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No Holi for superstitious Chhattisgarh villagers

Raigarh (Chhattisgarh), March 2 (IANS) They haven’t played Holi for over a century and blame an age old rumour. Dozens of families of seven villages in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh district stayed away from Holi celebrations Monday, fearing that tigers would attack them if they defied the no-Holi tradition.

About 2,200 men and women of Hattapali, Mauhapali, Pardhiapali, Amlipali, Manjurpali, Chhinpatera and Jagdishpur villages were eager to celebrate the festival of colour but bowed to superstition that tigers would kill residents if they went against the self-imposed ban.

‘The young generation looked very keen and enthusiastic this time to celebrate Holi but the senior people of the village persuaded them to maintain the 100-year-old tradition to stay away from Holi celebrations for the safety and well-being of all the villagers,’ Dhobaram Nishad, 70, told IANS.

Nishad, a resident of Hattapali, said: ‘There is a rumour that about 100 years ago when the last time the people of Hattapali celebrated Holi, tigers sneaked into the village during the night and killed several people and since then the people of this village along with six other neighbouring villages have been avoiding Holi with heavy hearts.’

‘We are just maintaining the 100-year-old tradition for the safety of villagers. We can’t take a risk when dozens of lives are at stake,’ said Toshkumar Nayak, 52, of Amlipali village.

The seven villages are around 280 km from state capital Raipur.

Shashibushan Patel, 32, a teacher of Hattapali, said: ‘Not a single person in my village is 100 years old so nobody can exactly tell what happened on the night of the Holi festival when tigers attacked villagers, but surely some disastrous incident took place that has been linked to Holi. The new generation must carry on the tradition to skip the festival.’

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