Dalit protests lead to cancellation of ‘Ravana dahanam’ in Kamareddy district
On the other hand, several organisations in Nizamabad and Adilabad districts claimed that the event was conducted peacefully in their regions.
KAMAREDDY/NIZAMABAD: RAVANA, the mythical multi-headed demon king of Lanka, has been a bone of contention for ages. While a section of Hindus consider him synonymous with evil, going so far as to symbolically burn his ten-headed effigy on the occasion of Dasara, there are other sections — those usually afforded less visibility — that venerate and worship the figure. In an increasingly popular counterculture movement, Ravana is loved and mourned as a tragic, misunderstood hero.
According to this different take on Ramayana, Ravana has been denigrated as an evil character over time, as part of the Savarna attempts to demonise Dalit and Bahujan personalities in history. In fact, many Dalit and Tribal communities perform Ravana pujas on Dasara, and there has been a significant rise in the voices against the burning of his effigies.
It is learnt that in the past few days, several Dalit organisations had submitted representations to Kamareddy district officials, warning that if Ravana’s effigies were burned, it would hurt the sentiments of all those who belonged to Scheduled Castes and Tribes. As a result, even as the annual Dasara celebrations held at the Indira Gandhi stadium went on as usual on Tuesday, the traditional ‘Ravana dahanam’ (burning of Ravana) was not conducted on the occasion.
Following persistent campaigns by Dalit organisations calling Ravana “one of their own”, the district officials also refused to give permission for ‘Ravana dahanam’ in public places.
Meanwhile, according to sources in Isaipet village, Ravana dahanam was conducted with some disturbances. On the other hand, several organisations in Nizamabad and Adilabad districts claimed that the event was conducted peacefully in their regions.