Wednesday, December 16, 2015





(This ancient Vedic  custom is still practised in marriages by the  Kashmiri Pandits..)

Before the actual date of marriage or Lagan , the priest from bride’s family visits the family of bridegroom carrying the Lagan Cheer. Lagan-Cheer is a photo cum written document that has images of Sri Rama and Sita Ji  or Shiva and Parvati apart from other details like the actual date of the  Lagan, names of the bride and bridegroom , names of the parents of the bride and bridegroom, place of the residence of both the families ,auspicious time for start and end of the Lagan ceremony , number of persons accompanying the bridegroom as Baraatis, number of priests who shall perform the Lagan ceremony and Gotra of the bride and the bridegroom .

Family members of the bridegroom invite their relatives for this function and make them sit comfortably in a spacious room where the priest from the bride's family is supposed to sit and deliver the Lagan-Cheer to the elders . The priest , who is made to sit on a decorated seat with cushions , reads everything written on the Lagan-Cheer with recitation of Mantras wishing the would be couple a long and blissful married life. Women from the bridegroom's family join together and sing the traditional Vanvun (folk singing without any musical instrument ). i quote some lines ...
Aaeidd  aayii vokhaeill ta aaeidd *ranga naavan

Haawas-geer aayi *khraavsn pyaath….

( To join this function , some guest travelled on foot ,
others came in coloured boats .
Some eager put wooden sleepers in their feet to travel )

Koh tala seeriyo draakho nonna’ye

Lagan cheer hyaath Yyendraaz hai aav..

( As if the bright sun emerged from the hills ,
Behold ! here comes Lord Indra with Lagan Cheer )

Lagan cheer hyathh aayi krishen bagvaanas,

Devaan-khaanas bar mutchraav.
Paa'na chhu'ss raatchh mahadeev shuer paanas,
Vaen Tche ishaanas kaar pushraav..

( Here comes the Lagan Cheer for our Krishna ,
Now open the door of the sitting room for guests..
Lord Shiva is himself the protector of our innocent bridegroom,
Now let us entrust this task to  almighty *Ishaan only.)

The family of the bridegroom also serves food to guests. The priest is also given some Dakshina  ( cash for performing the ritual ) apart from Naabad (sugar candy ) , sweets and fruits .
This system of documenting marriages traces its origin to Vedic period when wife was known as *Bharaaya (Dharampatni ). She was a source of the strength in helping the husband uphold cultural, religious, and righteous principles which were the integral basis of a spiritually centred society. Further *Bhoj Patra ( birch tree bark known as Burza Pattar In kashmiri ) and palm leaves were used in ancient times for writing and drawing images .Aryans also used Bhoj patra for medicinal purposes . Himalayan Bhoj Patra was also used by the Kashmiri Pandits for writing their sacred texts and drawing images of Gods or illustrating scriptures .

Dr S S Toshakhani informs that clear details of of Lagancheerika( Lagan Cheer)  is available in Kshemendrs's Lokaprakasha written in 11th century.

Kashmiri Muslims also follow a some what similar practice of sending marriage document or Saata- Naama through some elder relation. The middleman or Manzimyo’r who arranged the marriage also joins the elderly relative .

( Avtar Mota )

Bharaaya is a popular word with Kashmiri Pandits .Mahabharta also refers to wife as Bharaaya apart from detailing the Institution of marriage. In Mahabharata , Yaksha asks Yudhishtira,
"kimsvin mitram Grihesatah?"
(Who is the friend of a householder? )
To this the prince answers ,
" Bhaaryaa Mitram Grihesatah"
(The friend of a householder is his spouse.)
In another question Yaksha asks Yudhishtira,
“kimsvid daiva krutah sakha”
(Who is man's god-given friend?)
Yudhishtira's answer was this :-
"Bhaaryaa daivakrutah sakha."
(For a man , A wife is God’s given friend .)
In ancient times, Talismans were also written on Bhoja Patra .This is mentioned in Panch Tantra text . According to legend , this tree bark was also used as clothing by attendants of Lord Shiva . Images and paintings were also drawn on Bhoj Patra by the  Kashmiri Pandits.
*Lord Shiva is also known as Ishaan.*
* Khraav ( Khraavun ) is a wooden sleeper that was used in Kashmir .
* Before the arrival of motor transport in Kashmir , apart from Tongas , boats were used as mode of transport. A marriage procession or Baraat would generally make use of this water transport .A ranga naav or ranga shikaer was a colourfully decorated VIP  boat used for bridegroom and some VIPs while the general Baraatis would sit comfortably in  Doongas or bigger boats to travel to  bride's house .Tea  and Kashmiri bakery was served to Baraatis in Doongas or  boats during this journey.

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1 comment:

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