Prof. Braj B. Kachru
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An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri


chapter 22 chapter 22: A Kashmiri fire-pot
A Kashmiri fire-pot
Lesson Notes Grammar Vocabulary Drills Exercises


In a typical   household, the   continues to be the main, inexpensive source of keeping an individual w.mp3 during the winter months. A  is made up of two parts. The outer part is an encasement of wicker. Inside, there is an earthen bowl-shaped pot called a . The  is filled with   (charcoal) and embers. A medium sized  holds about a pound of , and its fire lasts for over six hours. Many Kashmiris fill a  with toh (chaff) or ('guh'  (dry cow-dung). A  is a constant companion of Kashmiris during the winter months. It is n.mp3ally kept inside the Kashmiri cloak, the ph'aran, or inside a blanket if the person does not wear a ph'aran. If a person is wearing a jacket, it may be used as a hand-w.mp3er.

The origin of the  is not known. Knowles (1885) makes the following observation:

    It has been suggested that the Kashmiris learnt the use of the k'angar from the Italians in the retinue of the Mughal Emperors who often visited the valley, but no reliable particulars have as yet been ascertained.
In Kashmiri folklore the  has occupied a prominent place. In the following poem we see the role of the  in a Kashmiri's life. (see J. H. Knowles, A Dictionary of Kashmiri Proverbs and Sayings, Bombay, 1885, p. 128)

A free translation of the above poem is given below. The kashmiri months, like ma:g and pha:gun, roughly correspond to the Christian calendar, January and February. However, there is no one-to-one correspondence.

    ma:g came and you were hard to get, hay,
    pha:gun came and a plot was laid against you, hay,
      came and no one cared about you,
    vah'ak came and there was no place for you, hay,
    came and you became useless,
    ha:r came and you were chased away, hay,
    came and your youth disappeared,
    came and sickness came to you,
    came and I sent you a messenger,
    ka:rtikh came and I put some embers in you, hay,
    came and we became concerned about you,
    poh came and I filled you up with toh, hay,
The Kashmiri bride's fire-pot is specially made for brides. On the first he:rath (Shivratri) after getting married, a bride brings a specially decorated  to her in-laws' house. These have elaborate ornamentation and usually have a silver  tsa:lan. The  are not terribly comfortable because of their size, but they are extremely attractive and used essentially for decoration.

The tsa:lan looks like a small 'cake server' and is used to turn the coal inside a  in order to increase the heat. It is usually tied to a round wicker hook on the back of the . The expensive  have silver  with silver chains. An inexpensive  has a wooden tsa:lan attached by a string.

The word  in  refers to artistic ornamentation. The term   is also used in the context of embroidery or silver and gold work.

The Children's fire-pot is a small  specially made for small children. These vary in their size.

The  is a bowl-like pot which holds the , charcoal, and . The  (plu.) vary in size according to the size of the .

The term  means charcoal in general, but for the , a special type of charcoal is used. People usually prefer charcoal of bo:ni (chinar) leaves.


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