaikh Humza Yusuf is ranked at 42nd, the leading American Muslim in the list.
           Among the Honorable mentions, Dr Tahir ul Qadri, Dr Zakir Naik, Tariq Ramadan & Sheikh Al Sudais are there in the list.
           In the Scholarly list include – Allama Zia al-Mustafa Sahib who has been nominated as successor of Mufti Akhar Raza Khan, Asghar Ali Engineer, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Bahauddeen Muhammed Jamaluddeen Nadwi & Maulana Kalbe Saqiq, all from India. From Pakistan, Dr Tahir ul Qadri, Dr Akbar Ahmed, Dr Farhat Hashmi & Grand Ayutullah Muhammad Hussain Najafi are included. Besides them, Shaykh Ninowy, Tariq Ramadan, Shaykh Muhammad Al Yaqoubi, Shaykh Imdad Hussain & Ingrid Mattson are also included.
         Among the Politicos, Ahmedinejad, Khatami, Larijani, Major Jaffri, Mir Hossein Mossavi, Jalili Saeed, Dr Masoumeh & Dr Zahra are from Iran. Sirajjudin Haqqani, Hekmatyar, Hamid Karzai & Mullah Omar are from Afghanistan. Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani & Imran Khan are from Pakistan. From UK, its Lord Nazir & Lady Sayeeda Warsi
          In the list of Administration & Religious Affairs, Shaykh Aboobackar Ahmed, VC of Sunni Cultural Center in Kerala & Sayeed Ibrahimul Khaleel Al-Bukhari, patron Ma’din Academy, are from India. From Pakistan it is Ameer Jamaateislami Pakistan, Syed Munawar Hassan & Dr Anwar Hussain Siddiqui.
           In the List of Preachers & Spiritual Guides, from India they are Allama Qammaruzamman Azmi of Barelvi school of thought, Syeddna Burrhanudin of Bohra faith, Dr Zakir Naik & Professor Syed Ameen Miyan Qadri of Barkatiya Silsila. From Pakistan, Dr Ahmed Rafique Akhtar, Maulana Shah Hakeem Akhtar, a sufi scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Ilyas Qadri, patron of Dawateislami, Maulana Tariq Jameel of Tablighi Jamaat & Shaikh Muhammad of IIPC. From UK, it is Pir Allauddin Siddiqui (actually from Mirpur, Kashmir), Shaykh Abd alQadir As Sufi & Abd al Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq. Others include Yusuf Estes, Imam Suhail Webb, Zaid Shakir, Shaykh Hisham Kabbani & Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.
           In the Field of Philanthropy, Charity & Development : Azim Premji & Maulana Badruddin Ajmal from India and Abdul Sattar Edhi & Professor Dr Adib Rizvi from Pakistan.
           Under Social Issues list, Nobel Prize winners Shirin Ebadi (Iran), Tawakul Karman (Yemen), , Yunus Muhammad (Bangladesh) are included. Also Malalai Jolla from Afghanistan, Salman Khan of famed Khan Academy from USA & Dalia Mogahed, a senior analyst at Gallup Center for Muslim Studies in USA are in the list.
            In the Business List, Bakr Bin-Laden of famed Bin Laden Constructions of Saudi, Iranian Business-Woman Anousheh Ansari, Prince Abdul Waleed Bin Talaal, Sri Indrwati of Indonesia & Dr M El Erian, CEO of PIMCO from USA are included.
            In Science & Technology list, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam from India, Dr Ali Akbar Salehi from Iran & Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan from Pakistan who are all nuclear scientists are in it. Also from Pakistan is co-ordinator general of OIC’S COMSTECH, Ata ur Rehman. Turkey’s Adnan Akhtar, more famously known as Harun Yahya is also in the list.
             In Arts & Culture List, from India are Music Composer AR Rehman, Actors Shahrukh Khan & Irrfan Khan. From Pakistan former Pop Singer Junaid Jamshed, Qawalli singer Abida Parveen, & famous reciter of naats, Owais Raza Qadri are found. Also Zain Bhika, Maher Zain, Sami Yusuf & Yusuf Islam are the popular singers in the list.
             In the Quran Reciters, none from subcontinent has made it into the list.
             In the Media List, Wadda Khanfar ex DG of Al Jazeera, Red Capped self-styled Defense Analyst, Zaid Hamid from Pakistan, & Mir Shakil ur Rehman, owner of Pakistan’s biggest media network, the Geo/Jang Group, Asif Maandvi, Saad Mohseni, Riz Khan, Fareed Zakariya & Rageh Omaar are in the list.
              In the Celebrity & Sports list, Hashim Aamla, Zinedine Zidane, Fredric Kanoute, Mohammad Ali, Mo Farah and Cardio-thoracic sugeon Dr Mehmet Oz are included.
              In the Radicals list, Ayman Al Zawahairi & Hafiz Saeed are included.
   The Book concludes with talking of issues which have engulfed the Muslim World right now which are :

1. U.S. Foreign Policy in the Muslim World

2. Islamophobia

3. Circumcision Controversy – In Germany

4. Interfaith

5. Jerusalem

6. Palestinian Statehood

7. Gaza

8. Massacre of the Rohingya Muslims

9. Destruction of  Sufi Shrines – In Libya, Mali & Egypt

10. The Fight for Al-Azhar – Between Traditionalists & Muslim Brotherhood

11. The Integral Chairs – The International Initiative for the Islamic Integral Professorial Chairs.

You Can Download the 2012 Book of Worlds 500 most Influential Muslims  here below :

For Low Resolution   For High Resolution

Language we Speak, Language we cannot write – Kashmiri

Image
“For all I know, writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.” – Eudora Welty

Language we Speak, Language we cannot write – That is how Kashmiri Language can be best described right now. Indeed, it is undergoing a dark period for which it would not be wrong to say that our earlier generations are responsible. I am not taking any pleasures by blaming them for the current mess in which the Kashmiri Zabaan is right now but where the political tumult has taken continuously for decades, language seems too small a problem to be taken care of. Language is an identity which stands distinct. As India got independence from British, new states were carved out keeping language in mind. East Bengal began to get isolated from erstwhile Pakistan as Bengalis didn’t like the idea of Urdu being imposed on them & Bengali language be given inferior status to it. The situation degraded so much that with other political factors, East Bengal became a new nation, Bangladesh afterwards & United Nations began to observe the International Mother Language Day in memory of the students killed demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla at Dhaka in 1952. Such is the power of the language that it has created a nation! But we still have not taken any cue from it. I am not bragging that i know Kashmiri that much or i can write Kashmiri as i also am in the league which can be called as the one who speaks the language with average vocabulary & can’t write because we were never taught that how to write it & never have been told about any Kashmiri grammar rules in writing. Whatever we speak Kashmiri language in good eloquence is because we have been speaking it since our childhood and have developed the sense what is correct or wrong unconsciously. Well that occurs to all races of mankind for their mother tongues so it is not a big deal. My point here is not about spoken Kashmiri as it has been discussed in past that the parents don’t communicate through Kashmiri as the first language but only second or third after Urdu & English and that has contributed a lot to the mess in which the Kashmiri language is now found. My point here is about written Kashmiri language. It’s a shame that we never were made to read Kashmiri books or write even the basic words of the language, leave Kashmiri novels. Although we like to hear or see the Kashmiri quotes of our Sufi poets like Nund Reshi, Lalded, etc and they are now on tip of the tongue but the sad thing is that we somehow develop repulsion in writing it in Kashmiri language, either we write it in Kashmiri-Roman script or translate it into English. How many of us literates do know the names of Kashmiri novels, we may name one or two to maximum but aren’t there more? Our national poet is Mahjoor and we often love to say that he is our pride but have we fulfilled the duty of reading his books and poetry. Have we done Justice to Kashmiri which is our native language? We may have a couple of Kashmiri newspapers or magazines published from the valley but are they popular? The answer is negative. We all fall flat on this question apart from few people who are trying very hard to revive the spirit of Kashmiri language. Only a renaissance will help our culture but when, that is the question, the clock is ticking…. May we all step in to save the language from being extinct on paper. Let us not be entangled in the web of communal overtones along the lines of Urdu-Hindi feud that whether Perso-Arabic script is better or Devanagari script as it all depends which script is convenient to you and not on your religion. Amen !

Writing is not language, but merely a way of recording language by visible marks.– Leonard Bloomfield

Ay tu keh hast har dil-i-mahzoon saraa-ye tu 
Aavardeh-am saraa-ye digar az baraa-ye tu

Oh Thou whose home is every melancholy heart
I have brought other homes too just for thy sake

 

Khwajeh beh takht bandah-i-tashveesh-i-mulk-o-maal
Bar khaak rashk-i khosraw-i-dawraan gadaa-ye tu

The rulers on their thrones are slaves to anxiety of land and wealth
Upon the dusty earth, Oh envy of the rulers of the age, is thy mendicant!

Aanjaa qasida-khwaani-ye-lazzaat-i seem o zarr
Eenjaa faqt hadees-i nishaat-i laqaa-ye tu

There are odes in praise of the pleasures of silver and gold
Here, only the tradition of the joy of thy countenance

Aatish-fashaan zi qahr o malaamat zabaan-i shaykh
Az ashk-i-tarz-i-dard-i-ghareebaan radaa-ye tu

The fire-breathing tongue of the shaykh speaks of terror and reproach
From the tears of the way of pain of the poor, is thy cloak!

Baayad keh zulmaan-i jehaan ra sadaa konad
Roozi ba-soo-ye adl o inaayat sadaa-ye tu!

This sinner of the world will definitely cry out
On a Day when for justice and grace there is only thy cry!

People assembled at Chrar Shareef shrine

“By bowing down, thou shalt not become a Rishi, the pounder in the rice mill did not ever raise up its head.”

“By entering a cave, God cannot be attained, the mongoose and the rat seldom come out of their holes.”

“By bathing, the mind will not be cleansed, The fish and the otter never ascend the bank.”

“If God was just pleased by fasting, the indigent rarely cook food in pots.”

Shaykh ul Aalam

15 Questions to NC Headed Government in Jammu Kashmir

As J&K moves closer to four years of NC-Congress coalition Government, I want to ask 15 questions to NC party. These are :

1) On Autonomy: Whereas you have talked of restoration of autonomy in the election manifesto of 2008 which has been your party stand for years, what steps have you steered for its restoration?

As NC has been in coalition with BJP led NDA & also is now in echelons of power with Congress led UPA, has there ever been a whisker on it off lately with UPA on official level other than some occasional brouhaha on the issue of restoration & eroding of autonomy? Isn’t the word ‘Autonomy’ been now NC’s bluff which feels very monotonous to our ears due to your hollow trumpeting? What about the ‘Autonomy Plus’ which your Party had promised to unveil to the people in 2009?

2) On Separatists: Whereas you have said in the manifesto to solve Kashmir imbroglio, all sections of the society including separatists & extremists have to be taken on board, have you not further pushed the dialogue table to oblivion with their frequent house arrests as well as stopping them to offer Friday prayers? While you have used the word ‘extremists’ who you think should be taken on board but have you done any favor to the moderates so that the extremists shun their approach? Hasn’t this approach been more counterproductive leading to more dissent in the society? Also why hasn’t the much talked Rehabilitation Policy been successful here?

3) On LOC Trade: Whereas you have said in election manifesto that NC will ‘strive for free trade & traffic compared to present trickle across LOC & hassle free entry/exit of state subjects & better coordination between Srinagar – Muzafarabad’, not much is seen in this regard. The barter system with which the trade was started four years back still exists, while the Trade across the Salamabad,Uri has increased over years but the trade across Poonch has significantly decreased & there exists still lag in communication due to the ban on Telecommunication links across LOC. People still are hoping when the travel across the LOC would be liberalized so that they could see each other’s relatives.

4)  On TRC & SHRC: Whereas you have said that ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission should be formed to know what triggered the volcano of insurgency in late 80s & the guilty should be punished plus also that the report would be made public’, what have you done to keep that promise? Also you have pledged to restore the crippled SHRC & do away laws like DAA, AFSPA, has any progress been there so far? But point should be noted that the chief minister has gone on record saying that Kashmir is a political problem. As the problem is still lingering on where does this introducing of the idea of TRC fit in when the conflict hasn’t been solved yet. Further the words of TRC don’t evoke any interest in the minds of commoners as like all toothless commissions it will also lead to nowhere. The recent interlocutors report is one of the examples. There have been no concrete steps in restoring the crippled SHRC. Isn’t it your crippling factor that J&K Government has asked the SHRC to dispose of the cases in matters related to the unmarked graves so that it would be sorted out in yet to be made & much fancied TRC?

5) On Chenab & PirPanjal: Whereas you have said that you pledge to form PirPanjal & Chenab development council, has any progress been done so far apart from a resolution passed in Legislative Council in 2009? What prevents you in granting the autonomous hill development council to the state’s most backward areas? If the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council is working fine administratively, then why not for Chenab Valley? The sooner the better if it would be made functional.

6) On Unemployment & SKEWPY: Whereas you said & are saying that you will explore all avenues for unemployed youth for their gainful employment locally, nationally & internationally, leave that aside, what is happening to the much hyped SKEWPY ? As newspaper reports suggest, the VSA has been hit by financial crunch with the unemployed youth not getting their allowances for past 4-5 months. Compared to rest of the neighboring states, J&K has the highest unemployment rate at 5.3% which needs to be specially addressed.

7) On Energy & Power: Whereas you said and are also saying that you will impress upon the center to compensate our state in case of electricity as the electricity generated by the water resources of our own state are shared by others, what steps have you taken? Didn’t the Union Power Minister for Power & the Union Power Secretary categorically reject the demand of handing over the power projects from NHPC back to the state government in their statements recently? Let it be reminded that the state is this time reeling under serious Energy crisis due to the shortage of LPG cylinders.

8) On SAC & SVC: Whereas you promised that the State Accountability Commission which was made defunct by previous government would be restored, it in fact has been made more toothless as recently your Government objected to the suo moto powers of the State Accountability Commission to initiate action against its legislators in corruption related cases. Further in the manifesto you had promised to strengthen the Vigilance organization for which you strengthened the State Vigilance Act in 2011 but the irony is that no state vigilance commission has been made so far.

9) On Women: Whereas you say that you will establish a Women’s university, so far no word on it. According to the economic survey the female unemployment in state is at 17.1% compared to 5.6% unemployment in males here. Keeping in view of the over growing unemployment in the state, wouldn’t it be better if you open a new industry which would help women empowerment?

10) On HR Violation: Whereas you have said in election manifesto that, ’One kind of terrorism cannot be fought with another’, on the issue of human rights violation by security agencies, what steps have you taken? What about the over 100 people getting killed in the summer agitation of 2010 on which the CM said that it is a cross he has to take all life along? Has any justice been done yet which was promised?

11) On Education: Whereas you talk of increase in literacy rate of state to 68% & 15% increase in female literacy, we would like to know the reason that why there has been an increase in school dropout rate in our state from 3.47% in 2009-10 to 5.3% in 2010-11 with over 43,000 drop-outs currently according to a recent survey.

12) On Health Care: Whereas India Today group has titled J&K as number one state in health sector for which I am congratulating you but isn’t it absurd that in the backdrop of messy GB Pant fiasco recently, do we deserve the number one position? Didn’t the CAG report this year term the Health care system in Jammu in shambles? What about the much talked Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the field of Health care? Any Progress on it?

13) On Roads: Whereas you promised of better & wider roads across the state & you claim to have built a wide network of roads, with the Chief Minister also quoting sometime back that, ‘Roads are arteries to progress’, has the road networking been better as promised? Take for example the summer capital, Srinagar, when during the poll campaign the chief minister promised that Srinagar would be transformed into Venice while as it seems quite opposite is the situation where the roads which had been dug up in the name of drainage & sewerage system have failed to re-carpet leading to spurge in nuisances of a common man.

14) On Panchayat: Whereas you were successful in conducting the Panchayat Polls in the state but aren’t they now being used as mere pawns in order to score political mileage with other opposing forces of your party?

15) On Shahtoosh Shawl Trade: Whereas in the election manifesto you have said that you feel that ‘Toosh’ has fallen prey to a certain elitist lobby, what steps have you taken to break this myth?

A TALE OF SNOW LEOPARD – From Terror to Martyr

Snow Leopard is listed under Endangered Species

It was a bright sunny morning in Srinagar of May,2004 & people were mellowing out on Sunday. I had gone out for some work early in the morning & came back to home after a couple of hours & no one knew what excitement was in store in Lalbazar area which is situated on the outskirts of Srinagar city. As soon I reached home, somebody was shouting in a jovial mood that a leopard is wandering in our locality but others present on the road laughed off on his remark. The guy made futile attempts to convince the people but in no vain as people were discussing their favorite pastime, Kashmir issue along with Sheikh Abdullah (a deceased leader). After the guy went away, a bearded man came in from another direction oozing with excitement while people on road were perplexed on seeing his excitement. Soon he yelled that a big cat has injured a person living near the four-way (few meters away) & he is currently now in hospital undergoing treatment. Someone from the group said that it is impossible for a cat to injure a person to an extent that will lead to hospitalization. A senior citizen just said, ‘Khudaya Raham’. A sense of fear got instilled in the whole locality as the news spread like a fire. The elderly were all discussing about what would be the future course of action. At that time, mobile telephony wasn’t that much popular so people having Land-lines were ringing non-stop. But still a section was not ready to believe that a snow leopard is in our locality. Soon, a neighbor who was close to the injured confirmed that snow leopard is really present. Terror struck in the minds of everyone. After sometime, a police gypsy carrying cops was seen approaching towards our locality to take stock of the situation. They were now in search of the big cat in the locality. The snow leopard was indeed wandering in the orchards (not present now) behind our home till the four-lane which is a few meters away & it had several residential houses also. After search operations were taken out jointly by people & police, they were successful in sighting the snow leopard which was some 7 feet in length. As the snow Leopard saw a huge gush of people, it itself became terrified & was wandering here & there. The area looked like as if a fair was going on with full zeal. People as far as from Ganderbal & Budgam were beginning to pour in. Media was also not behind. A media man was heard saying that they have come from Raj Bhawan (Governor’s house) leaving the press conference there incomplete. I still remember, it was Star TV crew & Sahara TV Crew which came to our home & went upstairs to cover the scene. Likewise other neighborhood houses were also occupied by different news agencies. However, a question erupted that how this animal had reached a residential area? Different theories emerged & the most concrete of them was that the leopard might have climbed a timber laden truck from Dachigam area & it may have jumped from the truck. As time passed by, more & more people assembled to witness the dramatic scene of capturing Snow Leopard. The police didn’t had the manpower to control the ever-growing crowd so it kept itself aloof & didn’t interfere in people’s affairs. The Police were devising strategies so as to how to capture the snow leopard. At first few cops tried their best with Nets so that it may be trapped in it but it proved to be wastage of time. They tried it for an hour but were unsuccessful. The next thing which Police tried was a colossal laughing event. The cops along with some elderly came in contact with a Gujjar having an axe in his hand to catch the snow leopard. The Gujjar accepted the offer with a condition that he be given a Government job in lieu of the heroic job he was going to do. People shouted, clapped & whistled as soon as the Gujjar was ready wearing a motor-cycle helmet on his head looking forward to catch the prey. As soon as the Gujjar went after the leopard, the leopard made contact with the Gujjar with his claws on his forearms & arms. The Gujjar ran away with blood oozing out & was taken to a nearby dispensary for dressing. The leopard shifted his position to another place just to our next door neighborhood with whom we share a common wall. The Forest Department now intervened the scene. They had come with a tranquilizer gun. Now everything was ready for next action. The person who had to shot the tranquilizer came forward to aim the leopard. The leopard also came closer. The man shot the tranquilizer to the leopard but leopard still came closer to the shooter. The leopard just gave a slight touch with his claws to the feet of the tranquilizer shooter & the leopard ran away. The shooter became standstill at his position, became pale & was sweating maximally ,with freight in his eyes & few seconds after he collapsed & after that he was carried away to Hospital. The Drama had entered in an exciting stage. People were roaring. Somewhere in the crowd, people shouted that the tranquilizer is of spurious quality, some said it is expired , some came up with slogan DUPLICATE ! DUPLICATE ! leaving the forest officials ashamed. The big question around police was that how to control the situation which was getting out-of-order. At last they came to conclusion to shoot the snow leopard with bullets. The people surrounding the scene were asked to come down from the walls from which they were witnessing it. The armed cops took the control of the area. The leopard was in target . The firing began with dozens of aimless bullets fired. After several rounds, the snow leopard fell to the bullets & ALAS ! Snow leopard fell on the ground. Target extermination achieved by the police. The excited people cheered on it as if their favorite cricket team had won world cup. It was a carnival minus lightening & crackers. Young boys danced on the occasion. The dead animal had to be taken to Police station which was one kilometer away. The young boys wanted that the dead leopard be carried away by them to the police station. At first the policemen refused but due to pressure they allowed the youths to carry the dead animal. A young boy with green eyes took the leopard on his back just as in Greek mythology, ATLAS holds the Globe on his back followed by a young army of children & teenagers marching towards the Police station. The guys were singing & humming during the carnival. In the midst of excitement,someone chanted loudly, “HUM KYA CHAHTAI !” (WE WANT) & a thundering growl of AZADI (FREEDOM) came afterwards as if it was a martyr. The snow leopard was taken to its promised destination to Police station with a fanfare which is not going to be forgotten for ages. What happened afterwards was that their were allegations of animal right abuses against the cops by animal right groups. The news of the killing of the endangered species of Snow Leopard was carried by national & international media for few days. After that ,they also went silent over the issue & thus Snow leopard saga ended.

Sarcastic Srinagar

Srinagar Roads via Greaterkashmir.com

This short satire was written on Saturday, 5 December 2009 & still it feels apt

City of Venice

Circa December 2008  – Omer Abdullah, CM in waiting : Srinagar will be transformed into Venice..

December 2009 – Srinagar is in menace (courtesy: man-made disaster) & Venice is sinking in water (natural disaster) & incumbent CM quotes ‘Roads are arteries to progress“..

VENICE – A romantic city of 118 islands in lagoon, a UNESCO world HERITAGE site, a car free city where roads don’t exist & streets filled with water having tourists flowing in it exist. The Venetian love their art of stonework & visit the cathedrals on Sundays…

SRINAGAR – A city of graves where the dug-up roads fail to re-carpet themselves. The pothole  laden roads are dug-up in the name of Drains, choked drains, sewerage pipes & restoration work of roads are left to mercy of time making it a strong contender for UNESCO World Historic site jointly along with Waziristan. It’s a city where cars zoom in mud & the tourists pay obeisance to dust of virtual roads & locals love the art to deal with the leftover Stones of the ghastly ghostly roads on Fridays….

TRIVIA – By law in Venice, DOGS must be Muzzled, kept on Leash & cleaned up after all time, whereas in Srinagar, where Human to Dog ratio is 10:1, the humans are muzzled & kept on leash under AFSPA law & DOGS are given freehand to unleash a reign of terror. LONG LIVE PETA & MANEKA!…

TAILPIECE : Lesson for Omar Abdullah is that don’t act as overconfident MERCHANT OF VENICE but take a lesson from the Shakespeare’s play by noting the quote in MERCHANT OF VENICE – ‘ALL THAT GLISTERS IS NOT GOLD’… Lesson for us is that what Venetians love, Srinagarites hate & vice versa…