You see them peppered throughout villages in Punjab, usually standing conspicuous amongst the farmlands, an oasis of stone and wooden and inexperienced bushes. Some madhis are small, sitting in secret nooks, recognized solely to the individuals who worship them. They’ve all been created to honour the recollections of ancestors, put in within the fields to recollect these members of the family who died with out a progeny.
These brick buildings, massive or small, are all the time accompanied by not less than one tree — a mirrored image of how some traditions are rooted within the atmosphere, claimed Teja Singh Taggad, a retired authorities college trainer from Burj village in Bathinda. “The madhis are all the time protected by the shadow of a tree,” he mentioned, including, “At some locations, you will see three or extra bushes over one madhi.”
These madhis are peppered throughout the Malwa area that features Bathinda, Mansa, Barnala, Faridkot, Ferozepur, Ludhiana, Moga, Muktsar, Patiala, Sangrur and Fazilka.
They’re largely accompanied by the Indian Jujube tree, often known as Ber in Hindi. However, there are various locations the place Shisham, Peepal, banyan and neem bushes have additionally matured, offering a secure haven to birds and critters.
“The custom of creating a madhi within the reminiscence of ancestors is centuries previous,” Amritpal Singh Taggad, the principal of Bhakt Namdev Excessive Faculty in Maur Mandi advised 101Reporters.
In Burj, the place he lives, every of the 300 households within the village has a madhi.
“However, many think about the constructing of madhis to be a superstition. They fail to understand that these madhis have benefitted the atmosphere by elevating hundreds of bushes,” he mentioned.
PROTECTED BY FAITH
Chopping a tree that shrouds a madhi is taken into account sacrilege. Nikka Singh Purba, a resident of Chak Janisar village in Ferozepur district, mentioned, “We’ve by no means seen or heard of a tree on a madhi being hacked.”
Satinder Singh Brar, a farmer from Bajidpur Bhoma village of Fazilka district, mentioned that folks respect the bushes that develop round a madhi. “Individuals could lower bushes round it, however the bushes on the madhis face no such hazard. Nobody may even consider chopping down the bushes right here resulting from worry of unhealthy luck,” he mentioned.
Such is the reverence for a tree on the madhi that even when it dies or is uprooted following a cantankerous storm, the wooden isn’t taken away for private use.
“It’s given to a needy individual or donated to a gurdwara,” mentioned Amritpal Kular, a farmer from Sangaria city that borders Rajasthan. “Then, both a brand new tree is planted over the madhi or the madhi itself is relocated below one other tree.”
The fruits from the bushes on the madhis are by no means plucked. “Every time they fall on the bottom, they’re taken for prasad,” he added.
On the 14th of each month, one member of the family pays the customary obeisance to their madhi. They combine milk with water and sprinkle it across the memorial — a ritual known as ‘Lassi Dalna’.
Some memorials are so previous that households have no idea who they belong to. But, the madhis proceed to stay an essential a part of their lives, revered throughout particular events and festivals.
Be it weddings, Teej or the delivery of a kid, individuals search blessing on the madhis. On Holi and Deepawali, the madhis tackle a festive look. Lamps are lit throughout them and they’re painted and adorned within the spirit of the pageant.
TRADITIONS CROSSING BOUNDARIES
A long time in the past, when water from Punjab’s canals made inroads into Rajasthan, hundreds of Sikh households got here to Hanumangarh and Sri Ganganagar districts within the state looking for agricultural prospects. They ultimately purchased land across the canal and settled down. With them, in addition they introduced the custom of madhis.
A number of madhis are additionally seen in Haryana. Some individuals, who dwell overseas, take the soil from the madhi with them.
Former deputy sarpanch of Malarampura village in Hanumangarh district Manjit Singh mentioned that his household arrived right here from Dabdi Khana in Punjab. Singh, who does conventional farming, mentioned he didn’t neglect his custom and made madhis in his land. “A madhi is a middle of reverence for us,” he mentioned.
(The creator is a Hanumangarh-based freelance journalist and a member of 101reporters, a pan-India community of grassroots reporters.)