Continuing the long running tradition of mixing superstition with fauna-baiting, a ‘wedding’ was organised in a temple in Madhya Pradesh to placate the rain god, and bring relief to the region from the scorching heat. Unfortunately, instead of rainfall, the event’s direct repurcussion has been an FIR against Madhya Pradesh Minister of State for Woman and Child Development, Lalita Yadav by an animal rights group, for organising this event.
Yadav was present, along with several BJP members, to ‘bless’ the newly weds.
The wedding ceremony, which we’re assuming was a hit in Indralok, was held at a Chatarpur temple and was attended by hundreds, who were later treated to a celebratory feast. ‘Ashad Utsav’, as the event was called, was solemnised by the temple priest, and was attended by several BJP ministers. When asked about the ceremony, temple priest Acharya Brijnandan declared that frog wedding were age-old tradition and believes that the credit for the monsoons that follow this year, will be due to the frog wedding.
Wedding of two frogs organized as part of a ritual held in Chhattarpur to ‘please rain gods’. Madhya Pradesh Minister Lalita Yadav who was also present says’ We have prayed to god for rain in drought hit Bundelkhand region and for the welfare of our farmers’ (22.6.18) pic.twitter.com/q2qxz7taZi
— ANI (@ANI) June 24, 2018
Naresh Kadyan, an activist with the NGO Scouts and Guides for Animals and Birds that filed the FIR, has responded to all of the above with a hard no.
Calling the ‘forced wedding’ an act of ‘manhandling and cruelty’, he asked the police to find the frogs and keep them under protection for the duration of the trial against the organisers. “Lalita Yadav was present at the ceremony in Chhatarpur city. I have seen her going on record on TV, claiming that the ritual was performed for drought-hit region of Bundelkhand. So, she has already admitted what was done,” he said.
Yadav, for her part remained defiant and called the frog wedding ‘logical tradition’ and not superstition. “It is not superstition but a logical tradition which is necessary to balance the environment which is made up of five elements. The drought is a result of disturbance in the environment. As environment is not happy with Bundelkhand, we are trying to please the god to make the balance in the environment. In old days, our forefathers used to organise religious rituals at temple to please the god”, she said.
The NGO’s FIR however states: “This is in violation of Section 3, 11 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, read with 120-B, 428, 429 of IPC… An FIR may be lodged against the event organizers along with promoters of the cruel event, including Lalita Yadav, who breached the trust of public read with Article 51 A (g) of Indian Constitution.”
In its petition, the NGO asked the police to ‘confiscate the abused frogs as case property keep them in an infirmary’.
India’s tryst with bizarre religious ceremonies seems to be a never-ending saga that never ceases to leave one amazed. From two married men taking pheras to appease the rain gods while their wives and kids looked on to a nine-day hawan where 500 quintals of mango wood were burned to pray pollution away, somehow we’ve seen it all, and survived.