Since time immemorial, anthropologists and sociologists have been trying to wrap their heads around the concept of caste and biraderi in Punjab. While colonial anthropology studied these groups with the explicit agenda of enforcing social control, the discourse surrounding traits and characteristics of one genealogical + occupational group have been internalized over time by the 'native' population. So tags like a Sheikh being miserly, an Arain being simple, and a Rajput being headstrong, have stuck over time and are still passed on as convenient half-truths - even after rapid urbanization.
One such half-truth is about the love for food found in the Kashmiri biraderi, and specifically in the Butt sub-clan. This is a news report done by Samaa TV on the dietary habits of this particular sub-clan. (Very grateful to Hyder Cheema for sharing this on my Facebook wall).
(Translation as follows. Respondents in Italics)
Butt 1: 'Mash'Allah, all this eating is making me tired, so I'm getting a massage too'
Background: Butts are very nice and innocent people, but when faced with a plate of food (roti), their innocence vanishes. The spirit of Changez Khan is awakened within them, and just like Changez Khan used to destroy all before him, Butts have a tendency to clean away the entire dinner table. And why shouldn't they? Because as the famous saying goes, 'those who don't have a fold on their belly, isn't a Butt'
Intellectual Butt: 'There is no doubt that the Butt biraderi is a big fan of eating and drinking. I keep asking them to bring me food, regardless of whether I've already had dinner or not. They serve me with 1.5 kilograms of Chicken karahi and I tell them to back off. They should eat their own food, and stay away from mine.'
The food romance of Butts is an endearing characteristic. They're no ordinary people, since it's run-of-the-mill for them to have 2 litres to drink with one meal.
Butt 3: 'When one doesn't have anything to do, its normal to feel twice as hungry.'
Butt 1: 'It's almost necessary to have Sri Paye (Goat trotters in broth) from the walled city (Lahore) for breakfast, for lunch we can have Biryani, and then for dinner, we'll get anything from wherever we can find something.'
Some shopkeepers and food vendors get very anxious whenever they get Butt customers. Their major concern is that if a member of the Butt clan walks in, how will we feed all the other customers?
Food vendor: 'We start feeling really tense if 2-3 Butts walk into our shop. How will we cater to their demands? How will we serve our other customers? They usually leave after they've finished off everything there is to eat'
It is said that Butts can bear any difficulty except hunger. And as wise people say, Butts have three characteristics: number 1, A heavy diet, number 2, a heavy diet, and number 3, a heavy diet. With cameraman Ali Mujtaba, this was Rai Hasnain, Samaa TV, Lahore.