Customs and Rituals

Introduction

Madhya Pradesh art and culture

Customs and rituals of any place reflects the mindset of those people to react to any event. When leaders of society derives certain rules towards some repeating events that took place in life of majority of people, we call them customs. Rituals are nothing but the way we implement those customs in our practical life. Human life is full of some common events like birth of child, death of family member, marriage function, separation of family members, rejoining from family members, greeting of guests etc. thus society leaders made certain rules for society member as how we should react on such events and named them customs and rituals. These customs and rituals reveals many information about those societies who follows them and helps us to draw some conclusion. Thus it is very important to study those customs and rituals in order to know more about those societies. As societies varies from place to place there customs also varies with change of place. This variation is gradual at short distance  but could be of high level at long distance. Here in Madhya Pradesh, we can find many tribal societies like Gond, Bhil, Baiga, Korku, Sahariya, Bharia etc. They are scattered over a large region in the form of small clusters thus with the change in region, we can experience the change in customs and rituals.

Hingot Mela

It is played near Indore, from next day of Diwali festival. As per Hindu calendar, it is celebrated on kartik shukla prathama of vikram samvat. It is a customary festival which can be seen at Gautampura area in which people from two different villages throw burning hingots on each other. From distance it seems like burning balls. Hingots are nothing but a wild fruits shaped like a rugby ball which is grown in Depalpur area. Its pulp is extracted and filled by inflammable things like gunpowder, coal and brimstone. Here two teams are from Gautampura and Runji village. They gather at common ground and ignite these hingots and throw on each other. It goes like a rocket.

Gotmar Mela

It is celebrated in many parts of Central India in different ways. Here we talk about Pola festival celebration in Madhya Pradesh state. It is again a traditional game in which stone pelting is done by groups on each other and shields were use to protect themselves from such pelting. In order to see this action, we have to visit Gotmar mela held at Pandhurna town at Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh. Due to its violent nature, local administration tries to discourage such pelting activities but still local people take it as part of their age old tradition and defies the government instructions to celebrate it. Many participants gets injured during such stone pelting activity but still it is celebrated.

Ghotul

It is another amazing custom that can be seen in Madhya Pradesh and neighboring states like Chhatisgarh, Maharashtra. It can be seen in members of Gond and Muria tribe, passing through their youth period. It is mainly followed by unmarried girls and boys. The word "Ghotul" is the name of a place for youth to live a social and religious life. As per Gond legend, first ghotul was created by their supreme diety Lingo. At such Ghotuls, there was a elder facilitator who manages it to ensure discipline and cleanliness at such sites. It is a kind of social institution where youths were taught about their culture, rituals, public service etc. Here boys are called "Cheliks" and girls are called "Motiaris". These participants are very respectable in their society and thus no social activity could happen without their participation. Today, some immature people defames such Ghotuls by giving self created vulgar definitions which is totally incorrect. As per conditions, we can experience some variations on life-style and system of Ghotuls.

People

The population of Madhya Pradesh is about 60.38 Millions (2001 census), an increase of 24.34% & the population density is 196 people per square kilometer. More than 75% of state population resides in villages whose main occupation is agriculture, while the rest of the population lives in towns. Indore district is the most populated one. Number of females per thousand male (sex ratio) in the state is 919 where as the literacy rate is 63.70%. The majority population is Hindu with Muslims making up the largest minority community.

The life style, culture & customs of this community mostly resemble the Hindu religion though they still strongly believe in orthodox traditions. Gond is the best known tribe & forms the largest group in Madhya Pradesh. Bhils, the second largest tribe are largely concentrated in the area around Jhabua, Khargone, Dhar & Ratlam. Baigas believe themselves to be descendants of Dravid & this backward tribe is found in Mandla, balaghat, Shahdol & Sidhi District. Bharia tribe has major concentration in Jabalpur & Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh.Korku tribal community is administered by the head of a panchayat (called Sarpanch) & they are found in Hoshangabad, Betul, Chhindwara, Harda & Khandwa districts of Madhya Pradesh. Santia is a tribe of Malwawho believe themselves to be originally a martial Rajput tribe. Lesser known tribe like Dhanuk, Panika, Saur still form an important group.

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