Tuesday, February 18, 2020


IMPRESSION  OF JAMMU  ..1940..... (Based on  interview no. 2..done in 2000)

‌ " I was born in 1924. I vividly remember Jammu of 1940. We lived  close to Sherawala gate at Dounthali or Panjtirthi locality. Apart from Jogi gate and Gumat gate, this was one more gate for entry to the old city. Images of large lions were made from plastering material on this gate. So people called it Sherawala gate. We could see horses, camels, elephants entering and coming out from this gate. Camels were used in entire Jammu province more specifically in Kandi areas for carrying  firewood, fodder, grass ,merchandise, milk, agricultural produce ,etc.  Maharaja Hari Singh had some elephants along with elegant looking  horse driven royal Buggies. Water works station built during the rule of  Maharaj Partap  Singh  was close by . There were some huge water ponds or Talabs in the old city. One outside the Palace , one near present Sabzi Mandi ,one near  present Rajinder Bazaar , one in Mohalla Kalithian .

‌Rajinder Bazaar had dancing and music Kothas . It was known as Urdu Bazaar .During evenings,  affluent from the city would come to this area for listening to music and watching dances. Singers and dancers from Lahore would also entertain  VIPs over here.

‌ Even though tap water was supplied to city for half an hour in the  morning ,  people preferred to go down to Tawi river  for morning bath . Women were seen on this steep Dakki right from 5AM. Women  brought  fresh  water in bright  shining brass   Gaggars on their heads . There was a well near  Tawi bank and women brought  water from this well. Men too went to Tawi river for their ablution .Professional water carriers known as Jheewars were still around .

‌ Gujjar women would bring milk using Dakkis to climb and enter the city. They would come in groups chatting . By 11.30 AM these women would return to their home . They would carry home some  provisions essentially , cloth , Jaggery  ,spices ,common salt , etc. Every milk seller sold milk, curd and Desi Barfi prepared from khoya.

‌ Some Tongas were driven by Pathans who lived around Kachhi Chhawni or Ustaad Mohalla. Present Karan Nagar area was a forest cum garden maintained from royal treasury. There was a water pond in this area . The area  had flowers and trees. Maharaja's VIP staff lived close by .

‌The city was known by its Dakkis or steep paths . Pacci Dakki, Sirajaan Di Dakki (locality of shoe makers and dealers in leather ) ,Naiyaan Di Dakki (locality of Barbers) , Dalpatian Di Dakki,etc. Dalpats ,a warrior community of Rajput's were settled in Mohalla Dalpatian.

‌Maharaja had brought artisans and settled them in various localities like Julahe da mohalla ( Julla Ka mohalla) was inhabited by weavers. The goldsmiths  from Jain community were brought from Punjab who established their business in Pawaden da  Bazaar now known as Jain Bazaar. Skin tanners were settled near Talab khatikan. These tanners needed water for their profession .

‌During summers, shops would be closed at noon and reopened around 4PM. During winters,  Darbaar move brought activity in the city . Mashqis would sprinkle water in city roads and lanes during summers.

‌Tea was  not an item of breakfast. Milk, Lassi, Chapaati, Paratha ,Makki da doda( maize bread) ,yogurt, home made pickles ,etc were consumed during  breakfast . Mustard oil and Desi ghee were used by people for cooking. Ghee from Hydrogenated oils or  any other cooking  oil was unknown .

People built Chowgans or meeting places in localities. Fattu Chowgan or Chowgan Slathian were prominent Chowgan in the  old city.

‌I have gone to Wazirabad now in Pakistan. My maternal uncle took me to Wazirabad in train. He was employed as a Munshi with a timber merchant in Jammu.    One direct  train  connected Jammu with Wazirabad via Sialkot. Wazirabad was one and half hour train journey from Sialkot. It was a peaceful town on the bank of river Chenab. It was known for its   furniture manufacturing  . Deodar logs were carried to Wazirabad through Chenab waters from Jammu. Wazirabad had a  big  Shivala and a Gurudwara built in the memory of  Guru Arjun Dev ji. I remember having seen a beautiful  church in the town. The town had business links with Jammu especially on account of deodar sleeper trade."

....To be continued.

(Avtar Mota)

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