Kashmiri Phrases: Through the Looking Glass

I‘m a lover of language. There have been many that seem to have come and gone through my life, but there’s only one that I carry an intuitive connection with. I don’t really know the grammar but I know what sounds right. That’s mostly because it’s all I heard from 0 to 6. Kashmiri phrases are often indirect, non-literal and stilted. I’ve just chanced upon a treasure trove of a compilation of phrases and common speak from 1885 by a missionary who was living in the valley. It seems uncanny that I understand most of it, and some of the phrases are still used.

In times such as these, it seemed appropriate to share this particular one talking about the power of reciprocity.

Dil Ba Dil Gav Ainah Kashmiri language Through the Looking Glass

And now, as you say irshád and allow me:

Dil ba dil gav áínah;
Yuth wuchham, tyuth wuchchay

If you’re not used to the roman sounds here’s a version in devanagri:

दिल ब दिल गव आईनअ,
युथ वुछ्हअम , त्युथ वुछय

Our hearts are like a looking-glass. The way you see me, so I shall appear to you.

I’ve sort of internalized this and the phrase made it real. This is perhaps one strong advice I’d give my younger self too. Relationships don’t exist in thin air. They exist because we work hard and empathize. Anything less than that doesn’t work.

About the Book of Kashmiri Phrases

I found the book as a part of Google’s digitization project and it’s been written by Rev. J. Hinton Knowles. The book was published in 1885 by Bombay Education Society’s Press. The book was titled, “A Dictionary of Kashmiri Proverbs and Sayings.” You can find it here.

Dil Ba Dil Gav Ainah- Through the Looking Glass Kashmiri Phrases Book

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