Muslim family makes effigies for Dussehra festival

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Moradabad, Oct 3 : A Muslim family in Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh is busy making effigies of the demon King Ravana ahead of Dussehra festival.

Dussehra festival will be celebrated on October 9.

On Dussehra day, the effigies of Ravana and his kin would be traditionally set on fire marking the victory of good over evil. Thousands of spectators cheer as the effigies go up in flames to the rapture of thousands of crackers.

Not many of them know that a Muslim family, which has been in this business for the past four decades, has painstakingly mounted the effigies.

Munna, one of the members of the family said that each year he makes around 20-25 effigies.

"I make around 20-25 effigies of Ravana every year. I begin in the month of July and the work finishes by the time of Dussehra. I have been doing this for the past 40 years," said Munna.

The effigies of Ravana and his kin are generally mounted on a bamboo structure with heads carved out either in clay or with paper. The structures are then covered with the cloth and paper so that the effigies catch fire easily.

Rehman, Munna's son said that effigy making does not fetch them enough money to make a living out of it. Also, since it is a seasonal business, ferrying people on hired cycle rickshaws forms their main stay of earning their bread and butter.

He added that they have been making effigies as it connects them with their Hindu friends.

"We are Muslims and when we make Ravana (effigy of Ravana), we pray to our Allah that these people (Hindus) should be able to celebrate their festival in a peaceful manner without any trouble whatsoever. We pray that no untoward event should happen since their fair is thronged by hundreds of people," said Rehman.

Ravana is considered to be an embodiment of evil.

Dussehra is also interpreted as "Dasa-Hara", which means the slaying of the ten heads of Ravana, denoting abdication of ten vices -- passion, pride, anger, greed, infatuation, lust, hatred, jealousy, selfishness and crookedness.

Street plays based on Ramayana are also staged during the ten-day festival.

The festivities last ten days, of which the first nine nights are 'Navratri,' dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga. By Vibhov Porov

ANI

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