Purushyar Massacre - A tale from Pathan Raj
Khan Bamzai ruled Kashmir
in 1763 as Governor of the Kabul
government. According to Prof. RK Parimu, the noted historian, he was a man of
attractive address. The governor used to take greater interest to serve himself
rather than his subjects. One evening, while enjoying a boat-ride in Jehlum, his
eyes fell on Mugli. She was the daughter of a milk-man and had irresistible
beauty. The governor desired to make her his wife, soon the nikah was
milkman's neighbour in the Purushyar locality was the family of Atma Ram Pandit.
This well-to-do Pandit family dealt in Pashmina wool and arms manufacturing.
Atma Ram was grandson of Krishan Pandit and had two uncles--Zai Ram and
Nilakanth. Zai Ram led an ascetic life. Nilakanth was blind since birth. His
wife, Umrawati (Shoba) committed Sati, when her husband died.
Kashmiri custom, a close acquaintance accompanies the bridge to her in-law's
house as 'boya' (brother). Atma Ram accompanied Mughli as 'boya'. Soon, he
gained entry in Governor's administration.
those times Pt. Jeevan Sab, a saint of great merit, lived at Rainawari. Pandit
Dila Ram Quli and some Ganjoo, both natives of Rainawari, were his disciples.
One day, the saint asked them to desire for something. Ganjoo said he should
have enough food for seven generations. The family was to acquire big Jagirs
subsequently. Dila Ram aspired for 'Hakumat' i.e. an administrative post.
thereafter, Dila Ram gained entry in Buland Khan's administration. Atma Ram was
quite junior to him in the administrative hierarchy. There was serious shortage
of cloth. The Governor invited suggestions for settling terms with weavers of
Tral. He accepted the suggestion of Atma Ram. Sulking Dila Ram taunted Atma Ram,
telling him the Governor was bound to accept his suggestion, because he was
'brother' of Mugli.
Muqim Kanth, a notable, had been killed in a palace intrigue. His family
suspected Kailash Dhar of playing foul. During the rule of Amir Khan Jawansher
(1770), Muqim's son Mir Fazil Kanth became Chief Secretary. He hatched a
conspiracy and succeeded in killing Kailash Dar. Mir Fazil Kanth extended his
vengeance to the entire Pandit community. Prof. RK Parimu and Hassan Khuihami
have recorded his atrocities at length. Dila Ram Quli had also receded into the
Ram Quli becomes powerful:
Karim Dad Khan, soon after taking over, eliminated the Kanth family and
appointed Dila Ram Quli as Chief Secretary. Karim Dad ruled like a reckless,
merciless tyrant. His repressive and oppressive policies alienated the entire
populace. When Karimdad fell ill, he asked his son, Azad Khan to take over the
reins, without informing
He was just eighteen.
Forester, a European Traveller, who visited
in Azad Khan's reign, describes him as awful, ferocious, bad-tempered. In his
cruelties he surpassed even his father. Everyday he would order one or two
persons to be killed for no fault.
Ram succeeded, where even Azad Khan's mother and wife had failed. Azad made him
Madarul-Miham, the Prime Minister. Dila Ram wielded tremendous influence over
Azad Khan and came to be called Dila Ram Quli Khan. Azad Khan's temperamental
fits even alienated his faithful servants. Two of his trusted aides--Pahalwan
Khan and Maluk Khan hatched up a conspiracy to murder Azad Khan. They won over
Izmat Khan, the body guard of Azad Khan. One night, Izmat, fired a shot at Azad
Khan but missed the aim. The Governor jumped into Jehlum and escaped to Dila Ram
Quli's house at Rainawari.
conspirators pursued Azad Khan. Their attempts to enter Dila Ram's house failed.
Dila Ram suffered minor injuries. The whole night, people of Rainawari witnessed
skirmishes between the partisans of Izmat Khan and Azad Khan.
following morning Azad Khan reached Maisuma. Pahalwan Khan, who failed to
counter the state forces, took shelter behind the walls of Sher Garhi. The state
forces laid siege to the fort. This continued for a week. Pahalwan Khan was
killed and the rebellion crushed.
Ram Quli consolidated his position further. His used this, to settle old scores
with Atma Ram Pandit. Dila Ram's wit had outwitted even Timur Shah Durani at
Kabul Durbar. He poisoned the ears of Azad Khan and falsely implicated Atma Ram
in the conspiracy to murder Azad Khan.
tyrant Governor ordered the elimination of the entire clan of Pandit Atma Ram.
Azad Khan declared that he would visit the area personally in the afternoon to
see if his orders were duly carried out.
Khan's forces arrived, Atma Ram, with son Sudarshan in his lap, was watching
from the window of his house. A sympathetic officer signalled him to escape. He,
alongwith his son, jumped into the river and took shelter in the house of a
milk-man. The state forces butchered the entire clan of Atma Ram, which as per
family story, comprised 37 members. When the identification of the dead was
carried out, the troops failed to find the body of Atma Ram. This was conveyed
to the Governor, who issued orders for burning down the entire locality. This
was duly carried out., with dead bodies also perishing in the fire. The Governor
asked his staff to make a public announcement that any person who brought Atma
Ram dead or alive would be suitably rewarded. The sympathetic milk-man had hid
Atma Ram and Sudarshan in his cow-shed.
Ram's close relation, Pandit Manas Razdan, the famous saint of his times, lived
across the river in Banamohalla. Their mothers were sisters. Manas Razdan
belonged to the family of Bhaskar Razdan, who has written a commentary on 60
sayings of Lalleswari to Sanskrit verse. Grandson of this great literateur,
Manas Razdan was popularly called Razdan Sab. The street, presently called
Razdan Kocha is named after him. Subsequently, Manas Razdan migrated to Qiladar,
The saint owned huge Jagirs across Baramulla and was a 'Darbari' in Azad Khan's
reign. Having come to know that Azad Khan had let loose his soldiers to catch
his cousin, Atma Ram, Razdan Sab asked his cook to trace whereabouts of Atma
Ram. After sometime the cook brought the news that Atma Ram was safe alongwith
his son. The latter was kept in hiding by a milkman in his cowshed. He survived
months later Atma Ram passed away. The milkman brought the news to Razdan Sab.
The former was scared that if Azad Khan came to know the real story his family
would be in serious trouble. Loyal milkman brought Sudarshan to Razdan Sab's
strategy was worked out to dispose off the dead body of Atma Ram. Razdan Sab's
house was more like an ashram, where Sadhus from different parts of
came and stayed. Razdan Sab asked one of the sadhus to run away during
the night. The body of Atma Ram was stealthily brought to Razdan Sab's ashram.
The following morning it was announced that a sadhu had died. Due care
was taken to perform the funeral rites as per religious rituals. The subsequent,
Kriya Karam (post-cremation rituals) were performed, as per family account, at
Budgam, away from the watchful eyes of the tyrant Governor.
Sudarshan was brought up under the care of Razdan Sab and received good
education. After few years Juma Khan Alkozai was appointed Governor of Kashmir
in 1788. For his just rule and benevolence, Jumma Khan earned lot of popularity.
The new Governor was son of the sister of Buland Khan Bamzai, the former
his nomination as Governor, Juma Khan was asked by Mugli, wife of Buland Khan
Bamzai, to trace the whereabouts of her foster brother, Atma Ram Pandit. Dila
Ram Quli had functioned as Dewan during the Governorship of Mirdad Khan
(1786088). He continued to be top aide to Juma Khan also. As long as Dila Ram
remained in command, Sudarshan had every reason to be afraid of the
administration. One day, Juma Khan had called a meeting of a prominent citizens
(Durbaris). Razdan sab too had been invited. He took Sudarshan along with him.
Atma Ram's son disclosed his identity to the Governor and prayed for clemency.
On learning that he had been able to fulfill the wish of his maternal aunt by
tracing Atma Ram's family, Governor turned emotional and told Sudarshan that he
was nephew of Buland Khan. The Governor informed Sudarshan that his aunt had
asked him to help the family of Atma Ram in every way possible. For three years
Juma Khan had been trying to locate the family of Atma Ram without any result.
Dila Ram had been the villain in frustrating his efforts. Despite the fact the
new Governor was popular for his benevolence, Sudarshan was reluctant to present
himself before the Governor, presuming that Dila Ram may have poisoned the ears
of the new Governor as well.
Sudarshan in his litany told Juma Khan that it was a torturing experience for
him to stay in the same city, where his entire clan had been annihilated. Juma
Khan appointed Sudarshan as Kardar of Breng Pargana.
Hazar Khan replaced Juma Khan as Governor in 1793. To live under Hazar Khan was
a nightmarish experience for Kashmiri Pandits. It was during his reign that
Pandits were put in sacks and drowned in
Lake (Bata Mazar). Dila Ram Quli, the most powerful and influential Pandit, also
met his nemesis. He was publicly beheaded in Khanyar Chowk. His death did not
solve problems for Sudarshan. The latter had some problem in settling the
accounts of Paddy. So Sudarshan decided to leave alongwith his wife and two sons
and sought employment in Raja of Chenani's Durbar.
Sudarshan emerged as a confidante of the Raja and invited jealousy of his
vizier, who was a local. The latter got Sudarshan poisoned to death through a
conspiracy. Raja was unaware about the conspiracy and called on Parvati,
Sudarshan's wife to express his concern over her plight. She told the Raja,
"King's gift is heavy. I cannot take it."
alongwith her sons-Shiv Ram and Narayan, however, continued to stay in Chenani.
belonged to Rawal family of Bidder in Breng region. This family too had to flee
its native village during Pathan rule. Some Pathan troops were on patrol duty in
Bidder area. A soldier had tried to make advances towards a lady of Rawal
family. Like a brave lady, the examples of which are too few, she not only
rebuffed the soldier but humiliated him by showing her foot. This was too much
for Pathans to stomach. The entire Rawal locality was burnt down. With great
difficulty members of Rawal clan managed to save their lives. Since they had
nothing to eat, they shifted to Brariangan, the abode of Godess Uma, where
ashram langar provided food to the needy round the clock.
Naqashbandi family of Takiya Peer in Breng had lot of murids in present Himachal
Pradesh, Utter Pradesh and
region, including Chenani. The Pirs of this family used to visit Chenani
every year. Pathan rule was drawing to a close. Parvati decided to return to
Kashmir. Through Pirs she contacted Ganesh Das, her brother. The Pir
family was to produce two powerful politicians - Nizamuddin Khan, Member of
Parliament and Abdul Rashid Vakil, Minister for Power Development.
Das Rawal reached Chenani to take his sister and her sons back home. While
they halted for night at Banihal. Two Pathan soldiers, who were on the run, met
them there. Pathan soldiers liked the brown hair of Narayan and asked Parvati, "Iee
Shalgam royeahs", telling her to gift her son to them. Parvati decided to play
ball with them. She told them since she had to part with her dear son, she would
hold him in embrace for the night and then decide in the morning what to do.
During the night there was some unusual noise. Pathans thought that the Sikh
soldiers had reached Banihal. So they left. Parvati went on to stay with Rawal
family at Brariangan. Then begins the second part of the story of the family of
Atma Ram Pandit.
Descendants of Atma Ram Pandit
and her children stayed with Rawal family at Brari Angan. Her brother's wife did
not like Parvati's continued stay at her house. Soon she was forced to move out.
Parvati got renovated a small dilapidated Paddy hut (Kuth) and shifted her
family to it. Her family survived on food prepared in Ashram langar.
Angan, alongwith Gosaingund, Gautam Nag (in Anantnag district) and
Gosainteng (Baramulla town), was among the places, where sadhus, on
pilgrimage to the holy
Lord Amarnath, used to halt for many days. The natural and spiritual
ambience of these places appealed to the sadhus.
day, an eccentric sadhu created a scene. He had demanded Dal (Cooked
Pulses) at the langar but was instead served milk. This infuriated him. He lost
his cool and thrashed the langar people with a trident. Since Narayan Pandit,
the son of Parvati, knew Hindi well, he was requested by ashram-management to
serve as interpreter for the visiting sadhus. This enhanced the prestige of
Narayan Pandit. He was soon to catch the attention of one of the great saints
Bhol Nath who had attained the power of 'Parkaya Pravaresh’. As
the tradition says the people with such powers could turn themselves into lion
spiritually elevated sadhu used to do his tapasya (offering prayers) at
the nearby Sochalmaidan. Narayan Pandit would take milk to him. The saint,
impressed by Narayan, asked him to accompany him to Amarnath. It snowed quite
heavily during the yatra. The saint offered his Lion-skin to the young
Narayan to keep him away from cold injury. Narayan became his disciple and
received 'Guru Upadesh'. Some years later, Kanwar Sher Singh, son
of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, was appointed Governor of Kashmir. The previous
governor Bahama Singh Ardali, who had taken over Governorship on
5 May, 1831,
failed to govern. There was a Shia-Sunni riot, this affected shawl industry.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh indicted Bahama Singh for not taking preemptive measures.
A leading Kashmiri merchant Mian Samad Joo personally went to the
Maharaja to narrate Bahma Singh's callous attitude and indifference during the
Maharaja decided to send his son, Kanwar Sher Singh, who had
distinguished himself in the Balakot battle against Syed Ahmad Barelvi, the
leader of the Muslim revivalist movement (Wahabi) on
Sher Singh, the son of Rani Mahtab Kaur, was a cheerful, intelligent, well-bred
soldier and popular with the army. The new Governor Kanwar Sher Singh entered
Kashmir via Baramulla route in January 1832. He did not have a smooth time
initially. During the first winter of his tenure,
reeled under severe cold. All rivers and lakes were frozen. Many domestic
animals and cattle perished. The population suffered due to scarcity of water
and fuel. The governor too had his share of suffering. His official residence in
caught fire twice. The entire shopping complex in the neighbourhood was engulfed
in the flames. Then fire took its toll of Ahlamar locality (Badiyar bala),
adjacent to Habbakadal. It destroyed many dwellings and caused immense hardships
to their residents. A new diversion-Nav Sarak (Nai Sarak) was created for
pedestrians. These incidents have been docum-ented at length by Pandit Birbal
Kachru in his chronicle.
Auckland papers describe Prince Sher Singh as 'clever and bold', but 'wild and
unprincipled'. Traveller GT Vigne speaks of him, as needy and spend-thrift' and
'cruel and rapacious', while McGregore says the Prince was addicted to "wine and
women to an excessive degree" and "a complete drunkard and debauchee". Dewan
Wasakha Singh fed this appetite of the prince to remain free to rule
Sher Singh was fond of hunting. The family Guru, a well-learned Pandit and Sh.
Ganesh Dhar, a revenue administrator used to accompany him on these hunting
jaunts. On one occasion Prince Sher Singh was on a hunting expedition in Kuthar
area and camped at Uma Nagri. He did not pay any regard to Mahant Ramanand of
Uma Nagri ashram. For some days hunting yielded no dividends. He also had
syncope once. After recovering fromt it the Prince was asked to meet the Mahant.
The latter told him he should refrain from hunting in Uma Nagri which was Devi's
area, where even the birds and animals paid obeisance to the Devi. Mahant
signalled the Governor to go for hunting in the nearby Shergund area. This
proved to be sound advice. The Prince shot down nine shikars one after
the other in a single day.
Prince's Guru and Pt. Ganesh Dhar, Chief of Revenue Administration used to pray
regularly at Devibal. It was a daily routine for Narayan Pandit to go to
Devibal to offer prayers to the goddess. Guru on hearing the prayer of Narayan
Pandit felt a little amazed. He made enquiries about the identity of Narayan.
Parvati, whose family had suffered much political persecution, felt scared. She
kept her son in hiding. Finally, she was prevailed upon to produce her son
before the Prince's guru. The latter asked him if he was the same person who
recited a particular prayer at Devibal in his presence. When Narayan repeated
the recitation, the Guru held him in tight embrace, telling him," your and mine
guru are the same person (Bhol Nath), so you are my Guru-brother”. The Guru
asked Pt. Ganesh Dhar to pay his regards to Naryan Pandit as he was a great
religious scholar. The two asked Narayan about family's economic position.
Narayan replied that his family members had come as fugitives from Chenani and
made their living on ashram food. This moved the Guru and Pt. Ganesh Dhar.
Narayan was introduced to Prince Sher Singh at Uma Nagri. The former was granted
huge Jagirs (totalling 240 acres) at Uma Nagri (adjacent to the mahant's land),
Halqa Uttarssu, Kreri, Ranipora, Halan, Sherpora, Opassan, Krad, Cheikhgund,
Ondo, Trahop, Sonsun, Shangas-Nowgam etc. The rent was exempted, Narayan's
family was also kept outside the 'Karbegar' labour. He was asked to
collect the patta from
Srinagar. Even after the land settlement, carried out by Sir Walter Larence,
Narayan Pandit's family continued to be in possession of 100 Khirwars of land.
Some of the Jagirs were confiscated by later rulers but later restored.
Pandit had decided not to marry. His brother Shiv Ram too was a bachelor. It was
on the prodding of Mirza Kak, the great Kashmiri saint of Hangalgund that
Narayan relented. He married Pt. Sat Ram Pandit's (of Hangalgund) daughter.
Kak had told Narayan that he will give birth to children who will, be like
Gul and Phul (genius and handsome) but Taet Tah
Maet (short-tempered and eccentric). Till 31 years of age, Narayan
remained issueless. He decided to take his cousin's son Nidhan Rawal in
adoption. Subsequently, Narayan's wife gave birth to three sons--Amarchand,
Lakshman and Vasudev; Lakshman was taken in adoption by Shiv Ram, Narayan's
Madan's field work:
village of Brari Angan was to catch attention of the renowned anthropologist,
Prof. TN Madan in 1950s. He decided to study the twin villages of
Umanagri-Uttersoo for his field work. This anthropologist was so fascinated by
these villages and the cooperation extended to him by the local Kashmiri Pandits
that he asked one of his students, Urvashi Misri to do a field study on Pandit
children and women in the same villages three decades later. Kashmiri Pandits of
Brari Angan remember well the two scholars. This landmark study made Prof Madan
a great name in Indian Anthropology. This work was later published in 1965 under
the title 'Family and Kinship - A Study of the Pandits of Rural
more editions of this book came out subsequently. Prof. Madan did his field work
in these twin villages between January 1957 and January 1958. References to
Prof. Madan and his book are being made in this write-up because the book throws
some light on some Pandits, who hail from Atma Ram Pandit's clan.
this clan, Prof. TN Madan says, "There is one Uma Nagri family which boasts of
many Sanskrit scholars (Pandit) and astrologers (Jyotishi) including Narayan
Pandit among its ancestors, but today only two of its male members can lay any
claim to traditional scholarship". The great Anthropologist calls this clan 'as
one of the most respected and rich families of the village'. Pandits of Atma
Ram's clan are Banamasis, their Ishta Devi is Jwaladevi of Khrew, while the
gotra is Dev Vatse Upamanyu Laugakshi. Their Kulprohit used to be Pt. Jagar Nath
the prominent descendants of late Atma Ram Pandit, who achieved excellence in
religious and Sanskrit scholarship are:
person of his time in his area-he was a great philanthropist.
Narayan Pandit, Vasudev Pandit was well known in Kashmir and in the rest of
for his erudite scholarship in religious studies and social history. He was
known better by alias Vasudev Kuthari and was employed by Dogra Durbar as a
religious scholar. He was paid hefty sum of Rs 500 per year. He was trained by
Pt. Sahib Ram Pandit, the author of Tiratha Samgraha. Another well-known
descendant of Pt. Sahib Ram has been Pt. Mahanand pandit, a famed Astrologer and
a former President of Priests' Association. Sahib Ram belonged to Pandit clan,
known for high scholarship. This group reely intermarried with Karkun class.
Sahib Ram's family also trained besides Vasudev, Shankar Pandit and possibly
was very influential. People were scared of him because of his eccentric
behaviour. Janki Prasad, a non-Kashmiri was a senior revenue official. A widow
asked Vasudev to get a job for her son. Vasudev ignored the normal protocol and
just shouted from Prasad's main gate, "Appoint this widow's son as a Tehsildar".
The Revenue official complied with Vasudev's "orders". Such was the writ of
Whenever religious scholars came from outside, Kashmiri scholars would request
Vasudev to be their spokesperson in religious discussions. It is said that
Vasudev could recite over 60,000 verses from his memory without any fault.
Vasudev stayed at the house of Keshav Nath alias Keshav Pulsi in
After his demise, Keshav Nath's family asked Vasudev's family to collect many
bagloads of manuscripts and books left behind by Vasudev from his Srinagar
residence. Unfortunately, the family did not realise the importance of this
was married to sister of Pt. Shiv Nath Soma, who as per one account, was Chief
Conservator of Forests of entire J&K. Pt. Shiv Nath, a resident of Rainawari,
who later settled in Jammu, became a legend for his outstanding qualities.
Vasudev left behind a daughter married in Kissu family and a son Maheshwar Nath.
Pt. Shiv Nath Soma wanted his nephew to be a contractor but Maheshwar Nath was a
man of simple disposition. He was just a matriculate but knew English very well.
Through his maternal uncle he was employed as a forester and reached to the rank
of Ranger. In his times he was one of the few persons who used to read national
English dailies. Pt. Maheshwar Nath after his marriage shifted to his in-law's
village, Levdora, Qazigund. Maheshwar Nath's wife, the only daughter of her
parents was an intelligent lady. Maheshwar Nath's exemplary honesty and
truthfulness in discharging his official duties made him renowned. Some of the
incidents are being recalled here. Once, he imposed fine of Rs 5/- on his wife
for bringing a wooden mortar (Muhul) illegally from the forest. On another
occasion he attended a dinner at the nearby
of Nowgam. After the dinner was over, Pt. Maheshwar Nath asked his hosts, "where
from did you get the wood of the ceiling roof? You would have to pay fine for
it". Once during a drought he had some dispute with his tenants, Pt. Maheshwar
Nath had inherited share of 350 kanals of land. Due to Kargili traders, price of
Maize had shot up to Rs 50-60 per Khirwar. Tenants expressed their inability to
pay this price. Finally, Prem Nath Pandit, Sarpanch of the village and a kin of
Pt. Maheshwar Nath, intervened in the dispute to settle mutually acceptable
terms. He settled Rs. 35 per Khirwar to be paid to Pt. Maheshwar Nath. This was
accepted by the tenants. But Pt. Moshar Nath told the tenants that he would not
accept a penny more than the officially fixed price of Rs 8 per Khirwar. This
put Sarpanch in quandry, tenants felt that the former had played fraud on them.
Maheshwar Nath also confiscated a charcoal-laden boat, meant for his superior, a
Maheshwar Nath had three sons - Niranjan Nath, Kedar Nath, Mohan Lal besides a
daughter. Niranjan Nath and Kedar Nath achieved eminence in the field of
journalism and were associated with Times of India and Indian Express
respectively. Kedar Nath was a poet too. Niranjan Nath was the first BA from
Atma Ram's clan. Late Kedar Nath's son, Pawan too is a journalist with
Hindustan Times in
Delhi. A few years back he was staff correspondent of Indian Express in
the eldest son of Lakshman Pandit. He was a high level forest official. He used
to read national English and vernacular dailies regularly. As per family
sources, Vishn Pandit had authored seven manuscripts which remained unpublished.
the son of Nidhan Pandit (originally Rawal). Shankar was a Vedanti scholar, who
trained many Kashmiris in Vedic scholarship. He often engaged in religious
discussions with learned Pandits of Benaras and excelled over them. It was his
wish to pass his last days at Haridwar and passed away there.
son of Lakshman Pandit. He was classmate of leading political personalities -
Mirza Afzal Beg, Pt. Shiv Naraina Fotedhar and Pt. Kashyap Bandhu, Saifuddin
Ghani (DIG Police). He was a first division holder in Matric. Better known as
Prem Nath Kuthari, he along with his brother Sham Sunder remained Yuvak Sabha
Presidents, Kuthar area for a long-time.
son of Prasad Pandit and grandson of Lakhyman Pandit. He was born in 1906. He
was one of the five members of 'convoy' of Prof. TN Madan. Because of dedication
of these five people, the Mahant of Uma Nagri with his sense of repartee used to
say: "They gave up their homes and wives and lost their night's sleep for his
(Madan's) sake'. He also nicknamed them as 'convoy' because they used to
move about in the village together with Prof. Madan.
Sarvanand died as a bachelor. He lived off his land. He had his education at the
local school and was for some time at the Technical (art) school in
Srinagar. Sarwanand was a shy person and never wore turban or a pheran- in his
Madan in a rare tribute describes Sarwanand as a "my" and said, "I think I met
rara avis in him." He sums up many traits of Sarwanand as 'man of
orthodox views and well-informed about the Sanskritic tradition', 'most
unorthodox in his appearance', 'intelligent with natural gift of an amazingly
prodigious memory', 'a shy lonely person who had a raw deal in his life', 'has
an irrepressible but healthy curiosity about, social happenings in the village
and great sense of humour. He once in Prof. Madan's presence surprised a fellow
villager by showing greater knowledge of the latter's genealogy than the latter
Sarwanand was a walking encyclopedia, who could recall at a minute's notice the
200-year old history of Uma Nagri and the origins of the different Pandit clans
of the village. As per Prof. Madan, he had even kept a written record of some
particularly notable events in the village during his lifetime.
Prof Madan's fieldwork, Pt. Sarwanand remained a key informant. He admits that
his book has quoted more often from Pt. Sarwanand's statements than from anybody
else's, with the possible exception of Bishamber Nath Koul. In Prof. Madan's
work Pt. Sarwanand found an outlet for his passion for ethnography. He
acknowledges his contribution by recording, "I had found in him the key
informant that the ethnographer invariably seeks and cultivates. The opposition
between the public and the private, the general and the particular, got resolved
in his person. He was a source of information about the private and appreciated
the legitimacy of making it public".
Pt. Sarwanand's interest, bordering on obssession, into prying into other
people's domestic affairs, Prof. Madan has an explanation: 'Denied the
opportunity of involvement in intimate relationships and events, he had
developed an interest in them generally."
He was the youngest member of Prof. Madan's 'convoy'. Srikanth is son of Pt.
Raghav Ram and grandson of Pt. Amarchand. Like his father, Srikanth too
practised astrology. He retired as village Post-Master . A religious minded
person, Srikanth had learnt Sanskritic tradition from his father. Prof. Madan
praises his traits - being affectionate and informal. Pt. Srikanth lives as a
refugee in Swarn Vihar locality of
Ram Nath Pandit:
He is son of Pt. Tarachand and grandson of Lakshman Pandit. He dropped out in F.
Sc but retains good knowledge of languages including English. He depended for
living on his land. Like his cousin Pt. Sarwanand, Pt. Ram Nath too is well
versed in religious scriptures and social history of Kashmiri Pandits. The way
he reels out the information about the social history of the Pandit community is
truly amazing. He has his own classification of Kauls, Razdans, and the Priestly
class. It is through him we can visualise what sort of great scholar Sarwanand
might have been. He has diligently preserved the history and the genealogy of
his clan. This author was even provided the name of Mugli's father-Musa Moghlu
(which was inadvertently omitted in the first portion of this essay). However,
in my opinion Moghlu might have been a boatman, rather than a Goor (milkman).
Shri Ram Nath's equally illustrious son and the author's friend, Sh. Satish
Mohan Pandit holds Masters degree in English literature, besides the degrees in
education and journalism. It was through Satish's efforts that the author was
able to harvest the friendship for procuring the clan story to preserve it for