Wednesday, May 7, 2014




                                  (In Kashmir, "Voguv"   was  a Poor  Man's Carpet )
   We hardly saw his face as and when he entered the lane leading to our house in Rainawari . The Voguv seller would always carry the load on his head and move inside localities or through bazaars . Possibly that was the only practical way to carry the load .Rarely did we see Voguv being sold on shops . I doubt having ever seen. Yes at times some poor artisans would carry this load in a roofless boat ( Demb Naav ) upto Naidyaar or Jogilanker bridge in Rainawari wherefrom this load would be carried on head . Quite often the seller happened to be a poor Voguv weaving artisan . The Voguv seller would move inside interior localities of  Rainawari crying :

“ Voguv maa Kenh ! Voguv maa Kenh !” or “ Any one needing a Voguv ! Anyone needing a Voguv."I remember my mother buying two pieces simultaneously from Abdul Jabbar the Voguv seller from Dal lake .He would always insist his buyers to buy a Jooer ( two pieces ) .We always had a new Voguv in stock .

Voguv or the poor man's carpet is made from long spongy stems of weed plant ( locally known as Peatch ) that grows wild in lakes , ponds and water logged areas of Kashmir .

Sitting on a new Voguv especially outside the kitchen was a delight .Kashmiris used it for flooring near the  kitchen where they ate food . It was also used as first layer of flooring in the rooms upon which second and third layer( (comprising of a Durrie and Masnad or Gabba ) would be put .A Voguv would last for one season and after sometime its spongy reeds would become so pressed and loose that it needed to be replaced . Voguv has almost vanished from middle class households in Kashmir valley.
A new Voguv was also used by Kashmiri Pandits for marriage , birth , death and other religious rituals .In the DAV school, i had some classmates  who would cut the spongy end pieces from a  Voguv and smoke them like cigarettes .
 In villages , Voguv  was  also used for storing dried crops like paddy and maize after making it air tight by covering  it with layers of mud .This huge container, in which more than 500 kg  of paddy , maize or  mustard seeds  used to be stored by farmers was called ‘ Vageev  Loppun ’ by Kashmiris .

Late Sri S.K. Kak ( IAS ) ,who possibly retired as controller Tawaza (J&K ) would always relax on a Voguv ( weed mat ). I have personally seen him sitting on a Voguv spread neatly in the sitting room outside the kitchen of his house at Naidyar , Rainawari.
To this  write up , I am adding a poem “Sonzal  Rangan Haenz” or “A Rainbow  of  Colours  ” written by  Kashmiri poet late Syed Rasool Pompur .

( Sonzal Rangan Haenz )

Bahaaruk Jashan ,
Zan ta golaaluv rataa zool kormuut,
Chhaet ta chhaaeini sotariv alfaal ,
Soant hawaavus vaanij kooraan ,
Saanie azal samayuuk yendher ti thhok,
Ye chhot, ye sabz, ye anaarei,
Ye leidhur , ye vozul tosaa kataan ..
Ye tchandara talwaar ti phuut,
Hu gaashi taarukh ti pyaav vaaess,
Neelis  aakaashus oburr nabas kunn ma vuchh ,
Patchhi haeindiss aaenna pattis chhu doath vasaan,
Panuni angzari ta arup buthii .
Khawaaban haenz ye sonzal vuchhithh
Mataa vanna ta zi
Bemaaran sandho’r…

( Syed Rasool Pompur )

Two decade back , possibly in 1994, this poem was translated into Hindi by Dr. Shashi Shekhar Toshkhani. I love the poem and its superb Hindi translation  by Shri Toshkhani .  Here is Dr. Toshkhani’s translation:

Bahaar ka utsav !
Arunima anant gul e laalon ki ,
Khaali ,
Akele ,
Sooti hal ,
Jaise vasanti hawa ke
Kaleije mein chubey huve ,
Charkha thhak gaya.
Hamaare bhaagya ke samay ka
Yeh safed , yeh hara , yeh anaar ke rang ka ,
Yeh peela , yeh laal pashmeena kaatatay,
Yeh pheekey rang Jodatay ,
Yeh talwaar bhi aadhe chaand ki toot gayee ,
Woh bhor ka taara bhi gir gayaa ,
Woh Neel gagan ,
Mat dekho,
Aasthaa ke darpan chhat par baras rahein hain oulay,
Darpan ke tukaday jod kar kyaa dekhogay,
Apney asankhya aakaarheen chehray,
Rangon ka talwaarnuma
Yeh paare ka indradhanush dekh,
Yeh mat kaho ki,
Beemar theek  ho  gaya …….

( Avtar Mota)

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