Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
Gender and Sexuality

MP: Rain God ritual, a deeper issue than meets the eye

Data from the IMD suggests a trying monsoon for Bundelkhand farmers, with scanty rainfall predicted

Sabrangindia 15 Sep 2021

MP RitualsImage Courtesy:muslimmirror.com

Madhya Pradesh’s Damoh district authorities jumped into action on September 5, 2021 after learning that six minor girls were paraded naked in a village as part of a ritual to appease the ‘Rain God’.

As many as eight people including six women were charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the Juvenile Justice Act and other charges. Superintendent of Police (SP) D.R. Tenivaar told Sabrang India that while the girls were not forced to participate in the ritual, the administration has taken cognisance of the offence.

However, despite this attention to social evil, Damoh officials are yet to talk about the underlying problem of the drought-like situation in their district.

Deficient rainfall in Bundelkhand region

News reports as early as June have voiced concerns about the possibility of scanty rainfall during the monsoon season. Many districts like Jabalpur, Panna, Balaghat, Hoshangabad, etc. Even the Indian Meteorological Department’s (IMD) district-wise rainfall distribution map shows 16 districts (in red) that suffered from deficient rainfall since June 1.

MP RitualsImage Source: IMD

Worse still are the weekly data points that show the Sidhi district receiving only 17.9 mm actual rainfall as opposed to the 70.9 mm normal rainfall between September 2 and September 8.

MP Rituals

MP RitualsImage Source: IMD

A September 14 report said that rainfall in Damoh remains in the ‘deficient’ category with 3.6 mm actual rainfall when normal rainfall was estimated at 6.3 mm. Between June and September, the area reported 546.7 mm actual rainfall even though the normal rainfall for the monsoon season was estimated to be 974.3 mm. The report places the district at -44 percent rainfall departure – the worst in the east Madhya Pradesh sub-division.

However, according to Damoh District Magistrate S. Krishna Chaitanya there is no cause for worry. “Damoh received 124 cm rain till yesterday. Right now, there is no drought-like situation. The standing crops are also okay,” he said.

When asked about the Baniya village incident, Chaitanya said that the administration has called for a block-wise campaign in the area to raise awareness among people regarding child rights and crimes but he could not state a reason for the organisation of the ritual itself.

“There is a tank near the village which has enough water for irrigation. I do not think there is a problem with drinking water,” he said.

However, his claims stand at odds with news reports voicing grievances of farmers in the region. On September 4, a day before the Baniya-incident, the Times of India reported how Bundelkhand farmers ran tractors over their damaged crops to flatten the land. The report talked about barren patches of land and perplexed farmers, who were unsure about the next step of survival.

Similarly, The Print on July 20, reported how low rainfall had contributed to the fall in soybean – a major contributor in India’s edible oil – acreage. At the time, 35 of the 52 districts reported rain-deficiency. Some districts were up to 70 percent short on rainfall.

Role of state policies to address droughts

The India Water Portal in 2020 wrote about how the Bundelkhand region has a long history of droughts and famines since the Indian famine of 1896–1897. It experienced a major drought every 16 years during the 18th and 19th centuries. By 2016, as many as 46 out of 52 districts in the state were drought-affected.

For a state widely dependent on agriculture and livestock livelihoods, such scarcity of water spelled doom. This is one of the reasons why drought is considered a state policy in Madhya Pradesh.

Accordingly, the state government initiated two flagship programmes, ‘Bundelkhand Special Package for Drought Mitigation’ and ‘Drought Prone Areas Programme’ to address the issue. However, the two policies seldom connect with each other. As a result, there is still no framework to understand and address underlying vulnerabilities of drought or any other extreme climatic event.

Related:

Politics in education or politics of education?
MP High Court bats for prisoners’ right to health, calls for setting up PHCs in prisons

MP: Rain God ritual, a deeper issue than meets the eye

Data from the IMD suggests a trying monsoon for Bundelkhand farmers, with scanty rainfall predicted

MP RitualsImage Courtesy:muslimmirror.com

Madhya Pradesh’s Damoh district authorities jumped into action on September 5, 2021 after learning that six minor girls were paraded naked in a village as part of a ritual to appease the ‘Rain God’.

As many as eight people including six women were charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the Juvenile Justice Act and other charges. Superintendent of Police (SP) D.R. Tenivaar told Sabrang India that while the girls were not forced to participate in the ritual, the administration has taken cognisance of the offence.

However, despite this attention to social evil, Damoh officials are yet to talk about the underlying problem of the drought-like situation in their district.

Deficient rainfall in Bundelkhand region

News reports as early as June have voiced concerns about the possibility of scanty rainfall during the monsoon season. Many districts like Jabalpur, Panna, Balaghat, Hoshangabad, etc. Even the Indian Meteorological Department’s (IMD) district-wise rainfall distribution map shows 16 districts (in red) that suffered from deficient rainfall since June 1.

MP RitualsImage Source: IMD

Worse still are the weekly data points that show the Sidhi district receiving only 17.9 mm actual rainfall as opposed to the 70.9 mm normal rainfall between September 2 and September 8.

MP Rituals

MP RitualsImage Source: IMD

A September 14 report said that rainfall in Damoh remains in the ‘deficient’ category with 3.6 mm actual rainfall when normal rainfall was estimated at 6.3 mm. Between June and September, the area reported 546.7 mm actual rainfall even though the normal rainfall for the monsoon season was estimated to be 974.3 mm. The report places the district at -44 percent rainfall departure – the worst in the east Madhya Pradesh sub-division.

However, according to Damoh District Magistrate S. Krishna Chaitanya there is no cause for worry. “Damoh received 124 cm rain till yesterday. Right now, there is no drought-like situation. The standing crops are also okay,” he said.

When asked about the Baniya village incident, Chaitanya said that the administration has called for a block-wise campaign in the area to raise awareness among people regarding child rights and crimes but he could not state a reason for the organisation of the ritual itself.

“There is a tank near the village which has enough water for irrigation. I do not think there is a problem with drinking water,” he said.

However, his claims stand at odds with news reports voicing grievances of farmers in the region. On September 4, a day before the Baniya-incident, the Times of India reported how Bundelkhand farmers ran tractors over their damaged crops to flatten the land. The report talked about barren patches of land and perplexed farmers, who were unsure about the next step of survival.

Similarly, The Print on July 20, reported how low rainfall had contributed to the fall in soybean – a major contributor in India’s edible oil – acreage. At the time, 35 of the 52 districts reported rain-deficiency. Some districts were up to 70 percent short on rainfall.

Role of state policies to address droughts

The India Water Portal in 2020 wrote about how the Bundelkhand region has a long history of droughts and famines since the Indian famine of 1896–1897. It experienced a major drought every 16 years during the 18th and 19th centuries. By 2016, as many as 46 out of 52 districts in the state were drought-affected.

For a state widely dependent on agriculture and livestock livelihoods, such scarcity of water spelled doom. This is one of the reasons why drought is considered a state policy in Madhya Pradesh.

Accordingly, the state government initiated two flagship programmes, ‘Bundelkhand Special Package for Drought Mitigation’ and ‘Drought Prone Areas Programme’ to address the issue. However, the two policies seldom connect with each other. As a result, there is still no framework to understand and address underlying vulnerabilities of drought or any other extreme climatic event.

Related:

Politics in education or politics of education?
MP High Court bats for prisoners’ right to health, calls for setting up PHCs in prisons

Related Articles

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.
Delhi HC

Hate Speech and Delhi Pogrom 2020

A spate of provocative speeches, that amount to hate speech in law and should be prosecuted allowed blood letting to spill on the streets of north east Delhi in February-March 2020

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

IN FACT

Analysis

Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.
Delhi HC

Hate Speech and Delhi Pogrom 2020

A spate of provocative speeches, that amount to hate speech in law and should be prosecuted allowed blood letting to spill on the streets of north east Delhi in February-March 2020

Archives