OF Cannabis Smokers
They have a history of their own
NOSTALGIA BY ZGM
Superstitions! I don’t think during my childhood I have ever heard this word. We were never told that something like superstition existed. What I later learnt were superstitions passed for us as mystic experiences.
I and my peers believed that every bit of our burg had a halo of spirituality about it. My grandmother- my story teller narrated stories not only about saints, mystic and majzoobs but also about shodas - cannabis smokers. I, my brothers, cousins and peers believed these stories as gospel truth. I honored the cannabis smokers as profoundly as I respected an awe inspiring majzoob who occasionally visited our house.
I don’t remember my learned teachers – who in their own right were religious scholars ever talked about superstitions at morning assemblies. And during my childhood many a superstition had almost become articles of faith with me and majority of my contemporaries. It was by experience that we learnt about good and bad omens. It was my belief, so of my friends that if a dog howled at night it betokened death of someone in the neighborhood… I believed that dogs can see the angle of death as well as evil spirits hovering in the skies. On howling of a dog at night out of fear, I often pushed myself deep under the quilt. If a black kite perched on the roof of some house we believed that it did not augur well for the family. It was believed that bad days were certain to visit the family. A booted eagle or black kite often roosted on the ridge of roof of house of a friend of mine- the family compared to many others in our mohalla was well to do. I did not like the idea of bad times visiting them and out of innocence I often scared away the “inauspicious bird” by shooting pebbles from my catapult.
My belief in the supernatural powers of owl hoots during night had almost become part of my faith - I often spotted an owl with his head tucked inside his wings sitting atop a Chinar tree at martyr’s grave yard but never heard his hoots. And a cannabis smoker with eyes bulging out like crystal balls out of bonny face squatting under the shade of this hundreds year taking long puffs of smoke from his small hubble-bubble always attracted my attention. He would be often surrounded by one or two men and even women.
Sometime back when I wrote my experience with cannabis smokers sitting on a shop fronts, I got a couple of mails from some in my age group. A friend whose cousin was one of the distinguished physicians of Kashmir shared with me what his father had told him about his miraculous birth. (I am retaining the name of the physician as he did not want it to be publicized). The story goes like this:
“The child inside the womb of his mother at the time of his delivery had changed his position from vertical to horizontal. In such a situation and in absence of a trained gynecologist those days in such situations the baby could not be delivered and there was more than enough for the baby dying inside the womb. The midwife tried her best but failed to pull out the baby from the womb. It crossed the mind of the father of baby to seek blessings of majzoob Haba Maut ( It could be Lassa Maut). The father of baby caught inside the womb arranged some hashish. Got Doodah-Kehwa prepared in a samovar. And took it along with Kulchas traditional Kashmiri bread to Shodah Taqi (cannabis parlor) at Gojawara were a great saint with a fire pot on his naked shoulder would be sitting. The saint after having a cup of green tea prepared in milk smoked long puffs of hashish from his Hubble-bubble. And after having a few puffs with aroma of hashish filling the room and smoke becoming as thick as dark clouds during rains he stared at the face of the father of infant craving to tumble into the world and said to him:
Yakhjan (one life), Duahjan(two lives)----Yekhjan (One life). After hearing these words the father of the infant left the abode of majzoob and on reaching home he was informed at the door of his house that his wife had delivered a boy but lost her life. The infant was later on to emerge not only as the leading physician of the state but a scintillating star who is remembered to this day in the medical profession.’
Some time back I had also written that these taqiyas - cannabis parlors- during my childhood were recognized as mystic centers. I had not written how these institutions had gained social sanction and official patronage. In fact I had not heard about it on the shop fronts- my schools in social education. Mr. Khalid Fazali who besides belonging originally to my birth burg shares his alma mater with me wrote to me in detail from New York about the birth of this institution. I thought of sharing it with readers of this column. His mail reads:
“During the times of Maharaja Hari Singh there was a complete drought. There were no rains. Crops failure was imminent. Maharaja geared his entire administration to prevent the catastrophe. He made public announcements requesting people to hold prayers especially nafals. People offered congregational nafal prayers at Eidgah and other places. There were no rains even after prayers. This disappointed Hari Singh and drowned in gloom he was sitting in a pensive mood in his court. At this his Prime Minister suggested to him for asking the official trumpeters to make an announcement all over Kashmir asking the Shodas for offering "Nafal" prayers for rains and saving the state from descending into famine. On the call of Maharaja all the Shoda's assembled at eidgah and offered Nafal prayers at Asr time. After finishing prayers they with one voice cried " Ye Allah! Shoda benamazee rehmath barran yah Khudhia”. God responded their submission the sky was covered with white & dark clouds and it rained instantly. The Shoda's too got drenched. The drought crises ended.
After this Maharaja ordered that all shoda's should be assembled in the darbar. Next day shoda's attended the royal court. Maharaja thanked them for their prayers and enquired from them if he could do anything for them. At this the lovers of cannabis pleaded that during inclement weather they face lot of difficulty in assembling at place and enjoying their smoke and requested for constructing of shelters for them that came to be known as Taqi. Maharaja ordered that Shoda Taqyas be constructed especially on the banks of river Jhelum. Same were constructed at Gowkadal, Habba Kadal, S.R. Gunj, Nawa kadal, Watal Kadal, Saraf Kadal at Peer Mohammad Ssahib’s shrine & at Bahripora near the confluence of Nallah Mar with the Anchar channel at Eidgah.”
There are more experiences that this New York based engineer and a medico friend have shared with me. I may share these experience with the readers some time later.
Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastupdate on : Sat, 5 Mar 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 5 Mar 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 6 Mar 2011 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM OP-ED
‘Many unrest deaths due to absence of facilities in peripheries’
Srinagar, Mar 5: Demanding ban on private practice by doctors serving in teaching institutions including Government Medical Colleges and their allied institutions, the medicos Saturday said that bureaucrats More
- Srinagar City
Runaway Challan System invoked, offenders to receive fine notice at their homes
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, Mar 5: The next time you are caught talking on mobile while driving or your car has tinted glasses be ready to pay a hefty fine! In a bid to minimize the risks of accidents and ensure smooth More
Jammu: A one day ‘training cum awareness Workshop’ on bio-medical waste management was organised by J&K State Pollution Control Board here today which was chaired by Minister for forest, Environment More
Srinagar: Police on Saturday said it has arrested a "wanted stone-pelter". Nissar Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Singhpora near Pattan town of Baramulla district, was arrested today, a police spokesman More
State GDP shows 76 pc increase in 7 years
GK NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, Mar 5: The Economic Survey tabled today in both Houses of legislature shows that the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) has continuously grown. “As per new series (2004-2005), it has grown More