Tawis of Jammu

Jammu tawi
Jammu tawi

Prof (Dr) P K Kaul
Tawis are many, and many are the traditions, both ancient and medieval, associated with the rivers associated with Tawis in Jammu region.
We have Tawi of Poonch, Tawi of Rajouri,  Tawi of Akhnoor  region  and Tawi  of Jammu also. In the first instance we have Tawi as the ancient name of Poonch river. In Rajouri also we have, Tawi as the name of Rajouri river and Sukh Tao (dry Tawi) as the name of its almost dry tributary coming from BG side slope. In Akhnoor we have Munawar Tawi  in Chambh area, later Bharakh Tawi in Sunderbani hills and Pouni Bharakh area. We have Nikki Tawi, Badi Tawi and Kali Tawi in Jammu region also. Even a far and distant area of Chamba has Tawi  the name assigned to a small stretch of river Chanab. These some one dozen Tawis flowing through Shivaliks and mountainous regions of whole of the Jammu province are indicative of a high sence of regard and sacredness assigned to these rivers or rivulets, whether  small or big.
The Tawis of Poonch and Rajouri as per references in Neelmat Puran (4th to 6th century), Rajtrangini (10th-11th century) and Bates (1872 AD) derive their name from the word Toshi  which after distortion  became Tawi or Tav in local dialects, or Dogri. It received its name Toshi from Sun God, whom she pleased or by whom she was pleased ‘‘Toshi-Toshit Bhaskra’’
Around 1980 AD an eminent Pandit of Jammu Dwarika Nath Shastri wrote an eulogy of the river, Tawi Shatkam in about 100 verses and named as Surya Putri- the daughter of the Sun God Surya. All these Tawis  whether  of Poonch, Rajouri or Jammu and  whether daughter of Sun God or his beloveds,  have one thing common in them. They originate from their eastern mountains, in the east and west direction, making their waters to glow and shine, in the morning.   The people who lived along their bank held them in great esteem. Consequently many traditions and folk tradition emerged and are still prevalent among the older people of the region, both in oral as were as recorded form. One such very ancient record tradition comes from Mahabharata  itself   indicative of the importance of the ancient river of the region. The river here is called by its ancient most name as Tapti meaning  whose waters are warm by the shine of the Sun. This very Tapti later was called as Tawi or Tav in local dialect.
The tradition in Mahabharta runs like this :-
The originator of the lineage of Kuru (western people) used to have his morning and evening bath and prayers in the shining waters of Tapti river and on its banks. In course of time, a beautiful and charming female child was born to this devotee. Considering this child as a blessing of Sun God whom he worshiped and the blessed waters of the river in which he bathed, and which flowed east and west (Puru and Kuru) and which glittered like metal silver in the morning and evening hours, father named his child, after the name of river as Tapti.
With  the passage of time this beautiful child grew into a charming maid of exceptional beauty like the glitter of Sun (Toshit Bhaskara), and therefore as she grew, her father became anxious about her marriage, and like other fathers he wanted to marry her to an equally handsome and intelligent boy from a good family, who presently was not in sight.
In the lineage of  Purus (eastern people), a Raja named Swarn was also a great devotee of Sun God and used to worship his deity regularly. God was pleased with his devotion, and felt  that only  this Raja  could be a suitable match for Tapti, the daughter from his Kuru devotee.
One day it so happened that young Raja Swarn set out on a hunting mission in the jungle and lost his way. In search of a way out of the jungle, he came across this very charming maid named Tapti of the Kurus. Seeing her dazzling beauty and  charm  the Raja lost himself to her so much so that he immediately came to her, and began to praise and flatter her. On the other hand Tapti did not reply to him and instead  left the spot immediately. This act of Tapti shocked the young Raja, and he lost his consciousness. The young girl got moved, took pity on the Raja, came to him and spoke to him in a very soft and sweet language. On this the young Raja regained his consciousness. He told the young girl, that he can not live without her, and she should immediately agree for a Gandharv type of marriage with him, as he was severly love sick. Tapti, the young girl, though moved by the severity of the love of the young king told him that she was the younger sister of  Savitri, and inspite of the fact that she very much likes him can not agree for a Gandharv type of marriage, as she was not independent. They advised the young king to approach her father, speak in praise of him, as per traditions, and then demand her company and hand from him. On hearing these words the Raja again became unconscious.
Just at that very moment, Raja Swarn’s  gaurds and ministers. While searching him in the Jungle reached the spot, brought the Raja to consciousness, and requested him to return, but the Raja would not agree. On the contrary, he first worshiped the Sun God for 12 days and then remembered his Guru Seer Vaishist, who had no excuse to make  but to come to the spot. After understanding the problem of the lovepang of the Raja  Swarn his Guru assured him about his marriage with Tapti. He himself went to the Surya Deva (the Sun God) and originator of Kurus and asked for his daughters hand for the young Raja Swarn. This was what the Sun God and his devote Kuru himself had wanted. They agreed and the Guru Vaishist solemnised the marriage of two young souls, who lived there on the banks of river Tapti (Tawi) for twelve years.
As a result of this marriage between the daughter of originator of Kurus young Raja of Purus their lineage flourished.
This very Tapti name of the rivers of Jammu province, probably Tawi or Tav of Jammu and Toshist Bhaskra of Poonch and Rajouri inspired D N Shastri to write Tawi Shatkam in praise of the rivers lot became a tradition to name every small or big river of the region Tav or Tawi,  and with the extention of Aryan culture or Hindu culture to the south Indian region inspired these people (probably) to name one more big river of south western India as Tapti.
The same Tapti or Tawi of Jammu is now destined to emerge as a lake (Sunlake) or city lake at Jammu.