Articles Comments

Peace Watch » Editor's Take, Kashmir-Talk » Bridegroom on A Colt: Only Rich And Influential Could Afford White Stallion

Bridegroom on A Colt: Only Rich And Influential Could Afford White Stallion


Bridegroom on A Colt


I have an unbreakable bond with my childhood. That perhaps holds true about everyone. Often on festive, even not-that-jovial occasions, I instantaneously get connected to my childhood. ‘Childhood memories’ as someone has rightly said ‘come crashing like a wave, and one reaches to them with arms out to grab them, to catch them, hold them close,’ and I take great pleasure  in  sharing  them with my friends; young and old.
 Traditionally, the seasons of ‘fruitfulness’ and weddings began to synchronize. I don’t know if the tradition is seven hundred years old, or it has been there before also, but the general belief is that wazawan-the multi-mutton-dishes cuisine is most tasteful during the times when branches of trees are drooping with ripe fruits, and the singing insects fill the air with their melodious songs.  During, the season of marriages,  from midnight merry songs coming from nearby Mohallas, or women clapping hands in symphony with the send-off songs to the bridegroom or welcome songs to the bride or giggles and titters at the Mohar-Tulin (Bride’s veil lifting formality) anything takes me to my childhood-  when my siblings, my mates and I enjoyed every moment marriage festivities.
Truthfully, I have no idea about the weddings of the ‘loyalists’ biggies’ who “loved to reap where they never sowed,”  Nonetheless, one of the bitterest anecdotes about weddings of this class that I heard at a shop front and still lives in my memory is of the servant of a Khoja.’  His master had asked him to go running with an invitation to a far of the village outside the city and return water splashed on the road by waterman evaporates.  The poor servant after completing marathon running died at the doorstep of his master. Instead of mourning his death, the landlord bragged to his guest about his command and loyalty of the servant.’ But for being born in the city of toiling artisans and craftsmen, who for centuries had bedecked our landscape with great works of art and masterpiece artifacts, I have vivid impressions about the wedding celebrations in and around my birthplace- that in their own right had a royal touch.  
Some days back at a marriage ceremony, I overheard some youth talking about arranging a top-notch BMW car for their bridegroom friend and festooning it with best garden fresh flowers; the conversation instantly took me down the memory lane. I remembered, some prominent ‘tanagawalas’ (chariot drivers) famed for hiring out tall Peshawar breed horses to bridegrooms. Of all   the top horses, the one owned by   Qadir Chahan, a stout tanagawala, known for donning a huge Gilgit-Baltistan cap was counted best of all. Many bridegrooms wished to ride his horse to the bride’s house. But, only the most influential could afford the tall white horse of Qadir Chahan,  notorious hoodlum an ardent supporter of Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad. In our Mohalla, two tanagawala brothers Sona Gour and Jamal Gour were known to have the best stallions, one white and another black. During the wedding seasons, they always had the advanced bookings for their horses- in their own right they turned VIPs during the festive season.   
Those days  , there were just a few cars in and around the Ward four, perhaps there were three only in our locality, and the owners were the upstarts who after 1947 for their political connection had made   quick money. During those weird times, fiends passed  as saints. Interestingly, one of the car owners an unlettered hugely turbaned contractor had been introduced by Bakshi Sahib to Prime Minister Nehru as Qazi-i-Shahar at a musical function in Badamwari. During those times, I don’t remember having ever seen a bridegroom arriving at the bride’s house by car. However, the bridegrooms married outside the city would use garlanded boats- Shakaris and Dongas as a means of transport to the brides’ house and return through the same mode of transport. Most of them embarked into boats at various Ghats of the serpentine waterway- the Mar Canal.   
In our Mohalla, a tall and hefty small time was married somewhere near the sixth bridge on the Jhelum. His kiosk, for selling   roasted soya beans, chickpeas, boiled red beans, and roasted chestnuts were favorite with children- he was jovial and full of humor.   He could not win the favor of  Sona or Jamal for hiring one of their tall horses to ride on the bride’s home; one of his friends had hired an ass height pony for him. Sitting on pony’s back his feet literally touched the road. My mates and many other joined the singing women and accompanied him to the bride’s house – to see lest the pony collapses under his heavyweight.


Filed under: Editor's Take, Kashmir-Talk · Tags: , , ,

Comments are closed.