Devotees cite scanty rainfall and the consequent crop loss as the reasons
Poor rainfall and crop loss have cast a spell on the number of people taking up ‘Bhavani deeksha'.
‘Bhavanis', who have been taking up the ‘deeksha' for the last five to six years, say that the working class and the farmer fraternity are penniless. They have not been able to undertake it, as the process involves a lot of expenditure on daily rituals, ‘deeksha' robes, and transportation.
“Generally, more than a hundred persons take up the ‘deeksha' in our village. Owing to poor rainfall and agricultural losses, the number has come down to a mere 30,” says Kistaiah, who hails from Gurajala village in Guntur district.
“Those who could afford have taken up Ayyappa ‘deeksha' this year. Many of them are from the trading community,” he says.
Ramudu, a native of Kundanavritti village near Guntakal, shares similar feelings.
“There are no crops this year. Many of our teammates have deferred their ‘deeksha' plans to next year. Our team used to have more than 20 persons every year. This year, the team comprises only 10 members, a few of them joining the group in the last minute,” he says.
The vagaries of nature are forcing villagers to migrate to cities and towns in search of livelihood. It's the same scenario in villages around Guntakal. “Leave alone taking up the ‘deeksha', eking out a livelihood has become a Herculean task,” says Ramudu, who is on a visit to Indrakeeladri for the 6th time. M. Murali, a welder from Chimakurti, has come along with his family to have a darshan of the goddess.
“There were times when over 400 persons thronged Indrakeeladri from Chimakurthi during the Bhavani ‘deeksha' period. There is a dip in their number this year,” he says. However, the number of persons who have taken up the ‘deeksha' for the first time has gone up. Similarly, many have switched from Ayyappa deeksha to Bhavani deeksha this time. The pilgrim rush has dwindled this year much against the expectations of Sri Durga Malleswara Swamyvarla Devasthanam authorities.
Pat for NSS volunteers
Meanwhile, the city police will award appreciation certificates to NSS and NCC volunteers who helped the police in the smooth conduct of ‘Bhavani Deeksha Viramana'.
The six-day event passed off without any untoward incident with volunteers helping the police and Bhavani devotees during the period. In all, 1,662 police personnel, 18 sections of AR police forces, and 474 police from other districts were deputed for temple duty, said Police Commissioner N. Madhusudhan Reddy.
Keywords: Bhavani deeksha