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Monday, 23 May 2016

Mango Festival (Aama Tihar); A Unique Festival in Bastar

I am talking about a very special festival being celebrated by the tribal (especially by Hulba community) at Bastar region in Chhattisgarh in India. To find out, what makes this festival unique we reached a village called Dodrepal in Darbha Block 

On the onset of summer when the people across the country avoid moving out of their houses, the tribal comes out of their houses asking for anything to the passerby by stopping them amicably. This happens only when the summer sets in. Even a single penny makes a big deal for them and they carry on with the practice for a month without break. 
The most important part of this episode is that tribal don't take even a slice of mango during this time since they consider it as inauspicious. As per the custom and tradition mango should be eaten only after they perform certain rites.
As soon as the month gets over, they collect the bounty to perform a mega feast inviting dignitaries of the community and the villagers and organize of religious ceremony. 
Obviously, consuming liqueur or any sort of intoxicated stuff are strictly prohibited.
At the end, a kind of social meeting is organized to discuss in details about the things to be done in the year ahead.
When I along with a social activist Mr. Noorul Hassan, reached villaged called Dodrepal in Darbha block the meeting had started and the head of the Hulba community Mr. Arjun Nag was discussing with the villagers. The points discussed in the meeting were as under:-

  1. Education for the girl-child
  1. Plantation of Mango saplings in bulk
  1. Boys to continue their higher studies come what may 
  1. No Child marriage

Large Number of people including women and children were present at the meeting held soon after the feast on Mango festival.
The head of the community Mr. Arjun Nag who happens to be an advocate by profession at session court at Jagdalpur took up the job of creating awareness. 
He has been doing for 20  years or so. He said:-'' another big meeting is slated at the end of the month in Sukma district soon"
Later he added-" the new generation doesn't know about the motives behind this festivals, they took it as just a festival which gives little respite from the monotonous life. "

Social Activist Mr. Hassan says:-"When we talk about the festival with the young generation they have different opinion on that because they are absolutely unaware of motives behind the celebration." While collecting cash or kind from the passerby, villagers shouted slogan that sounds obscene to the listeners but it has subtle meaning.  It means plant mango-trees for sure and save the tree. They start eating mango after the rite till it is available" Says Arjun Nag
  The youth were questioned during the period what the future plan they have. The meetings goes with congenial atmosphere. Women were asked to participate in social, political activities prevailing the village. Young ones are told to treat old men& women in the family as the most important persons.  

By: Upendra Singh from Jagdalpur

1 comment:

  1. This is modern progressive thinking of the so called tribal people. It is nowhere seen that the tribes are backward.
    So nice of you sir, to bring out the inside story of BASTAR and AMA Tihar. Otherwise we would have never been known the motives behind the fest.


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