Wednesday, March 9, 2016

WAS HAA’R ( SMALL SEA SHELL ) USED AS CURRENCY ( COIN ) IN KASHMIR ?


                                                                              

                                    
WAS HAA’R ( SMALL SEA SHELL )  USED AS  CURRENCY ( COIN   ) IN KASHMIR  ?

  Kashmiris often say :

 “HAARI KUNUKH  HO’SS “  or “They sold an elephant for a small sea shell.”

SHAMAS  FAQEER  , a tall sufi poet from kashmir writes ;

“Shamas faqeero kehn na Tchei..
kehn naai lavukh kha'nd Haa'r tchei..
kehn naai lavukh teiti chha kamaai.
.yeti suyii chhumaai taeti suyii chhumaai”
                      
(“Worthless are you O shams faqeer,
Not worth even a broken Haa'r (small sea shell),
But then better is this worthlessness of yours,
 For you are under the care of your Master ( Guru)
 in this world and hereafter as well”)

Prof. Jaya Parimu adds:

“There is one adage in Kashmiri language ..’’Mohar-i- tsoonth Zilith Haar-i-Tung Zulnai " or An Apple worth a gold sovereign is to be taken peeled ,but a P
ear worth a Haar  ( small sea shell ) can be taken direct.”
                                                                                                 
                                                                                              
And then all of us remember how we used to play with HAAR ( sea shells ) on Shivratri day. Losing the shells . Winning them . Storing them in Pheran pockets. Something like  gambling. With this game of sea shell  some terms also gained currency . I quote some ..

Frootch …. Lucky
Kooe’nn ….. One  lonely sea shell upside down .
Bo’tul… The tossing sea shell for playing the game
Chho’t… A turn Wasted .

 This Game of sea shells  would go for many days before the shivratri and continue thereafter as well.   It was confined to shivratri Festivity  only. 

Since kashmiri poetry , proverbs and sayings mention it as  small  currency , one is tempted to believe that at any point of time , it could have been used as a small coin for exchange of goods or services in Kashmir .

( Autar Mota )

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