Every slice of our ancestry and history reflects the human adaptability of coexisting with the nature and surroundings. But sometimes to survive the harsh elements, one needs to create the right tools too.
In those days of yore, Al Jarz was a product born out of such a necessity. It came into existence purely out of the need to adapt to the landscape, the mountainous terrain of Musandam. And in due course of time, the Omanis in Musandam were armed with the right weapon or tool to face the elements in that harsh environment.
How it evolved
How they faced the challenges and won over them is the story of Al Jarz too and it gives us an idea of how this small axe at the end of a long stick and the people who held it has evolved over the years.
An apt illustration
I believe Al Jarz aptly illustrates how the Omani civilisation evolved over the years and how it is very much a part of the people of Musandam, and serving as their identity. The unique axe depicts how man made his living, created a tool or a weapon to be able to survive the challenges nature threw upon him.
Pride of place
And from its basic function as a weapon to becoming a handy support tool to being an adornment and now a worthy item that has raised international curiosity, provoking a desire to possess it, has made the jarz travel quite a journey – from ancient times to modernity. And with time, it has evolved in the right way, not relegating itself to being a relic of the past, like the sad fate some antique items face. The jarz has not become a forgotten treasure buried in the past, but is right here in its pride of place, in the hands of the people of Musandam and in their hearts.
Symbol of Musandam
Oman is a rich country steeped in heritage and culture and it has gracefully evolved in this manner balancing both tradition and modernity in the right manner. Today, Al Jarz is held with pride and is worn with honour by the people of the Musandam region. It is a proud symbol of the region.
Not just a tourist’s souvenir
The younger generation should embrace the culture, not just as a tourism perspective alone, but also as a proud heritage of the region and the Sultanate. Let the craft of Al Jarz making not be limited only to the traditional old craftsmen of the Lima village, let it also be taken forward for the purpose of preserving the craft for posterity’s sake. Care should be taken to not let this precious axe become just a tourist’s souvenir in the future, rather let the human story and the alluring use of jarz continue.
Jarz in tandem with Vision 2040
One of the aims of the Vision 2040 is to focus on the strengths of the different regions of Oman and develop them as part of the progressive march of the nation. And the Musandam region has so much to offer to the growth of our nation. One of the many reasons that the people of Musandam are beaming with pride is that this is the region from where the jarz has emanated. And both Musandam and the jarz offer enough reasons for the hearts of every Omani to thump in pride.