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In this Doda village, a tree is planted when someone dies

Last Updated on June 18, 2021 at 7:13 pm

A unique culture is practiced in the lush green village of Kalihand in Doda district of Jammu division where residents remember their deceased by planting trees, the fruits of which are meant for friends, neighbours and travellers.

Nath Ram, a resident of Kalihand village said that when someone dies in their family they plant a tree. It is surrounded by trees and mountain slopes, villagers follow this tradition  by remembering the dead by planting a fruit tree and watering it till it bears fruit.

Kalihand village in Doda, Jammu and Kashmir (Picture credit: Pallavi Sareen)

When the priest explained the beginning of the culture he said two phrases that it is written in the scriptures and it is considered to be a good deed.

Pandit Daya Ram, the village priest, referred to Garuda Puran (a Hindu religious text that speaks of heaven and hell, karma and rebirth and ancestral rites, amongst different things) to explain how this tradition is deep seeded in religious beliefs. He explained that the people believing in Sanatan Dharma consider that there is life even after one dies. The deeds one does in life and deeds which are done in the name of a person after his death decides the path for heaven or hell.

He said that when someone rests under the shade of the tree or the fruit satisfies someone’s hunger, it becomes a good deed. “Planting a tree also ensures that the soul of the deceased would have shade to rest and fruit to eat,” he continued while adding that the tradition has been around for generations and has become part of the village’s culture.

Babu Ram Sharma said that villagers understand what is required for a funeral. “For economically weaker families, the villagers who come to mourn the deceased contribute financially in order to offer support and sympathy to the bereaved,” he said.

The tradition has been going on over the years having various types of trees, plants and shrubs but one thing that stands common is the fruit born by the tree is freely available for everyone except the family members themselves, who are not allowed to pick the fruits.

There are various different practices followed by various other parts of countries to keep alive the memory of the deceased.

The story first appeared on 101Reporters, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters