Hasandin, a peasant-labourer, doubles as a horsewallah every summer when tourists flock to Kashmir. He hopes someday to save enough money to be able to afford a wedding feast for his son at the shrine of Baba Pamdin. After saying the morning namaz as an exception one day, he sets out with his three horses, nephew and son for the bus stand in Tangmarg, anticipating generous customers - like the Gora Sahibs - who will go on a trek to Gulmarg, Khilanmarg, Afrabat, and finally up to the frozen lake of Alpatthar. Instead, he meets Khanna Sahib, a cunning and stingy shopkeeper from Delhi, who squirms in discomfort before parting with a few annas to buy him tea, and then falsely accuses him of stealing his camera stand at the end of the trek.
Published first in 1957 and told with an incisiveness characteristic of Upendra Nath Ashk, Sorrow of the Snows is a satirical yet compassionate account of the penury and deprivation that began setting in in Kashmir after Independence. It is also the larger story of every farmer in India who rests the responsibility of his happiness and sorrows on God's shoulders.
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