Thursday, October 23, 2008

Made in Pakistan by Kamal Hak

Trading has begun across LOC in Kashmir . The Kashmiri muslims must be feeling happy, excited and great. They will now have the access to the pious produce of their religious fraternity. The quality or price will no longer be a concern. Those considerations are reserved for the things produced by kafirs in Hindustan .

One day in early eighties I was sitting with the owner of United Medical Hall, Kupawara in the course of my duties as a medical representative. It was a good day for business as sowing season had just finished and the villagers were now flocking to either courts for settling scores with their neighbours or to doctors for obtaining prescriptions for glucose bottles.

Gul Saeb of United Medical Hall was a nice and simple man. People also called him khuda dost as he was truly a gentle person who was never provoked into raising his voice. At this particular moment when my attention was focused on exploring the possibilities of reducing the gap between my sales target and achievement; and while I was motivating a salesman to give me the actual stock position of my products I found Gul Saeb engaged in an animated discussion with a Khoja.

“Hak saeb, please explain to Haji Saab.” Gul Saeb turned towards me with visible signs of frustration on his face.

“I want Indral and he is not giving me that.” Khoja informed me.

I found myself a reluctant mediator and in retrospect am glad for that as it has given me a beautiful reminiscence of an extent a Kashmiri muslim can go in the pursuit of his fanatic idiosyncrasy.

Khoja wanted made in Pakistan Indral, which he had earlier purchased at Kralapur, and found better than Indral produced in either England or Hindustan . It is made with Pakh(Pure) water by Pakh people.

Many months later, we are enjoying hot pakora’s while whiling our time in Tej Watul’s cloth shop situated bang in the middle of Jogilanker market in Rainawari. Suddenly there is a commotion across the road in front of Chuni Wattul’s (he was not Watul as Wattals were called but Wattul most probably derived from Wattul Kyom) medical shop. A lady in a traditional mulsim attire of feran and shalwar is mercilessly thrashing a young man. The young man along with the spectators is helpless before her fury. Even Amma Babur’s intervention is of no assistance. The lady is unfurling choicest of curses on the young man, who has now resigned himself to his destiny. Many rolls of cloth wound over wooden rods are lying scattered near the scene and a cycle in a battered condition is also lying flat nearby. Soon a couple of constables appear and save the poor man. They ask the lady the cause of her anger.

“I want my sixty rupees back. I purchased two meters of printed cloth from him for sixty rupees two months back. They cloth didn’t survive a single wash. Now he either returns my money or I send him to cancer ward in Soura.”

“But, Mouji, how could you pay sixty rupees for ordinary cloth which could not have been worth even ten.”

“Do you think I am so clumsy? This illegitimate son of his mother fooled me by claiming the cloth was made in Pakistan .”