The Jammu and Kashmir administration is about to make the endangered Kashmir flycatcher its official chicken. Haseeb A Drabu writes why Bulbul will probably be a extra acceptable selection
Previous to August 5, 2019, the official state chicken of Jammu and Kashmir was the black-necked crane. Discovered solely within the arid geography of Ladakh, this uncommon and unique chicken is basically an inhabitant of the Tibetan plateau. With Ladakh a Union Territory (UT) by itself, there’s a have to designate a brand new state chicken; maybe extra appropriately, a UT chicken. Not that it’s the most urgent and demanding job at hand, however good to consider it earlier than we get up one effective morning to find that the flamingo has turn out to be the brand new UT chicken of Jammu and Kashmir.
The universally accepted standards for designating a state chicken is that it ought to be discovered within the state, be rooted in its historical past and tradition and ideally be unique. Nonetheless, ornithologists and wildlife conservationists have been advocating that these honorific titles be given to such birds (and animals) that are both uncommon or weak to extinction. From a conservation perspective, it makes good sense as this official standing helps focus consideration on defending the chicken or the animal. As certainly it did occur, to some extent, within the case of the attractive and distinctive Hangul, which is, and will proceed to be the state animal of Jammu and Kashmir.
Hopefully Jammu and Kashmir, like all different sub-national entities, could have a “state topic” – as its official chicken. If certainly that will probably be so, which one ought it to be? Given the scenario within the area, it could be extra related and efficient to make the choice from a cultural somewhat than a conservationist perspective.
From a cultural perspective, the one chicken which is deeply embedded within the literature of Kashmir – prose, poetry, folks takes — is the bulbul, our very personal bielbichur. Even within the crafts, particularly in papier machie, sozni and ari work– bulbul is a distinguished and far used motif. Certainly, many designs just like the hazaar dastaan are named after it.
Undoubtedly it was the Shayar-e-Kashmir, Ghulam Ahmed Mehjoor who elevated the bulbul, conventionally a romantic icon to precise Kashmiri feelings at a social, political and psychological stage. Many others too have used the bulbul because the witness or the messenger. At one stage, Mehjoor sees the bulbul gleefully singing in a blooming backyard because the fruits of rebuilding Kashmir. He made it the ethereal mascot of a joyous and affluent Kashmir; a state that all of us yearn for, every in our personal approach.
Valo haa baagvaano navbahaaruk shaan paade kar,
Pholan gul, gath karan bulbul tithee saamaan paadaa kar
(Come up O, gardener ! Create the glory of recent spring,
Make flowers bloom and bulbuls sing – create such haunts)
Then, speaking a political message by evaluating the standing of a Kashmiri within the Nineteen Forties to that of a caged bulbul, he wrote,
karee kus bulbulaa.
aazaad panjaras mans tsu naalan chukh,
tsu pananye dasta pananyan mushkilan aasaan paadaa kar
(Who will set you free, captive chicken,
Crying in your cage? Forge with your individual fingers
The devices of your deliverance!)
Not like Falcon
In fact, all this imagery and the literary-romantic notion just isn’t indigenous to Kashmir. It has drawn inspiration from Persian literature. However in contrast to within the Persian poetry the place within the gul-o-bulbul theme the “bulbul and the rose in time’s backyard symbolise the eternity of affection”, Kashmir poets have used it to evoke a way of hope and belonging.
All that is in sharp distinction to the Shaheen (falcon); a logo of self-assertion, and assured self-realisation with a spirit of idealism and motion in Allama Iqbal’s poetry. Compared, the bulbul is attributed much less vanity and angle, however extra status and perseverance. The bulbul can be much more a social chicken than the falcon who soars excessive however alone. Which is why, it appears, for Kashmiris bulbul turned a harbinger of change. Somebody who proclaims the brand new order and can be a witness to it. Additionally, the bulbul not solely sings in pleasure because the rosebuds blossom, it additionally laments the loss on the rose petals being mauled and scattered, in contrast to different birds.
Not that the bulbul is exclusive to Kashmir; they’re discovered throughout Asia, Africa and the Center East. What makes it particular for Kashmiris is the imagery constructed round it; the emotion that has been vested within the chicken. The literary equal of this cross-continental chicken in Kashmir’s poetry, prose and craft, is what makes it Kashmiri. By reworking the sentiment of the paranormal poetry from the gul-o-bulbul theme of bulbul’s eager for the rose which served as a metaphor for the soul’s craving for union with God, Kashmiri poets used it to indicate excellent news, freedom and prosperity for the collective.
The Bulbul Shah
It’s no coincidence that the sufi grasp of the Suhrawardi silisla who transformed Rinchin, ruler of Kashmir, to Islam, Sayyid Sharafu’d-Din, was popularly generally known as Bulbul Shah. He’s the one who constructed the primary mosque of Kashmir from the revenues of some villages granted to him by the King who additionally constructed a Khanqah for him close to his personal palace. Until at present, quite a few locations like Bulbul Lanker or Bulbul Bagh are named after him.
In his assortment of allegorical parables, The Convention of the Birds, Attar, whom Rumi known as the spirit and himself its shadow, makes use of the bulbul to speak an essential lesson which is related within the present context: those that are trapped in their very own dogma, clinging to hardened beliefs or religion, are disadvantaged of the journey in the direction of the final word vacation spot. For the bulbul, its love for the rose is a hurdle in the best way of occurring the journey to hunt the Simurgh, the supply of all divine enlightenment. Finally, the hoopoe manages to persuade the bulbul and all different birds to make the pilgrimage.
So it shall be in Kashmir too. The one downside, as acknowledged by Mehjoor, being:
Bulbulan Dup Gullas Husn Chui bar pur,
Keyha wanai, zew chai ne, su chui kasur
(Stated the bulbul to the tulip, your magnificence is boundless,
However, the fault lies in your muteness.)
In a quotidian context, bulbul is given a tad extra affection and respect than, say, a sparrow. Crows, alternatively, are fairly disliked. If a barely noisy or massive crow was ever sighted, it was promptly shooed approach and declared to be from Punjabi! Some fierce-looking ones had been known as the panchael kaaw, with their ancestry being traced to the traditional area of Pañcāla in India!
Once more, Bulbul is a distinguished presence in on a regular basis language. In lots of a folks tune, bulbul is the primary protagonist. As an example, Dari pyath bulbul pichan, Toate shyaad yoor sakhran (On the window sill, chirps the bulbul, the liked one is on approach). Or how a sufi minded particular person is described as some who’s Kheane bulbul, pakne paez, gandne gosain, (like a bulbul in consuming, a partridge in strolling, and a sadhu in clothes).
However it’s a plebeian parable of the parrot and the bulbul which hits the ball out of the park for this debate. Dapaan, when a parrot began flaunting his vibrant palette of feathers, the dull-looking mouse-coloured bulbul seemed on the swathe of his vivid canary yellow posterior, and gave the parrot a disdainful look, as if saying, ‘we use colors to wipe ourselves clear!
(The opinion appeared first in The Larger Kashmir.)