Of ‘Slacks Molvi.”

Sometimes, mostly at the sunset, after returning from our small play fields out of excitement and jubilation, we engaged ourselves in lung-power matches and cried as loud as we could.
Of ‘Slacks Molvi.”
Representational Pic

Sometimes, mostly at the sunset, after returning from our small play fields out of excitement and jubilation, we engaged ourselves in lung-power matches and cried as loud as we could.

We derived a lot of pleasure and excitement by catcalling, some catchphrase connected with our games like 'Bum-Shahi-Kath-Shahi-Bum, or crying full-throat slogans like Kawa Ye'inwol Merdad'un B'yol Khuday'n Gouel, or Yazir  Peer Chu Tsrouefdar. None of us understood the etymology of these phrases or history behind the slogans, but we loved them for their cadence. Most of the slogans and phrases that we cried were part of the legacy inherited by us from generations ahead. However, the slogan Yazir Peer Chu Tsrouefdar,  I believed was conjured by one of our classmates for a teacher and small time cleric who often objected to our playing games in the precincts of  Masjid near our school. I was not alone in my belief, most of the boys in our group believed that the nickname Yazir Peer for teacher averse to games was of the recent origin. None of us ever thought of knowing the etymology of the phrase; somehow we had concluded that the phrase suited the teacher-cum-cleric for his 'silly attitude towards the sports and games. 

Like our childhood slogan, 'Kawa Ye'inwol Merdad'un B'yol Khuday'n Gouel' that speaks of the hatred that generations of Kashmiri nursed against the brutal taxes imposed by an Afghan Subedar, Mirdad Khan the phrase Yazir Peer had been there much before we stamped it on a teacher-cum-cleric of our school.  Some days back, during my study of the early phases of our freedom struggle, I learnt that the phrase was born as a reaction by some clerics against a movement for reforming of the Kashmir Muslim society. The Movement was started by some youth during early years of the second decade of the twentieth century.  

Some enthusiastic young man inspired by the various social reform movements in the British India, more particularly in neighboring Punjab founded an organization, the Anjuman-i-Tahaffuz-i-Namaz-Wa-Satri-Masturat at Srinagar. For their belief that the Muslim society in rural areas had suffered a lot of social and moral decadence after the Sikh rule the founders of the organization instead of Srinagar focussed on the rural Muslim society.  The broader objectives of the organization besides asking the Muslims for strict adherence to the tenets of Islam was to inculcate moral values in them.  It also had flagged out serious issues like trafficking of women and observance of 'sartorial decency' by women. Suffering under brutal and coercive tax system, during those days of acute deprivation women were not decently dressed, and some did not even wear Yazar. In many areas and villages the 'reformers practically compelled the women to wear Yazars and cover their heads properly.'  Campaigning against defecating in open, they also impressed upon people in rural and urban areas for constructing of toilets. 

This reformation organization earned an ire from a strong section of clerics and Muftis for its caustic remarks about the lack of knowledge of Islam in the "Mullas" and asked people to get their marriage contracts registered in courts. True to the adage, 'give a dog a bad name and hang him' the strong lobby of clerics in the city for their asking women to wear Yazar nicknamed them as Yazir Peer and hunted them out of the scene.

In our society nicknaming has been a tool to defeat will intended movement. During our days at college, when bellbottom was a fad with boys and slacks a craze with girls, a small time Molvi had started a campaign against these trendy dresses. He was nicknamed as slacks molvi and made to abandon his campaign.

No stories found.
Greater Kashmir
www.greaterkashmir.com