Swami Nand Babh
Table of Contents
   Kashmiri Saints
   Nand Babh
   Chapter I
   Chapter II
   Chapter III
   Chapter IV
   Chapter V
   Chapter VI
   Chapter VII
   Chapter VIII
   Chapter IX
   Chapter X
   Chapter XI
   Chapter XII
   Chapter XIII
   Chapter XIV
   Chapter XV
   Chapter XVI
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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



Chapter XV

Swami Nand Lal Ji

by T. K. Munshi

Who is not aware of Swami Nand Lal Ji's name, popularly known as "Nand Babh", especially to the old and the present generation of Kashmiris.

Swami Ji, as is believed, belonged to Nunar, Ganderbal, but spent most of his time in Srinagar as guest of a few chosen families of the Kashmiri Pandits. Among his regular hosts was my father, Late Pandit Sham Lal Munshi, who was earlier working in the Tawaza Department and later on as the 'Mohtameem' of the Dharmarth Trust. During the forties and fifties of the present century when my father was counted as an affluent person, Swami Nand Lal Ji would often pay us a visit, accompanied by his two aids or "sewaks". His visits were as short as two hours and as long as two months, though we had limited space at our residence at Badiyar (near Ganpatyar), Srinagar.

one day it so happened that there was none in the house except  my mother, who had bolted the door from inside. Swami Ji, armed as usual, with his 'armour', knocked at the door, with all his might but my mother did not open the door. After some time she relented and opened the door for the Swami Ji to enter. Swami Ji entered and  demanded food which had already been extra for some one. While taking his food Swami Ji uttered the following words: " We are not born out of stones, we too have our mothers and sisters." This was the exact reply to my mother who had encountered the same thoughts a few minutes before. This is how Swami Ji used to read others mind. 

Nothing was hidden to him. He would easily x-ray a person from top to bottom with his third eye.

During the tribal raid of Kashmir in November 1947, Swami Ji was quite often seen dressed in a full battle uniform with an English- type of hat on, at the Karan Nagar crossing, aiming his 'armour' - a long bamboo stick towards Shalteng which the tribals had already   occupied. This he did for five days and only he knew how he saved the city from arson, plunder and rape. Some KPs among us, would offer opine that Swami Ji was a harbinger of doom for the house which he entered. Some would even call him "feshil-kath" (a bad soul which brings misery etc.) and curse their encounter with him. Personally I feel this was a wrong interpretation given to his actions. With his fore- sight he would simply warn people of the impending events so that  they could know in advance what might be in store for them.

It was the same Swami Ji who one day went straight to the office of Bakhshi Gulam Mohammad and gave him a pen prior to his elevation as the Prime Minister of the State. Exactly after ten years the same Swami Ji visited the same P.M's office and snatched a pen from his table, rendering the all mighty Bakhshi Gulam Mohammad powerless in a week's time. Wherever Swami Ji stayed - at Narpirastan, Chota bazar, Karan nagar or at our place at Badiyar house - he brought boon to the dwelling place.

Very few people know that Swami Nand lal Ji had achieved a command on Persian and existing Kashmiri Sufiana music, now an extinct lot and would himself play on mini Rabab-like instrument   prepared for his personal use.

Swami Nand Lal Ji was a Rishi of a unique order. His closest associates would fail to fathom the depth of his real greatness. The educated and not so educated persons would feel amused and unhesitatingly accept the words as true, without actually understanding their real import.

What attracted Swami Ji to the masses of Srinagar was that he was much above caste, creed and religion. Sometimes I would see him sitting at a barber's shop puffing a "hukka" . What impressed me most was that he had a multitude of Muslim devotees. Swami Ji, would often dictate "appointment orders", "death warrants" and "birth announcements" and put his own seal in black ink at the buttom of each signed "document'. These documents were ordered to be handed over to the concerned individuals. Out of reverence for Swami Ji many people would keep these signed documents in safe custody. I too had a bundle of these in our Pooja room in Srinagar.

During my college days I would often see Swami Nand Lal Ji crossing the old Amira Kadal Hospital lane and some times Wazirbagh. Most of the people watching him 'armed' with his 'armour' - a small hatchets and mini 'khukeries' - would be mortally afraid to meet him on the road side; but I for one would be least afraid to meet him on the road side, taking him as a familiar 'uncle' who had just stayed at ours. My father had become so much friendly and informal with the Swami Ji that at times he would plead him to reply straightyway without any "machhar" (pranks).

At this Swami Ji would have his usual toothless smile and open his heart with predictions which would often come true later on.

Once it so happend that my father carried Swami Ji in his official car upto a certain distance. On reaching a spot Swami Ji changed his mind and told my farther "Razah woyn gachhav es Khrew kun"(Great Man we will now go towards Khrew). The vehicle did not have enough fuel to reach and return from Khrew. One or two petrol pumps enroute had no petrol stocks. As per the "Commands" of Swami Ji, the car was taken to Khrew and back and without fuel ! Swami Ji alone knew where from the petrol came. There are many more and significant miracles than this incident, performed by Swami Ji.

From time to time, Kashmir had been saved by saints and sants, but alas ! we did not have any Rishi of Swami Nand Lal Ji's caiibre who could have saved us from our mass exodus or reversed it. Swami Ji never left us in lurch; whether it was 1947 or the holy-relic episode, he was there as a bastion of hope.

May his blessings reach every Kashmir in abundance. May we revoke him every morning in our prayers.

(Dr. T.K. Munshi, Regional Engineering College, Canal Road Campus, Jammu - 180016, J&K).



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