Six Indian Festivals Which Should Be Banned
In India, festivals are a part and parcel of daily life. Festivals are celebrated to mark births, deaths and other important events in the lives of gods and great men, the beginning and end of seasons and even to celebrate a good harvest! Indians really do not need a reason to celebrate life. However, some Indian festivals are highly dangerous, in fact fatal.
Bani festival: During Dussehra in Andhra Pradesh, people gather at the Devaragattu temple in Kurnool district at midnight and hit each other’s heads with lathis till… wait for it… dawn, to commemorate the killing of a demon by Mala-Malleshwara (a form of Shiva). Despite the large number of deaths and injuries that take place during this festival, people still see it as celebration.
Govardhan Puja: Indian devotees are obsessed with the cow, which is considered holy by them. Govardhan Puja commemorates the day when Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Parvat on his finger to defend the earth against the heavy downpour caused by Lord Indra. In Madhya Pradesh, people worship the cow by fasting for five days, after which they lie down before the cows so that they can walk over their “devotees”. More often than not, these devotees lose their life by getting trampled upon by the cows.
Aadi festival: Another festival of Tamil Nadu, Aadi festival is also a morbid ritual, wherein devotees go to the Mahalakshmi Temple at Mettu Mahadhanapuram, where priests smash coconuts on their heads. This festival is observed in honour of those Indians who had smashed coconuts on their heads to force their British rulers to change the course of a railway line which was to be built across the temple.
Dropping babies for good luck: Even children are not spared the madness of such bizarre festivals. At the Baba Umer Dargah near Sholapur, Maharashtra, a crazy custom is observed, wherein babies are dropped from a height of fifty feet and caught in a sheet held by men waiting below. It is also practised in the Sri Santeswar temple near Indi in Karnataka since over 700 years. Despite the fear factor of this ritual, people practise it fanatically in the belief that it will attract good luck for their new born.
Thaipoosam: At Tamil Nadu, devotees take fanaticism to a whole new level by piercing skewers, hooks and lances in their body amidst the sounding of drums and chants. As per their belief, Lord Murugan or Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, was pierced by a lance while fighting against demon Tarakasura’s army. Harming themselves in a similar manner is a way of showing their devotion to the Lord. Some people also try to pull heavy objects such as tractors with the hooks pierced into the skin.
Agni kheli: In Mangalore, men indulge in a death-defying stunt known as Agni kheli, where they cover themselves in only a loin cloth and throw fireballs at each other. Obviously, this results in people getting burnt, but that’s exactly the purpose of this ritual. Once they catch fire, they are sprayed with a holy water known as kumkumarchana.