About on foot Excursion
NOSTALGIA BY Z.G.M
The journey had its own beauty. Snaking our way from school to the naumash through small lanes filled with tick-tock sounds coming from looms in dingy rooms, alleys with women sitting on their doorsteps, chatting with fellow neighbors basking in the sun, streets resonating with melodious songs of laborers pushing their tumbrels filled to capacity with bricks, stones, sand or gunnysacks and tongawalas – chariot drivers producing artistically murmuring sounds with their mouths and hitting at the horse with a whip was really exhilarating.
The long rows of boys dressed in khaki gabardine shorts and sky blue poplin shirts walking on the sides of the streets looked like an army of tiny tots marching towards the battle front. It had been long time that we have not had our own army.
With ‘garden of my memory’ yet to wither, I vividly remember that on seeing the army of tiny tots led by class teachers with canes in their hand marching towards the naumash I had dreamt of mounting on horseback in full uniform and being a part of our own cavalry. I had heard lots of stories from my grandmother about ‘Resalas of Maharaja” – as the cavalry was locally known hitting, lashing and trampling down people in our locality after the uprisings. Despite these horrid stories offending my tinder mind, I admired cavalries for their being chivalrous.
Much before the army of tiny tots with Master Abdul Aziz Zargar as its commander-in-Chief reached at Usmania Zinana Park, we had crossed a small bridge after Nawab Bazar. Just across the bridge there was a big yellow colored mansion amidst a vast orchard on the left side of the road. The mansion that was distinct for it majestic façade was owned by some Dewan of the fugitive Maharaja. Master Aziz, was a wonderful narrator, he had a tale to tell about this house also and its connection to the nineteenth century revolt of shawl weavers. Larger part of the story went over my head and the only part that left an erasable impression on my mind was that of the soldiers on horsebacks driving people drowning- to- death in the stream that flowed on the backyard of the mansion. Today when I remember the scenes of jungles of swamp trees after the bridges before arriving at the Zinana Park it sounds like a fairy tale. Last Sunday, I wrote that no men or boys were allowed to enter into this Park. Here feudal who constructed this park seem more imaginative and gender friendly. And the “popular” government destroyed it for an unaesthetic concrete building. On the right side of this Park was Gool Bagh.
It was history incarnate; having lots of stories to tell. For decades it had resounded with soaring oratories and speeches of rebellion by towering Kashmir leaders against the autocratic rulers and fascists thereafter. I remember as young student having been on many historic occasions part of the vast crowds that gathered in these grounds during sixties and seventies. This ground is as important to Kashmir’s struggle as the Muslim Park, Mujahid Manzil and grounds of Khanqah Moula.
I have some sweet and bitter memories about this ground. Some of the incidents are as fresh in the hinterland of my mind as dew drops on narcissus in the morning. In the wake of the 1964, Holy Relic Movement this ground again emerged as one of the most important venues for political rallies of Sheikh Abdullah and his Plebiscite Front. In history it is also remembered for the July 1975 massive public rally organized by the Awami Action Committee against Indira-Sheikh Accord.
The Gool Bagh had also emerged as an important venue for the activities of Jamiat-e-Tulba and Jammat-e-Islamia. It is also remembered massive public rallies organized by these organizations in 1979 and 1980. In the annals of Jammat the venue is remembered for Imam Kabba having addressed largest public rally in Srinagar.
It was from here we moved into the naumash- that was no less than a wonderland for me.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 17 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 17 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 18 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST
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