A unique rythu jatara patronised by thousands of farmers

A unique rythu jatara patronised by thousands of farmers
Highlights

A unique ‘rythu jatara’ (farmers’ fair) takes place in the border districts of Telangana and Karnataka in Kurnool district patronised by thousands of farmers not only from Andhra Pradesh but also the neighbouring states. Virtually all items required by ryots like ploughs, bullock-carts, wheels of the carts, besides various implements are available in the jatara. Its inspirer is Ranganatha Swamy of

Kurnool: A unique ‘rythu jatara’ (farmers’ fair) takes place in the border districts of Telangana and Karnataka in Kurnool district patronised by thousands of farmers not only from Andhra Pradesh but also the neighbouring states. Virtually all items required by ryots like ploughs, bullock-carts, wheels of the carts, besides various implements are available in the jatara. Its inspirer is Ranganatha Swamy of Nandikotkur constituency in this district.

According to the legend, his virtual birth took place when Raja Reddy, a farmer of Tartoor, wed Rangamma of Wanaparthi, in the form of a wooden toy along with ‘vadibiyyam’ given to her. When she collapsed at the entrance of her new house, Reddy’s relatives discarded ‘vadibiyyam’ along with the toy to be dumped in a cattle-shed. The toy God Ranganatha urged Reddy in his dream to build a temple for him, but it was rejected, leading to a spell of drought in Tartoor, affecting the health of both humans and cattle.

The Swamy once again appeared in a dream, suggesting that the temple should be built in the cattle-shed itself. Wisdom dawned on Reddy and his family members, who put up the shrine and organised a jatara for 40 days. Since then the village did not see any trace of dry spell. The villagers treated Ranganatha Swamy as their savior (‘rythu bandhavudu’) and worshipped him.

This led to the popular belief in surrounding districts and States that his worship will ensure success of crops. The event subsequently became ‘rythu bazaar’, with a large number of ryots turning up to purchase farm tools for 40 days. However, sadly, due to over-enthusiasm of officials, the event has now been reduced to a week-long one. The Forest department officials have imposed restrictions on the use of wood for making a variety of implements. As a result of these curbs, the jatara has lost its sheen.

However, the organisers feel that the old glory can be restored if at least bamboo tools are permitted in place of wood. They have demanded that the restrictions be withdrawn in the conduct of this special rythu jatara. They have criticised the ruling dispensations which claim that they are well-wishers of farmers.

By D Harikishan

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