Malana was established by the sage Jamlu Rishi, who is mentioned in the Puranas. It is said the village has one of the oldest parliamentary systems in the world, formed under the guidance of the presiding deity, Jamlu. The sage is said to date back to pre-Aryan times. According to one theory, residents of this village are descendants of Alexander the Great’s army. These days, Malana is in the news for its premium hashis.
Malana and Kasol have been preferred destinations for Israeli youth, who visit the place in huge numbers, after their mandatory service in the army, for a therapeutic experience.
Cannabis has always been grown in this area, but was meant for personal consumption and has great level of social acceptance. The local culture, which is guided to a great extent by belief in ‘devta’ (almost every village in Himachal has their own local deities and all major decisions are taken with their permission), treats cannabis as ‘shiv ji ki buti’ and does not see cannabis production as something wrong.
Origin Of Malana
There are several theories regarding the origin of the village. According to one thought, the villagers are the decedents of the Aryans. A story does that when emperor Akbar was suffering for an a serious disease came to the village, the people of Malana were able to cure it. Akbar was so pleased that he gave tax-exemption to all the people residing in the village.
Another school of though suggests that Malana was founded by remnants of Alexander the Great’s Army. However, there is no link in the language between Greek and Kanashi.
Language They Speak
The Malani speak Kanashi which is understood only by the villagers. “Kanashi, the language of Malana, does not resemble any of the dialects spoken in its neighbourhood but seems to be a mixture of Sanskrit and several Tibetan dialects.
System Of Governance
Malana believed to be one of the oldest democracies of the world. There is a village-council of 11 members and they are believed to be the representatives of Jamlu Rishi, the village god. Any decision taken by them is considered to be final and abiding. Of late, many villagers were not happy with the decisions taken by the village-council and had approached the district court in Kullu to settle disputes. Since then, the council have stopped holding court and taking decisions.
The Malana Cream
Malana is famous for ‘Malana cream’, a strain of Cannabis hashish which has high oil content and an intensely fragrant aroma. Preparing the cream takes a lot of time and physical labor as everything is hand-made. This is what makes hash, ‘the cream.’
The value of Malana cream overseas in unbelievable.
Culture And Tradition
One cannot touch them or their belongings without their permission. The people are friendly but outsiders are told to keep distance and not touch anything in the village. In case of any contact, they will rush for a bath. There is a fine of approx. Rs.1500/- on touching them and the things which are prohibited.
They consider themselves to be superior to the rest. That is why they refrain from physical contact.
The only way the locals here can make merry is by means of festivals. On the wedding night, the bride has to run behind the groom and her in-laws, while holding a torch in hand. In case a villager marries an outsider, he or she can never enter the village again. Men here can have more than one wife and if they decide to divorce, they will still have to support their ex-wife, financially.
Complex Judiciary System
The village council of Malana is called ‘Hakima’ and is divided into two courts – higher and lower. The higher court consists of Goor, Pujari and Kardar. Goor is considered to possess the spirit of Jamlu Devta and is the voice of God. The Pujari and Kardar are the representatives of Jamlu Devta and are from hereditary posts.
In a difficult decision to solve a conflict, they make a deep cut in the foreleg of a lamb each of the two parties, poison it, and then sew it back with needle. The person whose lamb dies first is said to lose the case.
Houses in Malana are two or three storied and each storey. The ground floor is called Khudang, which acts as a cattle shed and where the firewood and fodder for the sheep and goats are stored. The first floor called Gaying is used to store eatables, wool and for weaving woolen fabric. The top floor with an overhanging balcony is called Pati – it is the actual living quarter.
Overnight stay in the vicinity of Malana was not allowed till last year but now there are guest houses in Malana. These guest houses are another 500 meter hike from the village. It is terrific, no doubt. But in coming years, Malana will soon be just another village of Himachal and definitely loose the charm for which it was known once.