Thursday, October 17, 2013

Banon- A Core village of Himachal Pradesh, India

 It gives me a great pleasure to write about a village where I was born. If you go to the villages of Himachal you will find that the lifestyle of people is different from that in towns. I am sharing here with you a glance of Banon, a village located at tehsil Joginder Nagar of district Mandi.  This village got its HRTC bus service in the year 2010 so, you might never have heard even the name of this village. 

A view of Sun-rise in the monsoon days at Banon, Drubbal, Joginder Nagar
This is one of the several villages of Himachal which share similar lifestyle and transportation history. It was possible with the sincere efforts of our MLA and previous HPPWD minister Thakur Gulab Singh that many such villages of Himachal Pradesh got their road facilities in the first decade of 21st century.
A satellite view of the village and the surroundings

In the previous decades people used to walk vertical distance of 2km from the nearest bus stop at Drubbal to reach their home, they had to walk on their feet through the jungles to reach the GSSS Drubbal, which affected the studies of the children of the village because, this gave them opportunities to run here at there and miss the classes.

View of the Kunkar, koon- Manh, Mandi from a bird's eye view from Banon, Joginder Nagar, H.P.
 There is one benefit of this daily trekking that is, among about 30 families in this village about 10 have or had one or two family members who served in the Indian military or paramilitary forces. Mr. Bhuri Singh, Mr. Beni Madhav and Mr. Tej Ram Sharma are retired ITBP personnel and there are many others others, Mr. Puran Chand who himself is retired army soldier and now both of his sons whom he has nicknamed as Lucky and Mintu also serve in the Indian military.

Mr. Suresh Kumar is serving in Indian Army and after his uncle Mr. Bhuri Singh is second member from the previous joint family. Like Mr. Tej Ram his son Mr. Manoj Kumar is also serving in ITBP.
Mr. Jagat Ram, Mr. Surrender Singh and another Mr. Roop Lal Sharma are retired military personnel. There are 6 to 7 families living in Machwan, another village at half kilometers where three families also military service history. Many of other rely on their private jobs at nearer places of Himachal.

Agriculture is of lower scale and there are very few about 6 families who earn their living from agriculture, cattle, buffalo, goats and sheep alone. These people belong to the Brahman cast of the Hindu mythologies.

Here is a video showing the love of these people to the cattle and buffaloes:

So, they have other options open for them, they do other things like cooking and serving meals in the various cultural occasions like marriages as a occupation, locally named as 'bot-chara'. Other occupation which according to the Indian traditions is open to all is serving as Pundit(Purohit) to others in the nearby region.

If one becomes famous then they can earn good name and fame in this profession because only Brahmins can opt for this. Mr. Gauri and Mr. Jiva Nand are two famous pundit from this village. Agriculture is a tough job because bulls are used to plow the fields in the mountain because no other reliable mechanical means are known to them.

 They have to guard the rice and maze crops from the rabbits, monkeys, bears and other local wild animals. Monkeys are a very big problem throughout the state and this is the reason that lands are becoming barren day by day.

Similar to their crop fields, their grass lands are tilted at about 80 degrees so cutting grass is another challenging job. Along with the LPG and electrical appliances they also rely on the wood available at the jungles or from the trees at their fields. In earlier times about 2 decade earlier wood was the only fuel known to them.
Hanging the grass bundles on trees, Banon, Joginder Nagar, H.P.

Children after coming from schools help their parents in the work. They don't have a dispensary in the village and they rarely need it because they eat the purest and and work hardest. It will be a challenge for you to find someone overweight.

Women has to work in the fields throughout the year, their husband being out of the village for earning money. All of them are aware of and have televisions at their home but they rarely have the time to waste on it.

There is plenty of water available from the taps at their homes which is possible with a sufficient water supply scheme, which traps the water from a nearby stream, pumps it up into a storage tank at sufficient head and then distribute to the 4 villages using the distribution system. People have the best air to breathe in the whole world and that is the reason that people come to such places to meditate and find peace.

A view of Banon in monsoon season from Machwan, Joginder Nagar, H.P.

There is a holy temple of Goddess Chaturbhuja at a 2 km feet distance and 8 km via vehicle.
They follow all the Hindu rituals and celebrate all the Hindu festivals and holidays with all the resources they have.

One thing the children surely miss is the facility of a good playground and one thing that elders miss is the facility of a good market. There is Joginder Nagar and Dharampur at 30km and 16 km far but none of them is good enough. They need the new techniques of the agriculture and someone to deal with the wild animals specifically, monkeys.

They need that single road to be metalled(bituminous surfacing) because the road gets blocked in the monsoon season for about 2 months and also it is quite risky with the higher gradient of the road.

Some people do not dare to drive to the village due to this degraded road condition because at some places gradient appears more than 1 in 16(IRC recommendation), which is the design gradient for the village roads.

Address of Banon:
Village : Banon
Teh: Joginder Nagar
Dist: Mandi  (H.P.)
PIN - 176123

I hope that you will help to spread the word so, please leave a comment and share this with your friends.

Thank you for your kind visit!