Cultural Postcards + [South Asia]

Society: Ancient stone slab turned into object of worship by locals
An engraved stone tablet of historical importance lying in a Naigaon village has been turned into an object of worship by locals as the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has yet to take the slab into its possession.

Ancient stone slab turned into object of worship by locals
Ancient tablet converted into a temple at Chaffewadi
 in Naigaon [Credit: DnaIndia]

Residents of Chaffewadi credit worshipping the stone tablet with enhanced prosperity and safety. The tablet depicts a donkey having sex with a woman in various poses, and there is also a carving of a cow on top.

It is just one of several tablets in the Vasai region, which lie out in the open under threat from thieves and vandals. The 766-year-old Chaffewadi tablet is dated to the Shilahara dynasty. This dynasty ruled Vasai hundreds of years before the Portuguese invasion.

A local said, "When ASI did not take the stone tablet in their possession, the superstitious locals turned it into an object of worship, built a temple around it, and named that as Waghoba Mandir. They praise the tablet for bringing them prosperity and security. Little do they know that the carving on the stone was a warning to thieves and vandals that their mothers would be subjected to the punishment depicted."

"The stone tablet has been tampered with, as they pour oil on it and conduct rituals. This can't be stopped as it is a religious matter. They won't give it to the authorities," said the local.

A local historian has called on the ASI to take all such tablets in its possession. Historian Shridatta Raut from Kille Vasai Mohim also added, "The ASI must put the tablets in a museum or display centre, which they must build in Vasai, so locals and tourists can understand the history of the region."

ASI official Mayur Thakare told dna, "We would educate the locals about not tampering with the stone, as they would not give it to us."

In a similar story, dna had reported on Monday that another 766-year-old stone tablet in the neighbouring Kiravali village had also been neglected by the ASI. That tablet, had, however, not been turned into an object of worship. Thakare, who is Circle Officer from ASI Mumbai, said that this tablet would be taken into ASI possession.

Author: Imran Fazal | Source: DnaIndia [November 04, 2014]