In a country like India of numerous cultures & traditions, here rituals also differs in each and every part of India. Whether it is fire walking, smashing coconuts on heads, or transgenders marrying their deity. Every ritual has a story behind it. In some parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka, India there is a ritual where children are dropped from a height of about 30 feet. It was believed that this will bring luck. But it is criticized by human rights and child activists.
Story behind the Child dropping ritual
It is believed that almost seven centuries ago when the infant mortality rate was rapidly increasing, families start stressing out. To find a solution, they met a saint. He advised them to drop their infant from a height. He told them to have faith in god. He also told them that if they believe in God wholeheartedly. So, God will produce a sheet before the infant hits the ground. In this way, the infant will be saved.
About the Child dropping ritual
This ritual is practiced in different parts of India. Most commonly it is practiced in Maharashtra and Karnataka. It is practiced by both Hindus and Muslims. In this ritual, children below two years of age are dropped from a height of about 30-50 feet. Men stand on the ground carrying a sheet or blanket to catch the child. After the successful completion of the ritual they celebrate by passing the child from one man to another before giving it to the mother.
In Solapur, Maharashtra, this ritual is performed at the Baba Umer Dargah. It is an old and famous shrine. It is following this ritual since ages. Hindus and Muslims both perform this ritual together.
In a very similar trend, the ritual is also practised in the state of Karnataka. At Sri Santeswar Temple in Indi and the Digameshwara Temple in Nagrala village follows the same.
Criticism against the odd ritual
This ritual is criticized by Human Rights Activist and Child Activists. They say that dropping a child from 30 to 50 feet height is dangerous for a child’s mental health. After being dropped from such a height, children are often seen crying and traumatized. They continue to cry when others are celebrating. Doctors say that such kind of practices are harmful for a child. They are completely shaken when dropped off from such a height. Also, it has been observed that the priest, does not care where the child is landing.
Banning the ritual
In 2011, after lots of criticism from local activists, Human Rights activists, and the National Commission for Child’s Rights, this ritual was banned. But the next year, it was started again and is still in practice. Some activists are still putting efforts to stop this ritual. They termed this ritual as ‘Barbaric’. They also called it brutal.
Findings show that this ritual was started in some places in Maharashtra. It has no traces in the history. Following such a tradition in today’s time is what these activists cannot stand. But still many people follow this tradition because of their faith in God. And the question, whether this is right or wrong? Remains.
Author: Anjali Datt
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