ANANTAPUR: Lack of rains yet in parts of Rayalaseema has led to rural people enacting the centuries-old tradition of protesting against the Rain God with “Karuvu Rallu” or drought stones.
As per the tradition, villagers in this drought-prone region throw waste material of their village, including the drought stones, on outskirts of another village to appease the Rain God into showering rains. Villagers, however, exercise caution while throwing the drought stones, lest it lead to a clash with members of the targeted village.
All such stones are finally dumped into Penna and other rivers of Rayalaseema bordering Karnataka. Senior citizens say this tradition has been continuing even to this day, as the practise not only appeases the Rain God but also checks farmers from falling into depression due to their inability in raising crops.
This Deccan Chronicle reporter saw a dump of drought stones on outskirts of Seebai village in Kalyanadurgam mandal of Anantapur district. They must have been dumped there by inmates of one of the villages trying to appease the Rain God.
Rajanna from Kalayandurgam area said this tradition has been a part of Rayalaseema farmers’ life for many centuries. Karuvu Rallu on outskirts of another village are seen as a positive sign.
Dr. Harinath Reddy of Rayalaseema Vedika says this tradition of protest is mostly seen in villages around Goddess Gangamma temples, which are constructed mostly close to river beds and irrigation tanks. “At these temples, villagers seeking rains offer traditional poojas and ululate to express their grief at lack of rains”, Dr Reddy explained.
According to reports available, many areas of Rayalaseema have experienced 72 drought years in the past 145 years. Such high variability in southwest monsoon is an indicator of the risk associated with farming in this district. It has 7 lakh hectares of dry land whose cultivators depend only on seasonal rains....