In the sleepy village of Bisrakh in Greater Noida, believed to be the birthplace of demon king Ravana, there is a tradition of observing mourning for the “Maha Brahman” on Dussehra. But on Friday, it was limited to a small group, comprising the aged and the religious.
“Only a very few came to the temple today. Some curious residents from Delhi and Ghaziabad were there. They came after reading and seeing reports on Ravana Mandir in newspapers and on television,” Acharya Arvind Pandey, the keeper of the temple, said.
Bisrakh does not host Ramlila or Ravan dahan on Dussehra, the day Ravana was killed by Ram.
So it’s little surprise that the young residents of the village are not in attendance. “They are too excited about the festivities in nearby villages to stay back for the ritual mourning,” Pandey, a villager, said.
“The younger generation has stopped believing. They once tried celebrating Ramlila here, but unspeakable sorrow befell them. It stopped thereafter,” Pandey claimed.
The village of Bisrakh has 882 households and lies in heavily urbanised Gautam Budhha Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh. The village derives its name from Vishrava, Ravana’s father, who is believed to have built a temple here to house a Shiv Ling that he came across in a forest grove.
Twenty-six-year-old Sonu Tiwari said, “I did not go to the temple for the morning puja. Almost nothing happens in our village while others around celebrate. I will be going with my friends to Ghaziabad to watch the Ramlila in the evening.”
The elderly of the village, however, have a different view. “Ravana was a tragic hero, not a demon,” Bhoora Devi, a resident, said as she walked away from the temple. No food has been cooked in her house today. She, at least, is in mourning.