Boatmen of Kashmir “Hanjis”
Director: Ayash Arif
Duration: 1 hr, 19 mins
The film documents the community called Haenz (Hāṅgī) that is directly involved in vocations connected with water-bodies. They have typical ethnic characteristics and call themselves descendents of the Prophet Noah. Within this community there are divisions based on their typical vocation viz. Demba-Haenz, Gaer-Haenz, Gāda-Haenz, Kar-nāv-Haenz, and MaṭaHaenz.
Kashmiris have excelled in the craft of making boats. Made from pine wood, generally ‘Deodār’, there are various types of boats viz. Donga, Bahatch, Shikara, Khoch’ Ḍemba-nāv and the Houseboat. The latter epitomizes the Kashmiri craftsmanship by its carvings, ‘Khutumband’ ceiling, walnut furniture, papier mache goods, etc.
Kashmir- that blossomed out of the legendary primeval lake Satiar is still a land replete with water bodies, lakes, rivers streams, springs etc. No exaggeration, if it is called a ‘water civilization’. The community that is directly involved in vocations connected with water-bodies is called Heenz. They have typical ethnic characteristics and call themselves the descendents of Prophet Noah.
Within this community there are divisions, based on their typical vocation.
- Demb-Heenz- grow vegetables and sell these.
- Geer-Heenz – collect water chestnuts.
- Gaadi –Heenz – the fishermen – who catch fish and trade in these.
- Kar-naav-Heenz-they grow a special type of willow, and use it for making baskets etc.
- Mata-Heenz – deal in timber.
Not unexpectedly, Kashmiris have excelled in the craft of making boats- made from pine wood – generally Deodar. There are different types of boats.
- Doonga – a dwelling place, competent in every aspect.
- Bahasth – a flat – bottomed large boat used for carrying heavy loads like timber.
- Shikara –the comfortable boat used for going across the river or making a round of the lake.
- Khoch – a roofless used for carrying vegetables & flowers.
- Dembi-naav – small boat, used for traveling in swamps
Houseboat – known for its grandeur, exuberance and comfort – a tourist attraction. It is an ‘epitome’ of Kashmir culture as it presents a slice of Kashmir culture with its carvings, ‘Khatumband’ roof, walnut furniture, Papier Machine goods etc.
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