Friday, September 10, 2010

The Tawi Rivers are the tributaries of Chenab Rivers - the Jammu Tawi and the Malkani Tawi By: A . K. Khanna

The Tawi Rivers are the tributaries of Chenab Rivers - the Jammu Tawi and the Malkani Tawi

By: A . K. Khanna
(Dy Superintending Archaeologist Archaeological Survey of India)

Rivers, streams, natural springs and baolis are the source of life, livelihood and legends in the Jammu region. The major ancient civilizations of the world took birth, survived and flourished on the banks of rivers like, Indus, Tigris (Iraq), Nile (Egypt) etc. The river provides the elixir of life i.e water for drinking, bathing, washing, irrigation, dying, manufacturing and what not. The river water provided, one of the ancient means of transport, of man and material in the past, by boats. The primitive water mills are still used in the twenty first century, in the hill regions to harness water for the grinding the wheat, barely, corn etc. The water has been the main source of hydroelectric power and keeps the wheels of manufacturing industry moving for necessites and luxurious of life.

In the oldest written ancient Indian text, in the world, the Rig-Veda, the rivers have been mentioned as the deities and been worshiped, with the passage of time, the rivers came into the form of Goddesses in the ancient Indian iconography (the study of Sculptures). That is why the river enjoyed the sanctity and scared character in Indian cultural traditions. The rivers have been depicted in sculptures in the form of Goddess in the temple as a deity. The river Goddess of the Ganga and the Yamuna has been depicted in the both sides of the entrance of Hindu temple in human form. The personification of the river Goddess can be seen at Devi Bhagawati temple at Manwal (on Udhampur-Dhar Road) or a station on Jammu-Udhampur Railway route. The tradition which began around 3rd-4th century AD during the Golden period of Ancient Indian History in Northern India.

Two of the five rivers (Indus, Satluj, Ravi, Beas and Chenab) in undivided of Punjab pass through parts of the province of Jammu are the Ravi and the Chenab. The Tawi Rivers are the tributaries of Chenab- the Jammu Tawi and the Malkani Tawi. The railway has more appropriately chosen the name Jammu Tawi as the name of Jammu city railway station. The city of Jammu began on the right bank of the river. Tawi can be defined as the stream which flows through out the year, with level of fluctuations of water during various seasons. The Kud is the temporary stream of water which carries water during the rains and dries up during the summer season. According to local tradition there are three main Pade Devata’s or fish Gods shrines in the Jammu Tawi- one each at Manwal, Nagrota and Jajjar Kotli.

The Jammu Tawi has been called as Surya Putri or the daughter of the Sun God. In one of the ancient texts; the river has been referred as ‘‘holy’’. According to the one legendary story, it was blown from the Kali Kund by removing the rocks, boulders that held back its water down stream. The Jammu Tawi originates mainly at Kalplas Kund of Seoj Dhar in the Bhadarwah region of Doda district, from here it descends to Sudh Mahadeva. Then northwest towards Chennani for about 42 kms, in this part the river foams along the large boulders confined by rocks and produces a musical sound. The thrashing of gushing water produces milky foams and gets dissolved after traveling few meters. The river has produced deposits of alluvium and round blocks of ‘‘gneiss’’ (Volcanic rock) embedded in the earth. Deodar, silver fir and spurce fir can be noticed along the valley. From Chennai, it turns southwest for a distance of about 21 Kms.

The valley so founded is headed by high hills. It then appears in an open area through which it flows in a southerly direction for some 16 kms and heads towards Jinganu, where it meets a hilly range, through which it penetrates, to take a north-westerly sharply run course to reach Jandrah. The river then passes through another range of hills to enter Nagrota and then Jammu. The river finally quits the hills and terminates in a line of cliff facing the river after travelling 113 kms in deep gorges and boulders. During the coarse of millions of years the Tawi River had formed three terraces one above the other. The highest terrace on which the Mubarak Mandi stands being towards north. The main old town has been located on the south.

The water pollution in the Jammu Tawi River has disturbed the balance of ecosystem and it is causing health hazards to humans and extinction of the animal’s species. For example, in good olden days, we used to hear the sound of frogs just after the rains, the vanishing vultures, dying of honeybees etc are some of the general observations due to the disturbance of the ecology. Thousands of tonnes of urea has been used in the agriculture fields. More than 70 percent of the urea gets into the streams and rivers through water cycle. The quantity of water in the river has been depleting due to tapping of water for irrigation purposes. The decrease in the quantity water coming in lean season and addition of the sewage and factory discharge have been adding fuel to the fire in pollution of the Tawi river. The carrying capacity of the Jammu Tawi River has almost saturated. The increasing population has been threatening the very existence of the Tawi River as well. There is hardly any sewage treatment plant exists in the whole course of 129 Kms of the River Tawi. The 6.5 million people arriving at Mata Vaishno Devi, Katra every year are also equally responsible for the additional pollution of the river through Banganga, a tributary of Tawi.

In the western part of the state all along the Poonch and Rajouri districts, there are many streams, which have been continuously flow water, are called Munnawar Tawi, Sukha Tawi and Darhal Tawi are other tributaries of Chenab. Munnawar or Rajouri Tawi (PoK area ) originates from the Pir Panjal Range beyond, is Kashmir, Poonch and Kotli (Pakistan occupied Kashmir) are in the west. The Chenab river to east and Bimbar (POK) to is west. The town of Poonch has been built in the middle of Siwalik Range in the open valley. It is located on the right bank of the Munnawar Tawi. It finds its way through the various ridges into the plains, which is, traversed until joins its water to the Chenab River.

The people living in the hills, near to the source of nallahs and the thousand of streams have been adding many pollutants in course of their day-to-day activity. The Tawi River was famous for Trout Fish with the passage of time the quality of water has been so much degraded that it is not suitable for bathing, not to talk about the portable water. In earlier days the river was the sole source of potable water supply to the town. In the raining seasons, the water kept for sometime to settle. The tiny particles used to settled down before the water was used for drinking. Now-a-days there are the very few people, who could think of taking a dip in once holy and scared Jammu Tawi. All the sewage and storm water drainage of Jammu city has been poured into the river directly without treating the sewage etc. one can imagine the immense quantity of sewage generated both in the city and at the time the amount of the waste coming from the holy Shrine to the Banganga and definitely in the Jammu Tawi. The rich shrine board should come forward to reduce the quantity of sewage being discharged in the tributary of the Jammu Tawi There is urgent need to take step to save the Tawi from further pollution and as one day it can turn into a dirty drain like the Yamuna of Delhi which does not support any useful aquatic life.

The water pollution adversely changes the quality and disturbs the balance of ecosystem. In order to keep the Tawi clean, it is the best time to start work like the Yamuna action plan with the help of National River Conservation Project by taking up pollution abatement work.

By: A . K. Khanna
(Dy Superintending Archaeologist Archaeological Survey of India)

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