Pheran and Kangri reflect our composite culture
By Adnan Shafi
Despite many convoluted controversies in Kashmir, a new one came off on the name of Pheran .The reason behind this is an order issued by an official who wants teachers to avoid coming to his office wearing their pherans. The ban on Kashmir’s traditional attire ‘pheran’ by the School Education Department in one of its offices has brought out sharp responses from the masses.
One of the responses that came into effect from none other than the former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister. He wrote on twitter “There is a regressive order that makes no sense at all, my father and I have worn pherans to official functions many times”.
It is necessary to emphasize that here is no need to mention the etymology of the word “pheran”. The grave matter is why the pheran is banned. It needs to be pointed out that the pheran is an important component of our culture and attire. It labels us as Kashmiris. Any attempt coming forward to ban it, is undoubtedly erroneous as the pheran is not only reflective of our cultural identity but a seasonal need as well.
It is fair to say that we are having a lot of latest electronic and other items in our homes to warm our bodies but pheran is the one that can keep us warm outside our homes and helps us to fight against the chilly weather during the winter.
There is no doubt that pheran has been part of Kashmiri dress for centuries. As we know it has changed its character as the designers crafted bewitching designs. It is so deep rooted in our cultural ethos that it cannot be ignored. Still there are people who don’t wear pheran or the people who feel it is not worthy to be taken as a part of our attire. Let me say that these people are not Kashmiris genuinely.
However, the fact is still that pheran is part of our culture. They can ban it in offices but they cannot ban it in our villages. Some issued orders can’t despoil our culture which has in real been part for centuries.
Turning to the consideration of passing and withdrawing the orders, which in fact needs not to be cogitated as we are steadfast that we can’t lose our culture on the basis of few doltish orders.
That is why banning the garment in the offices created such a vicious attack and the government had to call all the orders off in a jiffy.
As far as ‘Kangri’ or the traditional firepot as we call it is concerned, it too cannot be ignored given the sorry state of affairs we face during winters.
Kangri is so far the best and the only viable source of keeping one warm available with us. We witness long power breakdowns and no other sources are available to us that can help us keep warm, while at home or moving outside our homes during winters.
The Kangri comes to our rescue here as it turns out to be the best mobile heater which can be taken to whatever place one wishes to go during the winter chill.
Kangri is our vestige, furthermore our forefathers used to make it and even today we are very concerned not to lose our sight of it.
So to summarize, whenever there will be a talk of Kashmir culture, the role of the pheran and the Kangri can’t be unheeded.