Written by Dr. Vipin Pandey
The festival of Nag Panchami is celebrated with pomp across the country, but in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh, dolls are beaten on this day.
It is said that when something is up to you, then the secret is more secure, but if you tell your point to anyone, then there is a lot of possibility of leaking, the main reason for beating a doll is that there was a matter related to hiding secrets. The girl told the other girl that secret but she could not hide it, that matter had spread throughout the city.
This story is related to Takshak Nag and King Parikshit. Takshak had once bitten Parikshit, later the fourth-generation daughter of Takshak Nag was married in the dynasty of King Parikshit.
Since then it is customary to beat dolls and on the day of Nag Panchami, fairs are organized and snakes are made on the walls, they are worshipped, etc.
According to another mythology, there is a story related to brother and sister. Brother used to go to Shiva’s temple every day, there lived a snake which was impressed with him and he used to cling to his brother’s feet as soon as he came to the temple.
On seeing the brother in the temple, his feet were wrapped with a snake, the sister thought that the snake was biting her brother and he killed the snake. Because the snake is considered as a deity, the doll started being beaten as a punishment.
On this day, dolls are made by filling cotton in the cloth, all the children stand in a circle and the girls put their dolls inside that circle, later the boys beat the dolls with the stalk and after beating those dolls Immersion is done, Shravan month is considered to be a very important month anyway, on this day swings are made and Kajri sings.
The dance drama also takes place in the border districts of West Bengal and Jharkhand.
Breaking this old tradition of Uttar Pradesh, the tradition of swinging dolls has started in Sitapur, it is a happy coincidence.
This editorial first appeared in the Times of India, readers blog on August 7, 2021 under the title ‘Beaten doll: A tragedy’. Dr. Vipin Pandey is a writer & columnist.