Monday, August 29, 2016



                    ( POLSON BUTTER IN KASHMIR )

In Kashmir, we knew only Polson butter . Amul gained popularity in the early sixties of the last century. And then sometime around 1970 or 1971, Polson vanished from Kashmir.
I Remember the word " Polson" vividly.

" Kyaa sa laagaan chhivuss" Polson"

"Are you busy in flattering him ?"

It was common to use the word ‘Polsoning ’ instead of flattering. When Polson Butter vanished, usage of the word " Polson " also vanished from the Kashmiri language. Many elders have confirmed that one Mr.Wattal from Gund Ahalmar (near Nai Sarak in Srinagâr city ) was the oldest stockist of Polson butter in Kashmir. After 1947, it was sold by many traders in Kashmir. This butter would come in small tin boxes. It was yellow and salty. It tasted like homemade curd and unusually delicious. 

 It was also available in military canteens. Accordingly, many Kashmiris, who were employees of MES ( posted at Badami Bagh Cantt., Srinagar ) would buy this butter at cheaper rates from C.S.D. canteens.

Polson was started by Pestonji Edulji, a Parsi from Mumbai sometime in 1915 or 1916. In north India, Lahore city happened to be major distribution centre of Polson. Mr Wattal who traded under the name and style of "Kashmir Butter Company ", imported Polson butter from Lahore and supplied it to some European families, hotels including Nedou's hotel and Maharaja's Palace. He had his shop at Pahalgam and Srinagâr city around 1940.
Kashmiris, in general, did not consume butter till the early fifties of the last century. But once they started applying butter to local bakery items like Tsoett, Kulcha, Telvoru, Lavasa and Girdha, they never abandoned it. Butter is a household item in every Kashmiri family now.

In restaurants of Kashmir, butter toast remains a much sought after item with a cup of tea. A cup of tea is incomplete if not accompanied by hot and crispy butter toast.

And from my personal experience of living in Punjab, I can say with confidence that Punjabis are leaders in butter consumption. They consume it with chicken, Chapatis, Paraatha, Lassi, fish, Daal, vegetables, Kulcha and many other food items.

Once a Unani Hakim from Rainawari told me that during exigencies, he would buy Polson butter for preparing medicine for his patients suffering from haemorrhoids/ piles. This Hakim would say:-

" Local butter is cool in Taseer ( effect ). Tin butter is hot in Taseer. It has salt also. But I didn't get local butter often from the market. See I can't go to Shopian to buy those white butter balls every time. So I was constrained to buy Polson butter tins for preparing my medicine during exigencies."

(Avtar Mota)

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