कहानियां बीते सदियों की जब हालात कुछ और हुआ करते,
इनसानों के बीच फुट कम, और पुल बहुत सारे थे जुड़ते।

सदी, जब ना था किसीका कोई भगवान, और ना कोई धर्म,
गोरा या काला, इनसान का रंग ना पैदा करता था कोई भ्रम।

जब मानसिकता नहीं थी भ्रष्ट, और ना था सोच में कोई पक्षपात,
सृष्टि का भला होता था एकमात्र धर्म, बस एक ही थी इनसानियत।

वैसी एक धरोहर हमरा हक था,
विरासत में मिला केवल विवाद,
फुट इतनी गहरी, और घाव इतने,
के पूरा समाज होने चला है बर्बाद।

क्या ऐसी एक धरोहर पर हक है हमारे बाद कि पीढ़ियों का?
क्या ये हमारा फ़र्ज़ नहीं के हम उनके लिए छोड़ जाएं कुछ अच्छा?

The stories of a different time altogether, when bridges between men outnumbered the differences.

A time when there was no God and no religion, and color of the skin did not create any confusions.

A time when the mentality was not corrupt and thoughts were not prejudiced, and everyone’s well-being was the only religion, and was the only humanity.

We deserved such a heritage. Instead, we inherited only differences, the fault-lines so deep and wounds so many, that the society is headed for destruction.

Do generations yet to come deserve such a heritage, a legacy of differences? Isn’t it our duty to leave something better for them?

Assembly Hall
The Assembly Hall, as this cave in the Bhimbetka rock shelters is called. It is open on both sides and held a very important place among the inhabitants. This cave was used for community meetings, with the boulder at the center believed to be the seat of the Chief.

Rock shelters of Bhimbetka were continuously inhabited from at least a hundred thousand years ago to as recently as the medieval period. These rock shelters look over the alluvial plains of the Betwa river (a tributary of Yamuna to the north), the plains which extend right up to the foothills of the mighty Himalayas.

Bhimbetka gets its name from Bhim Baithak (sitting place of Bhim of Mahabharat). The rock shelters find themselves mouth of the Deccan traps, along the Dakshinapath, the ancient important trade route that connected the southern India, which lied beyond the Satpura-Vindhya range, with northern India. The location makes the then inhabitants of these rock shelters prime witnesses to India’s unfolding history – Lord Ram’s exile and subsequent southern campaigns, the exile of the Pandavs, civilizational shift from Indus plains to Gangetic plains, Emperor Ashoka’s ascend, rise of the Satavahans and Islamic invasion of southern India. It was as if destiny had reserved the best seats of an epic called “India”, for the “primitive” inhabitants of these rock shelters.

They first find mention in modern times in 1888, by British India officer W. Kincaid in his scholarly paper, the rock shelters were physically discovered only in 1957 by V. S. Wakankar. Though thought to have been lost, their proximity to Bhojpur, the ancient capital of Raja Bhoj, and to the Dakshinapath means there have been exchanges between the inhabitants of Bhimbetka and other human encampments/civilizations.

What make these rock shelters special and earn them the badge of a “World Heritage Site”, are the paintings on the rock faces, created by the inhabitants. The oldest painting here is believed to be at lease 30,000 years old (oldest existing painting in the world is at least 40,800 years old and is in El Castillo, northern Spain). And then there are the cup marks on few rocks, believed to be as old as the habitation itself in Bhimbetka, and would be earliest evidene of human creativity, and so make Bhimbetka one of the earliest cradles of cognitive human evolution in the entire world.

Rockshelters of Bhimbetka, is entire mankind’s heritage indeed!

Note: As I keep digging my storage device for photos from Bhimbetka, I will update this blog post.

VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Yes, you can share this work with proper attribution. But, please seek permission before using this work (not including the photo), partially or fully. YOU CAN NOT USE THE PHOTO. Believe me, asking is better than ending up in court or facing public shaming on social media. Thanks for understanding.

© Amrit Panigrahy. All rights reserved.

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