'Mahangai dayan' replaces 'Putana'

“Putna” had disguised herself as a beautiful woman and tried to breastfeed Krishna, the child, in order to kill him with her “poisoned milk” but Krishna sucked up the poison and killed her.

Over the years, the killing of “Putana” has been a part of Janmashtami celebrations and “jhankis” (enactments of Krishna’s life through pictures) during the celebrations showed the “heroic deeds”of Krishna as an infant. But this year on Janmashtami day the “jhankis”in Uttar Pradesh’s Peelibhit town, about 225 km from here, were showing something altogether different. They are connected with the real life and depict the sufferings of the common man.

At some places, Lord Krishna has been shown killing the “mahangai dayan” (the inflation demoness), immortalised by Amir Khan’s “Peepli Live”, instead of “Putana.” “It is a way of showing the plight of the common people, who have been badly affected by the rising prices of essential commodity... the jhankis draw the attention of the people towards a real problem,’’ said an organiser of the celebrations in the town.

“We really wish Lord Krishna kills the mahanagai dayan just as he killed Putana so that prices come down making the lives of ordinary people comfortable,’’ he said.

Depicting pressing and burning issues during religious functions and celebrations has been a tradition of sorts in West Bengal and one could witness them during the Durga Puja but Janmashtami was never used as a platform to give vent to the feelings of the people.

During Durga Puja, one might have seen “pandals”recreating the tsunami trhough light and special effects and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New york. But “mahangai dayan” is perhaps closer to the people in the country.

Although the festival of Janmashtami, the day Lord Krishna was born, is celebrated across the country, millions of devotees from country and abroad throng Mathura, the birth place of Krishna, and take part in the grand celebrations.

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