Sun-lover of a Soulmate

This little portable fire-pot would become a part of you

Nighat Hafiz
Srinagar, Publish Date: Mar 12 2018 10:49PM | Updated Date: Mar 12 2018 10:49PM
Sun-lover of a SoulmateRepresentational Pic

You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.

Pablo Neruda 

If not thwarted amicably, in a normal human set up conflicts occur and lead to acute aggressive situations resulting in the excruciating wreckage of human life and assets. Tracing main springs of aggression primarily to sources of human psyche and assuming that the human beings have spontaneously engendered drives impelling them to attack and destroy other people cannot be ruled out completely but fighting behavior may also develop under the influence of externally generated aggressive drive. Some theories and studies believe and prove that animals and humans can live satisfactorily for long periods of time if not engaged in fights by external stimuli that trigger aggressive conditions. Aggression is a force with an extreme flow of energy that is wasted in destruction and loss; instead, it could be channelized in a positive constructive urge, by engaging an aggressive person in competitive acts making his vigor an investment in mastering and dominating the fields like sports, art, craft, and much more. A step by step strategy to make aggression change its direction may yield positive results. One has to understand that psychological fixation cannot be broken completely unless the basic cause is known and addressed seriously; checking aggression with counter-aggression is no remedy; both keep on rapidly reinforcing each other to fuel up and flame.

I was good at making sizzling ambers out of firewood in a clay stove to fill a Kanger, the portable firepot. Covering live hot pieces of charcoal with cold ashes to subdue and control the heat, I would prepare it with an extra effort, the kangir would retain the warmth till the next morning; it was considered an art. Too young an impression I preserve down the memory lane; the making of that amazing heat device by a willow- weaver in woods. In an enchanting backdrop, near the small habitat, there were wealthy deposits of vegetation and a variety of shrubs and hedges gleaming in an eco- friendly atmosphere.  Among the hedges, a particular hedge was known to all because of its utility and market value. It had persistent wooden flexible branches, stems arising not very high from the ground, spreading horizontally. Ali, the Kanger- weaver had made us aware of the deposits;  in preparation against bone piercing winter chill, he  would come with molded earthen pots of different sizes, a set of tools and a peculiar coloring stuff and would select pliable, fibrous material from it, soak it in water, dry, scrap and peel it off and, dye it to make firepots of different sizes. He mastered the skill, would  intertwine tiny fragile stems and make them strong enough to bear the heat, matching them with Habba Khatoon’s plight- identification, the lullabying resistance to pain of holocaust with the forbearance of love reflected in her profound poetic highs in “tulle naar  chum lalvun moory kansi ma ravin shoory pan.”

There were fewer gadgets available to heat up the severe winter; Kangir would become a bosom friend like a personal generator under the typical Kashmiri cloak. People would enjoy snowbound lazy moments, take it along to walk on icy roads; hold it under a blanket in bed to warm up and animate chilly nights, everybody would own a personal copy with rights reserved. The device was owned in Kashmir culture as an artefact in spite of having its snobbish roots in Italian soil, culture had honored it with diverse area-specification, absorbing completely in art 

and language reflected even in phraseology. Giving it survival by not forgetting its Mughal connections, with a royal touch decorating it to make a bridal delight, the silver papered to match the Kimkhab and golden paper for zurbaf; the dresses worn by brides in our times. At its top the craftsmanship would put a miniature piece of round mirror to match the special ring aan’e waj shinning bright on a newly wedded bride’s hand. 


Ironically, the respect and love for the device would diminish with the advent of spring, abandoning it strongly, my mother would ask the helper Noor-ud-din to throw away all the junk or shift it to barer’e kani, the attic.  A festival from Pandit community would follow to  bid adieu to the shivering winter by burning the poor Kangirs, all old firepots would be filled with dry hey and Isband, the aromatic seeds of joy believed to push away all negative energies of winter and to welcome positivity and jubilation of spring. A rope would be tied to the handles of kangir, blaze it on, circulating it round and round followed by a rhythmic chanting till it turned all into ashes. Innocent children around the vicinity, without any tag of religion and burden of faith, would wait for the festival and join by elders enjoy it with passion and zeal. It was exciting to watch, as part of the ritual, the number of earthen lamps with tiny grass supports as the basis floating on the banks of river Jehlum touching the footsteps of Raghunath Mandir, the trail of the burning lamps would look like glowworms on the water and together we would welcome summer in Kashmir. 

 But the destructiveness nature of Kangir was another story; from burning clothes; beddings and blankets set on fire; houses and localities ablaze and so on, its peculiar nature was unusual. It could be used as a tool for resistance and resentment when stone pelting was not heard of. In acute aggressive acts to resist any respect- mishaps and rights- imbalance people used it as a device for self-defense. Ironically, throwing of kangir never attracted pellet sprays and gunshots, only batten charges and teargas shells to douse the fire of youth recharged by rejection and blockade; the temperaments of authorities were yet to become dubious.