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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Jul 2014

Fear of curse steers J'khand village clear of Holi

Sanjay Sahay, Hindustan Times  Bokaro, March 18, 2014
First Published: 19:51 IST(18/3/2014) | Last Updated: 19:55 IST(18/3/2014)
Soaking in the colours of Holi is a strict no-no in a village of Jharkhand's Bokaro district.
 
Residents of Durgapur, around 40km from the district headquarters, fear a deadly epidemic would strike them if Holi is celebrated in the village.
 
Local residents say the village has been carrying a curse since a local ruler was killed by invaders on the day of Holi "centuries ago".  People who have tried to break the curse have paid with their lives, the village chief said.
 
The 7,000-odd residents have never indulged in the Festival of Colours in Durgapur in their lifetime. However, they are not barred from going to nearby villages and take part in Holi revelry. 
 
Village mukhiya (chief) Amresh Kumar Mahto said the practice was centuries-old. According to him, local ruler Durga Deo was killed while trying to resist an invasion bid by a rival king on the day of the festival.
 
When queried by HT, Mahto, however, could not tell more on when and how Deo was killed.
 
"People had high regard for the ruler, and they decided not to celebrate the festival after the incident. Whenever someone has tried to break the custom, calamities such as epidemic has struck the village. Livestock as well as men have died."
 
Mahto added villagers of Durgapur perform their routine chores on Holi.
 
Local resident Naneshwar Mahto said, "People of my village have not been playing Holi for long. All the villagers including women and children follow the practice."
 
However, he added there was no restriction on people going to another village and celebrating Holi.

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