Season of Haakh

It is spring in Kashmir, as is with every season even spring has certain delicacies associated with it. One such delicacy is Haakh, as is with Nun Chai haakh, too is considered divine. A kashmiri has to like haakh and Nun Chai, if he/ she doesn’t just let them live outside Kashmir for couple of years and they will long for them. Many a times Kahmiris are seen collecting haakh and other vegetations besides their baggage from airports, the curious look (more of amazement) on the other passengers faces can’t be missed. The expats living in different cities of the world even take home grown onions, our land makes them to taste different then the rest, We can’t help it¬† we are Kashmiris ūüôā


Coming back to haakh, there are many ways of cooking haakh; with chicken, mutton, cheese, fish etc in short you can say we need an excuse  to have haakh. There are various types of haakh and every type tastes best with a particular combination food.


Sunday morning and I am being sent to buy haakh from the market, when ever I am asked to buy haakh from the market I always bring the wrong type! To help myself to overcome the sadness of being as failed Kashmiri haakh buyer I visit my uncle to listen to the stories of the past. Well here too Haakh is the topic of the day, my uncle tells me that the season of the haakh used to coincide with the season of the fish, not the type of the fish that you and me have these days but the type that no more exist, even their names have almost been lost. My uncle tells me about the days when they as kids used to relish keind guran, Chiroo gaad, sattar gaad, pikut gaad, chash gaad, tatur gaad, ram gaad, aumur, aitt gaad, one can’t help but be amazed. My uncle tells me that some of these fish used to come from Muzaffarabad but after kashmiri’s division it seems¬† that they too chose not to cross the dividing line.

So much has been lost in the past 60 odd years and yet no one seems to mourn. Is it that we never missed what was lost or that we were never told what we lost!


Who will speak for the Voiceless?

Couple of days back had the pleasure of meeting Zareef Ahmed Zareef,  when one is with Zareef Sahib there is no derth of topics of discussions and on this instance one of the topics was birds being made home less around the outer wall (Kalai) of the Hari-Parbat fort (Koh-e-Maraan).

A nation can’t prosper until it takes care of the week, helpless and voiceless.

Ottoman Empire made sure that in their rule even the birds are taken care off. The high rising buildings (mostly Mosques) had bird houses built on their walls so as to protect the birds and give them a place to live. The charters for new mosques often included provision for feeding the birds that lived in these shelters. The Beyazit II mosque in Istanbul, built in the late 15th century, had a charter that allocated 30 pieces of gold each year to look after its birds. Even when the charter was eventually revoked in the 1920s the official then in charge of the mosque continued to feed them out of his own salary until 1947.ImageImage


Almost every Muslim kid knows the story of the Jew who released the female dear so that it could feed her babies and  returned to the Jew afterwards as she had promised.

There is another instance where a Camel came up to the Prophet (S.A.W) to complain about the abuse it faced at the hands of his master.

A woman who gave water to a thirsty dog, was assured heaven by the Prophet (S.A.W) for showing kindness to the voiceless dog, an animal which is not liked (to say the least) by the Muslims!

There are many more such instances in the Islamic tradition and history which show the importance of animal rights in Islam.

Now coming back to the Hari-parbat (Koh-e-Maraan) and what we are doing there, after sleeping for generations, last year , the government suddenly woke up to the deteriorating condition of the surrounding wall (Kalai) and began to plaster it and in the process made the birds, who had lived in the walls for generations, homeless !

Zareef sahib had protested against it and had asked the government to make alternate arrangements for the birds, newspaper and news channels had covered it (even by DD Kashmir) but then the news became old. What ever part of the Kalai was still not plastered will be plastered soon. In the land were kids are killed in hundreds not an eye lid is abated how can we expect anyone to care about the voiceless birds, Only if they were eligible to cast votes.

At time when birds are being made homeless no one is touching the encroachers living on the both sides of the wall, that is the power of VOTE!

The three kilometres of the fort used to be the stage for the sweet music of birds chirping in morning and evening, it soothed the bruised souls. Chirping sound of birds is invaluable anywhere but more so in a valley which is full of wails!