hia clergy always wears a turban as a mark of their identity. The colour symbolism of the turban is the centrepiece of this schema. If a turban is black, it means the person wearing it tacitly claims of sharing his bloodline with Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), like our Agas in Kashmir.
Those who wear white turban will not necessarily brag about their bloodline but among them, we have got Ansaris whose confidence and pride speak beyond the measure of words. They feel and eventually believe they have fallen from the sky along with Adam and Eve. So any of our immediate black turban clad Agas is usually addressed as Aga Saeb as a mark of respect.
Back in the ’90s, the Sikh regiment of the Indian Army, who also wore black turbans, earned name and fame in Kashmir. One day a Kashmiri couple was about to sleep right after dinner. Before that, the wife went outside to throw the remaining food to the dogs.
After clanking the copper plate against the stone, she overheard a whisper. To be sure she really did, she rose on her toes and cast a glance above the wall. Outside she saw Sikh army personnel moving here and there in the neighbourhood, maintaining a cordon around the village.
The wife hurriedly came back and shook his husband out of sleep. “Kacztembar pey’ya! Yepaer chi teet Aga Saeb aamyit, czi chukh shongmut. Thod voth, timan kar jaldi salam (Are you blind? Out there are so many Aga Saebs and you have gone to sleep. Get up and go greet them),” she said.
The husband took a staggering walk up to the oval-shaped wooden gate and went outside. The wife kept anxiously moving the beads of a rosary, waiting to hear the good word from her husband.
After half an hour, her husband came with a swollen eye, limping and groaning, and threw himself on the bed. The wife surprisingly enquired what had happened. Pulling the quilt above his knees and whispering in a measured voice, he said, “Peovyey taawan, tim ney aes Aga Saeb, tim hey aes Sikh Saeb.”