For  the purpose of this dictionary, a proverb is defined as a statement that may contain an advice, a warning, a prediction or simply an observation- Idiomatic expressions and similies which are the part of the language are not included in this dictionary.

Proverbs are of different types. Some proverbs are simple folk sayings (for example, pAtshis potsh khara:n 'One guest does not like the other'). Such proverbs have their literary meaning quite prominent. Some proverbs are philosophical which aspire to deal with great mysteries and complexities of life (for example, bechInas nI mandIchun tI bastI khakhra:yi k'a:? 'One who is not ashamed of begging, why should he be ashamed of the sound of his begging sack?'). Others are metaphorical in which the literal meaning is merely redundant (for example, gA:v n'a:y bo:za:n sA:ri:, da:~dI n'a:y nI ka:~h 'Everyone listens to the dispute of the cow and no one listens to the dispute of the bull'. This means that women earn sympathy more readily than men). In this dictionary, all the three types of proverbs are listed.

A large number of proverbs listed in this collection have been handed down orally from generation to generation. Slight variations in their wordings are inevitable. Such proverbs have been listed in their most familiar form. Some common variants are also mentioned.

The origins of the proverbs are obscure in most of the cases. Some of these are directly related to certain religious, cultural, historical and literary texts. A large number of them are quotes taken from the literary (especially poetic) compositions of famous saint poets like Lalleshwari and Sheikh Noor-ul-Din. They have become part of the folk wisdom. A number of proverbs are borrowed from Sanskrit and Perso-Arabic sources. The sources of proverbs have not been indicated.

A wide range of beliefs prevail regarding the wisdom of proverbs most common beliefs are as follows:

  • A good proverb is never out of season.
  • Hold fast to the words of ancestors.
  • Proverbs are the condensed good sense of nations.
  • Wise men make proverbs and fools repeat them.
  • A proverb is the wit of one and the wisdom of many.
  • Time passes away but sayings remain.
  • Proverbs are like butterflies, some are caught others fly away.
Excerpts from:
A Dictionary of Kashmiri Proverbs
by Omkar N. Koul
Professor, Faculty of Languages
LBS National Academy of Administration
Mussoorie 248 179

 

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