Villagers here are scared of festival

Nearly 150 years have passed, but Durgapur has not played Holi

Located on the banks of Khanjo river, about 55 km from the district headquarters Bokaro, Holi has nothing to cheer about for 2000-odd residents of Durgapur.

The story has it that Durgapur ruler king Durga Prasad was very fond of celebrating Holi in a big way. But as the ill-luck would have it, King's son died during the celebration about 150 years back. When the villagers celebrated the festival of colours next year, there were a few deaths in the village. Worse, a three-year drought spell followed. It is said that King's son appeared in the dream of Durga Prasad and wanted his father to impose a blanket ban on Holi celebrations. Strange it may sound, the king also died on the day of Holi.

These developments sent shivers down the spines of the villagers and they resolved not to celebrate Holi.

Even now, the fear haunts them and they skip the festival.

When a few people in the village clandestinely celebrated Holi soon after the country’s independence, there were deaths in the village and some lost their cattle.

 "From my childhood, I have not celebrated Holi. Blame it on superstition, blind belief or bitter experiences of the past. I am very old. I wish I see villagers celebrating  Holi. Hope I will be part of the celebrations",  octogenarian Janki Mahto of the village said.

The villagers have not been able to overcome the fear. "They still think that tragedy will strike the village if the Holi celebrations are held,” she adds.    

 "I found that people strongly believe their deceased king Durga Prasad's atma is residing in a nearby Durga hill and it will take care of the villagers. But over the years, villagers have  become liberal  in their thinking and allow youngsters to move out of the village. So, those who want to celebrate Holi leave the village and celebrate it at their relatives' places," said  journalist Shanank Shekhar.

The villagers are not willing to believe that the deaths and celebrations could just be coincidence. Developments in other parts of the state and the country appear to have had no impact on the villagers.

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