Bhopal, Oct 9: The ten-headed demon Ravana whose effigy is traditionally burnt down on Dussehra, is worshipped with all devotion and reverence in some places of Madhya Pradesh.
There is a tradition to worship Ravana -- symbol of evil -- in some villages of Vidisha, Damoh, Mandsaur and Ujjain districts on Dusshera.
A Damoh-based Sindhi family has been worshipping Ravana as their 'Isht Dev' (clan deity) from generations.
Harish Nagdev (32) is well-known in Damoh district as Lankesh (King of Lanka -- Ravana). He regularly worships his deity (the demon) with ample rites and rituals. Harish rhymes chants while giving a bath to the idol of Ravana and changing his clothes. He also performs an 'Arti' of his lord and also distributes the 'prasad'.
The family has a tea-stall at Ghantaghar area -- heart of the town, with a large picture of Ravana to fascinate the bygoers.
Every person, who comes to have a sip of tea, is bound to greet Harish by saying 'Jai Lankesh,' otherwise tea is not offered to him.
On the occasion of Dussehra, when entire town remains occupied in burning Ravana's effigy, this family enthusiastically worships their Lord.
The family strongly condemns the burning down of their deity's effigy and aspires to built a huge temple of Ravana. They HAVE sought funds from the government for the purpose.
In the same lines, denizens of Ravana village in Vidisha district also worship Ravana and consider him as their 'clan God'. They worship the huge lying idol of Ravana with all religious ceremonies on Dussehra.
Similarly, in Palita village of Vidisha district's Kurwal tahsil the denizens revere Meghnad -- son of Ravana. It is also worshipped in Samsabad.
In Chinli village of Mandsaur and Ujjain districts, there is a year-old tradition of paying obeisance to Ravana.
Dussehra or Vijayadashami is celebrated just after the nine-day Navratra celebrations, to mark the victory of good over evil.
Dussehra derived from the word -- Dus Hara -- means King of Lanka Ravana, a demon with 10 heads, defeated by Ram.
The festival is celebrated on the tenth day of the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) of the Hindu autumn month of Ashvin or Ashwayuja.
It is also celebrated as the day of victory to rejoice about Durga's triumph over the demon Mahishasura.