Sujanpur Tira


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Malana is a small village of about 500 families situated on a plateau of Chandrakhani mountain at a height of about 12000 ft. It is surrounded by the lush-green forests, rugged mountainous ranges and difficult tract not easy to climb. That is why the outsiders could not influence the traditions of this village for thousands of years. This village can b~ approached through three difficult routes, the less difficult among all is the route of Jari. Jari is a small village which can be approached by mini bus or taxi. While proceeding to Manikaran one can drop at Jari. From Jari the mountainous path leads to the village of Malana. Malana is about nine kms from Jari, and with a little effort, normally a visitor reaches Malana from Jari in five of six hours.

The main occupation of the villagers is cultivation but the pro- duce is not enough to suffice the needs of the inhabitants, thus cattle rearing and collection of medicinal herbs are the other sources of livelihood. The people with their herds climb down to the areas of Mandi and Suket during winter. The main food crops include wheat, millet and maize. The whole land is in the name of the god of the village known as Jamlu Devta. The villagers work in the fields and are known as Majaras of the god. After harvest, a fraction of the produce is always offered to the god which is stored in the holy store of the temple. This stored Crop is used in various religious festivals and rituals. Even an outsider is served with the food taken from the store of the god. Jamlu Devta is the rustic form of the great saint Rishi Jamdagni. As the legend prevails Jamdagni was searching for a most conducive place for meditation. He was carrying eighteen images of the gods in a basket, symbolic of all the gods of the world, the wild wind scattered these images throughout the Beas valley.Wherever these images fell they became the gods of the locality. Jamdagni Rishi came to Malana and found the locality quite suitable for his meditation. So he stayed there for a while before proceeding   further. Slowly and gradually the people from far and wide especially from the high ranges of the Himalayas came there to settle. Since the saint was the most revered his verdict in disputes and deciding matters was always final. This tradition still exists among the masses. Strange enough, throughout the valley of Beas, the images of local gods were established but in this village there is no image of Jamlu Devta, instead Khanda of Jamlu Devta is taken as a symbol of the god. Jamlu Devta is named as the chief deity of Kullu valley and whenever there is a convocation of the gods of the valley the final verdict of Jamlu Devta is taken as the supreme one. Jamlu Devta communicates with the masses with the help of its Cur, the principal disciple.


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The most astonishing fact of the village is its democratic setup. Malana society elects the members to administer the locality in peace. There are two houses of the elected members, the lower and the upper house. The lower house is named as Kanishthang while the upper one is Jeyshthang. Jeyshthang has eleven members out of which three are permanent members and eight are temporary ones. These eight members are elected out of four wards called Chug. Each Chug is again divided into two parts, each part is called Chhuddi. The four wards are Thamyani, Nagvani, Palchani and Durani. So two elders are elected from each ward, i.e. one from each Chhuddi of every ward. These elders are known as Jathera. Three permanent members include Karmishth, i.e. the chief of the village and the main administrator. In fact, he is the chief executor of the will of the god. He is generally elected from Thamyani ward. Second is the priest known as Pujari of the Jamlu Devta. He is elected from Nagvani ward and the main function of the pujari is to perform the rituals and religious ceremonies, and to worship the god as well as to attend the religious ceremonies performed in the locality. The third permanent member is Our. Our is always elected by the Devta himself. It used to happen at some special occasions of religious convention when the soul of Devta entered the body of any person of the locality. He will shiver and profess the prophecy beyond human existence and powers. He will be elected as the Our.

Gur is the communicator of god's will. They are the three permanent members of the upper house and serve the Devta and the upper house throughout their life. The eight temporary members may be elected. When there is death of a member or anyone of them resigns, they all have to quit the house and the elections are declared in which the members of the two houses participate. Only the mature persons of the referred Chugs participate in the election.

The lower house is known as the Core. One mature member of each family is taken as member in this house. Generally the chief of the family is taken as the member. If there is no mature male in the family then the mature lady of the house is taken as the member. The consent of the lower house is obligatory in every decision. Though the matter is resolved in the name of the upper house yet until or unless the lower house gives its consent the matter lingers on. As such, sometimes the elders have difficult time to make the members of the lower house understand the gravity of the situation. Generally the consent of the lower house is always there. However, when there is no proper understanding between the two houses the matter is brought before the Devta in the temple where the Devta gives its final verdict through its Gur. It is binding on each and every person of the society of Malana. All the administration of the village is conducted with the help of the Jeysthang, the upper house. It includes the progress of the village, the business and any matter of importance. To help and assist the Jeysthang there are four     officers called Fougaldars. These Fougaldars are again elected from the four wards. To execute the decisions of the upper house is the main responsibility of these Fougaldars. They are also responsible for the security of the inhabitants. Each one of the Fougaldars gets Rupee one yearly from the deposits of the Devta. Generally there is no problem for these officers as the decisions are unanimous and abiding. Every villager is having great regard for these officers who work in the name of Jamlu Devta. There is a legend that the Devta always looks after them but never leaves a sinner or a culprit         unpunished. This fear and regard makes everyone disciplined. There is no reaction against any decision taken by either of the house or the Supreme body, the Jamlu Devta himself. That is why no example exists in the records of civil courts of Kullu district that any one of the residents of Malana village has ever approached the court for any judgement. Apart from the lower house represented by the adult members of each family there used to be an assembly of the villagers before the godly place where each and every member of the village irrespective of age and sex participates and is free to ask the Gur about the problems faced by them. These problems are generally of personal nature. This assembly is known as 'Ra Deo'.

The village of Malana comprise of two distinct parts. They are apart from each other at a distance of about a hundred meters and in-between these two parts lies the worship place, i.e. the temple of Jamlu Devta. They are known as Soura Berh and Dhara Berh. The place of the god is called Harcha. In this comparatively plain place, is erected the stage having length of about 15 feet and breadth of about 12 feet with a height of about two and a half feet. It is the meeting place of the two houses. Whenever there is need, one of the members of a house calls three times from this stage with the utterances of the words 'Doye Gatake' so that whosoever listens to the voice leaves behind the work and assembles there so that    immediately the members join to start the proceedings. Sometimes they are postponed for better times or in the absence of anyone of the three permanent members. But if one feels more urgency he would come and sit nearby the stage and bum the twigs of wood so that when its smoke is seen by the members they are collected and the proceedings take place immediately, taking account of the urgency of the matter. If the decision taken by the elders as well as the members of the lower house is not agreed upon by the complainant he may appeal in the Darbar of the god. The process is called 'Chhabe Pona '. Before going to the temple the permission is obligatory from the upper house first. Both sides of the quarrelling parties have to bring one goat each of the same size. They are bound on the two sides of the stage and the men belonging to them sit on their knees bending their face by the side of their goat. Both are covered with a cloth of piece. Gur, the communicator of the god recites the godly hymns and puts the grains of rice in the ears of the goats, whosoever shirks its body first to shun away the rice grains is supposed to be looser and the other side wins. The looser goat is cut into pieces and thrown into the stream while the other one is cut and distributed among the audience attending the ceremony. Thus the final decision is over which is not only binding but also         obligatory. Earlier, according to a foreign traveller, These two goats were given the poisonous needles and during the ritual whosoever died first was supposed to be looser. Hence that goat was thrown into the river. The looser side has to be fined. After the process is over both the sides compromise and ill-will prevailing among them is waved off with the help of a collective feast in which a few of the elders join; thus the atmosphere remains congenial.

People of Malana are simple and to some extent are beautiful in their looks. They possess the normal height and mixed features of Aryans, open forehead, round head, a bit long visage and shining face with the glow of crimson colour. They wear long lamas of wool and cover their head with round cap. The women are beautiful and braid their hair in different platelets bound together at the rear. They are very active and participate in almost all the rituals of the village. The marriages take place in the village only. Generally the spouses are selected from different parts of the village. The bride may be from Dhara Berh and groom from Soura Berh or otherwise. A few of the marriages have also taken place in the nearby villages like Rashmale, etc. But it is very rare.

The language spoken in Malana is typical one. It is more or less understood by a few villagers belonging to nearby localities only. For a foreigner, it is very difficult to understand it. It is called Kanashi language. The utterances the Gur rendered during trance are called 'Kanash Dana' which means the utterances of the god, hence the name of the language is Kanashi. It includes a few words of Kulluvi, Sirmouri and Sanskrit. It is strange that despite several claims that work has been done in this field not a single linguist has tried to explore the possibility of its analysis. Some of the historians think that earlier it was the settlement of Khasas and due to the difficult terrain the locality was isolated from the so-called civilized world and they had kept the traditions and language alive and unadulterated. Their traditions, fairs and festivals are intact. Twice a year the symbols of Jamlu Devta and other gods of the temple are taken out of the; chambers to have Darshana and the people participate with all their vitality. Falgun and Sawan are the two months auspicious for this ritual. During Falgun month the golden image of Akbar is also brought out of the chambers of the temple, There is a legend that a sadhu was travelling with two gold coins of Malana village when he was caught by the Mughal soldiers. He was imprisoned and the gold coins were deposited in the treasury of Akbar the great. The same night the king had a dream in which he saw Jamlu Devta directing him to release the Sadhu and deposit the gold coins in the treasury of Malana temple. Akbar himself supervised the operation and found the coins joined together. He was so overwhelmed that he sent his golden image symbolic of his person along with the gold coins to the treasury of Jamlu Devta. The golden image of Akbar is still there in the treasury of the god.

Once a year the disciples of the Jamlu Devta go out in the valley of Kullu to collect material for the depository of the god. They feel that each one living in the valley of Kullu is the disciple of Jamlu Devta and owes to the god a bit of his or her earnings. The collected material is deposited in the store and the money saved in the treasury for the hard days to come.

The people of Malana think themselves superior to all the communities settled in the valley of the gods, i.e. Kullu. Whenever a foreigner visits the village he is looked down upon by the inhabitants and they utter the words like 'Shoon, Shoon'. It is only when the outsiders wash themselves that they are accepted and received with food, etc.

Malana now open to rural tourism