Where in India do people still follow ancient Greek systems?

Isolated and home to just about 100 cosy houses, Malana is a quaint but stunning village in Himachal Pradesh. An interesting anecdote is that the occupants of the village consider themselves to be descendants of Alexander the Great, and their local court system even today reflects the ancient Greek system.

It is situated on a remote plateau by the side of the torrential Malana River, at a height of about 8,700 feet above sea level.

Malana has its own lifestyle and social structure and people are strict in following their customs. Malana has been the subject of various documentaries, including Malana: Globalisation of a Himalayan Village and Malana - A Lost Identity. The existing speakers of the autochthonous language Kanashi, the traditional language of the inhabitants of Malana, is considered sacred and outsiders from other villages are not allowed to use the same. Tourists are not allowed to enter the temples either, for the locals consider outsiders as untouchables. According to the 1961 census, the language speakers were then 563, but now the population of Malana is at least three times as large.

There are many other restrictions here:

According to village rules, fixing nails on a tree is prohibited as that could damage the tree. Burning wood is also prohibited in the forests of Malana. Only dry twigs and branches are permitted to be carried outside the forest. Similarly, hunting of wild animals is not allowed without the permission of the village council that too only during specific periods of the year.

In case wild animals attack the herds of sheep and goats of the villagers, hunters are sent from the village to the pastures to kill them. And if a bear is killed, the hunter is rewarded but has to deposit the fur in the Bhandara of the Devta.

Police intervention is not allowed, but if the accused wants to seek the help of police he has to pay a fine of Rs 1000 to the village council./p>

The ‘Touch-Me- Not’ villagers are not arrogant, but certainly feel they are superior to the tourists visiting Malana. 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. The shopkeepers ask you to keep the money on the counter and they too place the goods on the counter, without any physical contact. In case of any contact, they will rush for a bath.

And while the villagers are not camera shy and are always willing to pose for photographs, videography is strictly prohibited.


Find out about other such settlements in India.

To Reflect Upon

bulletHow does a little town like Malana function within the Indian democracy?