17 April 2011

Asuras

Asuras are lovable people living in India and that too in abundance. Here is an interesting story of Asuras, now most popularly known as Mulnivasis (SCs, STs and OBCs) of India. I am thankful to Mr. Sandeep (from Jaipur) who has contributed a link from Times of India news paper. The story is like this:

“Seven-year-old Anand hates lions. "It's a nasty animal," he says, playing with a bunch of plastic animals a camel, a horse, a cow... and a headless lion. "I wrenched its head the moment I laid my hands on it," says the child, eyes blazing in anger. "I am an Asur. I can't stand lions. This animal killed the buffalo during the war between Mahishasur and Durga. This is why we hate it and don't want to see its face."

Anand Asur's anger is the same that generations of the Asur tribe have felt. This community some 8,000-strong believes it is the bloodline of Mahishasur, the Asura king who conquered heaven and earth and drove the Devas out of Swargalok until vanquished by Goddess Durga. The rest of the world may celebrate this myth as the triumph of good over evil, but for the Asurs it is the darkest period in their collective consciousness.

While the rest of the country is preparing to celebrate, Anand Asur, his family and about 8,000 others like them in scattered communities in North Bengal and the Chota Nagpur region are preparing for mourning.

All these people bear the surname Asur and do not worship any god. They firmly believe that all gods and goddesses "illegally joined hands" to kill Mahishasur.

With anger and anguish that has not diluted in generations, these people will lock themselves in from dawn to dusk for the five days of Durga Puja. The elders stay away from every sliver of daylight. Windows are barred and pasted over to keep away the sun. Everything that needs to be done in the day is done after sunset.”

This story reminds me of Onam festival, celebrated in remembrance of King Bali (grandson of Prahlada) in Kerala where a Puli Kali (lion dance) procession has been introduced. Clearly it reminds of killer of great king Hiranyakashipu, father of Prahlada. (Mahatma Jyotirao Phule is referred here). Mulnivasis of India do counter such mythical stories as they know that such exaggerated stories were told by Aryans, another tribe. The entire world knows that tribal stories are merely exaggerations and exalted imaginations. 

Thanks Sandeep for sharing this wonderful link.

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