Kashmir, the land of Sufis and Saints, in olden times was divided into two parts - Kamraz and Maraz. Kamraz represents the southern part, and Maraz represents the northern part of the valley respectively.
As the story goes, two ruling siblings, Kamran Dev and Marhan Dev, had divided the kingdom between themselves. Kamran ruled north Kashmir which became to be known after him as Karmraz and Marhan ruled south Kashmir which got its name after him as Maraz.
Also during Dogra rule (1846-1947), the whole Kashmir was divided into only two districts of Baramulla and Anantnag, Srinagar being part of it. In Kamraz i.e. the north Kashmir, there is small but renowned town known as Dangiwacha which has the legacy of having produced great intellectuals from time to time.
Away at 24 kilometers from main town of Baramulla, this beautiful town lies in the north-west corner of the district near mountain range of Kaji Nag in Rafibad area which is Adbi Markaz Kamraz (Rafiabad Centre for Culture). The place is known for its intellect, religion, cultural harmony, brotherhood and civilization.
The old name of this town was “Dandukwun” which is found in the inspiring poetry of famous Reshi Shaikh-ul-Alam (RA). The Sufi saint has mentioned in one of his verses “dandukwunke zalka reshi” means the Reshi who used to worship at dundukwun place, currently Dangiwacha.
This town is situated on the bank of stream Hamal which originates from the famous mountain peak of Kaji-nag spring in Rafiabad’s upper kandi-belt which provides water to streams like Hamal, Mawar and Vigge.
The town was founded by Sufi saint Late Khawaja Muhammad Yusuf Shah around 400 years ago. It is believed that Khawaja Yusuf Shah had come from Syria to worship here. The shrine of this saint is located in the middle of the town beside Jamia Masjid in the main market.
There is a private institution in the town named after Khawaja Yusuf Shah, known as Yusufia English Medium School which has a history of success from decades. Although, this institution had to shift multiple times within the town, yet, the school is deemed the sigh of the founder Late Khawaja Sahib.
The population of this town is exclusively Muslims in all the fifteen Mohallas. However, there is a Sikh community in the surrounding villages like Yarbug, Chraligund, Deedarpora, Rawalpora and Hunoora etc. The town is connected to Sopore and Baramulla via another small town Watergam.
Known for its highest literacy rate i.e. 95%, Dangiwacha town is called the educational hub of Rafiabad because most of population here is well-read, cultured, civilized and dedicated. Most of the inhabitants here are Govt. employees.
A lesser portion of the town is occupied by either artisan fraternity or laborers etc. However, besides serving the government sector, people of this town also love to keep themselves busy with agricultural and horticultural activities.
Needless to mention that a greater population of this town belongs to Peer dynasty which are further divided into different casts like Masoodi, Makhdoomi, Peerzada, Qureshi, Shah, etc. The credit for being the civilized town of Rafiabad straight goes to peer dynasty here that prefer to appoint themselves either in the sacred teaching profession or in religious activities.
Dagiwacha town has remained a birthplace to many intellectual, political, religious and literary personalities. Who can forget the political figures of this town like Late Mr. Ghulam Hassan Shah, Late Mr. Allauddin Shah, Late Mr. Ziauddin Shah and Ali Joo Ganai? Having achieved a wide range of influence in the area, all of them have contributed a lot for the place. And as for religious persona, the town will always remember the great role of Late Molvi Bahauddin Shah, Late Molvi Muzzaffer Shah, Late Hissamuddin Shah and Late Muhmmad Yahyah Shah et.al.
It is in pertinent to mention here that in 1960, social activist Haji Wali Mohammad Ganai (Wali Joo) was the only figure in this town who not only provided accommodation to the hospital without any rent, but also offered the lodging to the doctors with families who rendered their duties here from far off places.
Author of famous Kashmir poetry, “Panun Dood, Panen Dagg” (My Pain, My Affliction), Dr. Rafiq Masoodi, who is a well-known figure in literary, cultural and social circles of our J&K, hails from Dangiwach town. Being the patron of Rafiabad Adbi Markaz Kamraz, and former ADGD (Additional Director General Doordarshan), this illustrious son of the town has always brought laurels to Rafiabad area. Akin to him, the town has given birth to several others like Nisar Azam, Shabir Ahmad Shabir, Elyas Azad and the like.
Being the heart of Rafiabad, Dangiwacha town is the first town where academic activities were in vogue right from the very beginning. History bears witness that Govt. Hr. Sec. School of this town is the first central school of the area before 1947 where teaching-learning process had taken place. As prime asset of the town today, this institution has served bedrock to many professions from time to time.
The road to two lesser known health resorts like Mundaji and Kitterdaji goes via Dangiwacha town. Both these resorts which are about 11 kilometers from this town still crave for good road connectivity. Presently the town is an example of intellect, culture and literature in whole Kamraz area.
However, there are certain things which call for the intervention of the honorable Deputy Commissioner of Baramulla; like, revamping of picnic spots like Mundaji & Kitterdaji, parking space for bus stand in the market, allocation of municipal committee, creation of more posts for the community health centre, filling of some consultant doctor posts lying vacant in PHC, round the clock functioning of microbiological laboratory and sanitation of the stream called Narkul.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.