Decade-old traditional festival kicks off in northern India
The five-decade-old traditional Bhairo Janki festival has kickstarted in northern India’s Jammu and Kashmir. Locals say that this traditional festival is a fight against epidemic and drought.
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This festival is being held in Rajouri town, which is located near the Indo-Pak Line of Control (LOC) on February 27.
Visuals showed the procession out in full swing with men beating the drums. A man with this full body painted in black, was out in front of the procession as people surrounded him. The man resembles the Hindu God Bhairo Dev and he does the rounds across the town with an iron rod in his hand. A lot of people came up towards the man for them to be hit with the rod he wielded and he obliged. The man also danced to the beats of the drums being played around him as an atmosphere of festivity shrouded the place. The black man hits people with the iron rod and it is considered to be a blessing which cures people from illness.
According to a report, thousands of people from several walks of life have started to participate in this festival from the first day itself. The festival is a seven-eight day long event that takes place before Holi, also known as the festival of colours. Rajouri’s main market and the Jawahar Nagar locality witnesses processions of thousands of people.
Raja Rattan Singh, a member of the organising committee stated that such a procession is not taken out anywhere in the world. Talking about the history of this festival, he said, “Around fifty years ago Rajouri town got engulfed under drought and epidemic and hundreds of people died when a Saint reached the area. People met this Saint with request for help to end tough times and he (Saint) informed people that Rajouri town is under disguise of Bhairo Dev. He suggested to offer special prayers of Bhairo Dev and to take out procession (Jhanki) of Bhairo Dev.”
Another member of the organising committee, who goes by the name of Sanjay Dutt, shared that this procession is very important for Rajouri and that it is a symbol of communal harmony, with people from several religious backgrounds taking part. ” It is strong belief that Rajouri town comes under shadows of epidemic and drought whenever Bhairo Jhanki is not taken out,” he said, adding, “In past decades, people from Muslim community were main organisers of this procession while they (Muslims) still play an important role in holding this procession and hundreds of people, especially youth, from Muslim community become part of the procession every year.”