𝘛𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘢 𝘚𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘪 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘰𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘰𝘺𝘢𝘭 𝘳𝘪𝘥𝘦.
The “Tonga” popularly known as horse-driven two wheeled vehicle ferrying both goods and passengers has profound history in kashmir. The cheapest means of transport once used by people to carry their essentialities.There are many carts like donkey-cart,Ox-cart,Pony cart etc used for multipurpose activities but in the rich tapestry Kashmiri culture heritage “tangas” (horse-cart)became the significant feature of weddings and other social functions.This still resonates deeply with the people of Kashmir.This type of transport was witnessed in most of the towns especially in Spore town.The town has great history of Horse-cart.Such transport has been once the source of livelihood to many families. The horse cart was also used in marriages ferrying brides and grooms. Whenever people used to visit their relatives they hire the tanga on the mere payment. Though it takes time to reach the destination but was full of enjoyment, soothing and devoid of mishaps or accidents.
Tanga swari was once known as the Royal ride. It was such a beautifully maintained that tempted every one to board in it. The look of tanga bedecked with small ballons,ribbons,stitched with beautiful cloths on seats was mesmerizing. India has rich and old tangas culture found in rural areas of North India like Rajesthan,Uttarpardesh,Madhaya pardesh,Punjab and Kashmir popularly in North Kashmir Sopore Town.But rush of these tangas in North kashmir is dwindling at fast pace. The new generation is quite distant from this mode of transportation. People of today prefer the modern mode of transport to save time and travel comfortably. Some people were using it as hobby.
With the advent of motor vehicles the custom of tanga swari has become extinct. In 1904,William Gilbert in his anthropological description of india, identified the tanga as most common mode of transport.But there are doubtful narratives about the introduction of tanga in Asia.Many people are of the opinion that Emperor Jahinger introduced, while others credited it to pathans.The ferrying of tanga was eco-friendly which means no smoke spitting out like motor vehicles, free from poisonous gases,no fuels, no noisy horns etc but smooth, soft and time toeing travel.The travel is purely economical in various aspects. The coachman is hardly finding it’s place in towns and cities to carry their services due to the governments restrictions.
Tanga has an aesthetical appeal. It has strong cultural reference. Many times in olden days we used to watch the galloping the sound of bells,horns the feeling that can not be weaved in words. In olden days employees used to go their offices through tanga, and there was no apprehension of accidents or any other mishaps. I have heard that many teachers in the past used to go their offices via tangas, where as it is obsolete in the present. There is hardly any tangas on the road carring passengers as govt has already tighten their noose as they create traffic obstructions. Several decades ago in both rural and urban areas, people would hire a tanga to reach their destination. Covering the large distance on tanga is in vogue as there was no oof transport then.
Tanga was mostly enjoyed by rich and affluent people.The tanga would carry 4 to 5 passengers at one time.Looking at Tanga transport Amidst the swift developing technologies and introduction of electrical vehicles-the preferences have been automatically changed.Before the technical savy the culture of tangas was abundant. In this way the speed of modern transportation has entirely disappeared the culture of tangas. The history of tangas in kashmir is dates back to the 1930s when Maharaja used to travel in luxurious horse carts.Boarding on tangas and to reach the destinations was quite economical. The nostalgic story when we used to go kupwara college from Regipora the rhythmic galloping, the sound of the bells and the horse hooves on the road are music to ears. The feelings that cannot be weaved in words. Those days were mesmerizing. I recall those days when I saw these tangas marching and carrying passangers in most of the towns which nowadays seemed to dwindling culture.
Qysar ul islam shah teacher by profession hails from Sonannar Darpora.