route to Jammu and back, causing loss of some preciousGovernment records, many truckloads of records of these officesmove on one way traffic on national highway. Govt. functioningcomes to halt at Srinagar.A week long holidays along with temporary transfer allowances are
given to staff and officers for ‘Darbar’ move, to
& fro. Residents of Jammu, amongst the staff, await and rejoice this shift and so do thestaff belonging to Srinagar for their shift back in summers. As usual,this year also the darbar will move in the first week of November,they informed us. What a colossal waste of public money!
We were told that the practice of ‘Darbar’ move was started by
Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872, to escape extreme weather conditions of Jammu during summer andharsh winter in Srinagar. British when ruled India had made Shimla as their summer capital. They feltheat in planes during summer. At that time there was no provision of air-Conditioning. This practice wasdiscontinued after independence. Is it essential or relevant anymore to continue this tradition of
‘Darbar’ move starte
d by His Majesty? The J & k state should find alternatives, such as room heating, tokeep the Government functioning in Srinagar itself during winters also. This will save lot of moneybesides many hassles.Maharaja Sir Hari Singh, who signed the instrument of accession to India, ascended the throne of Jammuand Kashmir in 1925 and governed the state till 1950. He was known for his reforms. He threw thetemples open to Harijans, banned the flesh trade by the women and allowed the remarriage by thewidows. Hari Singh was a secular king. Standing at Zabarwan Park our guide pointed towards the highmount seen on the other side of Dal Lake, where HariParbat Fort was situated. Inappropriately, I felt, thefort of Mughals and ascendants of Maharaja Hari Singh is now known as Kabutar Khana (habitation of pigeons).
Long back a Kashmiri Hawker selling Pashmina Shawls in the streets of Chandigarh informed me, on myasking, in his own rustic understanding that neither Pakistan nor India would like to dissociate with theirclaim on Kashmir since both know about the goldmine underneath some mountains situated in the area.That may not be true but the abundance wealth which the area possesses is in the cultivation of Saffron,Sericulture, Dryfruits, Pashmina and Shahtoosh, altogether is not less than gold.The use of Shahtoosh, known as King of fibers is banned since it is believed that this fiber is obtained bykilling Chiru, an antelope, living on high mountains of Leh Ladhak. As this animal spices is vanishing, it isnow protected spices.Our guide drove us about 20 Kilometers towards a place Pampore, famous for world's best saffron. Wewere assured by the salesman, sitting in a roadside shop that what we got is pure saffron (@Rs.200 perGram) and best of the Akhrot Giri (Walnut kernel @ Rs. 1600 per Kilogram).
J & K Assembly at Srinagar