Monday, November 19, 2007

OFFERING - A DIFFERNT TYPE










A leading Newspaper of India reports…“while speculations about Aishwarya Rai being pregnant are rife again, we can surely tell you that the family offering prayers to all their Gods for a baby. It is not just Abhishek and Aishwarya’s presence at Amen Peer Dargah in Hyderabad two days back that indicates this, but we have learnt that Jaya Bachchan is keen that the baby is born within December 2008. The reason being a specific planetary position that comes into effect from next Thursday onwards, which would be the best time for having a baby. The visit to the Hyderabad dargah however was indeed a specific one, which included a chaddar offering as well as some specific prayers at the shrine.”

The report is in the context of one of India’s most celebrated couple offering a chaddar at a shrine to aspire a child.

Offering of chaddar and cloths are common practices across India. However, offering wooden replicas of human legs is not a common one. When we visited Nagwada, a small village in Gujarat’s Surendranagar district we came across a small shrine with full of wooden replicas of human legs.

Nagwada, on the edge of Little Ran of Kutch is a small village. Nearly five thousand years before it was a prosperous settlement belonging to the Indus Valley Civilisation. Kalini, my wife and I had gone to this village for collecting a few Harappan remains (pottery), which we intended to show children learning history. Before we head for Nagwada, we had a brief stay at Ganantar, a NGO working in the area of education, to find out details about the village. Dina bhai (name changed), an employ of Ganantar and resident of Nagwada, offered his help to show us the Nagwada ruins.

The shrine located in the edge of the village is a small one enshrining the village goddess. In the outer premises of the shrine we were astonished to see hundreds of wooden human legs. Dina bhai revealed an interesting story. Years back a man of Nagwada had fractured his legs. There was no medical facility. He prayed to the goddess for his cure. In the night the goddess appeared in dreams and asked to offer a wooden replica of human leg. Next morning the man asked the village carpenter to make replica of a human leg for him. He offered it and was cured next moment. From that time onwards, people having fractured legs have been offering wooden legs to the deity. We don’t how many have been really cured though this simple belief.