H C Katoch
“Suryaputri” popularly known as Tawi is a revered lineage from Sun as Ganga is known for its origin from Lord Vishnu in our Shastras (spiritual books). Ganga is the only river which is pure divine with its “Papmochini” attributes.
However, Tawi is the symbol of the identity of the people living in Jammu. Every born human being, animal and even bird lives with its water till end of life. Word Tawi is always written in official records, in our documents, postal address and correspondence as “Jammu Tawi”. Thus it is eternal till this planet exists. It is serving the people both in house and in fields like a mother. A life giving deity that we see with our open physical eyes.
Physical origin of Tawi is from Kapilas (Seoj) also called Kalla Kund and this divine stream with gushing speed is embraced by Kirchi stream after traversing 25 Kms at Shallu where it is named as River Tawi. It resembles the flow of River Jhelum from Verinag Qazigund in Kashmir. Since, it flows from the glacier at its place of origin and upper reaches extending from Seoj to Dudu spread over vast chunk of land is rich in vegetation like pine, fur and cedar trees and along with it are lush green meadows that makes the journey full of divine blessings where pollution is nowhere. This descendancy of the stream is exalting in the eyes of poets and scholarly persons. Its water is very cold with temperature at about 3 degree Celsius. Various destinations come on its way prominent among them are Jakhed, Pattan garh, Mantalai, Chajj, Sudh Mahadev, Binisung, Mandir Daushalla, Chenani Town, Samroli, Laddan Power house, Udhampur, Jaganu, Roun, Krishanpur, Manwal, Jandrah, Athem, Baba Perh, Katal Batal, Nagrota, Jammu City, Nikki Tawi and finally Thub Village where it embraces Chenab River. River Tawi after traversing 160 kms from Dudu reaches Jammu.
There are some prominent streams that join Tawi are :- stream from Gou Karan above Sudh Mahadev that joins Tawi at Binisung, another stream Raji joins before start of Chenani Power House and stream starting from Dudar joins at Gudar. These streams make Tawi flow more rich in water. As a result, 33 MW capacity Power Hydle Project at Chenani gets life from the water of Tawi. A sad state of affairs is the pollution created in Jammu City that destroys the purity of this river. Jammu Municipal Corporation is reported to have started addressing this problem.
Tawi has its own historical background that depicts its strength of divinity in a different perspective of peace giving atmosphere and environment. Raja Jambuloachan established Jammu city on the Banks of River Tawi after seeing the miracle where a lion and a goat were drinking water side by side on its Bank. Wars were fought in 1965 and 1971 with Pakistan, but the divine strength of this River that lies in the feet of Bawe Wali Mata kept the city safe. Bawe Wali Mata is another deity overseeing River Tawi. Even Maha Maya temple, too has its divine glances falling on this River.
The presence of this River is a divine gift amongst others to the people of Jammu city. Its water irrigates the land in plain areas and nourishes the land of the farming community. Tawi is mother for the humanity living in the sites of its flow which are towns, villages and hamlets.
This shows us the importance and calls for remembrance not only as a river but also a life giving divine force. Hence it becomes a matter of revering the River as a deity also. For this purpose social gathering to play homage one day in a year is a very befitting tribute.
So far, nobody, amongst the intellectuals, politicians, social workers or any prominent person could moot an idea of Tawi Darshan on the lines of Sindhu Darshan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed Sindhu Pujan at Nimo Leh during his visit to Ladakh on 3rd July. We salute Tarun Vijay former Member Parliament, veteran writer and journalist for his initiative to start Sindhu Darshan as back as in 1997. The first discovery of this river for its glorification started in 1996 when Tarun along with L.K.Advani the vetern patriarch of Bhartiya Janta Party performed pooja at the bank of the river. This is significance of our culture where every object of nourishing the humanity is adored as it has the inliving presence of eternal Braham.
PEACE an organization headed by Narinder Sharma took a lead to popularise Tawi Darshan on 15th of June 2019 at village Shallu in Dudu of District Udhampur. He is the pioneer of this event and involved Directorate of Tourism Jammu. O P Bhagat Director Touirm gave whole hearted support to the organizational Head Narinder Sharma for this venture. It was a very successful event covering a large gathering of about 2000 people on the Bank of River Tawi at Shallu. The President of PEACE NGO revealed that the Sindhu Darshan event in 1997 had left a deep mark in his memory to replicate this idea for Tawi, but its intensity became very high in 2017 when he along with volunteers of his organisation and local people traversed the hilly terrain from Dudu to Seoj to see the origin of Tawi and features of the area. This culminated in actual event in 2019. Enthusiasm of locals was very high to make this event very successful through cultural programmes and worship of the deity Tawi.
Twenty one scholars from Sanskrit Vishav Vidhalaya Jammu performed rituals in the form of “Jal Abhishek” and chanted Vedic Hymns along with the water collected from seven pious rivers from the country. It was a thrilling scene giving excitement to the gathering with spiritual waves.
Kripal Singh, Curator Dogra Art Museum Jammu who composed arti in reverence to Suryaputri was also present on this occasion. Further, the ceremony of lit lamps offering in Tawi was still more attractive similar to that at Har Ki Paudi, Haridwar where numerous lit earthern lamps with flower petals start floating on the surface of Ganga.
Padam Shree Professor Shiv Nirmohi who has written in detail about Suryaputri in his book Tapishi was honoured on this occasion.
The event attracted people of different faiths and communities and all actively participated in this congregation that encouraged the organisers to make it annual feature. Although this event was repeated this year also, but, because of Covid 19 lockdown it was more a symbolic than the actual colourful event. This repeated colourful event of Tawi Darshan has generated heat amongst the people of the area that has provided jubilation to the local folk who are now devoted to expand the canvass for larger activities and make it as a part of their culture for progress, prosperity and spreading happiness. The first step in this direction is being implemented by the local people to install an Idol of Maa Suryaputri like Ganga Maa at Haridwar. There are other proposals like building of ghats etc to serve large gatherings in future.
It awakens Jammu (People) to come forward above their different interests in their respective areas of work and join hands to involve the Government to form a Trust like Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board to energise the land and the people of Jammu with the blessings of Deity Suryaputri which is nourishing like a mother since we are born. We pay homage to Sun offering Suryaputri water every morning. Hence Tawi joins us through its water with deity Sun which probably people are ignorant.
(The author is former Director Planning J&K Govt)
H C Katoch