Quran Bozanowun – A Solemn Tradition

Posted: December 2, 2014 by kashmirsufis in Nostalgia

For me and my siblings, the house of Oatanji was a sanctified place. That, I believe was true about all our chatahal-mates. At home, we were taught not to go to chatahal without performing ablutions.
It was a very humble house, like many other houses in our Mohalla. Made of four inch square and two inch thick half-baked bricks – named as Maharaja Seer (Bricks). The mud-roof of the chatahal, like most of the houses blossomed during springs and summers and during winters covered with thick blankets of snow, with long icicles looking like chandeliers lent a celestial aura to it. In keeping with elitist tradition, this house also had a ‘Tehsi-ba’ar’. Our chatahal was in the ground floor of the house – it had three windows and for purposes of light, even the latticed windows with oiled newspapers pasted remained open during chilly winters. Squatting on wa’gow or hay-mats when we parroted our lesson full throat, Oatanji, sitting near of the windows watched every one of us with prying eyes. She also had her eye fixed on the Tehsi-ba’ar (Main door), to watch truants. I am amazed, how in the din of noise we learned our lessons.
Notwithstanding, having an angelic face, she inspired awe in all children. She had an eagle’s eye, spotted children playing pranks even while her eyes were fixed on the Holy book. Past week, I wrote that graduating from the Qaida to learning thirtieth para- Ama-Sipaer, as we called the Para Amma Yatasa’aloon was an important occasion- an occasion that was always observed with solemnity and fervour. Learning the La Yuhibbullah, the sixth para of the Holy book was seen as an important milestone – till this stage pupils attended Chatahal with a copy of a para (Juz) of the Quran in cotton ghilaf. And graduating to Wa Iza Samiu, the seventh (juz) of the Quran was yet another important occasion in learning of the Holy Book. And from now on the pupil would start reading directly from the Quran.
In Kashmir, this stage in the learning of the Holy Quran was known as Quran Haun”. It was another important occasion, observed with festivity and solemnity. A fresh copy of leather bound Holy Quran preferably of Taj Company, Lahore was bought from a leading bookshop Ghulam Muhammad Noor Muhammad Tajreen Kutab in Maharaj Gung. And brocade or green velvet ghilaf, was got stitched for the holy book. The child in new clothes, as on first day to the Chatahal was accompanied by his kith and kin on this day also. The children were served Kahwa or Taharee. Some distributed tea and loaves of bread in the Mohalla, as was done by some families on every 6th or 11th of Muslim Calendar. The affluent gifted a pheran-shalwar suit of Cashmere cloth to the Oatanji.
Of all the festive occasion Quran Bozanowun was a tough time for the bride at the bridegrooms’ house. On third or fourth day of marriage, the bride was asked to read a ruku from the holy book in presence of an Oatanji or an okhan saeb. The bride was then gifted a golden ring or a gold coin by mother-in-law. If in reading the verses, she committed a mistake she was asked go for galtan (revision)……

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