Ancient tablet depicting lewd scene becomes object of veneration in India
An ancient stone tablet depicting a scene of bestiality has been turned into an object of veneration and added to a temple in a Naigaon village in Vasai, India, with locals believing the relic will bring them prosperity and protection. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been trying to take the object into their possession, but the villagers, who use the relic in religious rituals, have refused to hand it over, citing its importance to their faith and worship.
The tablet, which dates back 766 years, depicts a carving of a cow on top, and below that a donkey having sex with a woman in various poses.
"When ASI did not take the stone tablet in their possession, the superstitious locals turned it into an object of worship, built a temple around it, and named that as Waghoba Mandir,” a local reported to Daily News and Analysis . “They praise the tablet for bringing them prosperity and security. Little do they know that the carving on the stone was a warning to thieves and vandals that their mothers would be subjected to the punishment depicted."
The tablet is now an item of religious importance in Naigon village, one of the fastest developing areas directly north of Mumbai. The local population mainly consists of Marathi speaking Hindus, Christians & Muslims and Gujarati speaking Hindus and Jains. Some of the locals have been using the artifact in religious ceremonies, adorning it with flowers and pouring oil on it to conduct rituals.
View of Amol Nagar Building Complex in Naigaon, India ( Wikipedia)
Opinion is divided about what should be done with the tablet. A local historian has called on the ASI to take possession of the tablet, arguing that it should be in a museum or display center so that people can learn about and appreciate the history of the region. However, locals have said it is a religious matter and therefore will not hand it over to authorities.
ASI official Mayur Thakare told Daily News and Analysis that, since the locals would not give them the relic, instead they would educate them about not causing damage to the artifact.
The tablet dates to the Shilahara Dynasty, which ruled over the Vasai region. The Shilahara was a feudal clan, whose family traced their descent from the 12 th century Vidyadhara prince Jimutavahana who, according to legend, sacrificed himself to rescue a dragon from the clutches of Garuda, a large mythical bird-like creature that appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology. The family-name Shilahara (meaning "mountain-peak food" in Sanskrit) is supposed to have been derived from this incident.
Featured image: Ancient tablet found in Naigaon village. Credit: Daily News and Analysis