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Discover surma, Bareilly's souvenir predominant

Sopan Joshi
June 30 , 2014
Less than 1 Min Read

In ancient Egypt, lining eyes with kohl indicated social rank. How this sulphide of lead journeyed to Bareilly has to do with Prophet Musa witnessing the light of God on the Kohe-Tur mountain, on his way to Madina. So bright was the light, it charred the mountain. The black stone thus obtained (galena) is exported across the world, ground into fine powder, and used as surma. Hakim Mohammad Hasham of Bareilly earned a reputation about 200 years ago for his medicinal surma. In Bazar Pul Qazi, just off Qutubkhana, several shops sell surma today, claiming Hasham’s legacy. Search for the little shop with a window opening into a masjid behind it, and a mulberry tree above. This is where Hasham used to sit. A range of surma preparations, from Rs 5 onwards, claim to treat every eye disorder you can Google or imagine. After the folding up of Bareilly’s woodcraft business, surma is Bareilly’s souvenir predominant.


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