Syed Aamir Sharief Qadri
With a melting of last packs of snow the long spell of winter come to an end. The moist soil and bright sunshine enable new life to spread its limbs on valley floor. Many shades of green decorate mountain slopes, margs, river beds and lawns of every household. Melting glaciers again fed dry streams to spurt again. Gushing water stuck river beds to create ripples. Grasses on river beds dance with the flow of water. White blue mountains present a pleasant look to blooming mustard field. The combination of green and yellow astonish the visitors and impel them to stop and click few shots. Those who walk on pathways that lead to fields can experience a mindblowing fragrance of mustard flowers. The slow moving winds strike with buzzing sound of bees to produce a soothing effect to calm down ones nerves. The spring season erase all wrinkles in forehead by removing dead skin. A fresh billow of air thump everyones shoulder and make them feel hopefull again.
The spring season in Kashmiri language is called as Sonth. It is a period of two long months starting from mid March and ends in mid may. This is the season when Kashmiri people say good-bye to two precious things i.e., Pheran and Kangri that aid them to survive chilling winter. Traditionally with the celebration of Nauroz festival, the farmers throughout the valley start growing different plants and trees. Sowing of seeds is also done extensively. The importance of Nouroz in Kashmir is associated with the start of agricultural practices. The Valley is full of different species of plants and trees. Farmers took care of fruit bearing trees by toiling soil near tree trunks to add manure and fertilizers. In return, the blooming trees shower flowers to sweating faces. With this tight- dry lips of farmers move slightly by wispering words of solicitude. All around orchades are full of flowering trees. From pink buds to white petals the apple trees display its finest tints. With mixes of colour and fragrance of almonds, cherries, apples, peaches, pears, apricot, plums etc. the entire valley is soaked in freshness.
With the onset of spring season many species of insects, birds, animals and wild flowers become visible to add beauty to beautiful valley. Butterflies and dragonflies with varied colours move from flower to flower and dance with soft and delicate wings to bring smiles on faces. Along with westerly winds jet streams throng birds back to valley and distribute them to plains, terains and wetlands. The fascinating birds built their nests again on the tree branches. With sprawling wings they take deep flights into blue sky. The rain increase volume of water in ponds to make the small world of ducks and swans lovely. In conferous forests, wild life crunch last sheets of snow under their feet to make survival possible. Out of hives honey bees visit hundereds of flowers daily to collect and store honey for our use. The almond blossoms decorate the famous Karewas of Kashmir. To add beauty to glacial peaks shepherds drove sheeps to alpine meadows.
The Himalayan region of Kashmir is affluent in biodiversity. In the species rich wetlands of Kashmir such as Hokarsar, Mansbal, Wular, etc it is certain to find a myriad birds flapping their wings. What can be more special than watching birds belonging to various shapes, sizes and colours. Some of the birds that are common to this land include Haaer (Mynah), Tchaer (Sparrow), Kattij (Swallow), Kotur (Pegion), Kaaw (Crow), Bil Bichur (Bulbul), etc. All these birds are found in the plain areas of valley. The wild variety feed on carcasses and is seen in upper reaches of Pir Panjal. Every sentiment can be expressed with flowers. The flowers depict eternal love, life, friendship, joy, gratitude, admiration, etc. The sensuous aroma and elegant colours of flowers give everlasting happiness. Some prominent flowers of the valley comprise Tulip, Golaab (Rose), Sumbal (Hyacinth), Aarwal (Wild Rose), Gulaal (Red Poppy), Jaffur (Marigold), Hee Posh (Jasmine), Sazaposh (Hollyhock), Ashqa- pechaan (Ipomoea), Gule Akhtaab (Sunflower), Sadabahaar (Periwinkle), etc. Mazar poosh (Mazar-Graveyard, Poosh- Flower) is not a single flower but a group of flowers that decorate graveyards in Kashmir. The flowers in this category include- German Iris (Sosan), Iris (Maswal), Narcissus (Yemberzal), etc. Several species of Iris are found in graveyards. A common Kashmiri name for Iris is Mazarmond. Yemberzal declares the arrival of the spring season in Kashmir. The spring showers along with rumbling of thunder put off veil from the costly vegitable locally known as Kangich, a variety of Mushroom.
The traditional Kashmiri culture further adds charm to spring. In the villages of Kashmir for most part of the year people wear a traditional garment known as Pheran. The aged-people also wear a tipical Kashmiri skull cap. From early morning to late evening farmers spent whole day in fields. On gushy streams they enjoy every sip of Kong Kehwa (saffron tea) prepared in brass kettle called Samawar. After long hours of work people often sit under the shades of Chinar tree to start gossips, crack jokes and make fun of one another.
Next to Chinar trees it is a broad canopy of walnut trees that bring respite from sizzling summer temperatures. Further more the remarkable lines of prominent poets of valley such as Perzada Ghulam Ahmad Mahjoor, Mahmud Gami, etc. about mesmerising meadows, blooming mustard fields, flower gardens, etc. brings to life even the dead souls.
The natural scenic beauty fascinated the poets of all times to produce a wonderful literature on mesmerising valley of Kashmir. The great poets of 20th century frequently mentioned the fabulous flowers of the valley in their poetry. The new-age Kashmiri songs with popular lyrics (about nature) sung by buding artists with the help of both traditional and modern instruments is just amazing. Sometimes old faces with beautiful voices remind us the glory of thriving Kashmiri culture.
(The author is a freelancer writer).
Syed Aamir Sharief Qadri