|Kashmiri Pandits were known for their hard work and subordination but with intellect, wisdom and diplomacy. There is a historical background to this behavior of Kashmiri Pandits. Perpetual persecution at the hands of successive Muslim dynasties had made them masters in the art of survival against the onslaught of these rulers. A number of incidents are attributed to the intellect and wisdom of Kashmiri Pandits. From these comes the story of Shomb Shastar, concerning an ordinary Kashmiri Pandit who became a legend in Kashmir.
Shamboo Nath was a Head Clerk in State Finance Department. He was a typical Kashmiri Pandit, a good subordinate, good at drafting official letters and had sound knowledge of rules. It was a known fact; if everyone else failed to find a solution to a problem, Shamboo Nath would find one. Nobody would dare to change a word from what was written by him. The drafting was so deft that Shamboo Nath was nicknamed Shomb Shastar (Steel). The fact that Shamboo Nath was so good at his job was not getting down well with many of his colleagues, including Abdul Ghani, his immediate supervisor. Abdul Ghani used to harass Shamboo Nath for small things. He used to tease him and laugh at his efforts at drafting notes. Shamboo Nath was denied promotions while his junior colleagues were promoted to higher posts despite not having any exceptional record. In spite of all these provocations Shamboo Nath remained committed to his duty.
Abdul Gani was transferred to Anantnag. He served there for about 3 years before he retired. He pursued his case for pension and gratuity from Accountant General’s office and in this regard, he was asked to prove his identity. However, it was found not to be matching with the recorded facts. The identity recorded was “two broken front teeth”. Abdul Ghani did not know what to do and how to react. He protested against the recorded identification mark and remarked, “This is false! There seems to be a mistake!” He produced his friends from Accountant Generals office as witness to support his claim.
This was not acceptable to the officer concerned. He said “If there is any truth in what you are saying and if there has been a mistake, I suggest that you bring the person who has recorded details in your service book. I will permit him to correct the record in his handwriting. There is no other way”. On enquiry from his erstwhile office, Abdul Ghani came to know that his service book was written by Shamboo Nath. He immediately understood the problem and said to himself “This is no mistake but the mischief of Shamboo Nath. He has taken his revenge. I troubled him so much but he never retaliated then.” He decided to apologize to him and request his help in fixing the records.
Abdul Ghani went to the house of Shamboo Nath only to be told by his son that he had passed away some six months ago. Seeing no way out Abdul Ghani broke his two front teeth to prove his identification. Even after his death people failed to modify the draft of Shamboo Nath aka Shomb Shastar.
*Rajesh Moza lived near Raghunath Mandir, Srinagar, Kashmir prior to migration. He has heard the story on Shamboo Nath in his childhood and wanted to share it with community members, As a social activist, he was General Secretary, Kashmir Sahayak Sabha, (KSS) Chandigarh till May 2007.
Currently he lives at Mohali, Chandigarh, India and works as Deputy Registrar in National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali, India.
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