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THE 'DIVINE' BARTER SYSTEM


The picture seems to be of an ideal rural resort-the best way to release oneself from the hustle and bustle of fast life...Actually,it is the entrance to one of the most backward districts of the country,Kalahandi of Orissa.
Yes,you guessed it right..Years ago,the then Prime Minister of India,Rajiv Gandhi flew to this place on hearing the news of one,Phanas Punji.This tribal woman sold her sister-in-law for Rs.25.The reason - money would bring food for the family,who would otherwise die out of hunger.It made it to the headlines then..
My visit to Kalahandi(literally meaning,'black pot') coincided with Dussehra.I thought it would be a hopeless holiday but a lot was in store.
The moment we entered Kalahandi district,we saw the beautiful hill in the picture.The river Tel was shimmering in golden sunlight.It was a sight which I cannot describe or behold.Ah!I said...
On reaching the main town,Bhawanipatna(meaning 'fort of Bhawani') I
made a beeline to the famous Manikeswari Temple.In it ,abodes the so-called most violent form of Maa Durga - the one pleased by blood -animal sacrifice being rampant there. On the eighth day of Navratri,mass animal sacrifice takes place on the public roads of the town.Even police is deployed, just like any other fair or festival.All streets turn red.The people do it themselves-no priest is required.The common man of that district is not sure of getting two square meals a day,but he too indulges in this 'appeasement'.All citizens,irrespective of rich or poor,eat mutton that day.A representative of the presiding deity of the town,Maa Manikeswari is taken in procession.On Her arrival the slaughter begins.Luckily for me,I did not witness any such gory sight.But all the while I kept wondering-why does such a practice continue in so seemingly an urbane town,the people being of so mild a disposition? I talked with the driver while returning to the rest house.He was a gentle guy but the moment I hinted at removal of the ritual of animal sacrifice,he grew impatient.He said,"We children feed our mother.In return,she ensures our safety.A few years back,a collector banned animal sacrifice during Dussehra.His wife fell sick the next day and had to be hospitalized in Cuttack(almost 500 kms from Kalahandi).Immediately,
the husband withdrew his orders,for the Mother appeared in his dream and ordered him to do so.His wife got well instantly.So,Maa will be upset if this is stopped".I fell silent.I had heard numerous stories on the wretched life of tribals in this belt.No roads,no electricity,no water,no rains,no medical facility in rural pockets.
In those uninhabitable conditions,whom could people call for when in distress?Only their Mother could save them.Somehow or the other,they have imbibed the spirit of 'give and take' with God too!No science or government helps them when they need it the most and so is the situation.
The life which seemed quite joyful suddenly looked dark on the other side of the fence.I couldn't help the situation.My dislike towards the propagators of animal sacrifice turned into pity for the helpless people , the suffering lot of humanity because there is no one to take care of their basic needs like food,clothes and shelter."Whom do I value more-the goats who can't speak or these people whose cries for help are unheard by the champions of modern civilization ?"-I asked myself.....
P.S:I have kept my viewpoint on this issue. I'm not in favour of animal sacrifice.I had an idea,if I write my travelling experiences to various such places in some of my subsequent posts,will my readers like it?I expect respones for this question too in the comments section.Thank you.

Comments

Aneesh said…
Animal sacrifice? I don't think it's much different from the eating habit. Well, take the case of non-veg people, for them, lots of animals are killed, isn't it? Whether sacrifice or not, both are killing!! 'N I don't know god will become angry suddenly 'coz god get thirsty due to the unavailability of animal blood :) These are beliefs, in other parts they changed as time changed, in some part still they exists!!
ANWESA said…
Thanx Aneesh 4 ur comments.My subtle motive behind this post is the despair people face even in 21st century.
Gagan said…
Wow....reading the post made me go there as well....hehe....I dont know if that is going to be possible or not....but I am sure gonna try.

And selling the sister-in-law....and that too for Rs 25/-???? Are you kidding me? This is sooooo sad!
ANWESA said…
@Gagan,
Thanx 4 ur comments.U'll b surprised at the pathetic stories of poverty.Actually,Orissa is the poorest state in India and the place described is the poorest district of Orissa.
I scribble here said…
i am sure there are many other places where animal sacrifice is practiced in india!blame it on poverty and inturn illiteracy .. we all know it, but wonder what can we do and to what extent.i myself have witnessed it as a child but was too young to say anything at that time, but the sight is still vivid in my memory.
n yes, do share ur travel experiences, its always fun to read them
Ayushi said…
Yes, I love to read any sort of such experience...
The thing is not so much as animal sacrifice as their belief in something completely baseless, in this wholly immoral exploitation without the use of rational thought, they are influenced...today its animals...tomorrow it'll be humans, these things will grow till there is human and mass revolt itself, nature itself destroys anything which is against it...
I, for one, find the mere concept of religion faulty as per today's standards...tis best ppl return to rational thoughts
ANWESA said…
@i scribble here,
thanx 4 all ur observations n comments.
ANWESA said…
@ayushi,
thanx 4 ur comments..eagerly waiting 4 another reply...
Rakesh said…
There are certain things which people do not want to explore into. And even science wouldn't dwell into. One of them is the faith people have in these kind of practices.
Take for example, the case of Ayyappa Jyothi Darshan. I am sure you must have heard about it. Every year, on Makara Sankrathri(pongal, Jan 14th), its a ritual at Shabarimala that Ayyappa will give a darshan to his devotees in the form of a flame.Take a look at this site for more information.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makara_Jyothi

Story goes that there was once a British Research team during the English time that went in search of this flame and they wanted to find out if that's a miracle or someone's lighting the flame artificially. The team, on reaching the place where the Jyothi is supposed to appear, were waiting for the flame. Suddenly, there was a lot of light and heat produced at that place that nobody returned from that place.

Let's assume that its a miracle. This will hold people's faith for the years to come.

If it turns out to be artificially lit flame, think of the consequences. It will destroy the faith of Millions of devotees across the world.

I appreciate you for bringing such things into light with your posts.
I liked the statement that you made. It made me also to think who is the actual sufferer, the animals that cannot speak or the humans that cannot act....

Great post !!!
Lena said…
thats so sad that in 21st century poverty is such a big issue that people are forced to do things they would never even imagine if they at least had enough to eat.
ANWESA said…
@Rakesh,
thanx 4 ur comments n observations.
ANWESA said…
@Lena,
Thanx 4 ur comments..
*~*{Sameera}*~* said…
Such beauty within our own nation and yet we seek foreign pastures!

Liked the article,your writing is very mature.
ANWESA said…
thanx Sameera!!!

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