Thursday, January 31, 2013

Charpoy or Angarabe..

Sudanese or Indian..?

 The influence of the Indian culture and ethnicity in Sudan is widely unknown, due to the absence of any serious anthropological studies.. Adding to this, the patriotic arrogance practiced among many Northern Sudanese in particular, who represent majority of literate and intelligentsia of the Sudan..

Between India and Sudan, an unknown historical story, goes beyond the recent 200 years (Suakin Times).. I personally guess it goes back to early Mamluk times (1500 AD), when Egyptian Navy had seized all western shores of India for long six months.. As how much this was the trigger of Egypto-Indian discomfort.. It was the Sudanese-Indian love story..!!

Ingredients of Indian Culture in Sudan are not limited to women's Jewelry, Perfumes, Dress, or men's Turban, Mustaches, Military-Code, but also to household’s Bed-Frames, Ornaments and Architecture.. Social customs of Weddings, Funerals, Gender and FGM are almost identical..

The 4000 km journey from India to Sudan was certainly too long and too old.. There are no clear evidences on time or route; which surprisingly had left no trace along possible ports of the maritime voyages or caravan trails..!!

Sudan is almost an in-land country, with lots of natural barrier towards the Red Sea.. Having such traditions to cross blocks of nations and territories; to find a comfort in Sudan is a big enigma that no one had the interests to answer..!!

Traditional Sudanese Angarabe (Charpoy)

Enjoy the Wedding cermonies of Sudaness Reem and Indian Mohammed

 Epistemic Tour on Charpoy

Charpai, Charpaya or Charpoy (Persian, Urdu, Saraiki, Punjabi, Pashto چارپائی; char "four" + paya "footed") is a traditional woven bed in the Subcontinent. In some languages like in Punjabi and Saraiki, it is also called a Manjaa or Manji and in Sindhi and Saraiki it is also called a Khatt, Khaatt or Khattra. It consists of a wooden frame bordering a set of knotted ropes. Traditionally the user would lie directly on top of the ropes without an intervening mattress. Its making begins with the tying of a jee (Life knot) at one corner of the bed.
In Dera Ghazi Khan, the big Charpai is also called a hamacha. This city has the world largest charpai.

A Brief History of Charpoys
Charpoys are an ancient furniture style still used extensively today in the Indian sub-continent. The earliest reference we have found is in Hobson Jobson, a glossary of colloquial Anglo Indian words and phrases :
Charpoy, s, H.(Hindi) charpai, from P.(Persian) chihar-pai (i.e. four-feet), the common Indian bedstead, sometimes of very rude materials, but in other cases handsomely wrought and painted. It is correctly described in the quotation from Ibn Batuta.* c.1350.-
“The beds in India are very light. A single man can carry one and every traveller should have his own bed, which his slave carries about on his head. The bed consists of four conical legs on which four staves are laid ; between they plait a sort of ribbon of silk or cotton. When you lie on it you need nothing else to render the bed sufficiently elastic.”-iii. 380.
*Ibn Batuta. Voyages d’Ibn Batoutah, Texte Arabe, (Societe Asiatique). 4 vols. Paris, 1853-58.

Charpoy/manji is an ancient furniture style still used extensively today charpoy is very light bed a single man can carry. The Charpoy is very versatile and functional piece of furniture we have taken this simple design to make many different pieces of furniture thus we have several sizes which include beds benches and footstools.
“Char Paya” in Persian meanings four footed bed stead of woven webbing or hemp stretched on a wooden frame on four legs common in this subcontinent of Indo-Pak the bed used in Pakistan India consisting of a frame strung with tapes or light rope. Charpoy is an important part of the lives of the Pakistani people it used as bed at night and for guest offered charpoy to sit and relax.
A manji is a traditional hand woven bed used all over Pakistan specially the villages of Pakistan it consists of a wooden frame bordering a set of knotted ropes. Charpoy is traditionally made of wood and its feet or (poy) are beautifully carved or decorated with lacquer or paints. It’s knitted with date palm leaves or a rope made of jute. Now a day’s charpoy also made of Iron pipe and knitted with colorful plastic rope.
Charpoy is multi uses furniture it used not only at home but at commercial basis on long route the village hotels used charpoy and serves food on it the traveler takes rest at mid journey the truck driver spend their night on these charpoy at road side hotels and restaurants. Char payee means four footed bed in saraiki and Punjabi it called manjaa or manjee and in Sind it called khatt khaatt or khattra or khatya traditionally user would lie directly on top of the ropes without an intervening mattress. It’s making begins with the tying of a life knot at one corner of the bed. In dera ghazi khan the big charpai is also called ahamacha this city has the world’s largest charpai

Images for the Multi-Uses of Charpoy in the Subcontinent



  1. Lovely !

    For cultural parallelism why not include some images of the selfsame charpaya/angareeb that Sudanese including Arab nomads of Kordofan have just to reflect the similarity and stress the point.

    1. Cultural communications are when bilateral ingredients are shared or transfer in both ways.. Cultural influence is when only one party exports and the other receives..
      In our case, India is far ancient and civilized than Sudan.. My whole quest is about the mysterious event that made such relation to happen.. It is not in any referrals, nor in folklore..!
      Therefore, Indians were able to develop and innovate more in their Charpoy.. while we could not, except use iron instead of wood.. and plastic robes instead of organic ones..
      This is something defeat geography, politics and sociology as well..

  2. I believe what you have written about progress, understanding, and love. I plan to read more of your blog.

    1. It is my pleasure to get to know a great reader and eventually a great writer.. in times of sign languages..!

  3. Great post. In particular I found the bit about ancient furniture interesting and the fact that a range of footstools, benches and beds have been made using these techniques.

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