Bastar Dusserah


Dusserah at Bastar-- the wooded Dandakaranya region around Jagdalpur, in Chattisgarh--has little to do with the ten-armed Goddess. It has specifically older and non-Aryan dictates to go by. It dates back to the days of coming together of different clans for reasons anything but spiritual. Those clans--now classified under different tribal identities--used to join each other to frame a considerable human-mass, and thus to keep aside all influences not generated from within the forest. Changing political scenario made them unite under a common ruler, and they came under the fold of the King of Jagdalpur—then reigning for the Kakatiya dynasty. It is never known whether the King played his part, but his subjects--who are not used to any form of subjugation-- kept their roles unchanged. During Dusserah the Marias, the Murias, the Gonds, the Dhurbas come out of their hidden landscape, carrying in palanquins their strange Gods, and through much dancing and singing try to revive their defunct Lord.