Author Topic: Articles By Shri D.N. Barola - श्री डी एन बड़ोला जी के लेख  (Read 139530 times)

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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Deepawali Greeting Card

Deepawali Greeting card season was on. It was the month of October, 1986 and I was looking for a greeting card to be sent to a political leader, in response to his Deepawali Greetings. Those were the days, when there used to be no E-mail or SMS. No E-greetings! One had to purchase a greeting card to send it to his friends or well-wishers.  I wanted to send the Greeting card to a Netaji on back-date. While preparing the card some thoughts hovered around and I immediately typed the thoughts on a letter and sent the same to the Netaji. The letter is appended.
My dear Pooran Bhai,     In the style of ‘to be or not to be’, I took out time to brood over ‘to write or not to write’ but ultimately thoughts started flickering around and I could not but hasten to write or type whatsoever thoughts continued to hover around. It all started when I went to the house of one of my friends who was desperate in planning out to dispatch the big bundle of Deepawali Greetings well before the Deepawali day, without anticipating whether the same will be in the hands of those whom he is aspiring to wish on the Deepawali day itself. The idea gave birth to an idea and I started feeling that I would also wish some near and dear one a Happy Deepawali. Normally I have been wishing people once a year in the New Year only. But then the provocation was great, so I finally decided to wish some of the dear ones a Happy and Prosperous Deepawali. Back home, I found that I am bound for Dwarahat, Ganai, Bhikyasen and back. The idea vanished away of course not to be vanished away forever. Back home I found a Deepawali Greetings card that too from you. Bubbling with enthusiasm I started with speed in my Premier Padmini and started looking for a beautiful card, keeping in view the aspirations of the one who wished me, and of course my own. The search started from Nitya Nand Bisht to the last corner of the Sadar Bazar and nothing but disappointment seemed to be in store for me. Once again we thought of making a search and a re-search was thoroughly made. At last a Card was found. Keeping in view the idea it depicted- Hope, the ‘savera’, the first sun rages trying to peep through the trees into the earth, which made me to feel lots of hope for Netaji into the domain of Minister ship. The Card clicked my imagination and I decided to purchase it. Alas! It was the only card available in the Shop. The slogan – Wishing you a Happy Deepawali – was not there. Niranjan, whom we call Ranjan, started suggesting an alternative. But I insisted on this particular card. Then yet another search started and a slogan paper was borrowed, but it carried the slogan ‘Wish you a Happy Deepawali and New Year’ both. We compromised with the situation and finally accepted the Card. Naturally then we asked for an envelope. Ranjan started on the job and he declared that the envelope was not available. But we were not the type of people who get discouraged with trifling things like this. We asked to go in for another re-search. Ultimately an oversize envelope was found out. The Envelope had to be put on the cutting machine and was cut to size. This was the time when I had the life’s worst agony. The card was then put inside the envelope, but the envelope was still oversize. A search again started but was ultimately abandoned. A pleasant idea stuck my mind. The envelope must be oversize. Because if it has more room in it, that will mean more Ministries. Why Hill Development alone, why not some more! So Deepawali Greeting Card was ready. Finally it was the turn of Ranjan. We asked for the price, slightly conscious of overcharging. But Ranjan folded his hands with a meek smile. So it was time for Barola to be out of the Shop. I took the first opportunity to leave the place unless Ranjan thought of changing his mind.
Deepawali Greeting Card was thus dispatched personally after ensuring that it was really inside the Head post office Bag, again, in the vain hope that it will reach your hands on the Deepawali day itself. (D.N.Barola)

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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Bagwal (stone fighting) of Devidhura

Situated in the Champawat district of Uttarakhand, Devidhura is famous for its Barahi temples. A very unusual fair, which attracts people from Kumaon, Nepal, and even other places, is held every year at the temple of Barahi Devi on Raksha Bandhan day. During this festival, known as Bagwal, two groups of dancing and singing people throw stones at each other, while they try to protect themselves with the help of large wooden shields. The participants don't care about the injuries and the injuries are believed to be auspicious. It is also a worth noticing fact that there had been no loss of life till today during this unusual fair. During the fair, the image of the goddess kept in a locked brass casket is taken as a procession to a nearby mountain spring. The image is then ritually bathed by a blindfolded priest before replacing it in the casket. The goddess is then worshipped all night and the Bagwal Fair is celebrated in the morning amid much excitement
Devidhura once again witnessed the century old ritual of Stone Age in this Missile Age on 16 August, 2008. It is said that Devidhura used to be a dense forest, in which 52,000 warriors and 64 Yogni had unleashed a reign of terror. To please them it was decided that one human sacrifice shall be given every year. This sacrifice was by pelting of stone on the man, till death. The practice of human sacrifice continued up to the regime of Chand rulers. It is said that when the turn of the grandson of an Old lady belonging to the Chamyal Kham  came for sacrifice, the old lady prayed to Maa Baraahi Devi to spare the only surviving descendent son of her family. The Godess was pleased, since then the practice of Bagwal started. During the Bagwal the two groups (Khams) of people throw stones at each other while they try to protect themselves by using big roof like shields. Even watching the Bagwal is a truly thrilling experience.

 There is another story about the sacrifice. It is said that for a long time a human-being used to be sacrificed at the altar of the Devi Barahi.  But latter on all the four Khams (Groups) prayed to the Devi Barahi to accept blood equivalent to a man. The prayer was accepted by the Devi. Now the Bagwal is held, in which due to throwing of stones on each other, lot of blood flows. The Priest (Pujari) stops the ritual, as soon as he realizes that the blood of the men equivalent to one man has been offered to the Devi. For the purpose the Pujari goes to the battlefield and asks the warriors to stop the bloodshed

 The warriors who participate in the Bagwal or the stone fighting are breast fed by their mothers. It is believed that the breast-feedings by mothers enhance the power of the warriors by 1000 times. These warriors have to stick to certain customs and have to lead a pious life for one month prior to the Bagwal.  All the Bagwali warriors assemble at the house of the Chief of the village before proceeding to the battle field.  The dancing procession towards the Bagwal is led by the village Chief followed by the warriors.  In case a guests come to anybody’s house, the Bagwali warriors are fed with food first and then only the guest gets the food.  The custom is that the Kham Pramukh has to be by dynasty. During the fare it is bad omen to see griddle (Tawa). Hence normally rice-pulse or simple and pure food is prepared in the house. Bagwali warriors keep two pairs of clothes with them, which they change at specified time and place, till the end they remain within their Kham (group). People believe that warriors going for the Bagwal, if they go with utmost faith on Baraha Maa, feel the injury of the stone as if rose petals are being showered upon them.

Inspite of the incessant rains well above 1 Lac of people witnessed the Bagwal this year.  Bagwal is held in the Barahi Devi Temple compound in Kholikhand Dubachaura field, where a sea of human heads was visible on all the four sides. This year nearly 8 dozen warriors got injuries due to Bagwal. At first the Lamgariya Khan warriors reached the battle field raising slogans of Jai Jai Kar of Barahi Maa.  Circumambuiation of the Maa Barahi was done by them and from the eastern side; Gaharwal Kham warriors had the last circumambuiation.  Lamgariya Kham was led by Dhan Singh Lamgariya, Gaharwal Kham by Srigurau Trilok Bisht, Walig Kham by Badri Singh Bisht and Chamyal Khan was led by Ganga Singh Chamyal. The eastern side is under the charge of Gaharwal and Chamyal Kham.

With the blowing of conch shell the Bagwal started at 3.17 PM which continued for 7 minutes. When the temple priest felt that the blood equivalent to one man has been shed, he entered the battle field in yellow attire with blowing of flapper (Chanwar). This was the proclamation of the cessation of the battle. Inspite of this, the war continued for another three minutes. At the end all the warriors of Mahar and Fartiyal groups embraced each other and asked for each others welfare. During this battle maximum number of Lamgariya Kham suffered injuries. Many were seen bathing in blood. People witnessed the Bagwal with rapt attention.

Buffaloes were also sacrificed in the Bagwal, but nature’s sweeper the Vulture was conspicuous by their absence.  Bahadur Singh Lamgariya of Lamgariya Kham played the 70th Bagwal of his life. He played the Bagwal with redouble vigour Young generation took part in the Bagwal in large numbers, but the irony is that many of them were drunk and suffered injuries.

In 1995 this battle continued for 26 minutes, while in 1994 the battle continued only for 21 minutes. Since then the time period of the battle has been diminishing. Last year it was 12 minutes only and this year only 7 minutes.  People from Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan and practically from all over the country with foreigners had reached Devidhura. There was a long queue of Cars and other vehicles right from the fare ground Lohaghat Devidhura route spread over in miles. This year the route remained closed for over three hours, due to unprecedented rush.(D.N.Barola)

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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Raksa Bandhan, Mischief of the Naughty Boy

From this age of internet, I take you back to early 1950s when the status symbol of a rich person used to be a Bicycle and poor were Paidalchi (on foot). No four wheelers and no Scooter. Only Ekka, Tonga, Bailgari, Train or Bus used to be the medium of transport. Adolescent children wanted Paisa (Money), which was scarce and beyond the reach of children. But without money the naughty boys had no charm. Some enterprising boys dared to intrude into the exclusive domain of sisters on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan and they embarked upon the misadventure to tie Rakhi in their neighbourhoods. They could make some money from this pursuit, which ultimately used to be taken away by the resourceful Sisters who were watchful about the misadventures of their brothers.

             We used to get 2 Paisa or maximum one Aana occasionally. Six paise meant one Ekanni or one Aana. 12 Paise meant Duwanni and 16 Ekannis were equivalent to one rupee. How to earn or arrange 2 Paise or Ekanni with very little effort used to be the topic particularly in festive occasions. I also ventured to try my luck. The first problem was how to get a piece of Rakhi. Be economic, no Fizool-kharchi (extravagancy) was the dictatorial order of the parents. I could manage to get a piece of Rakhi from my home Temple. Another problem was to whom to tie the Rakhi, who may prove to be a good Paymaster. Our next neighbour a Vaidyaji (Ayurvedic Doctor) was quite affectionate to me. I tried my luck with him and waited patiently in his Dispensary. After some time he enquired, what do you want? I felt very shy. My face became red.  Vaidyaji could see a Rakhi in my hand. O! He said you have come to tie a Rakhi on my hand. O.K. You can tie the Rakhi and he gave me his hand.
I was overjoyed and started daydreaming. 2 Paise, one Anna or two Annas. How much Vaidyaji will give me as Dakshina. No it can’t be 2 Aana. It must be 2 Paisa or one Aana. I settled for 2 Paisa within my heart. I tied the Rakhi on Vaidhyaji’s wrist. There was a pause. The pause was slightly long. In the meanwhile my heartbeat started beating like a drum. Suddenly Vaidyaji opened his mouth and said - you have tied Rakhi on my wrist. Now I will tie Rakhi on your wrist. So Hishab Barabar (account is clear). No dakshina from either side. I was taken aback. All my imagination and dreams vanished away. With dreams shattered I was out of his Dispensary and within minutes I forgot the mishap, only to remember and narrate the incident on every Rakhi day to my children and bosom friends.(By D.N.Barola)

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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Nyneetal (Nainital), as the British pronounce it

Nainital is a glittering jewel in the Himalayan necklace, blessed with scenic natural splendour and varied natural resources. Dotted with lakes, Nainital has earned the epithet of ’Lake   District'   of India. The people of Nainital love this beautiful city. In appreciation of the beauty of Nainital, some 50 years back people used to sing a song in the local Kumaoni dialect as follows.

Nainitalo shahar aiso, Laganchho swarag jaiso…
Malla tooka Naina ki Devi, Talla tooka hanumangarhi.
Hito didi talai ki tarfa, dekhi oonoo talai ki sobha
Nainital main baraf padi gay
Laganchho swarag Jaiso.

नैनितालो शहर ऐसो, लागंछो स्वर्ग जैसो  
मल्ला टूका नैना की देवी, तल्ला टूका हनुमान गडी    
हीटो दीदी ताल की तरफा, देखि ऊनू तालै की शोभा
चाइना पीक मैं बरफ पड़ी गे
लगन्छो स्वर्ग जैसो ...........

The free translation of the above is as under:

Nainital is a city, which looks like heaven
On the upper side of the city is Naina Devi temple is situated; and
On the lower side is Hanumangarhi. There has been a snowfall at China Peak
Didi, let’s go towards the lake and enjoy the beauty of the Lake

   Now Nainital has become a jungle of concrete. The construction spree continues unabated. The Supreme Court has ordered demolition of unauthorized buildings. On this back-drop I remember penning down an article which I wrote a few years back.

   The area of the Kumaon Hills had come under British rule after the Anglo-Nepal War (1814-16) but it wasn’t until 1841 that P.Barron built the first European house in Nyneetal (as the British preferred to spell Nainital). It was a popular retreat for the residents of the plains. Being popular with the British, the town developed a British character with several European Schools, Clubs, Dancing Halls, Hotels etc. The new hill resort saw frantic construction activity. Very soon numerous buildings surfaced all around the hill side. This building spree witnessed a further boost when, in 1862, Nyneetal was declared the summer Capital of the then United Provinces - Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand combined.

   The British remained oblivious to the changes made to the landscape for about a quarter of a century. Until in July 1867, a part of the hill above the west end of the main bazaar in Mallital came down. They were quick to realize this feature as a major cause of the concern. It was a big deterrent for further expansion of their favourite hill resort. Hence, a Committee was promptly constituted. In August, 1867 itself, the Committee recommended remedial measures. A proper drainage-system especially for the roads was considered the most important aspect for preventing further landslides.

   But the worst was still to come, as further expansion of the town continued at a faster pace. On September 18, 1880, the Alma Hill (on the northern aspect of the lake) broke loose and a large chunk of it slid towards the lake. Atkinson’s Gazetteer has vividly described the intensity of the landslide. “A rumbling noise, similar to that occasioned by falling of large masses of earth was heaved by many in the Station……It was apparent that a large portion of the hill behind the hotel, from the Upper Mall, disunited, had completely buried the hotel, and had dashed together into an unrecognizable heap, the Orderly room, the Shop and the Assembly rooms…..”

   The landslip which took place in September, 1880, buried 151 people, of whom 43 were Europeans. The Assembly Rooms and the Naina Devi Temple were destroyed in the disaster. A recreation ground known as the Flats was later built on the site. The cause for this landslide was attributed to the digging of fresh building sites on the hill. Cutting of the hillside for gardens, roads and tennis courts depleted the grass cover of the slopes. This made the crust overcharged with water, which broke loose on the fateful day. After the landslide, further creation of buildings, quarrying, the digging of the terraces was absolutely prohibited on the hill. Steep slopes were turfed and trees were planted. Grass cutting and grazing was absolutely banned. Elaborate water drainage schemes were planned to wash down excess water to the lake.  

   A few years later history repeated itself in August, 1898. A large part of the Kailakhan ridge slid down into the Ballia ravine above the Brewery (Beer Bhatti). Many buildings were destroyed and 27 Indians and 1 European lost their lives in the disaster. This region of Ballia Nullah has been prone to landslips to this day. Each year this Nullah erodes away a significant portion of the Tallital area. Huge revetment walls and drains are being constructed in the Ballia ravine. These measures have yet to stand the test of the nature’s fury and it is premature to predict the future of the ‘Chhoti Bilayat’, which once used to be the Summer Capital of the British in enslaved India.

   Now, it is for the people and the Uttaranchal Government to preserve and protect this invaluable natural heritage from any man made or natural calamity and ensure recurrence of a ‘Varunavat’ in Nyneetal. (D.N.Barola)

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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Buransh flower, Rhododendron

Para Bhira main buransh fulee go; main jai kunoo meri Heeroo ai gay chhau! पारा भीड़ा मैं बुरांश फूली गो, मैं जै कूनूं मेरी हीरू ए गो छ 

 Thus sings a Mother. When Buransh blooms, she says-On the other side of the ridge, the Buransh is blooming. I had been contemplating as if my daughter Heeroo has come. She compares the colour of Bransh flower with that of the Chunri of her daughter and craves for the arrival of her daughter to her home-Maika.
     Rhododendron (Rhodo) or Buransh is Uttarakhand's State Tree. This honour has rightfully been bestowed upon this tree, because it is a highly useful tree and has so many medicinal properties. It grows at a height of 5 to 7,500 feet and blooms in various colours. It is a plant in the family of Ericaceae with over 1000 species throughout the world and most have showy flower display. It is a dense, suckering shrub growing to 5 m tall, rarely 8 m. The leaves are evergreen, 6-18 cm long and 2-5 cm broad. The flowers are 3.5-5 cm diameter, violet-purple, often with small greenish-yellow spots or streaks. The fruit is a dry capsule 15-25 mm long, containing numerous small seeds.
 In Uttarakhand normally Buransh is available in dark red colour. It is however found in pink colour at some places. White Buransh is rare and is rich in medicinal properties. It is also said that with the gain in height, the colour of rhododendron flower fades and in higher heights it becomes white. This is the reason it is found in white colour in higher heights only.

Buransh has a dominant role in the folk lore and folk songs of the hills. The women folk can be seen singing the folk song, Pare bhira buransh fuli go...(In the far away hills, Buransh has bloomed...). The daily chores of the women in the hills include a visit to the Jungle for procuring grass and wood for their daily requirements. After finishing off their jobs they enjoy singing the Pahari folk songs in small groups, some times with their male counterparts, who happen to be there as Cow Keeper. This makes their monotonous life enjoyable.

   The blooming of Rhodo presents a fantastic look. In the back-drop of shining silvery Himalayas, the dark red Rhodo flowers portray a celestial picture. After blooming a chunk of Rhodo flowers starts falling on the foot-path down below, which gets a dark red cover of rhodo flowers. Trekkers enjoy the red-carpet welcome accorded to them by the Nature's bounteous gesture. Rhodo is available as a soft drink in selected shops. This drink has a slightly bitter taste, but is quite tasty and relished as a cold drink. Coffee lovers have special liking for this drink. It is good for heart.  You can cook tasty Pakoras from the flower petals of Buransh. People feel that conservation and plantation of Buransh tree in large numbers can help fight the global warming phenomenon, which will go a long way in maintaining the ecological balance in the hills. Rhododendron leaves are useful as fertilizer. It’s a fast de-composing compost fertilizer. Buransh flower has ample pollen, this is the reason it is a centre of attraction for the honey-bees. They extract honey from the flower.  If you happen to visit a Buransh forest when it is in full bloom, you nay have a hallucination as if fire has broken upon the forest. Its red colour spread over a large area gives such an illusion to the passerby. The Buransh flower is also considered to be lucky for worshipping the Gods.
There is a Lok Katha (story) about the Buransh flower. There was a girl who got married at a far off village.  Her husband was out for employment in a distant place. Her Mother-in-law was a cruel lady and she would keep the girl busy in daily house-hold chorus. She had to fetch water, wood and had to look after the horde of cows. The girl did not have any brother. She had only her mother who was quite old.  She wanted to go to meet her, but the cruel mother-in-law would not allow her to go to her Mother. One day she came to know that her Mother is ill.  She asked her mother-in-law permission to go to meet her mother, but initially she refused, but ultimately yielded and asked her to finish the whole task and then only allowed her to go to meet her mother.

She ran towards her home through the jungle in the hilly terrain amidst hills and valleys. She got injured many times and her feet started bleeding, but so overjoyed the girl was with the imagination of meeting her mother that she continued to run.  The sun was going to dawn. She could reach near her Maika (Mother’s house). She saw her mother standing outside her house. She ran to meet her mother. She took it as a dream, but when her mother embraced her, she could believe that she is with her mother.  Both started weeping. It was a heart throbbing re-union of the mother and the daughter. Afraid and alarmed with the fact that she would be required to part separated with her mother, as she was required to get back, the next day, she had a cruel shock. She could not bear the shock and died.  She uttered Ija (mother) and expired instantaneously.  It is said that after some days, a plant grew at that place. It is none but the red coloured rhododendron (Buransh) flower. Even today Buransh flower makes the mothers remember their daughters. (D.N.Barola)

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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Kaphal ( Myrica esculenta ) Pako - Meil ni chakkho
काफल पाक्को, मैल नि चाक्खो 

     Kaphal  pakko, meil ni chakkho (Kaphal has ripened, but I have not yet tasted the same) is the pathetic explanation of a little girl who died of severe beating by her mother.  The story goes that once a Woman picked up Kaphals from the Kaphal tree. After toiling hard for the whole day, she could pick up a basket-full of Kaphals. At home she asked her daughter to look after the Kaphal basket and not to eat Kaphal. The little girl kept a strict vigil on the basket and slept for a while. When her mother reached home, she observed that the  basket of Kaphal has lost some weight. She suspected that the little girl must have eaten away the Kaphals. In fact she wanted to sell the Kaphals next day to cater to the daily needs of the house. But when she felt that the Kaphals were eaten away by her daughter, she gave her a severe beating. The girl was continuously crying and was saying that the she had not tasted the Kaphals. Due to excessive beating the girl died. It was the month of May. In fact due to the scorching heat of the summer the Kaphals had dried up, hence the basket full of Kaphals lost weight.  But in the afternoon there was a severe downpour and the Kaphals became juicy once again. The mother observed that the Kaphal basket had once again regained weight. Kaphals had become juicy due to rains. She repented, but the little girl had expired.She cried 'ke karoon pothi, utkai utkai' के करुँ पोथी, उत्कै उत्कै  After her death the girl took birth as a bird Magpie. After her birth as a Magpie the bird known as Kaphua in the local language, chatters, Kaphal Pakko, meil ni chakkho. People of the hills instinctively receive the pathetic message which the bird delivers through her above song and remember the little girl.

I was discussing this story with one of my friends Sri Ramesh Joshi of Mission Inter College, Ranikhet. He related another storey about Kaphal Pakko. He said that it was not this Kaphal which lost its weight. There is an specie of Kaphal called, Ghun Kaphal. This Ghun Kaphal loses its juicy content within a few hours. Thus the girl was asked to look after the Ghun Kaphal that was meant for distribution amongst the children of the house. The Ghun Kaphal lost weight after few hours and the girl was mercilessly beaten by her mother suspecting that she had eaten away some Ghun Kaphals. Since it rained in the evening, the Ghun Kaphal regained the juicy content. But there was nothing but repentance in store for the mother. The mother cried and said ' I utkai cheli I utkai'. आई उतकै चेली आई उतकै   It is the same quantity of Ghun Kaphal, which was before. The mother continue to repent, but there was no altlernative.The girl, after her death, thus sings Kaphal Pakko. Mail ni chakkho.

Ghun Kaphal

    Yet another story says that a young bride says to her mother-in-law: "O! My mother-in-law Kaphal has ripened. Burdened by the unending cycle of reaping, winnowing, sowing, weeding, wood cutting and fetching water from long distance, shall I ever have enough of leisure to taste Kaphals in the jungle while traversing the trail that leads to my mother's home?" So sang a Kumaoni bride ages back and trapped in a vicious circle of hard life when she lost her life untimely, she became a Magpie, a beautiful bird who, when the Kaphal ripens in Himalayan jungles in the month of May and June often sings, "Kaphal pakko, meil ni chakkho" (kaphal has ripened but I couldn't taste it yet). 

A small poem on Kaphal reads: 
  The 'kaphal' fruit is ripe Come dear friend - Let us go to the forest To eat the fruit of the 'kaphal' bush   The leaves of the Oak tree have turned green   There is water in the roots of the Oak. Come, quench your thirst.

   A myth associated about Kaphal is that during the 14 year exile of Lord Rama, Sita tasted this fruit while in the forest. Since then Kaphal is also called the 'Gauri Phal'

     Kaphal finds an important place in the folk songs also. The famous Kumaoni song Beru Pako also is sung highlighting Kaphal. Bedu pakko barah masa narain Kaphal pakko chaita meri chhaila
बेडू पाको बारह मासा नरैन काफल पाको चैता मेरी छैला 

      Kaphal, Kafal or Kaiphal (Myrica Esculenta) is a sub-temperate moderate-sized ever green tree varying from 3 to 15 Metre from place to place is found throughout the mid-Himalayas, between heights of 900 metre to 2,100 metre above sea level. The tree yields a fruit of the cherry size are reddish or cheese coloured when ripe and is one of the tastiest wild fruits of the sub-Himalayan region. It is a wonder fruit with high medicinal value. The fruits are edible. They are considered pectoral, sedative, stomachic and carminative. They have pleasant sourish sweet taste and used in preparing refreshing drink. The fruits are eaten raw not only in India but in China, Japan and Europe as well. It is a small fruit with a bigger seed than the part that matters. You can eat it all day long (or till your tongue goes sore) as it does no harm and actually. Kaphal helps your digestive system. Kafal has male and female trees. Only Femal trees bear the Kafal fruit.

In Kumaon the fruit is famous with the name of Kafal. In sanskrit, it is called Katfal, in Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati it is known as Kayphal or Kaychhal, In Arabi, Anjari-Kandul and in Farsi, it is called Darashi Swan

     The bark of Kaphal is said to possess many medicinal properties. It is heat stimulating and useful in catarrhal fever, cough and in the affections of the throat. Oil prepared from it is dropped into ears. The small, seedy fruits are sweet, with a pleasant blend of acid. They are very attractive. The overall fruit quality is excellent. It normally yields 15 to 25 Kg. Kaphals per tree depending upon the size of the tree. The small seedy fruits of Kaphal are very much liked by all for their taste and juiciness. With the onset of summer, the Kaphal starts ripening and the villagers start picking the Kaphals from the forests and sell it in towns. Sometimes they have to face the wrath of the Forest Guards, who however normally lets them go in exchange for a pocket full of Kaphals. In the adjoining towns, the fruits easily sell @ 40 to 50 rupees a kg. Every year the fruit of this tree, worth thousands of rupees, is sold in towns. It is a good source of extra income for the villagers, which in peak season fetches 200 to 250 per day or so. The major problem in the case of this fruit is that the harvesting period is too long and fruits from a single tree have to be harvested in many pickings. However, this is the only cost involved in the case of this fruit as there are numerous trees bearing which are growing wild in the forests. This cost can, therefore, be overlooked. Yet another problem is that the harvest from the Kaphals tree is not the same every year. It is dependant upon good rains. If it rains at the time of ripening, the fruit becomes juicy but if it does not rain the juicy content is lost. In any case the Kaphal gives some sort of employment to the villagers at least for 2-3 months.The fruits, unfortunately, are not good keepers and their shelf-life does not exceed 2-3 days. As already mentioned under chemical composition, these fruits are fairly juicy and the percentage of extractable juice is about 40 per cent. The juice has a very attractive sparkling red colour. If the juice of Kaphal is prepared it would be an additional source of income for the people. Further it has medicinal properties especially in Ayurveda. Uttarakhand Government should make efforts to standardize a technique for its utilization.

To finish the article, I would like to relate an interesting story of a tourist about Kaphal sometimes jokingly narrated by the people. A tourist coming from the plains  asks   the Kaphal selling boy - Ye ka   phal hai? (What’s this fruit?)     ये का फल है ? The Kaphal seller boy said ye Kaphal hai. ये काफल है ? (This is Kaphal). He again put the same question, ye ka phal hai, the reply was again - ye kaphal hai. Humiliated tourist again asked strictly-Ye Ka Phal hai? The cool reply again was Ye Kaphal hai. Hot talks between the got converted in to a squabble. The matter ended when someone intervened and told the tourist that the name of this fruit is Kaphal and the tourist and the kaphal boy both started smiling.(D.N.Barola)

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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Ranikhet Club, Ranikhet

Old Building of Ranikhet Club before 1987 Fire.

     Some hundred and fifty years ago a lone Englishman chanced upon a rhododendron hill  at Ranikhet, and spotted a lovely place. He set up a hill station. British loved the Club culture. A Club, the Ranikhet Club, a sprawling arcaded structure with a fine wood spring dance floor and a well-stocked bar, overhanging trophies of man-eating tigers came up in the gently curving Mall Road on the highest ridge. Sprawling over lush well manicured lawns the low height, conical roofed cottages constituted the Ranikhet Club. Thus Ranikhet Club was established as a European Club in 1868. However during the British era there were a few Indian members.   Ranikhet Club, it is said, used to be the abode of Queen Padmini , queen of Raja Sudhardev. Impressed with this celestial land that is blessed with God’s grace, she built a beautiful palace for her residence at Ranikhet. Outside the Clubhouse are the fascinating remnants of the Queen's residence. Scattered stone walls with arched openings are mostly what remain of it today.

    After independence the Club was being sold by the owners to a private party. Dr. Lt. Col. Frederic Noel Barwell, Bar-at-law, who was a permanent member of the Club filed a suit against the above sale in Allahabad High Court and won the case. Thus he became the saviour of the Club. Since then it has been functioning as a Civilian Club.

Dr.Lt.Col F.N.Barwell

 The Officers of the Army are also the Members of the Club. The strict rules for admission to the Club restricted its Membership to a few civil members. There were loud protests against this. The admission to the Club used to be held by putting Boxes in the Club premises which used to contain white-balls and black-balls. In order to get the admission into the Club, it was necessary that the member-candidate is not black-balled by any member entitled to exercise the right to vote. One black ball used to neutralize 7 white-balls.  The boxes used to be kept open for voting for a month.  Thus new entrants were hardly able to get admission into the Club. The civil candidates who aspired to become the Members of the Club protested against this. Sensing the mood of the people, the General Body decided to withdraw this method and vested the grant of membership to the Managing Committee. The Managing Committee in its wisdom granted membership to the civilian gentleman by a majority vote.

      The President of the Club used to be elected by the Annual General Body. The civil members invariably used to propose the name of the Commandant of the Kumaon Regimental Centre as the President. This was a healthy convention which was instrumental in establishing excellent rapport and relation ship between the civil and army. There has been a change in this. Now the Commandant of the KRC is the ex-officio President of the Club.
    In July, 1987, Ranikhet Club was engulfed by a devastating fire. The Office, Bar room, Dance Hall, Library etc. all were burnt. There was partial damage to the Lounge, Billiard room etc. Immediately after the Fire an Emergency General Body meeting was held, which had the uphill task of rebuilding the Club from almost a scrap. The General Body after due deliberations felt that in order to attract aid and donations etc, it was necessary that the Club be registered under the Societies Act 1860. After obtaining legal advice a Constitution Framing Committee was formed by the General Body. Sri D.N.Barola (Convener) and Sri B.S. Mehrotra, Sri Jagdish Chandra Pant, Advocate and Sri Chandan Singh Rautela, Advocate were the Members of the Constitution Framing Committee. The new Constitution was framed by recasting the prevailing old Constitution. Since the Army Members had discontinued its Membership of the Club prior to the Fire, a new provision of Block Membership was incorporated in the Constitution to facilitate the return of the Army Members into the Club. Special gestures were incorporated in the Club Constitution and it was provided that the provision of Screening, Interview, Admission fee, Donations etc. shall not be applicable in the case of Commissioned Officers of the Army and the Officers of the Civil in case they join the Club en-block. Not only that reduced Membership subscription was provided in case of Army Officers. It was also provided that such Members shall enjoy the Club Membership for the duration of their stay in Almora District. Thus the Constitution was passed by the General Body and was sent to the Registrar, Societies, Haldwani with the signatures of nine members, viz. S/Sri G.S. Mahara (President), D.N.Barola, Kashmiri Lal, Y.C. Joshi, A.K.Goel, Atul Kumar, J.C.Pant, B.S. Mehrotra and S.L. Goel. The Club was registered with the Registrar, Societies, Haldwani in January, 1989. Thus Ranikhet Club became a legal entity.
     In the meanwhile the Members contributed for the construction of the Club and with the donation and the Fire Insurance Claim money, the Bar, Office, Billiard room, Lounge etc. all were made habitable. During this period all the Members made it a point to visit the Club every evening without fail.  In order to raise the income of the Club four rooms were also constructed which boosted up the income of the Club considerably and the Club started running smoothly. The Members of the Army also joined the Club and Brig. B.C. Khanduri was elected as the President of the Club. Still more was required to be done. The Club needed finances to re-build the Bar-room, Dance Hall etc. The four rooms were leased out a private party, with the condition that the lessee would be construct the Club premises. The lessee constructed a large part of the Club and the renovated Ranikhet Club was thrown open to its members from Ist January, 2000. It was formally inaugurated  by it’s the then President Brig. Rajeshwar Singh VSM The four room Hotel also was thrown open to the public. It was also provided that any person staying in the Hotel would automatically become a Member of the Club, for the duration of his stay in the Hotel rooms of Ranikhet Club. This democratization, it is said was necessary to boost up the income of the lessee. Presently apart from the Members of the Army, the civil membership goes well above 120, whereas there are about 75 Members from the Army who enjoy the Club Membership for the duration of their stay at Ranikhet.

               Renovated building of Ranikhet Club

    Ranikhet Club is affiliated to nine reputed Clubs of India. The Club has reciprocal arrangements with Boat House Club, Nainital; Bareilly Club, Bareilly; Wheelers Club, Meerut; Mohmed Bagh Club, Lucknow; Dehradun Club, Dehradun; Dharwar Gymkhana Club, Dharwar; Arun Vihar Institute (Club); Noida, Umed Club, Judhpour and Jaiselmer Club, Jaiselmer.
    Ranikhet Club also boasts of Asia’s largest natural Golf Link. At the time of transfer of the Golf Link to the Kumaon Regimental Centre, it was resolved that the Members of Ranikhet Club would become the Members of the Golf Course, if they apply for the same. Now it is understood that Membership to the Golf Link has been restricted.
I had an occasion to talk to few senior Office-bearers of the Club, Dr. D.S. Bangari, who was a House Member (now designated as Hony. Secretary) of the Club for several years as also to Mr. Y.C. Joshi, who used to be Treasurer of the Club for nearly 30 years. I myself also had the privilege of serving the Club as a House Member (Hony.Secy.) of the Club for several years. I could gather lot of information from them on the matter. I would still love to receive suggestions to update this Blog.

Bahadur Singh, an old employee of Ranikhet Club

    Before finishing this article, I would like to make a mention of a young old man of 88 years, who has served the Club for more than 76 years. Bahadur Singh born in 1920 joined the Club as its employee in 1932. Now in 2008, he is still serving the Club. His wife expired some six months back. He has two sons. He has been a witness to the heydays as also to the difficult times which the Club had to face. Now his last wish is: ‘I was born in the Club and joined to serve it at the age of 12 and now I want to die in the Club itself, serving the Members of the Club. (D.N.Barola)

P.S. True to his words, Bahadur Singh breathed his last on 29 Feb.2009 while serving the Members of the Club.(D.N.Barola)

Abhishek Mahara

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thanksssssss Barola ji
etani sari jankari ke liye ye hum logo ke behut important hai
Abhishek Mahara


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Dear Respected Barola Ji
It was an overwhelming sensation that came out right from the bottom of the heart while reading your valuable super-informative words, i am highly blessed to read such deep insight on Kafal, Burans and bagwal festival. Your articles moreover cover a range of flavor and solid contents. We all are blessed to have you here as Guest indeed.
Thanks a lot for sharing all these with us.

Best Wishes and Regards

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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How to develop Kumaoni & Garhwali as a Language.
Kumaoni and Garhwali dialects (Boli) have rich literature, but both the dialects do not qualify to be called a Language (Bhasa). In order to qualify to become a language, the requirements are (1) It should have its script (Lipi). At present both the dialects are written in Devnagari script. This script can be improved to cater to the requirements of these dialects by borrowing words from Sanskrit. (2) It requires Standardization of the dialect.(3) It should have its Dictionary. (4) it should have its pronouncement method and above all (5) it should develop its Grammar.  Some groups, I understand, are working to develop a Dictionary and I think a Garhwali Dictionary has already been prepared.  I solicit further information about how Kumaoni and Garhwali are being developed to qualify as Language. Once the dialects qualify as Languages, they can also become the Official Languages (Raj Bhasha) of Uttarakhand, which would mean a great feat accomplished.(D.N.Barola)


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