Jahangeer Ganaie| Srinagar| KNO | A 77-year-old man Ghulam Mohammad Wani from Pampore hamlet of Pulwama district is keeping the tradition alive by running one of the last ox-driven traditional oil mills operating in Kashmir.
Ghulam Mohammad Wani, known as Mum Wani, a resident of Namblabal Pampore has been associated with the profession for the last six decades after he learned it from his parents and grandparents.
Wani while talking with the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) said that with his death the century’s old profession will also die as nobody in the locality or his family is taking any interest in it.
“Since last six decades it has been my routine to wake up early in the morning and set up the mill equipment, uniting ox and start mill to extract oil,” he said, adding that he was in class 5th when he started to learn how to operate this mill from father and since then he is carrying his profession forward.
He said that technological advancement has taken a heavy toll on his profession and even his family members are telling him to leave it, “but till I am alive I am going to continue my work.”
“It takes around 3-4 days to process 100 kg mustard and I am hardly earning 100-200 rupees on it if I work full day which is not sufficient in today’s materialistic world,” Wani said.
Wani said that it hurts a bit to know that with my death, this legacy of my forefathers.
“I am old now and I won’t be able to earn anything now but for me it carries spiritual connotations and I can’t leave it till my last breath,” he said.
Wani said people prefer to buy market oil and demand for manually extracted oil is very less but there are some customers who still prefer to use this extracted oil.
He added that the traditional mill which he operates is made up of a wooden arrangement that is run by using bulls to extract oil from mustard seeds. The animal attached to a pole moves around the wooden scooped circular pit in the centre and as the animal moves in the circular ambit it exerts lateral pressure crushing the seeds in the pit to extract oil.
It is being said that oil extracted through this traditional method is of super quality as compared to refined packed oil.
He said that oil extractor (Taelwani) was known as Khoje ((Royal Man) art but this traditional oil mill is dying in Kashmir—(KNO)