Little Greece – this is how most of the people know Malana – a small village hidden deep in the Himalayas. Culture, beautiful landscapes, people, history, architecture, there are dozens of facts and secrets that this little Himalayan hamlet has been keeping to itself for centuries. Origin of this village, dialect they speak and the way people live here are few unsolved mysteries the outer world has been trying to decipher since decades. In present scenario, what is largely known about Malana is its unique culture, quality hashish it grows, the oldest democracy, and a couple of other vague facts people have managed to collect during the discourse of their online or offline investigation. However, Malana is much more than just being the oldest democracy and India’s cannabis country. It’s a symbol of unified approach through century-old tradition, rich culture, social equality, faith in humanity and oneness, architectural magnificence and sense of ecology. So, if someone tries to preach you on Malana, then be sure to confirm and correct your facts, so that no false image of this pristine place crops up in your or someone else’s mind.
The oldest democracy in the world
As they say, Malana is believed to be one of the oldest democracies in the world. After centuries, the judiciary system of Malana hasn’t changed a bit. It works the way it used to centuries back. The council which looks into all legal matters, big and small, of the village is comprised of two courts – higher and lower court. Cases which remain unsolved at the lower court are discussed and resolved at the upper court. However, there are no formal premises or courtrooms like the one you might have seen on screens, but a century-old tree which is witness of hundreds of trails solved with the help of divine powers.
Malana people: Descendants of ‘Alexander the Great’
When I say history of Malana is centuries old, then you should not take it lightly as the Malana people are believed to be descendents of Alexander – the great Greek king. However, rationale behind this fact may be numerous, but few words of the dialect they speak match ancient Greek language. Not just that, facial features of Malanese resemble Greek people. Kanashi – the dialect they interact in is so different that it is purely incomprehensive by people of neighboring villages of Kullu. This distinctive nature of the dialect has played a big role in preserving culture and heritage of the isolated village.
The do-not-touch land
You will see people jumping off the trail or shying away as soon as you enter the village after crossing a beautiful bridge on a small water stream and climbing uphill to reach Malana. The people of Malana consider themselves a superior clan than others, which is why they don’t believe in interacting or shaking hands with outsiders. At first site, this might look weird or appear offending, but by the time you have the firsthand account and a better insight into their customs, culture and the way they have preserved their century-old tradition in an untamed blizzard of modernization, you will develop a soft spot for them and start considering them a superior race.
In today’s world, where everyone is slave of the devil called the internet, you will also try to collect some juicy tidbits in order to know more about this land of taboos and dark secrets, but this will only show you a blurry image of the village with lots of gray areas. If you think you have liberal views and some sense of ecology, then do visit this place. I am sure you will come back a grown up and learned person with better perspective, not for this pristine place of God but for your own life.
Picture: Mysterious Himachal