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Kashmiri proverb: Pherith Pheran Zchunun

By M J Aslam –

There is a famous Kashmiri idiom, Pherith Pheran Zchunun which has a corresponding Kashmiri idiom, Putphirith Agadi Gazchun. Ulta Chor Kotwal Ko Dante or Ek Tu Chori Oper Se Sina Zori are well known Indian idioms that are analogous to above Kashmiri idioms. Its equivalents in English are thief scolds policeman or criminal threatens judge or offence is the best defense or pot calling kettle black. But to me, thief scolds policeman or offence is the best defense are the most accurate equivalents in English language of Kashmiri & Indian proverbs cited above.

I don’t think there is any particular background of Kashmiri idiom “Pherith Pheran Zchunun or Putphirith Agadi Gazchun” . But, the background of the Indian idioms, Ulta Chor Kotwal Ko Dante & or Ek Tu Chori Oper Se Sina Zori,  precisely explains the Kashmiri idioms . It is said that once in olden times there was a Raja/ Badshah in whose kingdom prevailed absolute calm & peace. Crime & wrong were totally unknown things in his kingdom. He had a grand palace to live in. The palace was guarded by policemen & watchmen under the superintendence of a Kotwal/police chief. Once it was a late night when a man passed by the palace. He was amazed by the beauty of the palace from outside & the lights that lit the palace were simply brilliant. He saw all policemen & watchmen deep asleep. He was tempted to walking inside the palace to see how its interior looked. He sneaked in & was wonderstruck with awe of grandeur & majesty of the place inside & the possessions that decorated it from inside. He couldn’t resist temptation of stealing some valuables from the palace. So, he laid his lands on some precious items, bagged them & left quietly from the palace. In the morning when the king heard of the theft, which was something he had never heard of in his lifetime having happened in his kingdom, he naturally became angry & called policemen & watchmen along-with Kotwal. He scolded them & ordered that the stolen items be restored to the palace immediately. Kotwal & his team searched whole kingdom but the thief could not be apprehended. The thief got emboldened by the Kotwal’s inability to nab him. So, he continued stealing from the palace for some more days. Then, ultimately, he was caught red handed stealing from inside the palace. He was produced before the king. Instead of admitting his crime, his theft, the thief began raising noise, charging & scolding the Kotwal that it was his inability & laxity to catch him & that he should not be held liable for Kotwal’s failure to arrest him. The thief continued pleading& charging that Kotwal was slack in his responsibility and that it was due to his laziness & too much sleeping at night like that of Kumbhekaran by his sepoys/police force that had led to his thieving from the palace of the king. In this way, he made vicious offence against Kotwal which he thought was his best defense to escape the fury & punishment of the king. The nobles & courtiers present in the Darbar of the king said to each other: Kya Kal Yug Hay. Ulta Chor Kotwal Ko Dante, Ek Tu Chor Oper Se Sina Zor. And, since that time, the idiom took birth and is very much in vogue among the people of the subcontinent down to the present times. Adverbs & idioms are figurative speeches of a vibrant & living cultural society that are used by its people to explain the meaning of some situation or occasion they find themselves in. Proverb are wise sayings of wise people.