Tribal body in Madhya Pradesh issues directive to worship Ravana

October 6th, 2008 - 6:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhopal, Oct 6 (IANS) Perhaps taking a cue from Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibhu Soren, a tribal body has issued directives in Madhya Pradesh’s Chhindwara district that the effigy of demon king Ravana should not be burned on Dussehra, but instead he should be worshiped. “Though Dussehra is marked by the burning of effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnad symbolising the victory of good over evil across the country, in some villages in the tribal-dominated areas of Chhindwara district people worship the demon king Ravana and his son Meghnad,” said Shivlal Uike, Gondwana Mahasabha president of Damua block.

“The tradition of worshipping Ravana and Meghnad - which has been primarily popular among the Gond tribes - has been religiously followed for generations because the Gonds believe that Ravana who was their king was a learned person well-versed with the vedas and an ardent Shiva devotee,” he said.

“We have thus issued a directive in the entire block to alert the tribals against burning the effigy of Ravana on Dussehra since burning their effigies would tantamount to insulting the lord of the tribals,” Uike said.

“This practice will not be tolerated any more. The local administration should ensure that the three effigies (Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnad) are accorded due respect,” he said.

“There is nothing unusual in asking the tribals not to burn the effigy of Ravana because he (Ravana) is worshipped by Gond tribals who believe that Ravana belonged to their sect,” said Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) MLA Manmohan Shah Batti.

“This is evident from the fact that the biggest preacher (Dharmacharya) of tribals includes the name of Ravana while writing his name. He writes Moti Ravana Kangali and not Moti Kangali alone. Besides, fairs named after Ravana’s son ‘Meghnad’ are organized in several villages and he (Meghnad) is worshipped on such occasions”, Batti added.

GGP would therefore worship ‘Ravana’ this Dussehara and no member of the party would participate in the effigy burning programme.

Last week, Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren’s refused an invitation to burn an effigy of the demon king saying Ravana was his “kulguru” and a great scholar.

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