Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh, Feb 13 (UNI) A unique tradition to honour lover couple is popularly practised by 'Gond' tribals in Chhattisgarh, akin to modern-day Valentine's Day celebrations.
Under this tradition, lover couple 'Jhitku Mitki' -- popular in tribal folklore -- are worshipped. Not only this, 'Gharwa' artisans carve out characters from this love story that are in demand not just in metropolitan cities but also abroad.
At present, sculptures of 'Jhitku Mitki' are increasing grandeur of museums and embassies in the US, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand besides other places.
According to popular folklore in Bastar, 'Mitki' was the only sister of seven brothers of a 'Gond' family that lived in Newta Bandha village. As part of tradition, her brother 'Lamsena' brought a youth 'Jhitku' to home for marrying 'Mitki'.
Both fell in love but one day her brothers dreamt that the Goddess was demanding sacrifice. On not finding anyone, they sacrificed 'Jhitku'. 'Mitki' could not bear the separation and took her life.
Poet Jogendra Mahapatra Jogi said tribals believe that their 'mannats (desires)' get fulfilled by worshipping 'Jhitku Mitki'.
'Mitki' is also regarded as deity 'Gapa Gosai'. 'Jhitku Mitki' are worshipped as 'Dokra Dokri' in some places of Bastar.
Somaruram Baghel, a 'Gharwa' artisan, who had been carving sculptures for the past 45 years, said he had learnt the art from his father, who had narrated the story of 'Jhitku Mitki' to him.
Meera Thakur, a sculptor who had exhibited her craft at 'Suraj Kund' and other places in the country, said several people come to get sculptures of 'Jhitku Mitki' after listening to their stories.
Handicrafts Development Corporation Manager J L Merawi said foreign tourists purchased sculptures of 'Jhitku Mitki'.
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