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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Villagers Get Trees Married to Get Rid of Scorching Summer

MALDA, 16 MAY: People of Madhabnagar under English Bazaar Police Station suddenly woke up with the sehnai and drum beat. With no date of marriage, any curious onlooker would find hundreds of people were busy arranging a marriage. However, the search for bride or groom might have landed onlookers in bewilderment. Two trees of the locality were adorned as bride and groom.  When the nature’s fury does not show any sign to respite people go superstitious. With the mercury level reaching 43.1 degree centigrade, inhabitants of Madhabnagar arranged the marriage of two trees. One banyan tree was the groom while the pakur  (peepul) was the bride. Mahadev Mandal, ‘father’ of banyan arranged his son’s match with Biren Mandal’s daughter ‘pakur’. And all these were to appease the Rain God as the district has not seen rain for almost a month.

The offbeat marriage had gathered about 700 people of the locality to participate in the marriage, following all the rituals and of course, the grand feast following it. It is learnt that the more than 30 year old banyan tree was planted by the forefathers of today's inhabitants of the area. The recent drought like situation, at the outskirt of Malda town, has created the panic. To quote septuagenarian Bharati Jha, "We knew the banyan and pakur growing together must be married. This was imminent, only we had not prepared so long."

Biren, the 'father' of banyan was ready to spend for all the decorations as well as expenses of marital rituals. He prepared the 'bride' with, 'sari', 'aalta' et al. "I even kept fast for the whole day till the marriage", said Biren.

Mahadev similarly became ready to be the 'father' of the groom pakur. He did the 'sampradan'. The marriage with all the chants was duly performed by the 'purohit' Arun Bagchi amid strict Hindu customs. "We paid him as well", said Biren. All the females of the area joined in 'uloodhhoni'. "We did not miss the chance of wearing new dresses or getting 'mehendi' in hands", said sixteen year old Soma. Entire area got the festive look.

Meanwhile, different areas of the district like Habibpur, Gazole, Old Malda and English Bazaar are suffering from acute water crisis. Number schools have changed their time in morning. People of Madhabnagar thus get their voice echoed in many, “Hope such marriage will bring rain.”

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