It had its beauty. Oh! That wonderful streak striding across the sky, ‘when night is almost done, and sunrise grows so near’ filled my heart with rapture and made me sing in symphony with birds- cuckoo, nightingale and hoopoe. Of all the days, Thursday had some special sobriety for me; the gloom of darkness vanished much earlier than on other days. It was the day; my friends and I would climb up some one hundred and sixty steps up to the shrine of one of our greatest saints.
He is the real Sultan of Kashmir- the real king of this land, this belief had embossed on our mind. ‘This fourteenth century saint (1394), descendent of the Chandravanci Rajput dynasty, son of Baba Usman born in village Tijar was enrolled in the Dar-usha- Shifa, a college at the foothills of Koha-i-Maran, barely half a mile from my house.’ He was placed under the tutelage of a great scholar of his times Baba Ismail Kubrawi.”
My peers and I hardly knew that he ‘was a follower of Sheikh Shabab-U-Din Suherwardi”. It was years later, I learnt that the saint was ‘instrumental in setting up a large number of mosques across the valley and he had acquired control over his breath which he could hold for long time. This particularly enabled him to enjoy cold baths during snows, which relieved his headache due to long hours of devotional meditation.” The discourses at home and outside on various Sufi schools or traditions always went over my head.
It was just faith that made not only children but also men and women to go up stairs. Going up the stairs, I often spotted elderly women stopping and holding their breaths on the landings adjuring, some entreating with their traditional headgears (Kasaba) placed in the cup of their hands; Aago bozum Urzei, Aago Urzei Hath Chah’ Saaye’ Aamtche’.
The long winding chiseled stone stairway to the shrine has many landings that on Thursday wore a festive look, with smalltime artificial jewelry sellers and booksellers putting their stalls and kiosks on both sides. Squatting in front of kiosks of artificial jewelry, I often heard women saying that she had come with Urzei for Sultan. The word ‘Urzei’ was not only part of our lexicon but also part of our lingua franca.
My peers and I, were familiar with the word Urzei. We had picked up the word after Urdu alphabets. The word just meant to us putting an application for taking a holiday, it was in class three or fourth that we learnt that it also meant making a petition for seeking redrassal of grievance or seeking a favor.
Many times, when I look back at my school days, I remember that all students were trained to become good petition writers. This is perhaps the lesson that history had taught us. I do not know when word Urzei became part of our dictionary but centuries of occupation by alien marauders had made us to realize that we needed to become a good petition writer that is how Urzei writing had become part of our syllabi.
I do not know, if we submitted an Urzei to the Moguls and the Durranis for ending their rule in Kashmir. However, the Urzei made by Kashmiri on 26 December 1846 (full text in Dr. Abdul Ahad’s Kashmir Redicovered) to the British beseeching not putting Kashmir under Gulab Singh and by doing so it will be oppressing Kashmiris suggests we have had tradition of Urzei writing. And the seventeen point Urzei made to Lord Reading in 1924 ironically some of the demands in it hold good even today convincingly supports the argument.
Gaining proficiency in Urzei writing was part of the syllabi. I think it was in class three that we were taught to write Urzei for seeking permission for a full day or half-day holiday from school. To make a petition to the Health Officer complaining him of untidiness of our locality and requesting him for deputing of waterman and sweeper to the locality was the second important lesson we learnt in Urzei writing. In addition, we were also taught to write an Urzei to Khalaf-warzi officer of Srinagar Municipality complaining him against people violating the prescribed rules. Of all the Urzei, the most popular with the students was about fees Maaf.
The language used in the application smacked of feudatory culture…All the application ended with same kind of subservient wordings- telling a tale about our slavishness.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 3 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM OPINION
Omar Inaugurates Girls Hostel At KU, Lays Foundation Stone For Boys Hostel
Srinagar, June 2: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Saturday said “a balance between expansion and consolidation” is vital to meaningful growth and development of various sectors. Interacting with students More
- Srinagar City
Convent, parents mail memorandum to CM, Governor
GK CITY CORRESPONDENT
Srinagar, June 2: Concerned over the ongoing construction of a vehicular bridge near Presentation Convent Higher Secondary School, Raj Bagh, a leading missionary school in this summer Capital, the school More
GK NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, June 2: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Mehbooba Mufti today sought support of the people to change the prevailing “inefficient and corrupt” system in the state. She said that PDP was committed More
- Education and Career
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, June 2: Foreign universities entering into agreement with their Indian counterparts for offering twinning programmes will have to be among the global top 500. The Indian varsities on the More