Adilabad: Adivasis for the first time are submitting memoranda to police officials requesting them not to allow ‘Ravana Dahan’ (the burning of the effigy of Ravana) on the occasion of Dasara since he is their god and they worship him.
Adivasis consider Ravan as their moola virat and king. There are temples to Lord Ravana in Central India, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. Adivasis say that they are Dravidians and follow Dravidian culture.
They point out that the symbol of the bison horn was found in the ancient Harappa civilisation and Adivasis wear bison horns as headgear during festivals.
Burning effigies of Ravana is insulting them and hurting their sentiments, Adivasi leaders say. Leaders of the Gondwana Panchayat Raj Centres submitted a memorandum to the local revenue and police officials. Utnoor revenue development officer Vinod Kumar and Utnoor deputy superintendent of police David held talks with the Hindu Ustava Samiti that is preparing for Ravana dahan and the leader of the Gondi Dharma who oppose this ritual.
The RDO asked both the groups to maintain peace and to have mutual respect for each others’ religious sentiments.
A team of Adivasi leaders led by old Adilabad Zilla Sarimedi Mesram Durgu also submitted a memorandum to the Utnoor police and the RDO requesting that Ravan Dahan not be allowed in their Shivakali temple near the historical Gond king’s fort.
The Adivasis allege that Ravana dahan has been recently introduced in Utnoor and is being observed for only the past five years.
Gondwana Gond Maha Sabha leader Sidam Arju said that Adivasis are not Hindus but are followers of the Gondi Dharma of ‘Pahandi Parikoopar Lingo’.
He said they have been demanding that the Centre create an option for ‘Gondi dharma’ under the religion column in official forms and alleged that they had been forced to state their religion as ‘Hindu’ since there was no option for Gondi dharma in the Census.
Sidam Arju said they are trying to protect and preserve their indigenous culture and traditions and reject the influence of other religions on them....