By MAHADEEP SINGH JAMWAL | When we crisscross the scripts of Padama Shri Prof Shiv Dutt Nirmohi, son of the soil, every edition passed on is a masterpiece in itself. More so every conspectus of the author is focused around Duggar and titled with the first word as ‘Duggar’.
Some of them I like to mention; ‘Duggar ki Lok Gathayein’, ‘Duggar Ka Lok Sahitya’, Duggar Ke Dev Sthan’, ‘Duggar Ki Sanskriti’ ‘Duggar Ka Itihas’, ‘ Duggar Ke Amar Senani’, Duggar Ke Lok Devta’, Duggar Mein Budhmat’, ‘Duggar Ke Raj Mahal’, Duggar Ke Shahidi Samarak’, Duggar Ki Aitihasik Smadhiyan’, ‘Duggar Ki Zatain’, Duggar Ka Lok Sangit’ etc. His yeoman’s service to the Dogri language and Dogra’s cultural heritage and archiving them is really a treasure trove. His research work stands recognized by the Government of India, by bestowment of “Padam Shree’ title on him for his solid contribution to literature and culture.
My pass through the collection of Shiv Nirmohi’s books, the most fascinating book that taught me the ultimate things that connected me with all the people who are alive, and who had ever been alive in Udhampur with their little or more contribution towards making Udhampur a proud place, it was “Udhampur – Sanskriti Aur Virasat” book of the author, recently supplemented to my little library. After scrolling every folio of the book, it proved to be a uniquely portable magic, which made me travel across the entire Udhampur’s culture and heritage, without moving my feet. It is a colossal compendium of research work confined to Dogra culture and heritage in Udhampur spread over to its Geographical Environment, Tribes and People, Historical Background, Public Life, Language Dialects and Literature, Natural Heritage Water, (Detailing the natural source of water such as Lakes, Natural water reservoirs-Jalkund, Ponds, ‘Bowlies’, Rivers & Rivulets, Canals and Wells. Built Heritage (Religious buildings such as Temples, Mosques & Gurdwaras, Historical Buildings such as Fort, Palaces, Inn, Tombs, Martyr’s Memorial, Monuments, built by Indian Army, Historic Towns and Sites, Historical Garden, Scenic Spots, Petrography, Takri Dogri Inscription) and Living Inheritance (Brief note about those from Udhampur contributing in the field of Journalism, Great Writers, Sahitya Akademi Awardees, Mention Of Books Of Great Writers, Social Workers, Musicians, Statuary, Painter, Architects & Craftsman, Theater Artist, Doctors/Medical Practitioners, Sports Legends, Philosopher, Saint , ‘Darvesh’, Academician and National Stage Stars). The compendium of nine chapters is such a spectrum that none worth mentioning has escaped from the vision of the writer to be protected under one umbrella.
The unique feature of the book is the description of ‘Devika’, a cultural river of Dogras. This finds mention in ‘Padam Puran’, Vishnoo Puran’, Matsya Puran’, ‘Agni Puran’, ‘Markandey Puran’, ‘Vishnoo-Dharmotar Puran’, and ‘Neelmat Puran’, In religious texts, the Devika has been equated with ‘Ganga’, ‘Jamuna’, ‘Sarswati’, ‘Kaveri’ in absolving sin. According to ‘Padam Puran’ the river that flows in Duggar Pradesh from Sudh Maha Dev to Purmandal is the Devika. The writer has mentioned ‘Gangeda Hills’ at Udhampur, to be a source of origin for seven rivulets compared with Ganga river named as: 1. Narad Ganga 2. Sharda Ganga 3. Devak Ganga 4. Gupt Ganga 5. Rumble Su Ganga 6. Garud Ganga and 7. Abhisar or Avihar Ganga. The Udhampur was a proud place for at least two thousand water reservoirs known as ‘Bowlies’. The uniqueness of them was that hardly there was any such reservoir not having ‘Symbol of Naags’. The statues of folk heroes, warriors, feudal lords, kings and queens also stand installed. In this way, these ‘Bowlies’ also preserved local history and culture. The detailed description of scattered tombs and martyrs memorial take us to the time of their deeds and make us proud of our ancestry.
Another touching feature of the book is mentioning of traditional agriculture equipment of Dogras, the household wooden items, ornaments worn by Dogra ladies and old timer traditional games (many of them now in extinction). The book apprises us that ‘Asur’, ‘Rakshas’ and ‘Detaey’ had lived on the bank of ‘Chander Bhaga’ in mountainous region of Udhampur and this area had been under the rule of ‘Zogno’, master in black magic, (Pancheri & Mongri area) where woman were the heads of family and area. From these rulers, the master of black magic, the power batons passed on to ‘Nagas’, who remained dominant in Akhnoor, Ujjah area, Bral, Kattal, Chenani, Basantgarh, upper mountainous region, lahur Kot (Poonch). After the ‘Naga’ the areas also remain under ‘Jakash’ rulers. But with the advent of ‘Khas’, ‘Hayun’, and ‘Kushan’, this region turned into smaller states. Various small state finding mention in the book are: ‘Babbapur Rajaya’, ‘Krimchi Rajaya’, ‘Bhuti Rajaya’, ‘Himmata’, ‘Pal dynasty’, ‘Chandel’, ‘Bandralta’, ‘Balbalta Rajaya’. The Udhampur as mentioned in the book has relevance with ‘Balbalta’. Maharaja Gulab Singh had conferred the ‘Balbalta Jagir’ to his elder son ‘Udham Singh’, who wished to develop a city at the foothills of ‘Gangera’ and a palace was built at the Bank of Devika. This city was named after him as ‘Udhampur’ coinciding with his name Udham Singh.
Concluding I can vouch the book “Udhampur- Sanskriti Aur Virasat” is such a bouquet, that has mixed blend of fragrances emanating from all those, who have contributed or contributing towards mapping Udhampur on higher standards of recognition to make Udhampur, a reference centre in the annals of the history. Lastly, I extend congratulations and best wishes for the author’s next adventure!
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