Dussehra brings the Communities Together
The event of Dussehra in Udaipur is being organized by people b
Dussehra, the festival to mark the victory of Good over Evil will be celebrated on Thursday 6 October 2011 by Hindu devotees in Udaipur with which the 9 days of Navratri will come to its end.
The large effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhakaran are erected at Gandhi Ground which will be burnt on the day of Dussehra to mark the victory of Lord Rama, his brother Laxman and Rama’s devotee Lord Hanuman who fought a war against Ravana to rescue Sita, wife of Rama who was abducted by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka.
This is the most common and strongly believed story behind the perception of Dussehra which is one of the major Indian festivals celebrated by Hindu devotees around the nation.
But very few know about the people who organize this festival every year in Udaipur and those who make the idols of demons Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Meghnath.
The event of Dussehra in Udaipur is being organized by people belonging to Sindhi community since 1949 while the giant statues are made by Muslim artists from Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura district.
This unlikely work of art by two different communities clearly represents the communal harmony and loyalty they have over each other.
“Our forefathers migrated to India from Pakistan soon after the India’s Independence in 1947, since then we are living in Udaipur,” says Gurumukh Kastoori, Coordinator of Shri Sanatan Dharma Seva Samiti, a Sindhi social organization that is completely devoted in organizing and managing the whole event.
Gurumukh said, “In 1949 it was the first time when our community people started celebrating Dussehra, that time they used to make idols by themselves and the programme was comparatively smaller than what we are doing today.”
“Later they started calling craftsmen from various places like Choti Sadri and Mathura to make the idols of all three demons,” he continued.
From last 14 years a Muslim family of craftsmen is coming to Udaipur 2 months prior to the festival to start their work of making idols of Ravana, Kumbakaran and Meghnath’s for Dussehra.
Shakir Ali Farookhi (55) (in photo above) who has come from Mathura is staying in Udaipur with his family of 15 people which includes his wife, sons, daughter-in-laws and grandsons who work as a team. Their skills and hard work has no substitute and that’s the reason why the organizing committee always invites Shakir Ali to make and assemble the idols for the auspicious day of Dussehra which is also known as Vijaydashami.
“Every year we came to Udaipur and I am in love with this city because of the warmth and love I get from people here,” says Shakir Ali.
He told us about the affection he receives from Sanatan Dharma Seva Samiti who arranges their accommodation and food for whole 2 months. “We stay here so comfortably that I forget that I have a home in Mathura. Udaipur simply touches us,” says Shakir with wet eyes.
Shakir and his team has made 65ft tall idol of Ravana while idols of Kumbhakaran and Meghnath are 55ft tall. It is made up of bamboos of different sizes; more than 300 bamboos have been used, along with paper, color and glue to make it attractive.
Such distinctive example of communal harmony and unity is still not rare, at least not in the city of lakes which will observe the victory of truth and love over false and hatred on the day of Dussehra.
Report by Sayeed Ahmed