Mushtaque B Barq

A Friar among Furrows             

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Beneath the bosom of the hillock, a family of seventeen members with Rahim Chacha,   a tall, robust, matted white hair relatively matching with his long beard almost touching his chest, clad in typical Gojar Dress, with sunken sockets and broad forehead with many rings embedded with stones of various kinds and amulets hung around the neck, looks like a Living Friar, is the head of the family at Thajwas in Sonamarg, shocked everyone by his mysterious knowledge of herbs. Hoarse voice, brisk walk and typical nomadic smile with tribal clothing reminds me of the Friar Laurence of the “Romeo and Juliet” by Shakespeare. His first appearance to the stage was relatively similar to Rahim Chacha, both having inclination to herbs. For some time Rahim Chacha submerged into my memories as Friar of Shakespeare who could have been inspired by someone like him to create such a grand character. Before me Rahim Chacha was a living legend and in my fancies he was more attractive and knowledgeable than the one in fiction, for he was self styled, with more religious understanding and tolerance to impress anyone relying on the scientific and ultra-modern techniques. He was simple, so was his philosophy. The theory of his life is simple: that the sensible person is one who is truthful and is distinctive from the liars in terms of truthfulness, hang on to truthfulness instead of lying, steadfastness instead of repulsion, advancing instead of backsliding, patience instead of impatience, thankful instead of ungratefulness, satisfied instead of discontent, compliance instead of disputation and certitude instead of suspicion.  The truthful person offers thanks for the blessings he receive, endures with patience the punishment, carries on the commandments and keeps away from the prohibitions. Offering thanks for receiving blessings amplify them and enduring with patience alleviates them. Endure with patience the death of children and other family members, the loss of property, the loss of good reputation, the failure of the worldly goals and the harm caused by others hardly shake their confidence. But in return they receive a great deal of good from Allah.

His thinking seems as pure as purity without any sophisticated manipulation.  His long stick, the basket and the woolen shawl over those drooped shoulders were adding grace to the legend’s personality. He was looking like a saint among silence, bigger than his size and much powerful than the huge trees amid wonderful smooth stones of different colors and sizes. His magnitude was dictating all other living forms around. His stature was unique like his faith.

His belief is unambiguous to the extent that he accepts the herbs as true and powerful agents of nature to heal. A part from his herbal acquaintance, he judges that every disease has only one remedy, i.e. to go and seek the blessing s from Almighty Allah. While unfolding the mystery of his family that has been living among hills, among the brooks and boundaries, among herbs and flowers, among greenery and wild vacuums, among thorns and thickets and in between serenity and divinity from last four decades , has had never visited a doctor, for they entirely rely on the nature.  Rahim Chacha while mocking at us communicated that down the hills people need Urologist for their urine, a Lymphologist for their lymphs, an Endocrinologist for their endocrines, a Psychologist for their Psyche, a Dermatologist for their derma, a Pathologist for their pathos and a Cytologist for their cysts but in the hills we only rely on Allah and He takes every care, for the people who live among mountain ranges and open plains, what matters is the blessings and nothing else. Rahim Chacha stands alone in exploring herbs among hills and plains, but his research has benefitted at least his family, unaware of the scientific world. Chacha has firm faith that Allah has dumped millions of medicinal plants into the belly of the mother earth and one must find time to explore them for the good of mankind. Rahim Chacha has developed a sort of strength that is still in operation to unite his family that lives beyond the cacophonies of city life, what a contribution by old man who despite his poverty is rich enough to challenge anybody who relies on worldly gains.

His philosophy is devoid of cock-and-bull story. His narrations are like singing rivulets, revealing the song of their origin. His observations are based on connotations derived out of some mystic knowledge. His logic is simple enough to explain any complicated concept. His teachings are based on Holy verses, fault and flawless. One noteworthy reality of Chacha is that he believes in real world, far from the infuriated crowd like his own dwelling place. Chacha is a symbol of love, and fellow feeling for he cares for all and measures everyone in the family with the same rod of love.


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