Gonds still follow human branding

Gonds still follow human branding
Highlights

The tribal community of Gonds in the Agency areas of the district follow a strange traditional practice of branding on the upper portion of the neck and on the abdomen with hot iron rods in the hope of getting rid of various diseases during the famous Dandari festival.

Adilabad: The tribal community of Gonds in the Agency areas of the district follow a strange traditional practice of branding on the upper portion of the neck and on the abdomen with hot iron rods in the hope of getting rid of various diseases during the famous Dandari festival.

They also undertake a ‘Deeksha’ for 15 days to worship their deity by offering special poojas.

On the next day of Deepavali on Friday, they observe a custom called ‘Laas’, in which iron rods are heated in the raging fire using cakes made with cow dung.

Later, they are used to brand the gonds, including both young and old, during a customary practice called ‘Dahadi’.

Unbale to bear the pain, the tribals start jumping. Yet, everyone undergoes this experience as a traditional practice on the day after the Festival of Lights. Even their animals are not spared.

Gussadi Deekshadari Ramu, one of those who brand the Gonds with hot iron rods, told The Hans India on Friday that the tribals undergo the pain and suffering voluntarily with full faith as they consider it as a command from their God ‘Ethamasar’.

He said that the gonds believed that they could be get relief from joint pains, gastric trouble, cold, fever and skin diseases by getting their bodies burnt, besides for those ailments for which there was no cure.

He said that they firmly believe that if the neck region was burnt, the spinal cord and brain start functioning sharply. This practice has been in vogue for several hundreds of years. The Gonds believe that they are in good health only due to this practice.

Besides, they feel that their animals could be rid of ailments that are widespread during the monsoon, he added.

One of the Girijans, Tirupati said that they remained healthy only by following this painful and dangerous custom. He said the burn marks also help in tracing the missing animals during a search.

However, girijans in general rather strangely believe that iron rods made during eclipse are blessed by God and that they don’t get injured thanks to the divine blessings.

They also believe that the evil spirits which besiege them were driven away by inflicting burns on different parts of the human body, he added.

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