Zalur: The cobwebs of conceit

There does not seem to be any proverb related to Zalur in Kashmiri
Anyone who takes his protectors other than Allah is like a spider weaving a web, building a house for itself, which is too weak to stand onslaughts of wind and rain. [29-41]
Anyone who takes his protectors other than Allah is like a spider weaving a web, building a house for itself, which is too weak to stand onslaughts of wind and rain. [29-41]Pxhere [Creative Commons]

Zalur or spider or Makdi (Urdu) & Ankaboot (Arabic/Persian) is an interesting creature of the nature. In Sanskrit spider means Luta. Its biting causes irritating skin disease, called Luta-disease.

It may sound quite funny that under ancient text of Pandit Kalhana, Rajatarangini, the insect was held responsible for causing “contagious disease”, like plague, in ancient times during the reign of Jayapida [751-785 AD].

Under medical science, spider-bite causing epidemic disease, like plague may now look quite strange. In olden times, under the superstitious beliefs, in the Punjab Province, there was a custom that when a person was attacked by fever, he was advised to take a spider, cover it with cotton & tie it round his neck so that he was cured as soon as he forgot all about it.

At the threshold, it may be noted that there does not seem to be any proverb related to Zalur in Kashmiri although some phrasal words like Zalir-Zeij & Zalir-Zaal are frequently used in daily communication.

A room in a house if kept un-clean for some time, a fine delicate net is woven by the spider in the corners & ceiling of the room & the family members on noticing it cast a remark on the untidy room:

Yeth Kuthis Chi Ligmech Zulir Zeij which indicates that the room has not been cleaned for a long time. The room gives shabby look with dusty Zalir-Zeij or Zalir-Zaal.

There is a fine distinction between the two. Zalir-Zal is spider’s web, or cobweb, while Zaler-Zeij is spider’s web like egg-cocoon:

Spider weaves a fine and delicate web. Spider builds a house and then abandons it in search of building new one at another place. Spider crawls stealthily from house to house, poor to rich, high & low, all mansions are in its hunt, to build nets. But what it leaves behind is called a cobweb. The spider weaves its web out of its own bowels which looks quite wonderful skill of craftsmen & weavers of Kashmiri shawls and fine embroidery work. It weaves its web for a purpose to catch insects, getting incautiously entangled in it. Poor prey!

But all this spider does with a wrong notion and conceited thinking that its house is the strongest. No! It is weakest of all the homes, houses of God’s creation on the earth.

The Holy Quran has a parable that of all houses the house of spider is the flimsiest. Anyone who takes his protectors other than Allah is like a spider weaving a web, building a house for itself, which is too weak to stand onslaughts of wind and rain. [29-41]

When spider weaves a net, it checks if it is strong enough to stand against any accident. What it does? It leans upon it (web/net) in different directions on its hind legs and fore-claws to check if it is secure. If web is broken somewhere, it immediately amends it by fresh chord of bowels tied to the wall.

Once satisfied that the web is safe and strong, it return to its hole, ‘her space’, with a satisfaction that it is charismatic, charming and amazing, to have woven such a wonderful net and that all is fine with it, Zaal, and that it will be too powerless for little insects to resist entry in it.

The spider feels delighted in its hole when in sunshine, the web looks beautiful. It adds more charm & fascination to its filthy conceit. But, in a moment, there comes a broom or mop or water splash or strong wind that smashes it.

In Mawlana Rumi’s Mesnavis, we find mention of webs of power and fame, conceit and arrogance, un-repentance and adamancy on one’s wrongs, sins, weaved by one around himself; a wicked fellow sinks deep in self-pit, weaving a web around himself like a silkworm with no escape.

All this is a figurative description of cobwebs of bad intentions and bad deeds of the people who intend to harm others [innocent people] but end up in harming themselves only.

In local parlance, people typify Zalir-Zaal with something as undesirable, unkind and plot against someone. Spider builds it to catch the prey or to haunt the prey. Once a prey falls in its centre, the spider takes it to the hell.

Tailpiece:

Iterating, there is no Kashmir Proverb regarding Zalur. But there is one famous proverb which goes like this: “written laws are like spiders’ webs; that catch weak and poor, but are torn to pieces by rich and powerful.”

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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