<SiteLock

Diwali and Bali Pratipada

 

Gail Omvedt

Diwali, or the "Festival of Lights," comes in the period after the harvest, as days begin to get shorter. The first day is for honoring cows and buffalos. The second day, in Brahmanic culture, commemorates the killing of Mahisasura: this symbolizes the struggle between "devas" and "asuras." In the legends, both are children of the same mother, but asuras are portrayed as not-human. The asuras represent stable agriculture, the devas represent foraging and herding as means of sustenance. The third day is "Bali Pratipada," the day of king Bali. Brahmanic tradition re-enacts the killing of Bali, the nonBrahmanic tradition remembers Bali and seeks his return. All of these are myths, and they were treated by Phule as myths, Phule used myth and counter-myth. But these days much of the counter-culture treats Bali as if the story represented a real history.

waman effigy

Burning of Waman Effigy at the anniversary of Baliraja Memorial People's Dam

"Ida pida javo, Balica rajya yevo" – let troubles and sorrows go and the kingdom of Bali come! This is the ancient saying of the Marathi peasantry. It remembers Bali Raja as a kingdom of prosperity and happiness,

At Dussera nonBrahmans go out and women collect leaves of the Apte tree, joined together like hearts — symbolizing our hearts' joining. Brahmans go and come back, the men carrying a stick of grass which they poke into the stomach of an effigy of Bali made of wheat flour. All of these represent the contradictions of the ongoing oppression of the caste system.

 ~~~

 

[Courtesy: Seeking Begumpura, November 5, 2013]

Other Related Articles

The promise of Mook Nayak
Wednesday, 14 April 2021
  Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar From the pages of Bahishkrit Bharat (Untouchable India) [The following is from an editorial (translated from Marathi) written by Babasaheb Ambedkar for one of the... Read More...
The OBC case of ‘House Negro’ and ‘Field Negro’
Sunday, 11 April 2021
  Anand Kshirsagar There was a time in the American antebellum South like Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Alabama, and South Carolina where economic, social, political, cultural, and religious... Read More...
Moral Right to Labour
Wednesday, 07 April 2021
Pralay Nagrale The recent mobilization of the Valmiki community all over India was important in fighting for justice for the 19 year old girl of Bulgaddhi village of district Hathras, because till... Read More...
Ram Van Gaman Path: Who are you to decide our vision for development?
Monday, 05 April 2021
Bodhi Ramteke What could be the priorities for any poorest state, where literacy rate is low, malnutrition level is high, having no proper educational & health infrastructure and other endless... Read More...
Myth of Brahmin Merit: Refutation of Superiority
Sunday, 21 March 2021
  Pranav Jeevan P We have been hearing arguments that try to justify the superiority and monopoly of Brahmins and savarnas in the fields of education and governance based on genetics. Their... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

The Ruling Caste's changing priorities and the Farmer Unrest
Tuesday, 08 December 2020
  Anshul Kumar “History shows that the Brahmin has always had other classes as his allies to whom he was ready to accord the status of a governing class provided they were prepared to work... Read More...
How to write anti-caste solidarity texts
Monday, 02 November 2020
Dr. Murali Shanmugavelan Ensure that “Dalit” appears as a prefix whenever the victim is mentioned. The phrase “Dalit victim” helps your readers understand the difference between Dalits and... Read More...
How to look 'Dalit' in the Savarna imagination
Wednesday, 04 November 2020
  Bobby Kunhu  When I first watched the classic 1972 Luis Bunuel comedy, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeouise, in 1994 or 95, I could not have imagined that it was possible to adapt the... Read More...
So you want to ally with the Dalit Rights Movement?
Tuesday, 20 October 2020
  Shivani Waldekar On 25th May 2020, George Floyd, an unarmed Black man was murdered in police custody in Minneapolis, USA. A video showing a white police officer kneeling on his neck for almost... Read More...
The Karnataka anti-cow slaughter bill is against the poor
Tuesday, 15 December 2020
Dr. Sylvia Karpagam "If India's politicians had any connect with land and farming, they would understand the organic relationship farmers have with livestock, milk, manure and killing of cows. It is... Read More...