"Pulhor" (A slipper made of grass) || by Trilok Singh || LIVE IMAGE

Down the stream line 70 years back, I remember the days when we Kashmirians were using "Pulhor" (A slipper made of grass) to wear on instead of (boot or a chappal made of leather, rubber or plastic common in use nowdays with utmost delicacy, beautification and comfort. It drags me very back to make a glance of the life of our fathers and fore fathers which was tough, very hard, laboriors and full of miseries and worries.

I have heard from an old muslim native of the village that he sold two kanals of land to fetch a pair of "Pulhor" when they were in Kargil during the month of September-October taken by Dogra rulers as forced Labourer, commonly known in kashmir as "Baigar". 

It is not the narration of one but so many cases have been witnessed in such a distression who have sold their belongings to save their lives in such a situation where poverty was on one hand and threat of rulers through their " Harkaras" on the other hand. 

I have myself seen most of Kashmiris in general and Gojar folk in particular wearing these grass slippers bandaged with torn pieces of clothes to cover their feet to protect them from the chilling cold and heavy snow when they were travelling from one village to another. 
       The fact is true not only with "Pulhor" but no walk and aspect of Kashmirians was exception whether it was a personal life, social life or a political phase. 

            The most staple food of Kashmiri people is rice and vegetables from the early days.However when the production was very low due  to lack of modern fertilizers and Scientific techniques people used to feed themselves with rice, saug, cracked corn meals (Makai Wat) and dried vegetables.

People in rural areas used to keep dry turnips along with their vegetative part (branches) called by Kashmiris (Gogji Loonch) for winter. The people of higher upper class were using pulses especially beans (Rajmas). This lowest standard of feeding is nowadays considered the result of poverty of our fathers and fore father, however such poverty was the net result of the exploitation of autocratic rulers and their officials yet sounding in our ears by the names of Mujwaza, Maliya and Baigar. 

      Infact we have suffered much from the very beginning especially during the foreign rule, weather it was Mughal rule, Pathans rule, Sikh rule or Dogra rule. Poverty was in our fortune. 

We the Kashmiris were  and are fighting the chilling cold and cold breezes of winters with our pet helper Kangri( Fire Pot). This poor man's Kangri has replaced and is replacing the air conditioned buildings, Electric Heaters, Gas Stoves and Gas heaters of todays corporates. Thanks to Almighty this has become our socio-cultural heritage. Kashmiri Pandits used to send these highly decorated Kangris with currency notes in them to their newly married daughters on Shivratri Festivals. 

          Despite every effort to emerge each way was blocked by autocratic means enforced by autocratic rulers. Be it a personal life, social life or a political phase of life, in every case Kashmiris were at the helm of affairs by the autocratic rulers and their officials according to their own choice and taste. Even Sheikh Sahab in his book " Aatish Chinar" describing the atro cities of Kashmiris in the Dogras rule mentions that when Gandhi Ji came to Kashmir in 1942, the Rani - Wife of Hari Singh Dogra last ruler or king of kashmir came with a jug of milk to wash his feet to please him and get his blessings but the father of nation abstained her and asked those rulers to give freedom to the people of kashmir who were at the verge of death due to poverty. 

        At the time of partition of India, Kashmir suffered again. It got divided into two parts and is still so. However, we had a leader Mr. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, highly educated, - M. Sc from A.M.U. a good leader, a good administrator and a fore sighted person as written by D.N.Koul in his book " The Police and Crimes" along with us. He had a dream to educate the people of kashmir and make the state the self-reliant and self-sufficient in every field of life. 

            After Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Prime ministership came in the hands of G.M.Bakshi Sahab. He made education free from 1st primary to M.A.. The university of kashmir and later on Jammu university came into existence. The process got a kick start and now we have five universities in J&K with four medical colleges and four engineering colleges. 

Even prime minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh in his tenure said that there must be 1500 universities in India. We have highly educated people in J&K now. Good doctors , innovative engineers, good teachers, scientists, honest journalists and workmen in every walk of life and now the precious belongings of the Kashmir nation.

 Proud enough that our lady folk has also shown their ability in every field of life but still we lack everything. We have been witnessing uncomfortable and uneasy atmosphere for decades both Geographical as well as political and consequently lots of killings, elders and youths even the babies in the laps of mothers is being witnessed. Thousands of youth are harassed and jailed for no crime, has become the part of kashmir future history. Our youth are in turmoil, disappointed and signs of no future are well read from their faces.

Our educated and trained youth are without any job or work waiting eagerly for a chance to work and make livelihood but there seems no one to inspire life in them. There is always false propaganda propagated for the upliftment of these distressed youths but in actual practice there is no corner in the hearts of elective representatives for the ampathy and feeling of these youths. 

Rulers enjoy for the tenure and then once more come before these striker youth apologising, blaming others and promising best in next tenure, there is lot of cheating. Only dead persons are protected with fencing and decorated boards and nobody cares for young and living people-- but only false propaganda and fake promises. 

Divide and rule, the policy of Britishers is still applied. Even educated are made fool by these people or we can say the agent's of......... like Asaram, Gurmeet Ramrahim Singh and others wearing long chogas and saffron coloured dress with long saffron "Tilak" on their foreheads. 

                              Since 1990 education in J&K has worstly suffered rather paralyzed due to strikes, lockdown and privatisation of schools etc. If anything seems to remain that has been done by long time administrative curfews and Corona curfews since 2019. Hardly any teacher or student has seen the door of the school or a blackboard. Private schools are looting in the name of online education. 

I categorically term it as artificial education as there is no proper conception, no clear interaction between a teacher and a student. This present system lacks something which 'Hitler' has described in his book "Mein Kampf" narrating that "our social science teacher while teaching was bringing the world in our classroom". 

                NCERT has started a programme of empowerment of women in India but still we are witnessing daily rape cases and even four years old daughters are not spared. Dowery burning cases and other inhuman tortures have become daily routines. "Where lies thethe "Achilles' heel"? 

            In fact we have lost that India of Mahatma Gandhi where he preached: " Self sacrifice of a man is million times potent than the sacrifice of a million men who die in the art of killing others".

             We all must try to find where deviation lies and then try to improve the condition and set the rail on track to fullfill the dreams of those freedom fighters who got India's freedom at the cost of their blood and lives. 

     Our religious places have abundance of wealth, why not to use the same for the welfare and upliftment of the people by setting industries and constructing hospitals, universities and other institutions to help the suffering people of the country. 

           We should go in the search of those moral values once more which had made our nation once a greatest one. We should block the ways of moral corrupts who try to make the entire India a morally corrupt for their own interest and benefits. 

            We are chanting the slogans of empowerment of women folk but hang their nude pictures in the markets. How it can be called a respect or an empowerment of a women. Our cell phones are filled with nude woman pictures and most of the youngsters waste their time by witnessing them certainly it deteriorates their character and morality.

           We often make mistakes in electing our representatives and elect selfish people as representatives to frame a Government, who do nothing there for the welfare of the country other than to exudate money and wealth from the natives in one way or the  other. During a chat with my friends, i told them if i will ever become your representative, i will take only ten thousand rupees as monthly wages and rest of the salary would deposit in a trust consisted of a group of friend circle for six years. 

This will be a huge amount to be spent for opening of hospital or school for country men. I expressed the thought only to induce a sense how we should elect our representatives who should be selfless. But also we are still dominated by the people who claim very high but are of no worth for the nation.

Let every concious citizen leaving his Orthodox ideas came forward to save the people and that will be great service to God. Let us liberate our minds and should never divide a human being labelling them a Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian. We are one, Men/Women is one. We must act upon the advice of Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U) "Be merciful to all his creation".

To sum up believing in the teachings of " Guru Granth Sahib" I quote it's one verse, "Awal Allah Noor Upaaya Kudarat Ke Sab Bande, Ek Noor Te Sab Jag Upjeya Kaun Bhale Kaun Mande".

By-Trilok Singh
(Senior Lecturer at Diet Shopian, Kashmir) 
R/o.Gamaraj Tral

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