KAGER: Warming our Identity
KANGER, A TRADITIONAL FIRE POT, THAT WE PURCHASE IN RUPEES HUNDRED OR MORE IS NOT WOVEN IN JUST ONE HOUR OR TWO BUT UNDERGOES A LONG PROCESS BEFORE BEING USED, WRITES MANZOOR AKASH.
Kanger, that we use in the winter months, is an important element of Kashmiri culture. It is the cheapest and potable item that Kashmiris keep to warm themselves. Among all the winter preparations it ranks atop. It is carried wherever we like it to. It is a mobile heater that we go near wherever it is felt chilly or it rains and snows. No sooner the weather turns cold than people in entire valley start buying it, no matter what the price. People, across valley, find it most convenient to save themselves against the biting cold. No doubt there are numerous Bukharies, Room Heaters and Mobile Gas Heaters being sold in the market yet this traditional firepot has not lost its importance. From a layman to an aristocrat , everybody likes it, in one way or the other. However, the charm is more unique when it is taken under Pheran.
Kanger that we purchase in rupees hundred or two is not woven in just one hour or two but it undergoes along process before being used. It comes from where and reaches where. It simply has a story to say.
There are several thousands people in our valley that earn their livelihood through this craft. This needs a great skill and mastery before being thrown to public. It demands patience and hard work.
Almost from all parts of Kashmir, firepots start pouring into the markets as soon as the mercury level dips down. Kangri weavers (Kanyel) from the commencement of autumn, remain busy in making Kangris. Though these weavers in the valley differ in their skill yet the raw material, the craft requires is everywhere the same. Kundal (firepot) and Kanye (sticks) like posh kanye, geer kanye and khech kanye are some of the most frequently used ingredients that Kangris are often made of. These weavers get sticks from forests which are peeled off by women. In some families women also help in making Kangris but men are mostly seen doing this work.
In the earlier days Kangri vendors used to go from village to village to sell their stock but now this village to village campaign is abandoned. Except money, people, in rural areas, would buy Kangris by giving goods like Cereals, rice, Maize etcetera to the sellers. But now only money can buy you a Kanger . Parents nowadays don’t even let their wards touch firepots. They care that they’ll get burnt. But our time was quite different. Without any fear we’d keep Kangris with us, even while playing some outdoor game.
Wahab Kak, the Kangri weaver’s popularity is yet the same in my area. My mother used to buy a small fire pot for me from him. Though I was not born in a rich family. I was loved by my parents so much. My every demand was fulfilled. My memories have not faded; I remember, every year my mum would tell Wahab Kak to bring a small fire pot for me. I was fond of it. It indeed used to be fun those days.
This traditional fire pot is now purchased every year not because it comes in verities but because of cultural advancement of the people. Kangri weavers change its looks and style every now and then. They decorate it to catch the attention of more and more People. It is one important item in Idd Bogh and Wand Bogh that Kashmirs carry to the bride’s home before wedding. Apart from J&K where it is mostly manufactured, it has spread its wings to other states also. It has reached Himachal, Punjab, Haryana and Ludhiana where people love to use it in cold weather. They are surprised to see it. They admire this craft. I remember last year when I was traveling from Srinagar to Jammu, one of my fellow passengers happened to buy Kanger from Islamabad (Maraaz) market. He was taking it to Ludhiana where he was selling carpets. He told me that instead of warming during morning and evening time, it (Kanger) reminds me my own culture.
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Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 Feb 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 Feb 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Feb 2011 00:00:00 IST
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