Wednesday, March 4, 2015



(Photo Shailesh Mota Feb 2015 )

To this photograph i am adding something about the SHRAAN TA SONDHAR ceremony performed by kashmiris ..
Most of us have become ignorant about this important ceremony performed in our families after the birth of a child. The mother of the newly born baby would be given her first post delivery bath in this ceremony. This was done at her in law’s house .This was done after seven days of the child’s birth. Water mixed with herbs (procured from a BUHUR or the local Trader selling Herbs and items for performing religious rituals and ceremonies ) was boiled for many hours whereafter it was used for this special bath. The mother would now leave her post delivery recuperating room. She was considered fit for performing her normal household chores after this bath . SHRAAN TA SONDHAR was performed by kashmiris across the religious divide. 
Kashmiri pundits would perform another minor ceremony known as BURUZA MYAAET KADIENN ( Burning a small piece of BIRCH BARK over the head of  newly born baby and the Convalescing  mother and swiftly extinguishing the same in a water pot ).   After this ceremony ,the woman was given the traditional bath. Elderly ladies would sing the traditional VANVUN ( A form folk singing by women in a group without any supportive musical instrument ) for this ceremony .. I quote ..

Volgun vaajiney 
Pataa aayi Brontha aayi
Vonn Divaan 
Vaaer Divaan
Summ Divaan Sothh Divaan 
Shuriyee Lassinus baa'tch Lassinus ,
Daekka Lassinus Boey lassinus

( These bathing women ,

Have come in front of you and behind you as well ,
They look for you , 
They come in turns ,
They build bridges ,
They erect embankments ,
Let your children live long ,
Let your family live long ,
Let your husband live long 
And let your brother live long )
Kashmiri pundits would perform another ceremony known as TRUYAA before the SHRAAN TA SONDHAR. TRUYA was performed on third day of the delivery by the woman .On TRUYAA day , sesame seeds ( Teil ) mixed with sugar candy and heated ghee or oil were distributed to relatives and neighbors.

 Prof.Shashi Shekhar Toshkhani well known poet and scholar  adds 

“ So far as the Shrana Sondar ceremony performed by the Kashmiri Pandits is concerned, it is actually one of the post-natal life- cycle Samskaras performed by them usually after the sixth day --it could even be the ninth day - of childbirth, and is not much different from the Jatakarma and Namakarna Samskaras ordained in the Laugakshi Grihya Sutras ( the manual of domestic rituals they follow) . Of course your stress is more on the folklore part of it, evoking the joy and happiness that is natural to the occasion-- and rightly so. The pieces of burning birch-bark pieces tossed over the head of the new-born babe is for warding off evil spirits lest they harm it any way. This is ,in fact, one of the essential aspects of all religious rituals everywhere in the world. Apart from the beautiful song sung by the ladies assembled in the room of the mother, that you have mentioned and so nicely translated, the ladies while dancing around the babe also recite the words "shokh ta pansund" as refrain. What this exactly means is not clear, but it could well have been part of a now forgotten hymn or mantra. It is the whole set of ceremonies surrounding the biological moment of birth that imbue it with meaning and significance. What is natural and biological is transformed into the cultural. This is what the term "Samskara" in fact implies.”

Muslim women would sing Traditional VANVUN ( A form folk singing by women in a group without any supportive musical instrument ) for the seventh day post delivery bath . I quote..

Satiem Doh Sondhar karmayey
Waazus ditchmayey Paana farmaaiesh

( we perform your bath and make up on 7th day
And here I myself order dishes to be cooked by the chef )..

Bismillah karithh Tuulli Aaba Toora
Jarrayeiye Mokhta kanna duura lo

( Saying Bismillah , pick up water in that pot,
I shall be buying pearl studded ear rings for you )

Prof Nighat Hafiz adds ,

"  “SHRAAN TA  SONDHAR was a beautiful ritual which  was there until recently.. I remember the whole process.. All herbal items were purchased from a herb seller  in Fateh Kadal srinagar  and then boiled for hours together to get required aroma and color of the water to be used for shower.. Los'e Gass'e ( Herbal Grass ) was combination of all medicinal herbs to treat after- effects of the process of 'birth giving'... It would be followed by a sumptuous Hand'e But'e (  special dishes and food  )... enjoyed by all....Gone are the days... World has become a global village and all cultures are merging in one... Now we have baby showers .”

Close relatives were also invited to SHRAAN TA SONDHAR ceremony.All guests were served food .Apart from Usual dishes,HUNDH / VOPAL HAAKH was also cooked and served to the mother of the new born and guests .
I was informed by late Som Nath Zutshi's ( writer ) son that SHRAAN TA SONDHAR Ceremony of Akhtar Mohi Ud din 's ( Noted short story writer of kashmiri ) wife was once performed by Mrs Som Nath zutshi . Mrs Akhtar Mohi Ud Din delivered a baby child at jammu and there was no one from her relations around who could perform this ceremony..
( Autar Mota )

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