Pheran is part of the Kashmiri culture, fashion, and daily life. Men, women, and children, all wear it. Pheran is a traditional long dress that covers the entire body up to the knees. Women wear colourful pherans with embroideries like zari, sozni, and tilla work.
The person, also spelt phiran, is a long robe worn in Kashmir mostly in the winter as protection against the cold. The unisex garment has long been part of Kashmir’s traditional wear and is associated with the Kashmiri identity as much as the Kangri and the Kashmiri cuisine.
KANGRI And PHERAN. Kashmiris’ two valuable properties have a significant impact on their lives and activities in winter. They complement each other and act as a reliable means of keeping people warm in severe winters in the absence of reliable electricity.
Kanger and Pheran are thought to have a political background in addition to their usefulness in the cold season. Walter Lawrence writes in his famous book, The Valley of Kashmir, about the popular belief that the introduction of the Kangri, and the necessary auxiliary gown (Pheran) for it, was an act of state craftsmanship by Emperor Akbar, which Wanted to control The brave Kashmiri of this period also writes about another impression that the Muslim king Zainul Abidin insisted on the use of kangri and pheran in his attempt to reduce the arrogance of the Hindus.
Tyndale Biscoe writes about another popular belief in his Kashmir In Sunlight and Shade: “When the Afghans conquered Kashmir, they forced men to dress as women.
Be according to their character. “The intoxicating effect of Kangri and Pheran still serves the purpose of the rulers.
As much as it has weaknesses, it also uses Kangiri and Pheer as a Kashmiri weapons. We often see Congressmen tossed around during conflicts. Some believe that kangaroo has also been a tool of choice in political movements.
A senior columnist told the story of throwing a cannon at a political leader in 1963 which led to a major change in the political setup of the state in the mid-sixties.
The army and paramilitary forces have always been vigilant. This is evident from the reaction of the citizens during the winter search. Their concerns can be forgiven because clothing can hide anything – from a kangaroo to a gun or a grenade.
Last February, the Army’s 15 corps based in Srinagar came under fire when a press invitation sent by its media wing asked journalists to refrain from wearing fur, citing security reasons. ۔ Phiran Duct’s language was mild, but it did not please the outraged journalists.
Biscoe in his book refers to the use of pheran by Brahmins, which used to have longer sleeves than those worn by local Muslims, as a weapon. “When they are angry they flourish this long sleeve about and beat their adversary with it, and a very amusing performance it always is,” he writes.
Apart from their violent use, pheran and kanger together serve as the perfect refuge for Kashmiris from the harsh cold. Wearing the voluminous garment, they squat down and place the hanger between their legs, and as Lawrence writes, “it forms a most excellent tent, in fact, a primitive Turkish bath”.
The importance of kangri, clay bowl weaved into willow wicker, can be gauged from the proverb ‘What Laila was on Majnun’s bosom so is the danger to a Kashmiri’.
Lawrence mentions other useful properties of kangri like its role in helping digestion.
“A famous native physician was struck with the enormous meals of cold rice and singhara nut consumed by the Kashmiris, but when he saw the danger he understood that the Kashmiris possessed a remedy against the evils caused by gorging,” he writes.
Notwithstanding its usefulness, he also talks about its numbing influence. “Much as the people owe to it they are wont to blame the kangri as the cause of their want of courage and the ‘goat heart’ of the Kashmiri is always connected with its use.”
The successive summers of 2008, 2009 and 2010 witnessed widespread public protests in Kashmir. It is debatable whether it is a sheer coincidence that the respective winters were relatively free from protests and violence or if there is indeed something in the cold that defused an otherwise charged atmosphere. But signs were showing the willingness of people to suspend the protests during winter.
In 2010 there was an amusing slogan doing the rounds “Khoon ka badla June mein lene” (We’ll avenge the murder in June)
In winter everything else can take a backseat while Kashmiris confront the ‘Chilli Kalan’ with the most trusted weapons – kanger and pheran. It is this warmth and comfort which somehow seemed to douse the raging flames of the ‘summer anger’.
With the momentary victory bestowed by kangri and pheran on a Kashmiri in his conflict with ‘Chilli Kalan’ and its ilk, he could postpone his response to the kangri political conflict, at least in action if not in words, till summer arrives.
Rayees ibn Mushtaq.
Columnist, Student At GDC Bemina Srinagar.