Song for the deaf

It hardly makes a difference to them
"Anis Mush Ha’vin, Na Gunnah, Na Sawaab” . It literally means, “to show the fist to a blind man is neither a sin nor a virtue”. Showing fist is a very offensive and vulgar gesture in all cultures, to mention. But when a blind is shown first, it hardly matters." [Representational Image]
"Anis Mush Ha’vin, Na Gunnah, Na Sawaab” . It literally means, “to show the fist to a blind man is neither a sin nor a virtue”. Showing fist is a very offensive and vulgar gesture in all cultures, to mention. But when a blind is shown first, it hardly matters." [Representational Image]maxpixel [Creative Commons]

“Onh” in Kashmir means blind, “Andha” in Urdu and Hindi. There are several idioms related to blind in all languages including Kashmiri. Kashmiri idioms related to “onh” are very interesting and it depends upon the context how the word “onh” has been used and how it is to be understood in a particular proverb.

Anis Mush Ha’vin, Na Gunnah, Na Sawaab” . It literally means, “to show the fist to a blind man is neither a sin nor a virtue”. Showing fist is a very offensive and vulgar gesture in all cultures, to mention. But when a blind is shown first, it hardly matters.

Blind here has been used figuratively. It means blind by wisdom. A stupid fellow. So, advice is lost on such people who are brain-blind. Whether people do good or bad to them, or whether people are sincere, honest, well wishing, khair kha, or just making a fun of them or making use of them for their own interests, it makes no difference to such morons.

The other related Kashmiri idioms are: “Anis Hawan Sari Wath, Be-Aqlas Ne Kanhin” which literally connotes that all show way to blind people but none shows to a fellow without understanding. It is futile to guide and advise a moron. “Anis Anigatài , Zchong Kiya Karih” which connotes that how can a lamp help a blind person in the dark. It is like song to the deaf.

It is of no use to show lamp to a blind person in dark. It can’t help him out in dark. Here the proverbial expressions are figurative that a fellow who is surrounded by darkness of thoughts, evil or misdeeds, how can lamp of truth and wisdom help that fellow. There is an Indian proverb which means a blind man will not thank you for a looking glass.

It is of no use to give mirror to a blind man. Broadly speaking, giving advices, suggestions and guidance to a foolish fellow will fall on his/her deaf ears. Anis Raat Te Doh Huvi which literally implies day and night are alike for a blind person. Good and bad are same to a stupid fellow.

Sinner is also blind as sin blackens and darkens the light of conscience to see and realise dark-deeds. Alim Be-Amal Gov, Ani- Sindhis Athas Manz Mashal Ya Zchong. It means if knowledge is not used for benefit of self and others, it is like a blind man holding a lamp in his hands. Onh Kiya Zani Zag Te Prun . A blind person cannot differentiate between red-rice [Zag Tomul in Kashmir] and white-rice [Bareh Tomul in Kashmiri].

He does not understand difference in colours. For a fool, good and bad are the same. Onh Dand Ravi Navi, Sasan Dandan Vath. One blind ox will lead thousand oxen astray. One stupid man’s action will cause problem to so many people. Oni Sinz Kulaii Khudayas Hawaleh.

Blind man’s wife in God’s protection. It means someone who does not take care of his own things, property, due to sheer negligence and carelessness, only God can protect them. Its exact Urdu equivalent is that Allah Andhay Ki Biwi Ka Rakhwala that is God is the guardian of a blind man’s wife. Andhay Ki Biwi Kis Kay Liye Karay Singhaar , that is, blind man’s wife does not need make-up.

The most prominent of Kashmiri proverbs regarding blind and one-eyed people is “Anin Manz, Kayin Mahrin” which means literally one-eyed bride in the company of blind people. One-eyed, Kana [Koon or Kayin in Kashmiri] is a very cunning and clever fellow.

So a cunning, clever bride or woman. The deformity, figuratively, of character of a mischievous and deceptive person, cannot be observed by blind people around.

It has an analogous idiom in Urdu and Hindi which is very famous in Indian subcontinent. It is Andhon May Kana Raja which means literally blind Bakhts or followers of an unjust king or in the kingdom of blind, one-eyed king.

It means that if there is a group of brainless people, or people with few or lesser abilities and capabilities of mind, not given to any minimum or clear understanding of things , people or places, then, a person of far below average intelligence among them will be considered very intelligent , someone like God-father or genius by them.

In English it means a figure among ciphers. A mediocre among fools easily becomes their leader.

The people may be stupid due to educational or mental backwardness. It has had practical application in the Kashmirian society of the yore when people in blind faith of political leaders would raise most stupid, and sometimes even sacrilegious, slogans out of fanatic adherence to them, also called cult worship.

The Indian proverb Andhon May Kana Raja has been actually borrowed from 1500 century Jewish text where it is mentioned like this: “in the street of the blind, the one-eyed man is called the Guiding Light” or “in the valley of blind, one-eyed man is the king”. Kashmiri proverb “Anin Manz, Kayin Mahrin” is apparently a copy of the cited Indian and Jewish idiom.

Now coming to the fancied background of the Indian proverb Andhon May Kana Raja. It is said that in olden days once a hungry Fakir came in a village and asked for food but the villagers made a fun of him.

He left the village disappointed invoking God’s Curse on its dwellers. God punished the villagers by turning them blind disabling them thus to take care of their possessions themselves.

The thieves from adjoining villages began breaking in their homes stealing livestock and chattel. They became very anxious what to do with the problem of stealing. One young man of the village was not present in the village when its dwellers had mocked at the Fakir.

He was a rustic villager working as a labourer in a city where he met an accident which caused damage to his one eye and he was left with one eye only to see the things and people. He became Kana, one-eyed.

When he returned to his village, he was appointed as the village-head to keep a vigil on the village, its affairs and possessions of its dwellers. In a way, he became like a Raja of the village. Among blind villagers, he was only one-eyed Raja of the village. Hence, the idiom Andhon May Kana Raja.

Tailpiece:

There is a famous saying which means that the eyes are of little use if the mind be blind. It connotes that if eyes see the reality, or bare facts around, but without understanding the same, then the mind becomes useless.

It is most important that mind appreciates and comprehends the things and people that the eyes see.

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.

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