Saturday, May 30, 2020



He was at our door at 7 a.m. Wearing a long Kashmiri Pheran and a cap on his head, he entered our house with a big knock and loudly declared in chaste Kashmiri:- 

'Tche nai poshan na .Ba gaalukh byol. Sakh kooshish karikh me dyotukh na votalanaa. Bachaa ma aasukh vopar garan sozaan......Allhum di Soo ..Vallhum di zoo....Aasmaen kotur gutur goo gutur goo.... Bhabi...vala ann niyaaz baapat kharch ta tomul’

    " They can't touch you. I shall destroy them from their root. They tried hard but I did not encourage them. Do not send your children to the houses of strangers."Allhum di soo.Vallhum di zoo.The pigeon in the sky. Gutur goo gutur Goo. Lady, now bring some cash and rice for the Niyaz." 

By word " They ", he meant some so-called evil forces, which according to him, were out to harm our family. His job was done. And by the time I came to know what had happened, he was out with 20 rupees and a kg of rice given by my mother. Mother would say that he is a dangerous man. Better he leaves the house. He was a Saa'dh Maqaar or a fraudulent religious man in the guise of a Syed. A tricky beggar posing as a saint or a Faquir.

Then one day I saw him sipping tea inside the shop of Mohd Sidiq Sofi ( Kashmiri bakery shop owner ) and our neighbour. Mohammad Sidiq's mother known as Sondhar Dedh was from Pampore town near Srinagar city. I immediately asked her who he was and she promptly replied that he was Ramzaan Saa'dh Maqaar ( Ramzaan the fraudulent Syed ) actually from the outskirt of  Pampore town. She continued that he belonged to a family that had no agricultural land and as such practised Saa'dh Maqaari profession in far off villages or city localities. Sonder Dedh added that these Saa'dh Maqaars cheated innocent people outside some shrines and Ziyarats as well. According to Walter R Lawrence:

‘ The Saiyad Makkaar fraternity are fraudulent Faquirs who pretend to be Saiyads and wander about Kashmir and India cheating public. Many have taken to trade. They intermarry among themselves. ’
( Refer Page 308 ‘The Valley Of Kashmir ’  by  Walter  R. Lawrence )

 That day onwards Ramzan Saa'dh Maqaar was not seen in Rainawari. Later I came to know that during winters, these Saa'dh Maqaars would visit Amritsar, Ludhiana, Phagwara, Jalandhar, Pathankot and many other cities of Punjab to rob innocent and poor Kashmiri labourers of their hard-earned savings. Posing as Peer Sahib or a Dervish, they would entice people in their trap. At times, locals too fell to their well laid out trap. Before 1947, they were also seen in Lahore during winter months. 

His words “Alhum di soo,  Valhum di zoo,Aasmaen kotur gutur goo gutur goo ” appeared mysterious at that time. I thought he was probably warning the so-called evil forces to keep off from our family. These lines remained etched in my memory. And the fraudulent Faquir had succeeded in making me remember something which meant nothing.
 I have also seen these Saa’dh Maqaars coming in groups. Their leader would always be an elderly person with a white beard. The would say loudly :

 " Jai gosaein ! Veshnaarpan deeytuv " 

‘ Victory to the  Sadhu, for God’s sake, give something ’

I end this brief write up with a couplet of Urdu poet Majrooh Sultanpuri……

"Tere khanumaan kharabaan ka na chaman na koyi sahra,
Ye jahaan bhi baith jaayein waheen unn ki baargaahein.."

(Those rendered homeless by you,
Neither do they belong to the garden
Nor to the desert.
Wherever they sit,
They create their audience halls.)

(Avtar Mota)

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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