Spring again April 2010
Kashmiris welcome the end of winter, and commemorate a Sufi saint’s protection.
Every year, as the harsh winter melts into a welcoming spring, people from across southern Kashmir gather at the shrine of the Sufi saint Zainuddin Wali in Aishmuqam of Anantnag District. The day is auspicious for many reasons. For one, it is celebrated as the urs, or death anniversary, of the 15th-century saint, who belonged to the Rishi order of Sufism. Others consider it an occasion marking the triumph of good over evil, as legend has it that it was the day the saint defeated a demon that had long troubled the village. But most of all, the festivities mark the coming of spring, and with it the arrival of the time to till the land and sow seeds. For the communities of southern Kashmir, many of whom rely on agriculture for their survival, the annual pilgrimage is an important one. Seeking the saint’s blessing for a good growing season and healthy crops, people from the surrounding villages set out to the shrine, carrying high their flaming pinewood torches. As can be seen in the accompanying photographs by Altaf Qadri, in the glow of thousands of such flames, the people pray, sing and dance – asking Zainuddin Wali to continue to protect them, as he did their ancestors so many centuries ago, by keeping their families and livelihoods safe from the demons of drought, pests and ill-health.
Romila Thapar addresses invitees at the
Southasian relaunch of Himal Southasian,
IIC, New Delhi, January 2013.
China, Southasia and India
On May 19 2013, newly appointed Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in New Delhi for a series of meetings with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The visit is Keqiang's first outside of China since assuming power in March.
From our archive:
Purna Basnet discusses Chinese engagement in Nepal vis-a-vis security issues in Tibet and broader geo-strategic plans in Southasia (April 2011).
Fatima Chowdury relates the story of Calcutta's Indian Chinese community through the lens of political and economic upheavals in Southasia and China (May 2009).
Simon Long notes the importance of the Sino-Indian relationship for the rest of Southasia (September 2006).
J.N Dixit ruminates on the strategic concerns of the 'Middle Kingdom' in the wake of India's 1998 nuclear tests (June 1998).