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In a shameful incident, a village in MP made minor girls strip & parade naked to appease rain gods. When will these bizarre superstitions stop?
A village in Madhya Pradesh’s Damoh district made six minor girls parade naked as part of a ritual to please the rain gods. There is a drought-like situation in the village and the locals believe that this ritual will appease the rain gods and bring rainfall to the region.
According to beliefs, if young girls walk naked holding a wooden shaft rested on their shoulder with a frog tied to it, the rain gods would be happy. There was a huge procession accompanying these girls while they walked. Women who walked with them sang songs to praise the gods.
The girl’s families were involved in this ritual and were whole-heartedly a part of it. There was not one villager who found this offensive and complained to the authorities.
Two videos are being circulated on social media. In one of the videos, girls as little as five years old are seen walking with a wooden shaft resting on their shoulder with a frog tied to it and a group of women who are singing follow the parade.
In another video some women can be heard saying that this ritual was performed to please the gods as their crops are dying in the absence of rain. They said they believe that this will bring in rain.
The procession stopped at every house in the village and the girls had to collect food grains from each house-owner which was later donated to the community kitchen of the local temple. The alms and food grains were used to prepare food to complete the ritual.
“We believe that this will bring rains,” PTI quoted a woman in the procession as saying. Damoh district collector S Krishna Chaitanya said the girls’ parents had consented to the ritual and had even participated in it.
The National Commission For Protection Of Child Rights has taken suo motu cognizance of the ritual and has asked for all the details from the collector.
According to Damoh’s district collector, S Krishan Chaitanya, none of the villagers complained about the incidents. He also added that in cases like this, the administration can only make the villagers aware about the futility of such superstitions.
“The police are investigating this incident as well and action will be taken if it is found out that the girls were forced to go naked,” said Damoh superintendent of police DR Teniwar to the media.
The little girls had no clue why they were dis-robed and asked to parade naked in the village in front of all the villagers.
Madhya Pradesh is no stranger to these rituals. In 2018 two frogs were married off in the hope that it would bring rain to the village. The event was attended by the then minister of state for women and child development.
In January earlier this year the villagers in Bundelkhand conducted a wedding of two canines-Lakshmi and Golu to please the rain god’s followed by a feast which was attended by around 800 people. They expected their union to be a good omen for them.
Agriculture in India largely depends on the monsoon rains in many regions. There are various rituals carried out in different states depending on the local custom and traditions.
We need to ask some serious questions to ourselves. In this case none of the villagers not even the parents felt that they were doing anything wrong. How would the little girls have felt? They have been subjected to a lifetime of trauma, the memories of which might haunt them forever.
Don’t we have enough rape cases in our country already including the rapes of minor girls that we are now parading our girls naked? Isn’t there a possibility of a pervert who could be a part of the crowd?
Who should be blamed in this case? I guess not the parents or the villagers. These people are suffering from hardships; their entire life is dependent on the rains. It is easy for us to pass judgements sitting at the comfort of our homes and after having a belly full of food.
These are desperate measures carried out by helpless people who believe there is nothing else that they can do and that there is nowhere to turn for help.
It is hard to take action since these rituals were conducted with the consent of the families. This incident of minors being paraded naked, going from door to door begging for food grains is chilling and appalling. It demands a high level probe; children need to be protected from abuse.
These rituals merely exist to distract people in rain-parched areas from their troubles. You turn to superstition when you have exhausted all the other available means.
It is time we educate the masses. We need to come up with measures to help our farmers in case of droughts. We need to have a system in place where they can go to for help so that they don’t retort to such desperate measures.
It is a difficult and long process to eradicate these obsolete rituals from our country but let us make a start. We need to ensure that no other minor child is subjected to this treatment in the future.
Stringent steps need to be taken and educating the masses needs to be done on priority. These incidents might increase in the future due to delayed rainfall and draught, we need to act now.
Till then let us just stick to marrying frogs (if that helps) and not publicly have a shameful display of the future of our country-our girls and their dignity.
Image source: Canva
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