Thursday, September 2, 2021



Some  decades  back, In Kashmir  , every  Rani, Lakshmi, Janki, Parmeshwari, Chaanda,  Gauri ,Dhanwati ,Shubhawati, Benjigir,  Raj Dulari  or Benitaeth was poor. These women were engaged in   service , sacrifice and implementation of ruthless  selflessness.  They  had to work from 6 a.m. till 11 p.m. All these women  cooked food, washed utensils, washed clothes, did house cleaning and  other allied domestic work apart from maintaining family ties  .They were the  first to get up  from sleep and the last to sleep in their families .Even if they were  unwell, they  followed this routine. 

 A set of Pherans or Sarees , a sandal  and a Dejhoor given by  parents was their  material possession in the family.  They ate last of all and quite often there was little food left for them  to eat.  Their worry was to provide for all except their  own self. They would   burn wood and cowdung  for cooking and inhale the harmful  smoke . They inhaled the harmful smoke of the saw dust  burner known as Kosh Dammchul .Displaying an affectionate smile even in pain, everyone in their family expected service and comfort from them .They believed in nothing beyond selfless service and personal sacrifice. That was their  Dharma and Karma. During  some serious crisis in the family, these simple  women  passed on endless  love, affection, compassion and comfort to all. Even if they  were illiterate, these women remembered every line of AdI Sankara's Devi Stuti  or   Panchastavi or Hanuman Chaleesa. They  remembered Lal Vaaks and lyrical verses of Arin Mal,Habba Khatoon and  Rasool Mir. Tears trickled down   their eyes when they sang some Leela of  Krishen Joo Razdan or Parmanand. These women remembered everyone's birthday. They  remembered  the Shraada of every deceased member of their family. None knew when they were born. 

The plight of women from the  Muslim families  was not different. It was almost similar. I have seen many Muslim ladies in our neighbourhood  or in the families of my friends living a similar life. 

The conjugal bliss was unknown to them . For them , married life meant service ,surrender,child bearing , sacrifice, compromise  and self neglect. They had no time to think beyond  these things.
These women were from my family . They were related to me . A mother, a grandmother,a Maasi ,a Maami ,a Bua or an aunt. They lived in my neighborhood or in the families of my friends. We don't make such   people anymore in a world that is driven by values of utility and expediency .

(Avtar Mota)

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