Sweet memories of Chikarri || by Bushan Parimoo || LIVE IMAGE

Lady comb, (having hole, in the middle, for hair oil filling, to ensure uniform oiling of the scalp when used),  a couple of big spoons  and a wavelet made  all of Chikrri wood, unused, my mother kept in safe custody  along with other valuables., These though ordinary items were reminiscent of her the sweet memories of Mirpur and Kotli, It was generally taken that the craft existed on other side of the line Much later, writer learnt that  this craft do exist in Rajouri and Poonch .The Chikkri wood  has a hard, smooth with silky luster even  textured uniformly light yellow to brownish yellow, , , and without distinction between sap wood and heart wood. It is easy to turn and saw .

This makes it the choice wood for fine carving

Engravings, manufacturing drawing, geometrical and musical instruments, snuff boxes and combs. baby walkers, toys, decoration pieces, photo frames, hangers, , combs forks, spoons etc the wood of the tree is light and has lustrous Nature, the finished products do not require any paint or Polish (Jawaid and Ateetpal, 2007). Locals also use it as paddy ponder to bring 

    Once in abundance in noncontiguous big patches  at particular places, in Poonch Rajouri Chakkhaloor-Suksar, Mahore, Lehr Jofer,Ramnagar Sheikh Gulzaar The Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre-  Pampore , who works on medicinal plants in the state, shared that a few years back he found a couple of dying tree at Ahru Phalagam, Kashmir and brought a few cuttings which he is reading at Pampore,  That is only one instance of its presence in Kashmir otherwise never heard of it He also claims its medicinal value“Traditionally used as bittertonic, diaphoretic, anti-rheumatic, vermifuge, antihelmentic, analgesic, purgative diuretic, antiepileptic, antileprotic and in hemorrhoids. The bark of B. wallichiana used as hair growth stimulant”.+    

What all that is left is  shocking  remnant of its once thick stocks in nture  On one hand, this precarious reserved category tree , has been  allowed to exploit recklessly beyond recovery  by the very agency who are detailed to prtotect our Forests On the other killed they are responsible to kill  rural artisan trade Which  has a vast potential to generate  incremental avenues of livelihood , on sustainable  eco friendly Cottage industry, Diaspora of jammu province  are in search to have these items as token from their soil  Which can be tapped for export on the lines items from Kashmir Pilgrims  to ShadaraShrief, BudaAmarnath MataVaishno Devi Amarnath  is a ready made market at door step for these items devotees And nobody is worried or care for its preservation, protection and revival is being lost for ever, Chikrri called by other names such as Papri (Hindi), Shamshaad. Paapari (Garhwal). Is an ever green tree as well as shrub very slow growing one The bark of the tree is soft yellowish grey in colour flower unisexual, yellow and green appears during March to May and fruits ripen from July to August Very delicate to environ.Heigth it attains maximum varying from up to 10 m tall.  To 15 m high  And 2.1 m grith  the maximum.

Found at an altitude of 1,200 to 3,000 m MSL. .  Want moist  soil,  shady delicate to direct sunlight Averse conditions restrict its growth   to a shrubby  one it found in pure patches but some times associated with the other Himalayan species that is,Quercus leucotrichophoraRhododendron arboreum,Aesculus indicaTaxus baccata sub sp. wallichiana(Himalayan Yew), Ilex spp., Picea smithiana, etc.   beside in jammu  in  a few places ,,it is found in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), Nepal and Bhutan.,and Sikkim Belongs to Box family.

Genus Buxus native to western and southern Europe, southwest, southern and eastern Asia, Africa, Madagascar, northernmost South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, with the majority of species being tropical or subtropical; only the European and some Asian species are frost-tolerant. Centers of diversity occur in Cuba (about 30 species), China (17 species) and Madagascar (9 species). absent from Polynesia, Australia and Eastern South AmericaPakistan and India have only , two species has been reported, that is, Buxus wallichiana (Himalayan Box Tree) and BpapillosBuxus trees regenerate . 

Before  this high value multipurpose tree gets extinct  in near future Dire need is to embark upon an action plan to contain decline, reverse the trend of mindless exploitation for petty needs  Multi pronged strategy is calls the scenario it presents, Awareness, among the people  dwelling around and dependent ones ensure people participation to conserve the long tradition of wood work regeneration.

can be propagated either naturally through seed or artificially by stem cuttings., for which nurseries, be established in number, involve school college ,University students, NGOS , Rural Development agency and others .

 Bushan Parimoo
(The writer is a Jammu based environmentalist and a regular contributor to this Website .)
(Feedback at: blparimoo@gmail.com)

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