Durga Puja or Dussehara is a grand festival celebrated in India with much fan fare by Manuwadi. Like other Hindu mythologies having contradictory narratives, Durga Puja too have many narratives behind it. The predominant and widely accepted narrative is that Durga (symbol of good) defeated Mahisasur (symbol of evil). Before we delve deep into the claim of narrative let’s discuss the genesis of Durga Puja.
The first mention of the word ‘Durga’ is found in Markandey Purana, a scripture written in 250-500 AD. However the celebration of the festival is fairly recent, dating some 250-300 years back. Bizarre may it sound it was Raja Narbakrishnadev of Calcutta organized the first Durga Puja to honour Lord Clive, under whom British own the Battle of Plassey in 1757 defeating combined forces of three kings that include Nawab of Bengal. From then the celebration gained traction, and spread to the other areas. Now you can understand why Durga Puja is wildly popular in West Bengal than in any other states.
It is very important to note that around the same time as Durga Puja, many tribal people in Bihar, Jharkhand and Bengal observe Mahisasur Shradh Divas, a day of mourning for their great indigenous king Mahisasur, who was killed deceptively. Ever since Durga Puja started, the Mahisasur Shradh Divas has been overshadowed and its celebration has been made a criminal offense.
The True Narrative
The indigenous narrative of Tribals/locals, which in the absence of a written form, has been passed in oral form generation after generation. Only recently attempts are being made to compile them in written form. The narrative is far superior than the Brahminical version. Not just Durga puja, the Brahmins have made up many false and imaginative stories to mislead people maintain their status quo and perpetuate their hegemony.
The tribal version of Durga Puja is far superior than Brahminical version in that it speaks only facts. First, the tribal version accepts that their king Mahisasur (Buffalo God) has in fact been killed. It does not try to convert a defeat into a win. Second, it tallies with Brahmincial version that Mahisasur was killed in the ninth day. Third, it agrees with the fact that the indigenous (tribal/Dravidian) were subsequently defeated by the outsiders in the war.
So where tribal version is differs from Brahminical version?
The war between Durga and Mahisasur was not a war between good and evil. In fact it was a war between Non-Aryans versus Aryans, between foreigners and indigenous people. Mahisasur was an extremely powerful tribal king in the Bong region. He was well known for his brute force like Samson. The cunning and war mongering Aryans failed to defeat Mahisasur. They hatched a plan and sent an extremely beautiful yet shrewd prostitute named Durga. Mahisasur was blown away by her beauty and charm. Mahisasur made the mistake there. He married her, who killed him in the ninth day of their honeymoon when he was asleep tired after sex. The death of Mahisasur sent shock wave in his kingdom and a brutal slaughter of non-Aryans by Aryans followed. The sheer scale and brutality of slaughter was such that they Aryans made garland with heads of defeated people’s head and draped it around Durga’s neck.
You will be surprised to learn that high caste prostitutes in Bengal identify Durga as their main clan member, and they take pride of it. Many places in Bengal where Durga Puja is celebrated since long have the custom to collect mud from local prostitutes’ house and build Durga’s statue with it.
The bottom line is that the defeat of Mahisasur was not straight forward, but through deception and cunningness. Durga was actually not a God. She was a prostitute, who gained status of God after treacherously killing her husband Mahisasur. There are overwhelming evidence to it, but the cunning Manuwadi hid the inconvenient truth.