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Obama to see Bastar’s other face, its rich culture

Republic Day chief guest and United States President Barack Obama will witness the rich culture and traditions of Chhattisgarh’s Bastar at Rajghat at the Republic Day Parade on Monday. The region is also known across the Globe for being a Naxal stronghold.

The state’s tableau that will roll on at the parade will depict ‘Bastar Dussehra’, which officials feel would mesmerize Obama and other American delegates. In all, 34 tribal dancers, who will be accompanying the tableau, will perform the traditional Maria dance.

According to a state government spokesperson, the front-side of the tableau beautifully depicts a giant model of ‘Bison-horn Maria’ and a replica of Goddess Danteshwari Devi, while the rear shows a chariot bearing a primitive look and a ritual in which people are seeking permission for starting the ‘yatra’ from a girl belonging to ‘Mirgin-Mahara, scheduled caste.

The most famous festival of Chhattisgarh, ‘Bastar Dussehra’ is quite distinct from the celebrations of Dussehra in other parts of the country owing to its unconventional rituals. It is devoted to the Goddess, Danteshwari Devi and is associated neither with Ravana’s defeat nor Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya. The event had been drawing National and International tourists.

Bastar Dussehra is a 76-day long festival that underlines the spirit of participation, cutting across caste and creed. People belonging to varied castes and tribes participate in the festival and each community is assigned a specific task which specific communities have been performing since decades.

Only 16 states including Chhattisgarh will be participating in the Republic Day parade.

The tableau will give international recognition to the 532-year-old historic Dussehra festival of Bastar and people across the world will be able to know about the unique and affluent culture of Chhattisgarh.


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