Open Space

The Old Man and the Lake

The Old Man and the Lake

Haji Abdul Salam Butt, 75, is one of the oldest boatmen in Srinagar. He began working when he was 15 years old, and says the secret of his health is his profession as much as the regular swims he takes in Dal Lake. He has been witness to the city’s changing profile—from ‘Heaven on Earth’ to the ‘Terror capital of India’. In the 60s, he saw Shammi Kapoor shooting for the song Kashmir ki Kali (‘Blossom of Kashmir’), and remembers the long years of militancy that followed, a grim period when no tourists would come visiting and summer evenings were filled with the sound of gunfire. Nowadays, he is happy that tourists have returned to the valley— putting him back in business

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