Article 370 scraped: Lucknow’s Kashmiri Mohalla resident ‘hopes to buy land at ancestral place’
Residents of Kashmiri Mohalla – one of the oldest areas of Lucknow inhabited by people from the Valley since 1770s – largely preferred to remain silent on the Kashmir issue, hours after the Centre on Monday revoked Article 370 that gave special status of Jammu and Kashmir and took steps to change how the region will be governed.
One of the families that were among the first few Kashmiri Pandits to settle in this locality expressed satisfaction over the government’s move.
BN Sharga, 65, said it’s a big day for Kashmiris. “Ours is the oldest family here in Kashmiri Mohalla where over 300 families got settled. Some came in the 1770s (Nawab Asif-ud-Daulah’s times) and some came after 1947. This is our sixth generation,” he said. “Now, it seems that our dream of buying a piece of land at our ancestral place may come true,” he added.
Sharga is a scion of the distinguished clan of Kaul-Shargas who were Wasikedars of the Oudh Court. In 1775, Dr Sharga’s ancestors – Pt Laxmi Narain Kaul and Pt Niranjan Das Kaul had moved to Oudh during the rule of Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula (17531775). The two brothers joined the Shahi Fauj as company commanders. Pleased with their ability, the nawab’s wife Begum Ammat-uz-zohra granted the two brothers a royal Wasiqa (a sort of pension) in 1813.
After receiving the royal recognition, the Kaul brothers added ‘Sharga’ to their surname Kaul.
Over the years, a majority of families apart from Shargas left Kashmiri Mohalla and settled at other places. Roshan Taqui, renowned historian who has penned several books on Lucknow, said Kashmiri Mohalla was established way back in 1770s, during the regime of the then nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah.
Experts said the then Nawab, while shifting the capital from Faizabad to Lucknow, was accompanied by many courtiers, a majority of whom were Kashmiri Pandits. “They were given a piece of land by the Nawab and the area was later known as Kashmiri Mohalla,” said Taqui.
“The houses in this Mohalla had distinct architecture. Most of the dwellings are grand mansions with open courtyard. Some houses also have symbols of two fishes at their entrances, which were quite popular during the Nawabi era,” added Taqui.