Memorial Stones of Jammu and Kashmir (Yojana August 2020) (Download PDF)

Doorsteptutor material for UGC is prepared by world's top subject experts: Get detailed illustrated notes covering entire syllabus: point-by-point for high retention.

  • Hundreds of memorial stones in Jammu and Kashmir are unprotected and undocumented.
  • Earliest examples of memorial stones date back to circa 2nd 3rd century CE.
  • Memorial stones reflect a widespread practice based on the tenets of ‘hero worship’ as well as ‘ritual death’ like ‘Praya’ and Sati.
  • The widespread practice of raising memorial stones seems to have been discontinued after Muslim rule in the 14th century.
  • The memorial stones reflect an edifice non-sepulchral and purely commemorative in character, raised in memory or Honour of the deceased.
  • The outermost hills of the Himalayas that stretch from Himachal Pradesh to the Pothawar in Pakistan have been named as the Jammu region. This region has been known in the Puranas, as DarvaAbhisara has been active meeting point for diverse socio-cultural races, different religious beliefs, and art traditions.
  • The Jammu region is marked by Ravi River in the east and Jhelum River in the west.
  • The archaeological evidences found right from Paleolithic period to Indus Valley Culture through Indo-Greek, Mauryan, Kushana, and Gupta eras.
  • The formation of Rajput states, Mughal supremacy, the period of Pathan dominance, and the British rule reflects a perennial flow of culture in the Jammu region.
  • The memorial stones provide custom an insight into the ethnic character, customs, belief, and practices of Dogras who have a distinct identity, language, and traditional mode of living.

Mohras and Its Types

  • Hero/Warrior stones raised in Honour of warriors locally called as mohras.
  • These memorial stones are invariably found near a water source like ponds and baolies-the freshwater springs and especially in the post 17th century freshwater springs.
  • Commemorative tablets are the types of legendary folk heroes like Baba Jitto, Data Ranpat, and Mian Dido et al.
  • The other most prevalent type of memorial stones in Jammu region is those of Satis, Kuldevis, Kuldevtas, and Shaheeds.

Sati Stones

  • The ‘Mohras’ of ladies called as Satis, Shilvantis, Syabatis are one of the most commonly found forms of memorial stones.
  • An age old practice where women used to immolate with her dead husband (Sahagamana) or after receiving the news of her dead husband (Anugamana) or at the death of a brother, son or any other hero to save her Honour or of the family, clan, village, or for some social cause.

Concept of Hatya

  • Memorial stones being raised in the Honour of a dead ancestor.
  • This also includes the one who has died an unnatural death or died for a cause.
  • The ultimate confirmation is done through a ritual of ‘jatar’ or ‘kancchatna’ where a medium called as dayala or doala goes into a trance at the request of the affected party.
  • This belief is a commonplace factor of the life of the Dogras.

Memorials for the Childless

  • Raised in the past for those family members who die as childless.
  • These memorial stones were locally called as ‘autar’ mohras where a half-standing man with a folded hand is shown.
  • These mohras are worshipped on special sacred days and festivals.
  • The stone is washed and Tilak of sindhoor is applied to it.

Form and Style

  • Two distinct varieties in the Jammu memorial stones.
  • Pan-Indian tradition is a three dimensional structures shaped like a miniature temple to be viewed frontally.
  • Such tall stones fashioned like a small temple are divided into three segments.
    • The lower register depicts the dramatis personate.
    • The upper part tapers into a conical spire.
  • Stones in the shape of rectangular relief.
    • The dimension range from three to four feet.
    • Smaller versions, which measure between two to one and a half feet.

Conclusion

  • Memorial stones are now no more created by traditional carvers locally called as ‘Batede’ or ‘Slaede’ as these families have abandoned their ancestral trade.
  • Rajatarangini is full of instances, which confirms that sati was widely practiced in Kashmir.
  • Prayopavesha or Praya was a solemn fast undertaken by Brahmin priests or Purohits as a means of protest against a royal decision or policy.
  • Purohits or Brahmin priests were an influential class of old Kashmir being organized into corporations (prasada) at all the more important shrines and pilgrimage places.

- Published/Last Modified on: November 23, 2020

Economy, Yojana