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Blind Faith

"Chaitra" is the festivities of "Gajan". Beliefs and sources differ, but the root remains common. It is celebrated by people from the Bauri, Bagdi, Dom, Hari and other backward communities who are directly or indirectly related to agriculture and cultivation. They seek blessings from the Almighty for sufficient rain, restoring the fertility of  soil and eventually a good harvest. It might be noted in this regard that Dharmathakur is considered to be the God of fertility.

The most interesting part of this festival is the conclusion where the sanyasi's perform extreme acts of penance and human sufferings at a "Charak" only to testify their faith and devotion. Men get themselves pierced and hooked by experts who do these impossible feats and who believe that The Almighty will not allow any bloodshed to his worshippers. A Charak  as mentioned earlier is a long vertical tree bark with horizontal poles attached to it at a perfectly balanced position. It is believed that the tree is a form of "Ardhnarishwar" (half man-half woman), that symbolizes the co-existence of man with nature. After the tree bark is worshipped, the hook held sanyasis who are by then in a deep trance, hang themselves from the Charak and fly in circular motion. It is often noted that mothers seek blessings and offer their infant children to be a part of this hanging ritual.

Times and customs have changed, some festivals are long gone, but this is one festival that is still popular in the rural belts of Bengal and hopefully, will be forever.

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