Everyone is apprehending now that the water crisis will result in fights on the streets, but tribal women of Rajasthan’s Banswara district have been warning for this for years. They take out a procession with swords and sticks in their hands and urge God that if it doesn’t rain, people will come out on the streets with weapons and kill each other.
The procession is called ‘Dhaad’ and it takes place in Anandpuri, Chaja and other nearby villages when it does not rain on time.
These villages are around 70 km away from the district headquarter. People are waiting for rains in this area this year also, so to pray the God women to take out a procession in Chaja on Tuesday. Women came on streets in men’s wear with swords and sticks in hands and singing folk songs that are prayers for rain. What is interesting is that men are not allowed in this procession and their involvement is considered to be a bad omen.
A resident of Chaja Manish Pandya said’ it is an age-old custom here. Whenever the rain does not come on time particularly up to the time of sowing, women organize Dhada and give a message that there will be drought and all will fight for water if it does not rain on time. This is their way to please Rain God. These Dhadaas are being organized this year also as the rainfall is deficient in the area till now.
It is to note that Banswara is one of the most rain-fed areas of Rajasthan with good vegetation. The population is mostly tribal. This year the rainfall in Banswara is just 175mm in comparison to an average of 270mm till now.