Monday, May 13, 2019



  ( A traffic police constable in Kashmir. 1965)



Sometime around 1937, traffic police segment was carved out in J&K Police. It had ten to twelve personnel. The department was headed by a Parsi officer who had ‘Patel ‘ as his surname. The 'Traffic Police Department 'was created at the specific intervention of Maharaja Hari Singh and Mr Patel was personally selected by Maharaja. All ten persons working under him were also known as ‘ Patels '. Kashmiris even called it ‘ Patel Police ’ and not Traffic Police. There was one Ghulam Hassan who came to be known as Ghulam Hassan ‘Patel ‘. Kashmiris also remember Dina Nath Trackru ‘Patel ‘ who lived at Tankipora locality in Srinagar city. He also served in this Traffic Police wing and became a favourite of his Parsi boss. Dina Nath Patel was the son of well-known lawyer Pandit Chadarjoo Vakil. Dina Nath Patel also served as Traffic Inspector Muzaffarabad ( now in POK) before 1947. He rose to become Commissioner of Police in J&K state. He was honest, disciplinarian and lived like a European. He married a Maharashtrian girl ( second time ) from Pune and died issueless at an age of 88 years in 1987. 
The Parsi Patel or head of traffic police in Kashmir had three children, one daughter and two sons. The elder son, Rustom Patel known as Russy, was a cricketer who joined S.P. college as Physical Director. The second son, Jahangir Patel, known as Jangu was also a cricket player. Russi Patel later left the job and moved to Mumbai. Jahangir became a monk and joined Ganesh Puri Ashram 
of Swami Muktanand at Thane. 

 The Patels were residing on the upper floor of the building now occupied by Ahdoo's Hotel in Srinagar. Pestonji family ( another Parsi family residing in Kashmir) also lived close by to Patels. The Patels were possibly related to Pestonji. Behram Pestonji and K.B. Pestonji from this Pestonji family of Srinagar served the New India Assurance company. The Pestonji building had a wooden white horse outside it and it used to be a landmark structure in Srinagar city. This building was gutted in 1992 and the white horse was moved inside a shopping mall that was raised in the area. When Ski club was established at Gulmarg in 1927, Mr B .N.Pestonjee from Srinagar was made its secretary.

Dhanjiboy was another Parsi family that made Kashmir their home .The Dhanjiboy family was allotted 11 Kanals of land by Maharaja Hari Singh on long term  lease .The family  was allowed to use the land for commercial purposes. This family managed the horse drawn postal carriage services between Srinagar and  Muzaffarabad. "Dhanjiboy Ka Ihaata" was a famous place in Amirakadal , Srinagar.

So long so much...

 (Avtar Mota )

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