Today: Jun 19, 2024


3 mins read

By: Hilal  Ahmad  Tantray

Preserving Heritage,a glimpse into traditional ways of Life is an engrossing voyage into the heart of cultural tradition. This journey, through objects and practices passed down through centuries, offers a glimpse into the rich mixtures of traditional lifestyle. Each object tells a tale about the perseverance and resourcefulness of earlier societies. From the simple charkha spinning wheel to paddy grass ring, these artifacts serve as reminders of time honored customs and ideals. Preservation initiatives not only memorialize our predecessors, but also forward a better knowledge of our own identity and relationship to the past. I have a few ancient items in my house that are over a hundred years old that I’d like to explore. Some of the items.

Yander (Charkha):The spinning wheel, known as the Charkha, was initially documented in China during the first century AD. However, its spread beyond China took nearly a millennium. By the mid-fourteenth century, it had reached India via central Asia and Iran, and it was quickly embraced across the country. The earliest mention of the Charkha in an Indian text appears in Abdul Malik Isami’s Futuhs Salatin in 1350, while its first visual representation dates to the late fifteenth century. Crafted from wood, the Charkha facilitates the process of spinning fiber into yarn. This particular Charkha is approximately 140 years old.

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Tchangez (Straw mat) :  was an essential household item made from paddy grass, traditionally woven into a mat like structure. Its primary use was by women during the cooking process, particularly when preparing meals over fading flames on a mud hearth called ‘Dambur’ or ‘Daan.’ This mat served as a protective barrier, preventing direct contact between the cookware and the ground, ensuring a stable and clean surface for cooking. Its estimated age is approximately 100 years, suggesting its longstanding presence within the household, where it played a vital role in daily culinary activities. This artifact not only symbolizes the practicality and resourcefulness of past generations but also embodies the cultural traditions and domestic practices that have endured through time.

Tchaer(Vegetable drying rack):  is a utilitarian object crafted through the skillful weaving of willow reeds by hand. Its purpose primarily revolves around the drying of vegetables, known locally as ‘Wand suen.’ With a history spanning 65 years, this artifact stands as a testament to the craftsmanship and ingenuity of its makers. Used in households, particularly in rural settings, the Tchaer played a pivotal role in preserving and preparing vegetables for consumption. Its construction from natural materials reflects an intimate connection with the environment and a sustainable approach to daily life. Over the decades, it has silently contributed to the rhythm of domestic chores, serving as both a functional tool and a symbol of tradition and community.

Neem and Kajwouth(Mortar and Pestle): Mortar and pestle set is a staple tool found in kitchens across various cultures, utilized for grinding spices, herbs, and other ingredients. This particular set, believed to be 70 years old, exemplifies the enduring role of traditional culinary practices. Typically made from durable materials such as stone, ceramic, or wood, the mortar serves as the bowl while the pestle acts as the tool for crushing and grinding. Through generations, this essential kitchen equipment has facilitated the preparation of flavorful dishes, preserving culinary traditions and techniques. Its longevity speaks to its durability and importance in daily culinary rituals, as families have relied on it to impart taste and aroma to their meals. As a symbol of culinary heritage, the Neem and Kajwouth /mortar and pestle set not only enriches the sensory experience of cooking but also connects individuals to their cultural roots, fostering a sense of continuity and identity across time.

Lopun(Storage bin): The ‘Lopun,’ also referred to as a storage bin, locally known as ‘Lopunn,’ served as a crucial container for storing essential commodities such as wheat, pulses, rice, and others. Constructed from a combination of clay and wheat husks, known as ‘Kaser,’ this storage bin is estimated to be a century old. Its significance lies in its role as a vessel for preserving food items, reflecting the practical ingenuity of past generations in ensuring sustenance and survival. Over the years, it has witnessed the ebb and flow of daily life, silently bearing witness to the passage of time and the changing landscapes of tradition and modernity.

Karr (paddy grass ring): The ‘Karr’ is a circular object fashioned out of paddy grass. Its primary function was to shape ‘Mate,’ a term used locally to describe an object known as ‘Patigh.’ This tool, believed to be approximately 80 years old, played a significant role in traditional practices, likely in crafting or shaping activities within the local community.

In conclusion a glimpse into traditional ways of life offers a captivating exploration of cultural traditions through ancient artifacts and practices. Through objects like the charkha spinning wheel, the Vegetable drying rack, and others, we delve into the resilience and ingenuity of earlier societies. These preservation efforts not only honor our ancestors but also deepen our understanding of our own cultural identity and historical connections. With artifacts like the Yander, Tchangez, Tchaer, Neem and Kajwouth, Lopun, and Karr, we are reminded of the enduring legacy of traditional ways of life. As we continue to safeguard these treasures, we ensure that future generations can appreciate and learn from our rich cultural heritage.

Hilal Ahmad Tantray is a Research Scholar, Department of History and Culture, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

He can be reached at,  Email:[email protected]

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Kashmir Images is an English language daily newspaper published from Srinagar (J&K), India. The newspaper is one of the largest circulated English dailies of Kashmir and its hard copies reach every nook and corner of Kashmir Valley besides Jammu and Ladakh region.

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