Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Kanpuriya of Kanpur: City of Paan Masala, Thaggu ke laddu, Badnam Qulfi

Of course you can never be sure in Kanpur, while walking on road, that a flying ball of red paan spit of Paan Masala will hit you. Kanpuriya is a lingo for people of Kanpur.

Usually Kanpuriya have an image of eating Paan Masala and guthka. Spitting it over the walls but Kanpur isn't as they think about i must say. Some of the interesting things which should come to your mind when you hear word Kanpur are written down which will really amaze you.
A Kanpuriya spitting Paan Masala
People of Kanpur are too good with a helping nature, mostly have a very struggling attitude. They don't fear any challenges and the worse situations. They strive to the best of their capability to lead a good lifestyle.

Make a kanpuriya Friend and you'll forget what is depression.Kanpuriya are soft and emotional but not weak. During their worst times, they may cry, but never get into depression and we'll stand again to fight back with the situation. Having a kanpuriya Friend is must if you love all sorts of siyapa and vellapanti.
Paan Masala of Kanpur
People chew a lot of tobacco and spit it everywhere with impunity. You will hardly find a corner in a public building or the walls and floors near a dustbin that has not been slathered with the unmistakable red coloured tobacco spit. Observe everything, from smiling faces to overflowing mouths (full of paan-masala), narrow roads to highways.
Few years back I was travelling to Kanpur from Hyderabad in a train. I met a Kanpuria co-travellor who was in job in Kerala.We talked about random topics regarding difference in the lifestyles of North India and South India. While talking he opened his briefcase and took out a packet of paan Masala, what surprised me were those approximately 100 packets of Paan Masala in it.
I looked at him, expecting an explanation for that, after a while he understood my gesture and replied that as Paan Masala isn't allowed in Kerala so he take along enough packs which would last for a month.
I asked “why do you even take so much pain to carry all these stuff which would eventually harm you?”

For few seconds I was dumbstruck. Never expected such a uniquely dumb reply. For him, addiction to Paan Masala is an asset to his personality and an easy way to become socially accepted among his friends. That incident actually showed me how the scarcity of education can have such an adverse effect on human intellects and reasoning.
The chewing pan masala culture and spitting everywhere and staining everything that comes in the way thereby, started from this very city, Kanpur in 70s. Reached its peak in 80s and 90s when pan parag, the numero uno king of the pouch revolution hanging in every corner paan shops reigned supreme. Brought by city based kotharis, departed actor ashok kumar lent it an iconic status with his tv promotion of the brand.
Soon competitors arrived like rajnigandha from delhi based ds group,tiranga, kamla pasand,pan pasand and countless others. but kanpur brand reigned supreme for two decades and colored india,particularly painting government offices red. till we woke up recently and understanding its danger,”banned”it. never mind countless people died of oral cancer by then.
This is in short the story of one kind of laal kranti (Paan Masala) in India.

Pretty sure Pierce Brosnan was fooled into endorsing an Ad of Pan Bahar Masala by saying that it was some exotic Himalayan Indian herb.

Thaggu ke Ladoos and Badnaam kulfi” to relish on everytime you visit Kanpur Can't leave Kanpur without eating Laddus Here”
Right next to Baba Foods in Swaroop Nagar is the famous Thaggu ke Laddu. His Badnam Kulfi is fabulous. Unlike most other Kulfis it’s whipped rather than just frozen and so it has a slightly Rabri like texture.
Shop of Thaggu ke laddu and Badnam Kulfi
The ladoos are ideal for taking home because they last a long time and might be the closest thing to Kanpur speciality.
This place has a motto "Aisa koi saga nahi, jisko humne Thaga nahi." Meaning that there is not even a single dear one whom we have not cheated. The reason behind it is that the founder of this restaurant was a firm Gandhian (believer and follower of Gandhi principles). He once met Gandhiji and during his small chat with...
Badnaam Kulfi
For the Vegans there is Aromas also in Swaroop Nagar. He serves pizzas and burgers along with some Chinese food. The best way to visit Swaroop Nagar is for the Non Veg guys to eat at Baba and the others to eat at Aromas. Because both have fast service you get out at the same time. This is Murgi’s favorite place to eat by the way (The very mention of Aroma’s brightens his day). Right next to Aroma’s is a place that has no name mentioned anywhere (Actually there is but you really have to look for it) but it serves good Bhelpuri(as good as can be in Kanpur)
 Swaroop Nagar is also home to Makhan Singh ki Biryani. His rice is nowhere as good as Baba’s so if you want to eat Biryani, it’s wise to stick to Baba. However what he does serve are excellent Kababs. You will also be amazed at the size of Makhan.

It must be the smallest shop in Swaroop Nagar but there are cars lined up all the time ordering food. The owner just stands there shouting orders and keeping track of the money. It ought to be a lesson in management.

They don't have seating arrangements and you will have to eat your food in your car. Their kebabs are also good and their biryani is boneless.
Typical Kanpurias

 In terms of restaurants Antarang in Rave 3 is by far the finest restaurant in Kanpur. Antarang is always consistent and dependable. There is a singer who sings remarkably like Jagjit Singh.

The desserts are great as well. Hot Brownie with Ice Cream, Gulab Jamun with Ice Cream is great. The moong dal halwa used to be great but has been falling flat on recent occasions. Chicken Chettinad is something that we often order. As a bonus the restaurant also has the finest ambience in Kanpur. 
Hucka is a place frequented by most people. The huckas provide variety, but personally I am not a big fan. However if you do decide on going there do try the three pepper potato (starter). Also order pineapple raita and Mirchi Paratha (It’s an awesome combination). Their food used to be good.
For the Vegans, there is Gyan Vaishnav, in Gumti Number 5. Don’t go by the ambience and try the place out. Try to get to the place early because otherwise it is packed. It is act of foolishness to go to Gyan Vaishnav on a Tuesday. Stick to the basics and don’t order anything fancy. Order Roti Dal (Must) and Sabji. Baingan Ka Bharta is recommended. Also order the kheer. Ensure that you order the kheer beforehand because they get over extremely fast.

Last but far far from the least is a little pan shop called Monkey Chaurasia
(Note the monkey is essential, there is a duplicate Chaurasia along the road. The Monkey Chaurasia advertises Mountain Dew). It falls on the side of the medical shops between Gol Chauraha and Swaroop Nagar. Have the Meetha pan. Have more than one in fact. This is the perfect end to a meal.
Honestly the best Kanpur food spots are found on the way just roaming around.

The small shops on the street make up the heart of Kanpur. So instead of going after just named food joints, one should get out and explore. Places like Gumti, Naveen Market, places adjoining Baad Chauraha, kakadeo are brilliant for such strolls. Otherwise the famous ones have already been mentioned..

Kanpuriya language: Unique Common  Words of Kanpurias Daily Life

People of Kanpur have their own unique language. Kanpuriya language is rude but they are always ready to help and have big and good heart. Kanpurias are very straight forward (many times people don't like it) golmol nahi sidha bolte hai.

It is just something that any person with swag would enjoy. Its a mixture of rudeness, straightforwardness, humor and well.Abusive words. The words are just too different from what are spoken in other neighbouring cities of Kanpur that it gives Kanpur an entirely different set of vocabulary.
I will give you one example- The word slap is translated into Kanpuriya language as “Kantaap” instead of the much common terms of other cities as jhaapad, thappad or lappad.So, when you are in Kanpur some day, don’t be shocked to hear someone tell you -

“Saale _________ (beep beep), aukaat mein rahiyo warnaa denge ek kantaap kheench ke kaan ke neeche”: P
·        Zyada bakaiti na pelo
·        Bas karo bey pudina bo rakha hai tumne to
·         Aao zara hum bhi dekhe Kaun kitna bada khalifa hai.
·         Bhai matter ((panga) ho Gaya.
·         Bhokal hai bhai ka tension na lo.
·         Mathadheesi jayegi nahi.
·         Pauwwa (jugaad) hai poora apna iss area me.
·         “Chaped” me na Pado yar, “Lethan” ho jati hai Baad me
·         Ho bilkul Wahi, jisme rehta hai dahi (means kulhad)
·         And last but not the least… “Bhanna ke kantaap padega Bairaaj se Station tak   ki sair ho jayegi.”
·         “Bhann se padega, sann se aawaz aegii”
·         “Akdoge to ghar baithoge”
·         “Ek kantaap me chittra jaoge”
And their favorite word is nikal “lo patli gali se warna nali pe patak denge”

Banarsi Tea Shop
One of the best tea one can have in whole Kanpur very hot and creamy tea one can enjoy in winter and enjoy great cup of tea
Famous tea vendor who sells only tea and there are always flocks of people waiting for tea, especially in the morning, where thousands of people sip tea everyday. (At Motijheel Chauraha crossing).
The milk and cream Chai with a tinge of Cardamom served in a earthen Kullar tasted heavenly. The accompaniments of Samosa with potato masala filling melted away in the stream of piping hot chai and I had to order another chai to satisfy myself.

Written and posted by Engr. Maqbool Akram: With

 help of different materials available on net

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Krishna Kumari: The Rajput Princess,Chose Death Pyre To Save Her Dynasty

Here is the story of a true princess Krishna Kumari (1794 –1810), who chose death before a war was ignited.She choose death instead of putting the lives of their people at risk.Reality is harsh and painful. It is not lyrical fiction and it does not have Romeo-and-Juliet kind of endings.
 It was my second day of tour in Udaipur. We were in city palace of Udaipur and standing inside Krishna Vilas.  Krishna Vilas is another chamber inside City Palace, which has rich collection of miniature paintings that portray royal processions, festivals and games of the Maharanas.
However, there is tragic story linked to this wing of the City Palace. In the 19th century, a royal princess was unable to choose from two suitors seeking her hand in marriage, one from the royal family of Jaipur and another from Jodhpur, and hence in a state of dilemma, she poisoned herself to death
Princess Krishna Kumari was a Rajput princess with many suitors. A succession of battles was fought to gain her hand. Unlike Padmini, she was a real figure whose story was detailed in annals and letters composed during her life and immediately after her death. 

The manner of that death was unique and tragic, so shameful that no bard was ever commissioned to glorify it in verse.
Rana Bhim Singh was the ruler of Mewar in the early nineteenth century. The state had lost all its power and was beset by enemies from all sides.
The Marathas from the southwest had overrun parts of it and extorted levies from his subjects, while the states of Jaipur and Marwar were poised to attack him.
Jaipur and Marwar threatened war, not to increase their kingdoms but for another reason. Both the princes, Jagat Singh of Jaipur and the Raja Man of Marwar wanted to marry the Sisodia princess, Krishna Kumari, daughter of Bhim Singh. Bhim Singh dared not refuse either. He knew that whoever lost the hand of his daughter would join his enemies and attack his state.
Krishna Kumari, the young, sixteen-year beauty, was told of her father's predicament. She was determined to maintain the heroic tradition of her race and die rather than plunge her country into war
 Poison made of the Kasumba blossom was prepared for her. When the fatal cup was presented to her she received it with a smile, I fear not to die. Rajkumari Krishna Kumari drank it, and fell into a deep sleep … from which she never woke.

It happened in Krishna Vilas of the Udaipur palace, in a room that is still preserved exactly as it was when the brave Krishna Kumari gave her life to save the state of Mewar from war.
 Her mother, heartbroken at her daughter's fate, died soon after her. And Rana Bhim Singh, too weak to have prevented the sacrifice, consoled himself through the lonely years of his remaining life by turning his daughter's room into shrine of beauty and splendor.
The delicately frescoed Krishna Mahal is now a memorial to the girl (photography not permitted) in Udaipur City Palace, where respect can be paid to a brave little princess who became the victim of political circumstance.The room contains some of Mewar's best miniature paintings.The brave Krishna Kumari gave her life to save the state of Mewar from war.
Written and posted by Engr Maqbool Akram, with help of various materials available on net. 

Monday, 18 February 2019

Naked Sufi Saramad Shaheed: Beheaded by Aurangzeb.Saint Danced With His Head

Recently I was in Delhi to attend a marriage, there I stole few hours to quench my old memory. The mystic life story of Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed (R.A) was narrated by mother, when I was a child.

What made me more interested in knowing about Sarmad Shaheed was the fact that he was beheaded by powerful Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, but with his beheaded head he was moving ahead to enter Jama Masjid of Delhi.

According to legend, his decapitated head started reciting the full kalima (La ilaha illa’llah- there is no God, but Allah), showing that in death he had achieved his affirmation of faith.    
Twin Dargah of Sarmad Shaheed (R.A) and Hazrat Hare Bhare Shah (R.A)
For that reason, I drove away to Dargah of Sufi Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed (R.A) to offer my flower of reverence: The little-known Sufi ascetic and poet whose life was a revolt against traditions is, just below the stairs of the Jama Masjid.

A humble monument to the memory of Sarmad Shaheed resonates with legends and myths woven around this striking figure from history.
Twin Dargah of Sufi Sarmad Shaheed(R.A) and Hazrat Hare Bhare Shah(R.A),below stairs of Jama Masjid of Delhi

The shrine faces the Red Fort, surrounded by the open-air stalls of Meena Bazaar; the noise of people, bargaining shopkeepers, venders’, spitting, yelling and cursing on the street stands in stark contrast to the soothing hum inside the shrine.

Jama Masjid of Delhi
Actually, this dargah is home to two Sufi saints: Sarmad Shaheed and Hazrat Hare Bhare Shah, a contemporary of Aurangzeb’s father Shah Jahan.

Hare Bhare Shah’s tomb, indicative of his name, is made of green tiles. The entire shrine is halved into these two colours—even the doorway gets its colours from this scheme, red and green respectively. The red colour stands for the martyrdom of Sarmad Shaheed.
Lot of chaos: Biryani, Halwa paratha and tea stalls.Muslim Bhakti songs, beggars and other sights and sounds associated with Old Delhi. Sandwiched between the imposing Jama Masjid and the chaotic Meena Bazaar, narrow lanes and by lane.Visitors clicking selfies in background of this look, as a memory.
Who was Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed (R.A)

Sarmad is described as a Jew Trader from Iran or Persia who came to India during 5th Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s time for selling his items.

It is narrated that since Sarmad was a trader from Iran or Persia who wanted to make money, he was told by his friends about India where Persian is official language and people gave a lot of money to purchase Persian goods.
Since he was Jew, he did not know about Sufism or Islam, so in order to get acquainted he read about it and got knowledge from the Islamic scholars and eventually got converted and set off for India to sell precious items.

Here he landed in Thatta province, Sind in in 1631 (Modern Day Karachi, Pakistan).
Sarmad in Thatta
When Sarmad reached Thatta in Sindh, he fell in love with the local girl, but due to some unfortunate events lost every possession, including the local girl. The impact of this destructive love made him give up his clothes and worldly things. He would walk the streets of Thatta naked. In this state of absolute renunciation, Sarmad achieved the heights of spiritualism.

Sarmad meets  youthful Abhay Chand 
At Thatta in a musical concert, Sarmad happened to see the youthful Abhay Chand, who was the son of a rich Hindu trader. It was love at first sight for Sarmad and Abhay.

Abhay Chand’s melodious voice that he rendered at a ghazal pierced the tender heart of Sarmad so much that he never recovered from the feeling of love.
Sarmad began to attend the concert daily not caring that the ship on which he came had sailed away.
Abhay Chand also responded to his love with equal devotion and soon, the two began to live together at Sarmad’s place. Soon gossips started to abound in Thatta about the two men living in unnatural conditions. When this gossips spread, Abhay Chand’s parents took him away and confined him in his house.

The pain of separation was too much for Sarmad who tore of his cloths and began to roam the streets of Thatta in a state of frenzy seeking his beloved Abhay Chand. Following the incident, he was to live in a state of total nudity for the rest of his life.
Sarmad in Delhi: His Contact With Prince Dara Shikoh 
Later they both left Thatta and finally reached Delhi on 1657 and in couple of years started to have a massive following. He used to reside near Delhi’s Meena Bazar (besides Jama Masjid).
During this time he came in contact with Dara Shikoh, eldest son of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz (Taj Mahal Couple). Dara was supposed to be crowned the next Mughal king. He was well read and had translated many texts to Persians from Indian religions. The most prominent of his translation was Upanishads. He was a devout Sufi of Qadiri order.
Sarmad Encounters With Aurangzeb
Fate had other plans for Dara and Sarmad, Dara’s youngest brother ‘the more radical’ Aurangzeb became the next Mughal king. Sarmad and Aurangzeb were ideological enemies, Sarmad stood for everything that Aurangzeb hated.
On story goes that as Aurangzeb’s procession was passing through the streets of Delhi, he saw Sarmad sitting by the roadside. Aurangzeb ordered march to halt and demanded the mystic to cover himself. The peer or saint looked at him with wrathful eyes and said, ‘If you think I need to cover my nudity so badly, why you don’t cover me yourself?’

When the emperor lifted the blanket lying on Sarmad’s side, he saw the bloodied heads of all the family members he had had secretly murdered. Bewildered, Aurangzeb looked at Sarmad, who said, ‘Now tell me, what should I cover — your sins or my nakedness?’

Princess Zaibunnisa purchased Jannat from Sarmad Shaheed in exchange of some Tobacco

In another such story, Emperor Aurangzeb’s daughter, Princess Zebunnisa (she was eldest daughter and inspired by Sufism), saw Sarmad making clay houses on the roadside. After paying her respects, she inquired: ‘Are these for sale?’

‘Yes,’ Sarmad said, ‘I will sell them for some tobacco.’

Upon receiving the tobacco, Sarmad wrote around the border of one of the clay houses: This clay house is sold to Princess Zebunnisa for some tobacco.

That night Emperor Aurangzeb saw a dream.He was roaming around in Paradise, when he saw a beautiful palace. When he approached it, he was barred from entering it. Then he noticed that the palace had Princess Zebunnisa name written on it.
 Sarmad Faced Trial In Court Of Qazi

Aurangzeb ascended throne on 1658 AD and had Sarmad executed in 1661 AD, after having Dara Shikoh executed in 1659 AD. Sarmad’s fearless attitude was too much for Aurangzeb who soon called on his chief Qazi, Mullah Qawi, and plotted to do away with Sarmad.
Trial of  Sufi Sarmad Shaheed
The trial given to Sarmad was farce, orchestrated by the Islamic Mullahs in Aurangzeb’s court, Aurangzeb himself wanted to get rid of all those associated with his eldest brother Dara Shikoh.

Sarmad was dragged to the Qazi’s court where he was accused of defying the shariah by living naked.Sarmad had befitting replies to all of the Qazi’s accusations, and this frustrated him even more.

In order to make him relent, the Mullah had Abhay Chand flogged in front of Sarmad. It is said that the whip lashed Abhay Chand’s flesh, but the pain was inflicted on Sarmad.

For the Mullah Qazi, Islam was a set of stern and inflexible laws (this is Salafi interpretation of Islam). For Sarmad, it was nothing but a message of love (Sufi Interpretation of Islam).
Aurangzeb knew that public of Delhi was behind Sarmad and if he gives him execution sentence on lesser crime like nakedness or being with Abhay Chand, it will create a rebellion. Hence he instructed Mullah that Sarmad be asked to recite Kalma-e-Tayyaba.

Aurangzeb knew Sarmad never use to finish the Kalima and this would be good enough reason for apostasy or Atheism.
Execution of Sarmad by Aurangzeb’s Order(1660)

The Mullahs demanded that Sarmad should recite the kalimah shahada (acceptance of oneness of God), which “La Ilaha Illallah, Muhammad-ur-Rasul Allah” (there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad SWT is the messenger of Allah), in order to prove that he was a true Muslim.

Sarmad refused to go beyond “La Ilaha,” which means there is no God, as he had still not found the end of his search for God. This enraged the Mullahs who awarded him death sentence. Hence, Sarmad was dragged through the streets of Delhi and promptly beheaded.

He was killed in a very inhumane way: just his head was cut off. His head rolled down the steps of the Jama Masjid.

A story goes, that Sarmad emerged victorious in death. He picked up his severed head much to the fright of his executioners. Then he started to climb the stairs of the Jama Masjid, while mocking the emperor and his false men of God all the while.

According to legend, his decapitated head started reciting the full kalima (La ilaha illa’llah- there is no God, but Allah), showing that in death he had achieved his affirmation of faith.
At the moment he was about to enter the Jama Masjid mosque, a voice called him out from the grave of Harey Bharey and asked him to relent as he had reached the end of his journey and had united with God at last. Sarmad turned round and went to Harey Bharey’s tomb. There he was buried by the side of Harey Bharey, where they share a common Dargah today.

The curse of Sarmad fell on Aurangzeb as the Mughal Empire gradually crumbled in front of his very eyes. He did not have any peaceful day in his old life.

It is said that that the troubles which plagued Aurangzeb throughout his reign and downfall of the Mughal Empire were due to this unfortunate decision to behead Shah Sarmad.

A view of Meena Bazar (Around Dargah of Shaheed Sarmad)
The story of Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed (R.A) has ben written, photographed and posted by Engr Maqbool Akram (wih the help of Wikipedia other materials and few photos from other sources available on net,with thanks