For a blood-thirsty Goddess


Just less than 100 kilometers from Bengaluru, Kaveripattinam, expectedly, is not that remote a village. It is not a village either, with ramshackle structures of concrete dominating over the green. But the place is in Tamilnadu and quite naturally houses a temple of Angalamman—or of Lord Shiva. Shiva mystifies things and here there is no exception. On the day after Shiva-ratri  (the night of Shiva) hundreds of residents—of sure and even of undefined genders—make up into the form of Kali, or of the blood-thirsty consort of Shiva. They romp on the village streets mostly in trance, and perform inexplicable feats. Being Kalis, they frequently quench their thirst by tearing into the necks of live roosters. And they deliver oracles. All others—gentle housewives even—are pierced with long spears and this show of penance takes a very mystic turn. Angalamman meanwhile is placed in a chariot and is dragged into the middle of this mobile show. And the rest is a study in divine violence and in continuation of the same, old, non-Aryan faith.