Sunday, June 4, 2017




“ Mey chh’a Aeim Sosan zaaliemi’t ”

“ He has even burnt the flowers beside my Grave ” 

This was a common Dialogue in Kashmiri families, both Pandits and Muslims. It was spoken to convey dealings with a person who gave nothing but grave trouble in return.

And while in S P college, I knew a friend who used to write Kashmiri poetry. I knew him as Noor Naseem. I do not know where he is at the moment. I also do not know why he abandoned writing. In a couplet that I remember, he had used word Sosan symbolically. I quote the lines from the poem composed by him that he read in the annual function of Bazm e Adab of S. P. College, Srinagar.

" Kyah vanaai tse dum faet amaaruk rang
Laalzaaruk beyi gul e annaruk rang
Akh jaam chuv sukraatan zan
Beyi sosanav ro’tt mazaaruk rang'

(How can I convey the feelings of this unspoken love?
Ask not for the garden’s hue or the pomegranate flower’s colour,
It is like Socrates gulping the hemlock once more, 
And like the beautiful
 German Iris again appearing in the graveyards.)

Word Sosan is quite popular in the Kashmiri language. Both Pandits and Muslims used the word to convey suffering or misfortune. Sosan, a beautiful flower destined to live in the graveyards. I have been told that a variety of the bearded Iris flower was planted in cemeteries by the Germans. And this flower came to be known as German Iris or Iris Germanica. It has white, blue, purple, pink, yellow and many other colours.

In Kashmir, I would see Sosan or German Iris planted in the graveyards. It was locally known as “Mazaar Monjji Posh ”. It was also grown locally and bulbs were used for the propagation of this flower. During olden days, the bulbs of Sosan plant were also used for oil extraction. And the oil so extracted was used for making perfume. Sosan bulbs were also prescribed as medicines by Hakeems in Kashmir. They prescribed it for cough, colds, fevers, liver problems and many other ailments. The leaves of this plant are believed to be a rich source of vitamins especially vitamin B and C. 

In Kashmir, one could see the graveyards with blooming Sosan flowers during the spring season. 

( Avtar Mota )

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