Published: Friday 15 December 1995

FOR tribals in Mayurbhanj district of Orissa, mantras of the tantriks and other saffron-clad individuals can still evoke the fear of God in them as members of the District Action Group, MASS realised.

A plantation programme in about eight ha of land in the Betnoti area of the district had the misfortune of going haywire when it was noted that newly planted saplings were being uprooted the very next day. To ascertain the culprit, MASS members had to resort to calling the ojha or the local tantrik. Getting underway, the tantrik with his flowing beard and Vermillionsmeared attire, immediately called upon the evil spirits via his assorted paraphernalia including the human skull, flowers, and cock to punish the culprit with many a curse unless the person reveals his identity. Hardly had the ritual begun, when a young man confessed to his crime which he had committed due to an old enemity with a MASS member!

The seedlings were thus rcstored and the plantation drive continued. Looks like the environment can take all the help it can including such practices to save itself.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.