Monday, March 3, 2014



A Tobacco shop Near Naaz Cinema in Srinagar ( Kashmir ) city 
Photo Autar Mota 


Portuguese introduced   in  India during  early seventeenth century .In Kashmir it was occasionally  brought by traders from India  . But During  Afghan  rule , the consumption  of  Snuff and Tobacco became widespread in kashmir valley  .Hukka or Hubble bubble entered every household. Both the king and the subjects ( women included ) got addicted to the gurgling sound and the smoky puffs .Even Maharaja Partap Singh spent about two hours per day puffing his Hukka . For some time kashmiri farmers also cultivated Tobbaco crop sowing the seed in April and harvesting it in August .Kashmiri farmers cultivated two varieties of tobacco called Chilasi and Brewari . .

While Afghan governors were busy in collecting revenue by all cruel means , Traders from Kabul brought Snuff and Tobacco to kashmir and carried horse loads of Pattoo , shawls ,and Tosha .An entry in the diary of  *John Nicholson dated 19th November 1847 reads as under

 “ Had some conversation with a group of Afghan merchants from Kabul who were carrying Snuff  and Tobacco to Kashmir wherefrom they would bring Tosh( Shahtoosh ) and Pattoo ( Woolen cloth )   which fetches very high price in Kabul. ”

( Autar Mota 3.03.2014 )

* John Nicholson( 1822- 1857 ) was a very Senior Political official in British India  who rose to the post of a Brigadier General. He was instrumental in the settlement of the North-West Frontier .He was stationed at  Peshawar , Moradabad , Benaras , Ferozepur and Delhi. He died suddenly at a very young  age and played a major role in the Mutiny of 1857. He was  buried in a  Cemetery in kashmiri Gate Delhi and his tombstone reads as under..

“Gifted in mind and body, he was as Brilliant in Government as in arms. The snows of Ghazni attest his youthful fortitude; the songs of the Punjab his manly deeds; the peace of this frontier his strong rule. The enemies of his country know how terrible he was in battle, and we his friends have to recall how gentle, generous, and true he was.”

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