My Lords, “Rajas” and “Chaudhrys
How you tire in your claims?
Born to “nobles” “lineages” high
your’s is ‘nobility’ supremely entrenched!
Of past glories, “Jaghirs”,
of providence unchecked
You accept your fate with elated breath

But what good are titles of ancient fiefs?
When your wards of providence have to earn their keep!
In dirty mills, on rickety legs,
they make cause to share their spoilt beds.
As you expend your labour for servitude’s sake
Their hues blackened by England’s sooty roots
Is this your ‘nobility’?
Then surely the nobles are dead!?
And in their courts, on their cushions,
sit egos bloated of dubious breeds.
Like shepherds galore waylaid by bony sheep.
And still you sing the old hymns in paupers’ drapes
In full glare of your “Kammis”, your dues are due, in toil shared

But you are our “Earls” and you are our “Dukes”?
In whose memory many defile the path of nobility and grace
and so I marvel in bemusement and despair,
Oh the shame it would take for you to feel the whip of one flippant quip?
As you crack wise jokes about the ‘bereft’ and their ‘muddled’ ways!
Ennobled menials”, ennobled “serfs”,
What are we but orphans of an age long gone?
As highborn or low, with riches or none,
Flattery indeed is the ‘honour’ we feign
For the ‘Realm’ we left and her ‘Poverty’ we fled,
They call us immigrant “Pakis” in this land of Blighty!

Terminology

‘Rajas’/‘Chaudhrys’; titles of an Indian nobility class belonging to a patronage system; ‘Jaghirs’; fiefs’/landed estates; ‘Nawabs’; Noblemen; ‘Durbars’; court; ‘Gaddees’; cushions/thrones; ‘Kammis’; low born/bereft (offensive); ‘Ghulams’; slaves

Read related article; Understanding titles of nobility and our culture of dispossession by Reiss Haidar

 

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Associate Editor at Portmir Foundation. Born and raised in the UK, on a journey of cultural exploration. Proud British ‘Mirpurian’; the two are not in conflict; want to explore and celebrate my cultural heritage in the UK – grandparents from the high hills of Jammu. Like the others here, I’m not scared to offend my own people for the common good!

Okay, the official bit…

My opinions are not necessarily those of the Portmir Foundation; the Foundation does not do censorship and neither does it endorse my opinions; if you disagree with any us, and you’re from our background, write your own opinion piece and we’ll publish it.

4 COMMENTS

  1. The caste system is a problem in most ‘Asian’ communities, and its not just Rajas and Chaudries hating on those below them in the pecking order, even the lower castes hate castes below them – so the ‘carpenters’ look down on the ‘vegetable growers’. You can’t just blame the higher castes. Its a much bigger problem than just blaming Jats or Raje for instance.

  2. That’s true but there are no ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ castes because the whole thing is just bogus. It makes no sense in the absence of patronage networks, but that holds true for lots of our cultural customs. Even as we attempt to describe the caste-system in our region which is really clan-based as opposed to the idea of belonging to ‘castes’, we need to understand how different the social norms were from Indo-Gangetic India. Even in the Hills/Mountains of the western Himalaya where Muslims dominated, we didn’t have the ‘Ashraf’ groups – those of purported Muslim ‘foreign’ origin – in the way they existed in urban areas where Muslims controlled their own territorial polities. But your right, this problem of the caste system is about attitudes shared by lots of people irrespective of their ‘caste’ backgrounds.

  3. Youngsters today don’t care much for caste system. They wouldn’t even know their own backgrounds. It’s more or less dead in UK. We have a bigger problem with how mirpuris are identified by Pakistanis and smaller Pakistani sub-groups. These are the most current identities as pathans, mirpuris, punjabis, Urdu speakers etc. Our youngsters are more aware of these identities than they are about Jats or Raje, and you should include posts on these issues.

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