5 December 2022

Meerut / Agra : Baragaon village in Baghpat , which is still called ‘ Ravana ‘ in reve nue records , never witnesses the effigy – burning of the ‘ de mon king ‘ , nor the celebra tion of Dussehra . Archaeolo gical finds confirm the pre sence of painted greyware pottery here , which is widely associated with the late Ve dic period . It is believed that after acquiring Ravana , shakti ( power ) in the Himala yas lost it in this village after handing it over to a farmer .

Gauri Shankar , chief pri est of a temple in the Baghpat village , explained , ” Ours is an ancient village . It has al ways been called Ravana . For generations we have been he aring a common legend asso ciated with the demon king . He had meditated for years in the Himalayas to get shakti . “

UP doesn't mark Dussehra
UP doesn’t mark Dussehra

Shankar added : ” Ravana did attain it and while returning from the mountains he passed through this village . He handed over the ‘ shakti ‘ to a farmer But the farmer , unable to bear the weight of the power , placed it on the ground and the ‘ shakti ‘ then refused to go further with Ravana . So , he built a temple for Mansa Devi on the very spot where it stands today . ” That the village was first settled a very long time ago remains undisputed . Dr KK Sharma , associate professor , department of history , Multani Mal PG College , Modinagar , ” During archaeological missions taken up in this village , we found an ample amount of painted greyware pottery , which was in existence in 1,500 BC . So , we can safely say that the village existed much before that . “

Incidentally , western UP is considered to have played a significant role in both Mahabharata and Ramayana , so much so that names of many towns and cities continue to be the same as mentioned in the two epics . While the entire nation celebrates Dussehra that marks victory of good over evil , many villages and communities of this region do not celebrate the killing of Ravana by Ram .

Bisrakh is yet another village in UP’s Gautam Budh Nagar where the roughly 5,500 residents don’t celebrate Dusshera as , according to legend , Ravana was born here , and so were his two brothers .

In Agra , the Saraswat Brahmin com munity does not burn the effigy of the de mon king and , on the contrary , worships him . They say that he was Lord Shiva’s ardent devotee and a reservoir of knowl edge . Saraswat Brahmins also revere him because he ” belonged to their clan ” , they say . Dr Madan Mohan Sharma , con venor of Lankapati Dashanan Puja Sam iti in Agra , said , ” There were several good things about him as well that need to be highlighted . Besides , burning the king’s effigies won’t serve any purpose . One must destroy the evil traditions and thoughts prevailing in society instead .”

Bijnor’s Saindwar village doesn’t cel ebrate Dusshera as it has no linkage to the demon king as such but an inter – caste battle between the two dominating com munities of the region in the 15th centu ry — the Tyagis and the Thakurs . Kuldeep Singh , a native , explained : ” In 15th centu ry , there used to be a bitter rivalry be tween the two communities . To settle the issue , both decided to fight a battle on Dussehra . The Tyagis celebrated the fes tival day ahead of Dussehra , but Tyagis attacked them , massacred many . Since then Thakurs observe Dussehra as a day of sorrow “.

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