RANCHI: As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, a new concept of ‘Bhauji Sari,’ has come up in Jharkhand, where women are resorting to ‘gift-a-sari’ to their sisters-in-law for performing prayers in hope building immunity from the virus.
Hundreds of women were seen gathering along the banks of Damodar river in Ramgarh to perform rituals after wearing their new saris, apparently, after a message about this surfaced online.
Earlier too, hundreds of women, transgendered persons were spotted gathering near water bodies in their areas and performing puja to appease ‘Corona Mai’ (Mother Corona) who, they claimed, had appeared in their dreams saying that she will vanish if people start worshipping her.
“After being gifted a sari by our sisters-in-law, we have gathered here to perform puja to protect our families from coronavirus. I also appeal others to gift saris so that they too can perform prayers in order to
protect their families from this deadly virus,” said one Veena Devi who performed the ritual along the banks of Damodar.
When asked who told her to do so, she failed to answer and called it a 'hearsay' which she was trying to follow as a precautionary measure. Another woman claimed that this puja is obligatory for every woman to protect their families from coronavirus, who both bought and received the garment.
Experts have termed this a 'propaganda' by cloth merchants in order to give a boost to their businesses which remained stalled for over five months due to the nationwide lockdown.
“As most of the women who have been gifting sari to their sisters in law belong to poor background, many of them are lending money from others to buy a new sari,” said a sari shop owner in Ramgarh requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, local administration said that they were unaware of any such development.
“We have not received any reports of women gathering in large numbers to conduct any puja. They might be doing it at a very small-scale, which we are not aware of,” Ramgarh Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Singh said.