Cudchire, a small village 4km away from Bicholim; has had a profound influence on Sattari’s dialect and culture though it is a part of the Bicholim taluka. This village once predominantly agricultural, has now shifted to the cashew plantation. Cudchire has a rich eco-cultural heritage. The village deities like Sateri, Kelbai, Brahmani, Mhalsa, Dhadvans, Jogeshwari, Akari, Purvatari, Magacho Nirankari and Mhalshecho Nirnkari, Mharingan, Rashtroli are responsible for inspiring the villagers to maintain their traditional culture and the ecological aspects of their villages. Cudchire celebrates the eco-feministic festival of Dhalo and during Shigmo they perform a folk dance called Ghodemodni. There are three sacred groves in Cudchire namely Barazan, Raitalo Talkhamo and Talyachi Rai.
In Goa, the place of village administration was known as the Barazan. There are some villages and hamlets which are popularly known as Barazan. Late Anant Dhume, a well known cultural historian had defined Barazan as a flat piece covered with wild trees with about a dozen small stones linked to the plinth placed there. Barazan is also identified as the place where the headmen of twelve villages or hamlets assembled in ancient times to make decisions about the village administration. The original function of Barazan changed long ago and it soon became a religious place where people prayed and performed their rituals.
It is difficult to say whether Barazan of Cudchire was a place of village administration during the olden times but it is certain that today the place has acquired a status of religious and cultural importance in the life of villagers. In the surrounding areas, one can clearly witness the activities of environmental degradation. But the locals have traditionally guarded the clusters of different trees of the Barazan in the name of religion. There were various taboos which restricted entry into the grove.
As per the local tradition, the Dhavads were the settlers of Cudchire who were once tribals who had settled in the various parts of Goa’s Western Ghats. They were expert in making iron tools. The remnants of their settlement are scattered in the jungle area. In Sattari, at Cudshe, Guleli and in other areas, there are stone idols which are not worshipped as they are considered to be the deities of these former settlers. As per belief, the Dhavads had once terrorized Cudchire and troubled the women of the Gaonkar community. The Dhavads were large in numbers and were strong and well-built. It was beyond the capacity of the Gaonkar community to curb the injustice and cruelty of the Dhavads and hence the Gaonkars of Cudchire finally had to invite the Mhalsekar from the near by village of Sarvan. They helped the Gaonkars to end the threat posed by the Dhavads by massacring them. While fighting the battle, twelve elders of the Gaonkar community died. There was a pond nearby which was said to be filled with the blood of the dead which later dried up. All the dead bodies of the Dhavads were burnt at Talyachi Rai. Even till date no villager goes there in the fear of the wrath of the haunting spirit. The procession of the village goddess also does not pay a visit to this site. Through their sacrifice, they were successful in maintaining the honour and dignity of Cudchire. In their memory the villagers installed twelve stones and began worshipping them and the area became popularly known as the Barazan.
Trees and other vegetation have grown around these twelve memorial stones which are considered to be most sacred and are worshipped with the purpose of getting blessings. Today this stones are encircled by huge, tall trees like Ghoting, Kazro, Kumyo, Huro, Kindal, Savar and other types of bushes. The presiding deity of the Barazan is related to the giant Ghoting tree. Some of the trees are home to honey bees. The honey combs are called ’Poye Monv’ locally. During the first few days of monsoon, trees are galore with orchids. Near the Barazan, is the hamlet of Dhangar-gouly at Canglinichemol. They also pay their gratitude to this sacred grove. Laterite stone quarrying, construction of new roads connecting Cudchire to Bicholim via Vathadev poses a threat to this beautiful sacred grove.
By Rajendra P Kerkar
The Navhind Times, Panorama
Sunday November 4, 2007
Posted By : Rajendra P Kerkar, Goa on 05/11/2007