UNLIKE many Hindus who consider Ravan as the symbol of evil, members of the Valmiki Samaj at Pardeshipura in Indore not only worship Ravan as a God but also avoid looking at the ‘Ravan-Dahan’ on Dussehra.
Mahesh Gohar of the Valmiki Samaj told Hindustan Times that it is a ritual their community has been following for ages now. “We have been performing proper worship on this day since 40 years in Indore,” said Gohar. The community usually carries out a procession to the venue of the pooja.
For Gohar and 500 other people like him, Ravan was an intellectual and knowledgeable person who learnt all the Vedas and pleased Lord Shiva with his devotion. Gohar has himself never seen the typical Dussehra ceremony when the effigy of Ravan is burnt and refers to him as King Ravan. More so, they firmly believe that those who burn Ravan never enjoy the pleasures of life and face troubles instead.
Gohar argued that Uttar Pradesh in India is the birthplace of Ravan and there are many places in the country where people worship Ravan.
He believes that it is important to eliminate anger, cruelty, proud, greed and jealousy from the society and there is no point burning Ravan’s effigy to symbolise death of evil.
The Valmiki Samaj would conduct the Puja of Ravan’s Portrait in Sugnidevi Girls College, Teen Puliya, Pardeshipura at 10 am, followed by an Aarti in the evening. This portrait is the picture of the Ravan’s idol (600 year old) which is installed in a temple in Mandsaur. Pandit Ashok Shukla would recite Sanskrit mantras during the worship.