The Story of GUL | From the Book: Gul Gulshan Gulfam | Pran Kishore Kaul | Part One
Malla Khaliq was still squatting in prayer, when a shikaarah (boat) stopped near the outer trellis of Gul. A tall man, dressed in a Jodhpuri suit, stepped out from the shikaarah. He was Narayan Joo, the proprietor of Kashmir Travel Agency. He was a few years younger to Malla Khaliq.
Narayan Joo’s father, Madhav Kaul, earlier lived on the right bank of the river Vyeth, known to the world as the river Jhelum; the lifeline of the Kashmir valley, on whose banks lies the city of Srinagar. Madhav Kaul’s three-storey house was on the waterfront and down below Malla Khaliq’s father Samad Haji’s barge was anchored in the river.
Narayan Joo was born a couple of years after Malla Khaliq. The two grew up together, spending their days on the riverbank playing hopscotch. It was Malla Khaliq who taught Naraya Joo how to swim. Malla Khaliq’s mother, Maal Dyad, always visited Narayan Joo’s mother, Dyaka Dyad, to seek her counsel on various household matters. Seeing the friendship between two women, Malla Samad and Madhav Kaul also developed a close bond. There was another reason for their friendship, Khaliq’s father was a God-fearing man, who could recite a large number of mystic poems of the Muslim saint poets of Kashmir, which he would recite with a purity of heart. This bridged the gap in their monetary status.
Madhav Kaul initially worked with Cock Burn’s Travel Agency, but when the first German war began, the agency was closed. Madhav Kaul then established his own travel agency which he named Kashmir Travel Agency. God helped him and his agency prospered at the end of the war, when his business expanded.
Thus Madhav Kaul became a big businessman, by local stadards. Having disposed off his house in the old city, he shifted to Wazir Bagh in the new city. This separation was very painful for the two friends, but it did not last very long. Madhav Kaul advised Samad Haji to try his luck, too, in business. In the beginning, he was not strong enough to withstand the stress, but graduually he agreed to shift his barge from the old city to Gagribal in the Dal Lake, where the houseboats had started to do good business. Madhav Kaul used his clout in getting Samad Haji to erect a houseboat in the lake. That was how GUL came into existence.
About the author:
Pran Kishore Kaul was born on 23rd January 1925 in Srinagar, Kashmir. He studied at the University of Punjab (Lahore). A playwright, stage director, broadcaster and a painter, he played an important role in performing arts in Kashmir.
He is credited with the making the first Kashmiri feature film ‘ Mainz Raat‘ and ‘Shaire-e-Kashmir Mejhoor‘.
Recipient of President’s Silver Medal in 1965 & Sahitya Akademi Award for his works, Pran Kishore reiterated from Radio Kashmir Sringar. To his credit are over two thousand Radio plays & documentaries, and television serials.
Gul Gulshan Gulfam first printed in India in 2017 by Harper Perennial.