Saturday, December 29, 2012

Rohu Fish

I spotted Rohu Fish at Jama Masjid. These shiny large ones are what Amroha was once famous for. 

Rohu Fish at Amroha
It costs about 150 rupees per Kg. 

Finding Fish in Amroha

After Namaz-e-Juma politicians gather in front of Jama Masjid's main gate and their supporters don't allow namazis to move out of masjid freely. Every Friday a new but familiar face is there with a wide smile and you know that he is here to announce his candidature for next elections. On top of that there are fruit sellers who gather their carts full of fruits in a line in front of gate and shout crazily to attract namazis as they indulge into shopping after namaz. Among all this chaos the most sought after thing after namaz is fish.  Like fruit sellers, fishwalas also setup their shops at the other Jama Masjid gate. They sit there with their big butcher knives, ready to cut fishes into pieces as soon as the bargaining about the price ends.

Actually, due to unavailability of good beef on Friday. Most Amrohvis decide to cook fish on this day. And buying fish after namaz is very convenient and is becoming a routine for many people. No one wants to visit that filthy Fish Market at Chauraha Kot when fresh fish is available at Jama Masjid.

If you want to buy the type of fish you want. Reach there just after namaz. Because there are lot of customers and the price is also high. Make sure you bargain. If you decide to go a little later it depends on luck whether you will be able to find the fish you want. However the price at that time would be reasonable and even the crowd would be less.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Season of Mangoes in Amroha

Mangoes in Amroha.

Amroha, my hometown, is known for its production of mangoes. Amroha is one of the largest mango producing districts of western UP. Even the name Amroha is a combination of two words 'Aam' and 'Rohu'. 'Aam' means 'mango' in English and 'Rohu' is a type of fish. Although I cannot differentiate 'Rohu' from other varieties of fishes but now I can recognize many varieties of mangoes. Even I wondered when Amroha is not on a sea coast neither it is on a bank of a river how come this place is known for fishes. Later I learned that the city was having many ponds on its outskirts where people used to catch those fishes. But now many of those ponds are dry and many were filled up for urbanization.

This summer,after years, I got a chance to spend my holidays in Amroha. The city is on a fast track of development. There are better roads, many new colleges and schools, a flyover and many new showrooms. Its the time of the year when the trees all around Amroha are full of mangoes. But no one can dare to enter any of the Mango orchards without permission because they are secured. As soon as u try to touch a fruit someone shouts from a mile away. And not just that ...there are trained dogs who provide security to these orchards. Actually these orchards, full of mangoes, attract everyone including robbers.

Being from Amroha the love for mangoes comes naturally to me. Even my Grandfather owned a mango orchard. But it wasn't of any profit and needed a lot of care so he sold it later. This season I had tasted many different varieties of mangoes. Amroha produce many of the varieties and many other come from nearby villages and districts in our market. One type of mango may differ from others in color, taste, smell, size, price or looks.

So in Amroha its not just about eating this delicious pulpy fruit. But about tasting all of its varieties also called “Qismaat”. Finding different varieties is not easy even in Amroha. There are only six-seven varieties like Bombai, langda, chausa etc. which are popular and produced in huge quantity. Rest of the other varieties's production is very low and most of it is exported, self consumed or gifted to relatives by the orchard owners. Even to buy some of the quantity that comes in the market u have to make an advance request and constant queries with fruit sellers. And also need to recognize what u are being sold because u can be easily fooled by the fruit seller.
But the effort is worth doing for “The King of Fruits”..!!

This was originally posted at My Thoughts(

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Amroha A to Z (Everything about Amroha)

People born in Amroha and their descendants use "Amrohvi" as their surname. Although there are very few people who officially add 'Amrohvi" to their name in Amroha. But there are many people who live elsewhere and proudly add 'Amrohvi' to their name.

Younger Amrohvis are all bike fanatics. They treat narrow lanes of Amroha as expressways. Their bikes are uncontrollable and make such a noise that old people generally stop and wait for them to pass first.

City Gates
Amroha may have been a walled city much like Delhi which was surrounded by a wall and had many gates. Although there are no ruins of any wall around Amroha, two gates still exist in Amroha. One of them is Muradabadi Gate and the other one is Delhi Gate.

Delhi up-down
Unlike 90s, the journey between Delhi and Amroha is quiet smooth now. Apart from trains there are many private buses which take people to Delhi. Although train journey is faster, trains are always crowded. They are preferred only by daily passengers who travel for business. Most people generally get seats reserved in trains or reach 1 hour before departure for finding a seat in a Bus.

There are many good schools and colleges in the city. Now one can graduate in Engineering or even Medical Sciences living in Amroha. Education is the only industry in Amroha which has seen tremendous grown in last few years.

If you are from Amroha you must have enjoyed lots of delicious stuff since childhood. Some good restaurants have also opened up in recent past. Naan-Gosht still remains the most sought after dish in marriages. The food recipies are passed from one generation to the other.

Ghosts still play a role in Amroha's culture. Their stories are still common. Even in this technologically advanced age they are not scared of humans. People still claim to have seen them during dark winter nights. Ghatey ki Gali may have lot of people living there but people are still scared to cross it alone during night.

Homes have shrinked with rise in population and cost of living. People have built urban houses. Some old Khandhars and Havelis do exist.

There is no big industry which can provide employment to Amroha youth. People still move out to big cities in search of employment. Cotton Waste industry which was supposed to grow couldn't survive. There are many Hakeems and Doctors, I wonder if they can together be called an industry.

Most festivals are still celebrated with big Jaloos(a procession). All communities have at least one Jaloos. Muslims( Sunni and Shia Both), Sikhs, Hindus and Jains all organize a Jaloos on their festivals. 

Kabootarbazi is the hobby of domesticating pigeons and flying them. Which can further develop into the sport of Pigeon Racing. Even now a days many Amrohvis find it interesting. You can always find people on their rooftops making strange sounds to attract and in someway talk to pigeons. 

Local politics
Local politics have also grown up in the city like all over Uttar Pradesh. Now so many people fight for votes. People make false promises and forget them as soon as they win. Amroha haven't developed at the same pace as other neighboring districts.

There is only one big market in the city where you can find all the stuff. It had spread in recent years. Now it starts from Muradabadi Gate and ends at Mohalla Danishmandan. The market in Amroha is not backward anymore. All modern stuff is accessible to Amrohvis. There is another big market which comes to life only on Tuesdays. It is called "Mangal Bazaar". This is a weekly market where women buy inexpensive stuff. 

The most popular belief is the name Amroha is a combination of two words Aam and Rohu.  Although many other beliefs do exist. When Amroha was made a district it was named Jyotibha Phule Nagar which is recently renamed to Amroha.

Amroha is surrounded by Mango Orchards. The city is known for its production of mangoes. Amroha is one of the largest mango producing districts of India. Guava, Pomegranate, Ber(Indian plum) and other fruits also grow in these orchards.

Pakistan Connection
Many Amrohvis have moved to Pakistan during partition. So many Amrohvis have relatives in Pakistan. Many popular poets and artists in Pakistan belong to Amroha. Rais AmrohviJon_EliaMuhammad Ali Siddiqui, Umme Habiba, Sadequain are some of them. Many big communities of Amrohvis exist in Pakistan. Two of them are Sadaat-e-Amroha and Sadaat-e-Rizvia.

Qatl e aam
Amroha is also called "City of Peace" because unlike other neighboring districts, no religious tension has ever occurred here. People belonging to all religions live with peace. No riots were ever recorded in Amroha.

People in Amroha have a web of relatives within the city. Residents generally marry their children in the city which gives rise to a this huge network of relatives.

Amroha is surrounded by Sufi shrines from all four sides. There are many khanqahs and darghas all over the city. Believers across religions can be found visiting these shrines. Most famous is Hazrat Shah Vilayat Dargah. Its believed  that scorpions don't bite in the compound of this shrine and children can be spotted playing with scorpions.

Apart from cycle-rickshaws, auto-rickshaws can also be used for transportation now. With a new flyover above railway crossing, the movement in and out to the city is smooth.

Most of the people in Amroha speak Urdu. Many famous Urdu poets and scholars belong to Amroha. 

Electricity supply is still very irregular. Power cuts are very common in Amroh. Although people have learnt  to live without electricity for hours. At times children get disappointed when they miss their favorite programs on TV.

Women in Amroha are not left behind in the process of development. There are many girls colleges and schools in the city. There are many Jamia , AMU, DU and Hamdard alumni women in Amroha. Nikhat Amrohvi is a famous poetess. Khushbu Mirza is known for her contribution to Space Research and for being part of Indian Moon Mission,  Chandrayaan.

X Men
No, Amroha is not home to mutants. People do not have special powers except that of suffering endlessly without complaining and again electing wrong people in elections. 

Young generation of Amroha can avail all sort of facilities which were unavailable to their ancestors. They have access to good school and college education. They can hang out with friends at various places including latest Mc Donald's and a modern movie theater in the district. Due to better transport they can move to Delhi or Moradabad for anything which is unavailable in Amroha. They have internet, bikes and better roads.

Zebras cannot be found in Amroha but animals of their family, horses and donkeys, exist. It is believed that if any donkey or horse is lost in the city. By evening it can be found at shrine of Sufi saint "Shah Nasruddin". Even there is a tale about Donkeys reaching this shrine and scorpions not biting at Haz. Shah Wilayat's shrine.

PS: Thanks for bearing with me and reading this long post. :)

To Subscribe

Designed By Blogger Templates