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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Shia-Sunni blackboards in a Lucknow bylane


The blackboards in some of the narrow bylanes of Old Lucknow have a distinct charm. They have interested me since my childhood and even though the world has changed to blackberrys and bluetooths, the boards delivering messages still survive.

The concept of leaving a note on the board for locals regarding any social gathering, public function or religious event apart from announcements of births, deaths and associated rituals, is quite useful.

In one of the lanes in a ghetto in Old Lucknow, I have been noticing Shia and Sunni boards for years. The residents use chalk to leave the message for a 'milad' or a 'majlis' or any other ceremony. Mostly the notes are in Urdu and sometimes in English or Hindi. Though these message boards are found in other places also, the fact that no one ever leaves a misleading message or a prank, is even more surprising.

In some cities that haven't seen huge expansion, the boards are placed at a prominent junction. Like in Burhanpur, the boards are placed at the Chowk so that every passerby gets the message about any happening. In some other places, there are drummers and announcers of unique accents using loudspeakers in auto-rickshaws to make announcements.

7 comments:

Pinku said...

thats a lovely old world thing...

hope it survives further into the new decade.

Sandeep Monga said...

I wish everyone a very happy & prosperous new year.

indscribe said...

Thanks Pinku ji for your encouraging comments once again.

Sandeep Bhai. Have a wonderful year! May we all get healthier and wealthier :)

Anonymous said...

Great article! Well stated!!

Imran Mulla said...

In this world of technology, its really refreshing to read such posts which talks about the bygone period when boards were used for mass communication. I still remembers my childhood days when i used to visit the Azad Chowk of Kolhapur to get the latest cricket scores from around the world whereever the game of cricket was played. In those days we didnt had satelite TV channels or Websites to know.

ALE Xpressed said...

Thanks so very much for posting this.

I am not sure if this has to do with Indian (or Indo-Pak) culture of the Muslim culture.

I have seen the remains of similar wall-boards in the old walled city of Lahore. They seem not to have been used for years and thus one could only find it after a detailed look and observation that they would have been such black boards in the past.

Do you find such boards in other parts of India - specially those Hindu majority regions?

Anonymous said...

I can't think of a more appropriate time and place to begin a good piece of science literature... snow on the ground... my faithful dog at my feet, bathed in the warmth of the yule time log in the fireplace.

I am looking forward to visiting this forum regularly.