Archive for the ‘PUNJAB HERITAGE’ Category

Tral bursts in Bhangraa in Kashmir’s militancy hotbed / Rashmi Talwar/ Kashmir Images 

Screenshot JP Wedding Tral Kashmir 30Oct17.jpg

Follow Up

Tral bursts in Bhangraa in Kashmir’s militancy hotbed /

Rashmi Talwar

Wedding venue at village Dharam Gund of Tral district sounded terrifying. Tral, in Pulwama District of South Kashmir, a hotbed of militancy, raised not just worried eyebrows, but a verbal outrage in my family. Tral was home to militant commander Burhan Wani, whose house was merely 8-Kms from the wedding venue, and who’s killing by army triggered mass protests and brought several more to their graves, in a bloody aftermath since July 2016. Tourism to Kashmir remained at a standstill, ever since. The region was reporting armed militant-army encounters almost daily in the media.

However, the ‘Open Invitation’ by Jatinder Pal Singh (JP) a Facebook friend, had stirred senses. The Invite, encompassed entire FB world seemed- daring, lofty, imaginative and unimaginable.

Bashir Damna, an adventurer of Jammu-Kashmir expressed on JP’s FB wall “Open Invite has gone viral and become the talk of the town. So many guests will create law and order problem and authorities were thinking of imposing restrictions.” To Which Drcm Seth, a friend, jestingly wrote “JP has invited everybody including militants. For three days militants can enjoy marriage party and then can start their routine activities.” The last comment was not so funny anymore.

But the thought of a -‘village wedding’, virgin landscapes, living a part of village life, to participate in quaint rituals and the ‘Bhangraa in the Mountains’ was extremely enticing. JP had loftily assured all security, but it had to be experienced yet. Call it divine-infused guts with an open mind.

Throughout the flight, apprehension gripped, till final touchdown at Srinagar airport. The weather was lulling and the last of autumn flowers bloomed all over in the city of the Dal Lake and Shikaras. “Though the weather seemed to calm my frayed nerves, but the flowers – got me thinking – ‘Maybe I too shall become the last of the autumn blooms!’.

Srinagar to Tral

Bundling into a waiting vehicle, we zoomed alongside rock quarries of Pantha Chowk onto Awatipora.

On the way, enormous ruins of Awantiswami and Avantishwar Temples, a kilometre apart built by King Awanti Varman (AD 855-883) glorious specimen of rich Kashmiri Architecture, described as in colonnaded peristyle, dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu respectively, fascinated me. In a gesture of folded hands I prayed for safety and peace in Kashmir as well as in my home, even as antics of dolloping Jhelum River in serpentine cuddles, flushed with Chinars and pines on its edges, tried to charm me.

My mind remained occupied with thoughts of shootings and bombs as we neared the venue village Dharam Gund, 50 Kms from the airport. Passing through Tral Township, someone pointed out – “That’s Burhan Wani’s house!” and I turned my face away, not to look at the home of the poster boy of militancy in Kashmir, and instead thought about this beauteous region that had seen immense suffering.


Glowing sunlight turned soft as we arrived in the countryside. ‘Aa gaye Gaon’! The driver exclaimed and I noted- Kashmiri Sikhs call it Gaon not Pind as Punjabi Sikhs refer to villages. Dharam Gund spreads across 60 hectares of rich walnut belt and tilling fields. “Trees here touch skies at above 70 feet, and produce choicest walnuts”, I am told. Cutting through fields flush with ripened Dhaan or shelly or rice crop, I was to see – tiny charming traditional haystack-barns called Goyen (Kashmiri) Thipree (Punjabi Kashmiri) or Musal in Punjab field-scapes, dotting the charming Tral countryside.

The harvested fields, sentried by Wasturvan Mountain range of Himalayas, through which silently flowed the Lam Nallah, a vast spread of river fed by snowmelt and rainfall, bringing in the charming scenic romance. It seemed the busiest month at harvesting, threshing, drying, stacking, rolling to make Giddis and Thiprees to stock grain and fodder simultaneously. Families pitch in, tiffins seen arriving from home, feeding sinuous homeworkers and women bulwarking the threshing. The Gaon is charming, a hamlet of about 500 souls sheltered in 94 homes.

Traditional Welcome

We reached JP’s home through an incredibly beautiful tree covered village and the scene changes – the groom’s grandmother rushes to the door, grabs a fistful, circles it around my head and let the sweet sugar-coated gram fall in a shower over me, hugs and announces – “Jee aya nu” – “Welcome In!” Seeing my surprised look, someone comments- “This is sweet stone-pelleting Kashmiri-Sikh Ishtyle.” And a round of laughter makes me a warm part of Jatinder Pal Singh’s wedding. The welcome ritual – is a sadka of keeping evil spirit at bay. It was one of the most beautiful welcomes, warming the cockles of my heart and served to successfully banish the hesitation and family teasers back home.

My family fatigued over not making me see sense in travelling to Tral had alternately tried a different tactic – “Begani Shaadi Mein Abdullah Diwana” and another –“Praii Janjh Ehmak Nachey” a refrain oft used in North India, meaning: Getting upbeat or crazily cherry in the wedding celebration of an unknown person! Indeed, I had ventured for the Wedding celebration- at an unknown place, of an unknown person, among unknown people and add to it -an unknown fate.

Traditions and Rituals

During my stay, I learned that many traditions among Kashmiri Sikh community are a mixture of Kashmiri and Punjabi culture. However I gauged, that village rituals and customs had a unique depth. Anticipating new life from conjoining a new couple the wedding rituals seek to blend the Human with the Glorious Creator through the medium of Mother Earth, praying for newlyweds to lead a life intertwined with environs and its values.

At dusk, the dhol beats resound through the mountains ushering a call. A signal and everyone hurries. Ceremony of Mitti Khodna is about to begin. At the wedding home, the groom JP- a software engineer, is himself creating the traditional basket with tinsel and LED light strips around it and a matching tinselled tiny spade. Someone comments –“Get LED lights for Shivala di pagri!” (Groom’s turban) everyone breaks into giggling merriment. Incidentally, Punjabi Sikhs refer to the groom and bride as Laraa and Voti, among Kashmiri Sikhs the couple is referred as Shivala and Boti, while the sarbala– young boy accompanying the groom in Punjabi weddings, is the ‘dost’ in Kashmiri weddings.

Dharam Bhen, walnuts & rituals

Dharam Bhen’ or sister by faith- Komal GB Singh with another friend Inderjit, lifts the LED embellished twinkling basket filled with walnuts, on her shoulder leading a procession near village Gurdwara. Soil is dug and put into a container with crimson Gulal water. Alternately, five walnuts are placed into the dug soil and covered. “It is an offering of walnuts to Mother Earth to succour them to sprout. Somebody shouts to the walnuts- “Tuhade vicho ek zaroor phutna chaida hai, Changa!” (One of you walnuts should sprout, Ok!) Hinting at fertility of the newlyweds, drawing chuckles around.

Boisterous Bhangraa follows and I am surprised to see Muslim families too join the dance. The procession then proceeds to the Gurdwara and Sikh symbol is written on a foundation wall using the Gulal soil with a twig, seeking blessings for the wedding. Basket is carried to a lower room where again the Sikh symbol is written on a placard with dates and names of the couple as a keepsake called Chappa –hand impression.

Rajbeer Singh, pursuing his PhD in Folk culture, explains to a curious me, the significance of some rituals- “In case of a mishap for groom or the bride, the Dharam Bhen or Dost are bound to take on the mantle of spouse of the survivor.” He also explained another mysterious ritual –“When a Bhabhi or brother’s wife applies Surma to the groom’s eyes, she indicates to draw a line of black, henceforth breaking all jesty relationships with her brother-in-law to emerge as an equal owner in the household”,

Teaser beats

As the deep tangerine sun vanishes behind the bluish mountain line, it leaves streaks of orange hues blazing on the greying skies. JP’s house twinkles with strings of fairy lights, and the Shamiana or Kashmiri tent, shimmers. The two Jammu Dholis start teasing with niki niki (soft, soft) beats, the boys step in, beats take on vigour, and the Bhangraa starts. Women rush to the in-lines of the Shamiana, to reserve the place with the best- view on the carpeted floors. The Bhangraa now is in full steam, rips and rattles, moves and shakes and women are pulled in, with whacky Punjabi bolis and tappas, to become one joyous night.

High sex ratio

In Sikh faith, women are known to participate in work and pleasure equally alongside men. So is the scene here in Tral, where 88 residing families out of 94 are Sikhs. Even the six Muslim families assimilate and happily join in the Punjabi dance with equal heartiness. Religious taboos are less visible. It is not surprising that Population Census 2011 boasts of high gender ratio with 930 females to 1000 males, in Sikh dominated village Dharam Gund. Boys in the village are increasingly shunning Dowry offers, thus creating an equal playground for the female gender. The work coordination amongst genders is equally distributed.

PS: Its night and we need to return in groups- reason: “If not the militants, you can surely be mauled by a Bear attack, if you venture alone in the dark,” a stark second biggest threat in this tree laden valley.

Sunrise and plentiful

I open my eyes the next morning, in the beautiful house of Ishpal Singh, an orchard landlord, agriculturist and a teacher, his lively wife Dali Kour, endearing daughter Kiranpal and son Rajbeer are my lovely hosts. Theirs is one of the most enviable homes in the village. A home with a fabulous garden outlined by a rivulet of pure spring water encircling, a quaint little cow-shed and home entirely self-sustaining with umpteenth vegetables, apples, pears, vegetable oil, milk, ghee, butter and even home produced honey with indigenous earthen honey-hives on its terrace and of course loads of walnuts.

The host allows me to pluck the day’s apples, and choicest vegetables- Collard Greens, Brinjals, green chillies. The house is already stocked with pickles, onions, potatoes, garlic, and a host of unkeep-able list of stocks including dried vegetables from last season. In less than half an hour delicious dishes of Haakh, Bringals and Achari Allu with special Kashmiri walnut and radish chutney are ready. Noon Chai or salty tea is a preferred concoction to ordinary tea.

Paani and Kangan

Today is ‘Pani Bharna’ ceremony and water is filled in a Ghaggar– earthen vessel, also titled as Garooli rituals in homes of Punjabi Sikhs. The groom bathed with this water drawn from the Gurdwara considered nectar, is applied turmeric paste for an extra glow. Kangan ritual performed with the groom worn a Gold Karra gifted by bride’s family.

The bride in her home, simultaneously is undergoing the same rituals with her multiple braided hair being un-braided with a lilting song – Mera Siraa na kholyoo mindri, mera ehi kunwariyaa da bhes” (Do not untie my braids, this is my unmarried appearance) apprehensive to enter into the married life of responsibilities and duties. She too is worn the Kangan or bangles, Jhumkas and Chunari – earrings and veil, gifted by the groom’s family.

A Chawal-Giri Prasad (soaked uncooked rice and nuts food offering) is distributed to all guests, while in Punjab Karra Prasad is the norm made from semolina-wheat ghee and sugar.

Public Reception

Earlier, a huge reception lunch is hosted for the entire village and outstation invitees. With music of hit Punjabi numbers belted out by a DJ arranged from Jammu, synchronized with Dhol beats, Bhangraa troops in full blast. Close family menfolk lovingly serve a sit-in Wazwan or the Wedding treat, in individual thalis or plates to baraatis, contrary to Kashmiri Muslims weddings – where Tramis – a large plate shared by four, is used to serve Wazwan on carpeted floors. Special guests are given the sadka welcome with modern candies or fistful of dry-fruit as in Kashmiri Muslim weddings.

Missing Wanwun

However Wanwun or Kashmiri songs for auspicious occasions are missing. These songs to the accompaniment of folk instrument Tumbaknaer or the goblet drum of Kashmir are sung at auspicious occasions in Kashmiri Muslim and Pandit households including in weddings. Somebody tells me-“In recent times the Wanwun seems to be sullied, sung as it was for funerals of killed militants”.

Militancy & Education

The thought of Wanwun, brings back the topic of militants. Shobha Singh, a village elder, also the village’s pride as first matriculate in 1960 and first engineer of the village in 1964 from Kota, Rajasthan, on a query, as to what do villagers do if militants forcefully seek shelter in their homes, tells me- “Militants enter homes of sympathizers or someone they know and feel secure in, they never enter Sikh homes or villages with Sikh population. Also, at every 6-8 Kms is an army camp which is also a source of strength for us. Basically Sikhs are peace loving and self-sustaining and hardly pose any threat to militants even though Sikhs are traditionally a martial race.

Sikh population abounds in Chattogam, Saimoh, Ladybal, Basantpora, Gulshanpora, Gaddpora and of course Dharam Gund among the 24 villages of District Tral,” he adds. On the side, Shobha Singh tells me, there was never an incident of civilian killing by a militant in the village. This bit of information, gives me a huge reprieve from the fear psychosis.

However, I notice, migration is evident. Many Sikh families have built homes in Srinagar for job convenience and easy access to educational institutes. Many young ones have taken flight due to education in other states and subsequent jobs in big cities. – Surprised over many village children pursuing higher studies, Shobha Singh who started the trend, nods – “Literacy rate of the village is an impressive high at 71.2 %.”

This is true, although the figure dates back to Government Census 2011; a high literacy factor is soundly legitimatized, as any girl-boy from the village, I meet, is pursuing Masters, MBA or PhD. It a comforting feeling of villages getting educated, yet migration arouses deep concern.

Mehandiratt – Night of the Henna

Turning back to celebrations, the same night ushers in the celebration of Mehandiratt or Maanziaraath or Night of the Henna, a tradition, amazingly followed by all hues of Kashmiris- Muslim, Hindu, Pandit or Sikh although with slight difference. Among the Sikhs here, the groom is applied Mehandi or Henna on hands and the impression is left on the keepsake. Then he is publically applied Mehandi on hands and feet with a large currency garland around his neck. The shagun or gift of rupees is stuck on his pagri with pins, by relatives and friends. This ritual is hardly seen amongst Punjabi Sikhs and moreover considered feminine.
Boisterous Bhangraa again follows and this is the third night of Bhangraa that shows no sign of declining, rather being the last night, dancing carries through midnight. Interestingly, as we walk to the wedding venue in the dark with our mobile torchlights, the group knocks on all enroute doors not only to go together as a bigger group but also due to the larger fear of bear attacks and not militants.


On the fourth day the wedding procession or Baraat heads for Srinagar in a cavalcade of cars, with select people. The groom’s car is decorated and reaches the Alluchabagh Gurdwara. Except for dhol no music band plays, no mounting the horseback. With milni or hugging introduction, of close relatives from both sides, the wedding ceremony of Anand Karaj begins and is a solemn affair. The couple circumbulates the holy Sikh book Guru Granth Sahib four times and after offerings, the couple is announced man and wife.

Shobha Singh tells me of the times of his grandfather –“In Kashmir during my grandfather’s times, the Hindu Pandit used to perform Sikh weddings with circumbulation around the holy fire to the chanting of Sanskrit Shaloks, decades later, Sikh tradition of Anand Karaj was brought into practice”.

JP’s take on the open invitation

JP’s idea for an Open Invitation was -“To bring people who want to visit or love Kashmir, on an all paid visit. I offered to host as many as those who can traverse and dare to come for this ‘cultural -adventure’.

Call it a service for my Kashmir which has hardly seen any robust tourism, as it used to be. Lately, tourists of most hues are mortally fearful of visiting Kashmir, affected by adverse reports in popular media. However I am happy 13 friends and 70 more outstation baraatis came from different areas including from parts of Jammu, Kashmir, Delhi and Punjab”.

Last Take

JP’s grace didn’t let him single me out but among all invitees, I was the lone unknown face. Days in the lovely valley had banished fears of militant attacks.

The scenic charm of the countryside was something to die for. Lofty mountains like guards over rippling riverside, running hens and roosters, grazing horses, climbing high on the trees and shaking them for a walnut shower, lolling on the boulders near the waters, trekking along the waterways. Each one those times became so special.

On the way back, holding tight memories and bags of walnut gifts, one by a poor domestic help of Ishpal’s home lovingly called Begum Fikri (One who is gripped by worries) whose dimpled smile and ever ready dancing, showed no signs of any worry, I felt, a part of the Gaon clung on to me, complete with its warmth, its love shower and its sweet stone pelleting.

Rashmi Talwar is an Amritsar based Independent Writer, can be emailed at: 


Who is JUGNI ? By Indu Vashist Amritsar connection

Who is JUGNI ? By Indu Vashist
No Punjabi wedding is complete without the mandatory ”JUGNI”—What are the origins of Jugni -Folklore-Does it have an Amritsar connection …YES !

MARCH 2011

The character of ‘’JUGNI’’ has been featuring in Punjabi popular and folk music for well over a century. The most recent references of this rebellious, fiery female character have appeared in diverse productions like Pakistan’s Coke Studio , Punjab’s sensicore rocker Rabbi Shergill, and of course Bollywood in films like Tanu Weds Manu and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!

In the various versions of this song, JUGNI is a spunky, rebellious character, who does not fit into the traditional feminine norms:
She wears western clothes,
Flirts with men in the streets,
Wants to drive (either a Bullet motorcycle or a Fiat car, depending on the era),
Is poor but aims for upward class mobility,
Speaks English,
Wants to travel all over (depending on the era she travels all over Punjab, Britain or Canada).

The singer, usually a man, sings of loving JUGNI, but feeling insecure by JUGNI’s defiant character (above): Mainu Kale chad Ke Jandi, Fir Vaajan Mar Bulandi (First she leaves me then calls after me).
The singer often laments that the pain of loving this rebellious character will kill him (below): Eh ladh di ae na darrdi phad ke daang mure khad di aa.
(She fights, doesn’t have fear, she always carries a stick as a weapon with her).

JUGNI Tap Tap Tap Tap Khoon Bahaundi (JUGNI, drip, drip, drip, drip, spills blood)
The first version of this song can be traced back to 1906, written and performed by Bishna and Manda.
Manda, as he was commonly known was born as Mohammad in Hasanpur, Thana Vairowal in AMRITSAR District, Punjab. Bishna was a Jatt from a village in Majha area, close to AMRITSAR Both men were illiterate poets who would roam from village to village composing songs and free-styling when given money. In 1906, they are said to have been around the age of 50.
In 1906, the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign, a Jubilee flame was taken across the British Empire to celebrate her rule. The flame, carried in a large gold container, was taken to the every district headquarters. As the flame arrived, the district government was supposed to greet it with pomp and ceremony.
When the flame reached Punjab, there was nascent freedom struggle anger against the Empire brewing. Bishna and Manda followed the flame from district to district, performing their own poetry and folk music parallel to the pomp of the colonial government.
Their versions contained references to JUGNI, the rebellious woman. Bishna and Manda had misheard the word ‘Jubilee’ for JUGNI and started writing verses that channeled the anger of the region against the British as symbolized by the Jubilee flame.
As they traveled behind the flame, their popularity grew; people from all around came to attend their performances. JUGNI became a metaphor for the growing unrest against the British.
Many other poets took on the ‘JUGNI’ metaphor and started composing their own songs with similar grammatical structures.
Following other Punjabi folk songs’ customs of mentioning specific villages, the specific village of JUGNI was meant to highlight either a specific site of struggle or just to contextualize the song. The basic structure of the song can be heard here in a pre-independence recording:
The early JUGNI songs had lyrics like:
JUGNI jaa varhi Majithe (JUGNI is from Majitha, i.e., the district of Bishna and Manda)
koi Rann na Chakki peethe (No pimp should have to go to the grinder – common hard labor in colonial prisons)
Putt Gabhru mulak vich mare (Our country’s young men are dying)
rovan Akhiyan, par Bulh si seete (Our eyes are crying, trying to forget)
Piir mereya oye, JUGNI ayi aa (Oh god, JUGNI is coming)
ehnan kehrhi jot jagaee aa (What kind of light is this?)
According to oral histories, as word of Bishna and Manda’s performances got around, large crowds gathered to see the performances, the police started to break up the shows.
The British started to get worried about the revolutionary undertones of JUGNI songs and the way that people began to talk of the British. The police finally arrested Bishna and Manda in Gujaranwala.
They are said to have been tortured and murdered by the police for inciting people against the Empire.
JUGNI as a concept still exists within popular Punjabi music today.
Rabbi Shergill’s recent version of the song follows the traditional grammar of the song. The character of JUGNI is rooted in defiance and rebellion, today that takes on not only Rabbi Shergill’s literal interpretation of the legacy of this folk form, but brings back a fiery woman character back into the popular lexicon.
tags: Bollywood, folk songs, Indian freedom struggle, JUGNI, Punjab

Story of India Pakistan bonding


I thank all who have taken the trouble to comment or like this post.IN fACEBOOK.. believe me it is close to my heart …..

Although, every year, I share photos of a tenderly, tended garden in Amritsar in March when in full bloom ….there is also a little story I would like to share with the heterogeneous mix of my friends …..
In one of the pixs, next to the green lamppost is a ‘innocent’ looking palm spreading more horizontally than vertically. When I requested my friends in Lahore, Pakistan, about carrying a little sapling to my Desh, a night before leaving, they promptly uprooted the palm breaking the pot, soldiered some soil of Pakistan, wetted it with water and wrapped in a polythene bag. On our arrival in India on the Samjhauta Express, my husband got talking to some who were similarly waiting. As the luggage started arriving, one of them pointed it out to my husband …”Dekho loki bootey vi Lahore to le ke aa rahe ne.” My husband knew it could only be me. Sheepishly, the man skipped away; when he saw it was the wife of the man he was talking to, who was carrying the ‘Green’ bounty.
Over there in Lahore, people asked me “India mein aisa Palm nahi milta kia ?” and back home I was queried on the same “India mein aisa palm nahi milta kia, jo app Lahore se utha layi ho?”. They did not know, that it was not the palm but the living, growing memento that I had got to bond me forever with the overwhelming “Realization of Peace between people of India and Pakistan” catering to my love for the Living, Growth, Nature, Progress and Smiles.
This was not the first time, and hopefully wouldn’t be the last .
On a visit to Nepal a quarter of a century back, I had similarly brought a Bamboo bush which turns Greenest of Greens, in the hottest of summers when all others look scorched from the burning sun.
Also, from countries having strict quarantine rules, come rocks, stones and pebbles, often to the chagrin of our friends, who laugh and point out “..Sare pathar bhar ke le ayin hain , weight tey zaida hone hi si..” I found a new way to lessen the weight, and carried them in my travelling belt. When I explained to officials of Custom and Immi that I was a “stupid” stone collector and it was not a ‘hijacking tool’ . I was just lucky, they believed me and let me off, often smilingly, while my dear and near ones continued to laugh incessantly, even to this day.
This ‘queer buzz’ in me again manifested itself on a different occasion . I got a call from Pakistan …Apka article Tribune mein parke , humey Indian high commission ne visa de diya hai …abb humey humare dost se milva do”..The call was from Raja Mohammed Ali, a childhood friend of Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, from village Gah (birthplace of PM), Pakistan……”Yeh sunn na tha, aur hum chal pare, unko milvane ke liye. Aisa kaho bachpan ke dost ki kahani ” Krishan- Sudama ” vali thi, lekin humko kia, humko bas karma tha …yeh .
…waise hi jese Dr Hardeep Singh aur Mrs Hapreet Kaur ke khoye hue bête Giandeep @Richie ke peche hum chal diye….

Raja ji aur Mohna ji (PM was called Mohna by his classmates) ki unnkahi kismet thi . “Ji” “mulakat hui Raja ji aur Mohna ki, aur sare Jahan ne dekha …Aur India se …..Jate, Jate Raja ji ko 2 Cassia (golden Shower) ke bootey diye ..aur woh idhar ke logon ke kahil ho gaye.
These two cassia saplings were out of three, one of which is planted behind the statue in the pix and will hopefully flower this year. However, the two are already flowering in the Pakistani village Gah bringing pleasure and smiles, since last year. only wish is as my father in law (GRHS) said to me ….”Dont look back , move forward, there is no time better than now …”

U r free to share this post if u like ….Be with me on finding Giandeep….I know we will find him …..Godbless Amritsar

Elegant ‘Kasoori Jutti’ a craze in Punjab


Kasuri Jutti

‘Juttis’, traditional footwear well known for comfort, are found in various designs and colours, ranging from Punjabi, Kolhapuri, and Jaipuri, but when it comes to ‘Kasoori Jutti’ of Pakistan, nothing can beat them in design, style and of course, comfort.

The traditional embroidery, elegant style and softness make the ‘Kasoori Jutti’ a hot item for fashion buffs in Punjab, while its ‘dabka’ work is truly a craze.

Available at Amritsar’s ‘Mauchi Bazaar’ or cobblers market, ‘Kasoori Jutti’ is available at dozen of shops and the price ranges from ten dollars to 45 dollars.

Many shopkeepers import embroidered material from across the border and assemble it in Amritsar, as to suit their customers.

“The specialty of Kasoori Juttis is its delicate embroidery, which is normally not found in other footwear,” said Satish Kumar, a shop owner.

“Comparatively, the Pakistani Juttis more durable, but the Punjabi juttis we make here (in Punjab) are better in quality. In Pakistani juttis, they don’t use cushions, which we do. Cushions bring softness in juttis,” he added.

Imported directly from Kasoor, “Kasoori Jutti” makes an annual business to the tune of 3.3 million dollars.

The trade can be enhanced if both countries agree on a free trade policy, and, this is what the majority of traders in Amritsar want.

“If border trade is opened between India and Pakistan and normal visas are issued to people, the business will get a boom. We can also export our items to Pakistan. Sometime back, a pilgrim took juttis from me, and it was very much liked by the people in Pakistan,” another shop owner said.

‘Magic’ or ‘Idiot’ box ? DOORDARSHAN v/s PTV

By Rashmi Talwar

Chaudhary Hashmat Khan in PTV soap telecast from Lahore
The”50th anniversary of DD” in 2009 really amazed me! Was DD (Delhi Doordarshan) born before our generation in the 60s emerged? I recall the first encounter in late 60s when neighboring tiny-tot friends grandly held court about TV meaning –’Tele-Vijon’ –a ‘magic box’ that popped up movies, cartoons, songs and what-not.
Word spread like an animated wild fire about the fairies. Every Lil-one wanted sunflowers waiting for the feathered beauties to deliver the ‘enchanting box.
But Things moved fast and before we knew it our father got the 1st TV in the entire neighbourhood in 1969. A ‘pie’ company one, almost like a mini almirah with a fattest bottom that refused to sit on the ordinary and had to be provided with a luxury spread. An aerial installed and everyone stared starry-eyed as pictures and sounds emerged. Although coined much later the jingle of Onida TV commercial “Neighbor’s envy Owner’s Pride” aptly fitted the state of affairs.
Before JD (Jalandhar Doordarshan)entered our homes and lives, it was the neighboring PTV that dominated the silver screen in the border areas of Amritsar, Punjab and high reaches of Himachal Pradesh. We often used to envy the Lahori Pakistanis and their American fare on TV, delectable cartoons ‘Popeye the sailor’ and glued-to-seats soap operas “Time Tunnel”, “Bewitched”, “Star Trek” , “Lost in space”, “Six million dollar man” , “Bionic woman” , “Lucy show” , “CHIPS (California highway petrol)”,”Planet of the Apes” ,”Different Strokes”. The visually mutilated lip-locks in foreign soaps (conservative PTV!) actually helped in watching TV with parents and elders. That (soberity !) amazingly still holds true for some border farmers who stall any attempt by their young, to subscribe to cable or dish TV and religiously watch PTV and JD till date.
The recall, virtually put me in a childhood reverie when games like marbles, guli danda, hide and seek, seven plates, staapu or football would see a disappearing act, by the dot of time for a serial. By then almost everyone had a TV Set after the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
During the ’71 war, PTV was used in ample measure to spew venom at India. Soon after the war, the Indian government woke up to the harrowing reality of influence of negative publicity and a swift damage control exercise came in the form of JD channels that entered our homes in the border areas, with the first movie “Pakeeza” then “Mugle-E-Azam” and rocked the boat for PTV.
But then merely “two” energy pills hardly weaned away the audience from PTV which in contrast presented aesthetically beautiful weave of its own soaps “Ankahi”, “Tanhaiyaan”, “Uncle Urfi” immensely popular “Waaris” story of dominating Pakistani tribal War-lords; or the laughter riot of “Sona Chandi”, “fifty fifty” and even the shining Toyota to be won in quiz programme “Nilam Ghar” by Tariq Aziz besides the ghazals of Noor Jahan, Abida Parveen, Gulam Ali, Mehandi Hasan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Mussarat Naseer’s wedding songs “mathey te chamkan val..”,Mallika Phukraj and her beautiful talented daughter Tara Sayeed.
No longer were we the poor country cousins of our Delhi counterparts because we enjoyed a choice of 2 Channels while they sufficed with only DD. Slowly JD picked up with “Chitrahaars” and “movies” followed by the first serial “Buniyaad” and subsequently “Hum Log”. Although we enjoyed them but frankly they were no match for the classy and slick productions of PTV.
But then 78 weeks of “Ramayan” in 1986 followed by “Mahabharat” in 1988 were unprecedented addictions that finally won the war for DD against PTV. PTV pittered out after private Indian channels followed CNN and BBC into Indian homes, rechristening the ‘magic’ box as the “idiot box”.

Entrepreneurial lessons from Amritsar


I recently visited the holy city of Amritsar – home to the famous Golden Temple, the most revered shrine for Sikhs. Little did I know that my intended spiritual pilgrimage would turn into an entrepreneurial pilgrimage as well. It all started with a chance meeting with the owner of the hotel where we were staying, Mr. Ajay Kapoor. My brother and I were looking for an internet connection and were escorted to Mr. Kapoor’s office, for that purpose. It did not take us long to strike a conversation with Mr. Kapoor and find out that not only was he the owner of the hotel where we were staying but also an entrepreneur at heart. Many stories were shared but one of them stood out that I’d like to share, in Mr. Kapoor’s own words.
I do not have a lot of formal education but what I do have is a lot of practical, on-the-field education. One of the key things I have learnt over the course of my entrepreneurial career (Mr. Kapoor has been running various kinds of businesses for more than 30 years now) is that Relationships are fundamental in building any business. My son is pursuing formal education in Australia and I help him out a bit, financially. I do not send him money directly, I send the money to friends of mine in Australia and then ask them to hold on to it until my son comes and picks it from them… and I tell my son to visit these friends of mine and collect the money from them. Sometimes, I even send envelopes with “Very Important” written on them to my acquaintances (some of them are very accomplished folks) and request them to hold on to those until my son shows up to collect the envelope… and what I send inside the envelopes is a simple letter addressed to my son, that just says “I love you”.
I was quite moved by Mr. Kapoor’s story because it contained deep practical knowledge of an important lesson in entrepreneurship, in the simplest of ways – Relationships matter, big time! All Mr. Kapoor is constantly doing is increasing his son’s capacity by creating an opportunity where he can show up at the doorsteps of these accomplished people and coordinate some action with them. You never know which one would blossom into a rewarding relationship for life.
Here are a few other lessons in Entrepreneurship I took away from Amritsar:
It is all about the People: Mr. Kapoor insisted we address each other by our names and said that that is just his philosophy. According to him, without names, people just end up as titles once they are gone and that is just common practice that will generate mediocre results for the business.
Competitive Advantage: Our train was late the night we reached Amritsar and by the time we got to our hotel it was 11:30PM. We had a full 3 course meal before we went to bed, something that would be a luxury in most hotels (keep in mind we were not in a 24 hours service 5-star hotel, but a local hotel in this holy city). The hot meal, after a tiresome journey, just hit the spot and this does give Mr. Kapoor a competitive advantage over those that do not provide this service, that late.
Personal Touch: By the time we were done with our day trip, the next day, we were quite tired. Being a little short on time (we were leaving at 5AM next morning), I could not imagine leaving without eating the city’s favorite delicacy – Amritsari fish. Mr. Kapoor not only arranged for it for us but also accompanied us on our table with his charming company, while we savored the delightful dish. We were simply “Wowed” by the Personal touch he extended as part of his fantastic hospitality.
Trust from the ground up: Mr. Kapoor lives and works with his brothers where he and his brothers run the common business and the entire family treats the resources as a common pool – which he fondly called “Swimming Pool”. I was awed by the mere thought of how much one can learn about trust, a fundamental virtue in every business, just by living and working in this model.
While sitting on the train on my way back to Delhi, I could not help but reflect back on my trip to Amritsar, where I got much more than what I had bargained for – Not only was I fortunate to take my grandmother to the sacred pilgrimage, but also inadvertently was taken on an entrepreneurial pilgrimage of my own – thanks to Mr. Kapoor.

This article was contributed by Himanshu Jhamb, co-founder of Active Garage. You can follow Himanshu on Twitter at himjhamb.








Punjabi Tribune
Amritsar 31.10.2009

Lahore (Pakistan) di pehli aurat SSP Neelma Naheed Durrani nu utho di Kiran Bedi kiha jave ta atikathni nahi hovegi. Aajkal Uh Sanjukt rashtar mission (UN)de daure te Sudan gahi hoe hain.
Durrani vaste Pakistan varge desh vich police jahe kitey (profession) nu apnona, uss dian chunotian nu kabool ke ek safal police adhikari banna, jithe uss85
de vadhi parapti hai ate punjabian lye maan wali gal hai, uthe bharat daurian duran Bharat-Pakistan te vishesh karke dove desha de Punjabian vichanle nige ate sadbhavna wale samband sirjne uhna de sakhshiat da ek vilakhan pehlu ve hai.

Uhde andarli shairaa da hi shayad eh ek hor pehlu hai ke sakhat police afsar hundian ve uh manukhi sabandaa de nave aayam hi nahi sirjadi, sagoo sabandaa de sukhmata nu ve maandi hai.
Uh Amritsar apne purkian da ghar labhaan aye tan us nal mulakat hoi.

Usne kiha ke jadon mein Wagah sardhad paar kiti tah mainu lagia ke lambe chir to athe auan da mera supna aaj pura ho gaya hai. Mere Abba te mera dada aaj Lahore de momenpura de shamshanghat vich kabran vich pai khush ho rahe honge ki uhna di dhee sada apna shehar vekhan gai hai. Us kiha ke mera Abba agahan Ajaz Hussain Durrani 1947 de vand vele Lahore aa vase san. Aaj mein apne purkan da shehar vekhan aye ha taan eh pal mere maan nu tripati den wale hann te usne apne bjurgaan de shehar de mitti nu mathey nal chhuhaya atte Allah da shukar kita.
Uh 11 pustkaa de lekhak hai, Jina vich char pustka Urdu kavita ate do Punjabi kavita dian haan. Us da shairana andaz kewal Pakistani punjabian nu hi nahi bhaunda sago bharati Punjabi ve uss de kavia de murid haan ate usde shairi di khusbu nu maande haan. Uh bhut farakdil hai. Jadoon uh Amritsar dee Sharifpura abadi vich apna pushteni ghar labhan gai ta Udthey stith ik chah de dukan te Satpal Soni nal hi shairi de mehfil jama layi.
Shairana andaz vich gal kardian uss kiha ki shairi dian mehfalan vich jadoon mein shamil hundi haan taan us vele thode ghabraht mehsus kardi haan par jadoon shairi sunadi han tan is taran mehsus hunda hai ki mein andron bahut majboot haan. Mera vishvash nahi dolda.
Us kavita deian satran chuhian:

”tera mulak menu apne mulak jiha keon lagde ne,
` tere lok menu apne jihe keon lagde ne.
Tere mulk de mitti vich mere mulak dee
mitti di khushbu keon aundi hai.
Tu menu apne hi keon lagdi ai,
Ke hain jo sahnu jorda hai
Ki hain jo sanu torda hai
Larai nal nuksan ek da nahi, dovan da hunda hai.”

Mein uhna nu puchhia ke police ate shairi da ke mel hai keonki dovan de subha vakho vakhre haan, tah uh muskurandian akhan lagi ”police mera apna chunian kita hai te shahri mera jamandru ”Nuks”. Us kiha ki police officer banna mere laye saukha kam nahi se. Jadon 27 vare pehlan mein is kite vich ayi tah har paseon mera virodh hoiya. Sabh kehde san ke mein adihapak bana ja koe hor sokha jiha kita apnavan, par mein apne faisle ‘teh drir saan. Aaj Uhee sare mere te maan karde han.

Mein uhna nu ek sawal kita, je uh police afasar na bandi tah hor kise kite nu uss pehal deni si, tah uss turanat keha ”mein patarkar banna si”.

Neelma ek kavitri te police afasar he nahi sagon us andar ek paritba da khazana hai. Uhne farsi, patarkari te Punjabi vich post graduation degree kiti hoi hai. Uh Column- nivis ve hai. Uh Pakistan Television vich news caster the Announcer veh rahi. FM-101 radio Lahore te radio jockey ve rahi.
Uhdian pustakan usde zindagi di jaddoo jedhaad da nichor han.

“Jab nehar kinare sham dale, tuhara shehar kesa hai, vapasi da safar, chanan kithe hoya dukh sabaiya jg, “Chand Chandni Chandigarh”, “Chadde Suraj de Dharti” (Japan de yatra bare), “Raste mein gulab raken hein”, pustaka vich uhne apnian andarlian bhavnava nu bariki te khubsurati nal lafzaa vich paroia hai.
Uh apni pustak Chand Chandni Chandigarh” vich Chandigarh de yatra bare apne parbav pargat kardian likdi hai, “Menu eh vekh ke harani hoi ke bharat vich ladkian bina kese dar toh dine-raat scooteran teh bajian phirdian haan. Ajeha tah mein apne adunik ban chuke Lahore vich ve nahi vekhian. Lahore vich tah din vich vi ajeha karan de koi ladki jurat hi nahi kar sakdi.
Sudan ravana hon toh pehla uhda suneha aya si. Menu, mere parvar nu, mere desh nu eh maan milya hai ki mein pehli Pakistani aurat Uch police adikari haan, jisnu UNO mission teh bhejia ja reha hai. Kiran Bedi ve bharat de eko ik aurat se, jis nu eh maan milya si . Mein ve Kiran Bedi hon vargi mehsus kar rahi haan.
Mein puchia, bharat aun da progamme kadon banega, us jawab dita ”keho jiha dukh bharia sawal kita? Jadon toh halat kharab hoye han, dil khijia-khijia rehnda hai . Pata nahi kehreh zalim han, jihrah iss khete de lokan nu Pyar-Mahobaat nal mildian vekh nahi sukaonde .”
Us akhia bharat mera ghar hai. Menu Amritsar ve Lahore varga lagda hai. Mein tohade toh , Amritsar toh, vichharia mehsus kar rahi haan. Hor dosta de khaat ve mehsus kar rahi ha.
Fer ek din e-mail te udha suneha aya ”Sade mausam ek han, hawa, badal, barash ekho jehi hundi hai. Phir ve eh doorian kio han.
”kasha asi ve Europe vang miljul ke rahiye, gawandi mulkaan nal jadoon dil kare, ek duje nu mil liya kariye, na dehshatgardi, na jang. Bus pyar, mahobbat , aman, sakoon teh dosti hove.” Shanti de uss dut ne akhia.
Par mein chupp haan, uss dian ehna bhavnavan da ki jawab devan

Rashmi Talwar