Most of my 61 years of existence, I used to wonder as to why Himachal Pradesh was known as Dev Bhoomi (Land of Gods). Now, after having lived in Chhajpur, a small village in Shimla district, for over 7 years (growing apples) I have realized why. If it is true of Chhajpur, it must be true of all of Himachal.
The locals here are neither scared of anyone, nor do they give a damn to anyone. The only one they are bothered about is their village DEITY. There are a number of deities here. Each one of them controls a number of villages. The people, their properties including land holdings, their dealings with one another etc etc. The works.
Some live examples that I am aware of:
1. Long time back a local girl of village A was married to a person of village B. Relatives of the husband used to torture the girl over dowry. So much so that the girl one day died. The villagers covered up the culprits (so they say). The girls parents approached their deity who banned all people of village B to eat anything touched by a person belonging to village A. Its been many decades now and this ban still continues. If someone, even by mistake, defies this ban will suffer in one way or the other.
2. A big and a very ambitious landlord had been buying land all over the area for growing apples. Although he already holds more land than he can handle, but he wants to buy more. He saw one piece and liked it so much that despite having been told that the land was cursed by the deity he bought it for a handsome price. Soon after that his wife started turning mental with no response to medical treatment. So, this man went to the deity and prayed. He was told to return the land, which he did immediately even without the refund of money. And his wife soon returned to normalcy.
3. There is a remedy for cheats etc too. There are plenty of cases where the cheated has approached the deity and complained as to how he was cheated. The deity has his ways and soon the cheater undoes his doings.
4. And does the deity bring in unity amongst the villagers on an issue. On matters concerning the village as such, all the villagers will hold a pooja and take a decision regarding the issue and put salt in one pot as their pledge. After that, come what may, none of them will budge from their decision till another pooja is performed to nullify their pledge.
5. Even though the land holdings are in the names of villagers and they can till, sell buy and whatever one can do with the land, when there is a need to do something for the community, the deity says that the land is His and should be parted with. The deity appears in any one present at the site of dispute and disposes off the matter. And all listen to the dictats.
There are very many such examples to prove that the local Deity controls the local population. Thank GOD (read Deity), there is some control and some method in the madness, otherwise things would really have gone out of hands.
Now you know why Himachal is known as the land of the Gods?