Pramod Ranjan deposited Four years of a cultural movement in the group Festivals, Rituals, Public Spectacles, and Popular Culture on Humanities Commons 1 year, 7 months ago
We wrote this report in December 2015. In this report, we have tried to bring out the ideology of the organisers of Mahishasur Day, and their strategy for cultural-social change.
When, on 25 October 2011, a handful of students of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University celebrated Mahishasur Martyrdom Day for the first time, no one could have imagined that the movement would spread like wildfire. In just four years, these events have not only created a nationwide stir but have provided a common basis for unity between Tribals, OBCs and Dalits. Talking to the organizers of Mahishasur Day functions in different parts of the country was a novel experience for us. Each of them had many things to say, but they had many things in common that drew one’s attention. Almost all of them said, “From our childhood, we used to wonder why the Asurs in idols of Durga resemble us in looks and why the body type and clothes of those who killed Asurs were similar to today’s Dwijs!” Subsequently, when they thought about it and went about exploring, they were in for a surprise. They discovered that many Asur traditions relating to Manuj Dewa, Maikasur, Daityera, Karas Dev, etc were alive around them and in some cases, in their homes. Some organizers believe that Mahishasur was not a mythological figure. He was a historical personality – the protector of their clan, a valiant king and people’s hero. All of them are against worshipping Mahishasur and do not follow any rites or rituals, which is probably the real strength of these events.