‘Rituals part of 400-yr-old tradition’
Udaipur : Swords, Guns and Crackers on Holi? While the rest of the country play Holi with colours, here is Menar, a rural settlement situated on the NH-76, some 45 kilometers from Udaipur city where the entire village dominated by Brahmin population, celebrates the festival in a different way. ‘JamraBeej’ is the much awaited occasion here, that falls a day after Dhulendi, when the villagers engage in a frenzy merrymaking amid much pomp and show. Men folk play ‘Gair’ dance carrying a sword and a stick in each hand while the women sing songs of heroism and valour. This follows with a series of aerial gunfire, canon shots and fireworks that echoes the surroundings for hours. This time, Jamra Beej fell on Tuesday when thousands of people gathered at Menar to rejoice the event. . Spectators from far and wide collect here every year to witness the thrill and fun.
“The festival is a 400-years old tradition of this village inhabited by Menaria Brahmins thus giving the village its name. Menar is known for its Holi rituals around this time of the year where the Brahmins play ‘Baroodon-ki-Holi’ to mark their victory over the Mughal army centuries ago” historian and author ShriKrishna Jugnu says. It is believed that the Mughal army had set up a post near Menar village. They plundered and looted the area causing much sufferings to the people.
Rana Udai Singh took up a war against the Mughals and Menaria Brahmins took up guns and swords to help the king. They captured the Mughal booth and defeated the enemy. The day fell on Jamra Beej which is celebrated till today by the locals to cherish the valour and heroism of their ancestors. The male participants are dressed in traditional Rajput attire with saffron and red headgears. It is such a cherished occasion that even working youths who may not come home for Diwali holidays, make it a point to visit the village to join Jamra Beej celebrations. The firearms and crackers show that begins around 10 pm continues till wee hours. Later women pour water on the Holika which symbolizes the end of the war and turmoil.