Wednesday, June 1, 2016




Laddi Shah, Laddi Shah Daaeri’kin pyow,
pya'waane pya'waane haa'patan khyow”

( Laddi Shah, Laddi Shah! fell from the window!
And the moment he fell , he was bitten by a wild Bear)

Laddi Shah is form of street Theatre of kashmir wherein one performer sings his satirical / allegorical composition in a definite style , sarcasm and metre . The satire is sometimes sharp political in its tone and at times about general loss of values or evils in the society. The solo performer / singer carries an iron rod in his hand . This rod has small circular rings and the performer keeps playing with the rings while singing.The performer dresses up himself in a typical kashmiri Pheran , Pyjaama and a Headgear ( Dastaar) or a typical  kashmiri Cap . He does not smile himself but conveys all his satire and humour with a serious appearance . 

Laddi shah performers could be considered as a part of Baand Theatre of kashmir. A laddi shah performer would go from Door to Door or House to House and sing playing with his typical Rings held in the iron rod . People would happily give rice or paddy to Laddi Shah Artist that would be collected in a Typical bag hung around his shoulders . It was the most popular entertainment in rural areas of kashmir that finally moved to Urban areas ..
I quote lines from  some popular laddi shah songs of kashmir ..

Aasmaen Jahaaz Aayi Mulk e kashmir
Yimuv Vuchh Timuv porr Toba Taqseer

(“ When the Aircraft  flew over kashmir
Those who saw it , said “ God save us “ )

( A popular Laddishah when First Aeroplane was seen flying over kashmir )

“Tul Paluvv Vothh Tchalav Mulke Punjab
Noon Ross Zinda Rozun Chhu Azaab..”

“ Pick up your clothes and let us rush to Punjab,
To Live without common salt over here  is just Painful “

( In 1947, When Maharaja Hari singh initially wavered on the question of accession to any dominion and signed a standstill agreement with India and Pakistan for Trade and supplies of essential commodities . Immediately thereafter , In a bid to put pressure on Maharaja to accede to Pakistan, The new Government of Pakistan Refused to honour commitments under this agreement and stopped rock salt supplies to kashmir. kashmiris used to consume rock salt that came from what had suddenly become Pakistan. Consequently Salt vanished from Bazaars in kashmir and people suffered a lot till supplied were despatched by Government of India . )

“ Faa’ta ta Radha Maal karaan az Graav
Punjaaeb tomulaa Yana Gaatus Aav
Tanaa Chhukh Myaaduss Yirviaai –Naav”

( Listen to the Complaints of Faata and Radha Maal ,
Since the day rice from plains has come to supply depots ,
Their digestive system is out of order ..)

( When cheap and subsidized rice was made available through Public distribution system in kashmir , initially  Kashmiris expressed reluctance to accept this rice as a part of their diet . They  felt that the cheap and subsidized rice from the plains of the country had spoiled their digestive system.)

Adds Prof Jaya Parimu :

" All instances of significance were at once put into rhythm and rhyme by Ladi Shah in kashmir .
"Mode  tal Po’ndaa a bus chha na fe’raan
Akh Ropai tsor Aana  dohas zenaan"

“ This one anna bus can not take a turn
It just earns one ruppe and four Annas a day “

This was a popular Laddi Shah  when the then Prime Minister  Bakhshi  Ghulam Mohd introduced buses for  city dwellers on  cheap  tickets. Till late forties of the last century  , Laddi Shah   would recite "Noonik i sokhan" or " stories of the salt "  when in 1947 rock salt had overnight become a non available item in kashmir. Laddi Shah was a Roaming News carrier in kashmir .”

A funny and satirical laddi shah song was composed about 1953 political  incidents in kashmir when Bakshi Ghulam Mohd took reins of the state . The  Laddi Shah song conveyed  that if the Tall man ( Sheikh Abdullah ) acted foolishly at that time , What had happened to the sharp and   witty  of Mirza Afzal Beg. The lines from this  Laddi Shah song  are too impolite to a political  personality from Kashmir that I may not bring them in this post . Hence regrets .

( Autar Mota )

Photo source...A still from Documentary Film Maker  by Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan from Kashmir..
CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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