TUMAKURU: With borewells drying up, and hope too, residents of parched Pavagada taluk turn back to superstition and rustic beliefs to appease the rain god. Pujas and rituals apart, the people also identify a huge rock on the village border, and roll it down into the jurisdiction of another village.
The belief is that this rolling away of the rock brings rain. On Sunday morning, Bellibattalu village revived the ‘jaldi’ ritual after a gap of three years. It involved creating a small pit and placing a polythene sheet to ensure that water does not percolate through.
The village deity is brought to the pond in a procession for a special puja. The people, under the guidance of priest Palaiah, scaled the Akkamma Betta hills, 4km away, and fetched three pots of water from the small pond on top. Six more pots of water were poured into the pond created in the village. The deity, Gowdachandra Maramma, famous in Challakere taluk of Chitradurga district, was brought out of the temple and pujas performed after washing its face with water f rom the pond on the hillock.
“We completed the rituals and sent the deity back to the temple after sacrificing a goat, and got a few drops of rain around 7.30pm,” claimed B R Palaiah, a gram panchayat (GP) member whose schooling ended in Class 2.
A couple of days earlier, GP president Girija Sathyanarayana, and members Rajanna and Lingaiah had held a meeting and taken a decision to conduct ‘jaldi’, and this was tom-tommed to the villagers. Over 30 borewells went dry this summer, making things worse for the residents, especially farmers who were looking to the rain gods for showers to sow the groundnut crop.
The village of over 500 households is represented by every community -- SC/STs, Muslims, Vokkaligas, Brahmins and ‘Pinjaras’, who are traditional cotton carders -- who live in harmony, said Madhusudhan J, who works with Infosys in Bengaluru, and is from the village.