Ravaged by the deadly second wave of Covid-19, this year the denizens in Madhya Pradesh had heaved a sigh of relief as the South West Monsoon had logged an early arrival on June 10. But by the third week of June, the showers vanished and regular rains are yet to be seen.
Concerned by the extended dry spell which has started to threaten the crops and humid weather which is taking a toll on locals, many parts of the State have been persisting with traditional gimmicks (tona –totka) to please the rain god.
These include yagna to bizarre things like taking out a funeral procession of an alive person to making someone ride the donkey.
Early this month, a funeral procession of an alive person was taken out in the tribal-dominated Jhabua district to please the rain god who seems angry these days in MP. The one kept on the bier was Ashok, who claimed that farmers have sown seeds in the fields but the dry spell is making them concerned.
Neighbouring Dhar too saw a funeral procession being taken out in the town recently for the same reason, expecting a resumption of rains. Led by elders, the gimmick was organised in village Siloda.
Not only this, as part of efforts to please the rain god, the locals also convinced the local sarpanch to sit on a donkey and his face was blackened. The donkey accompanied the funeral procession in the village.
At Raisen, close to the State capital Bhopal, locals gathered on Monday, holding a marriage for a pair of frogs, which according to rural people brings good rains. Organised by the Mongiya community, the frogs are brought by locals from Hoshangabad and the marriage is solemnised with all the pomp and show.
A palki (palanquin) made out of neem leaves carries the couple and a feast is organised at the village temple with the floor, rice and pulses received from the village households. After the marriage, the newly-wed couple is left in the local Banchhod pond to rest.
Distinguished persons too aren’t behind in pleasing the rain god as former Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Sunday had organised Rudrabhishek at a local temple in Indore for rains. Several senior BJP leaders accompanied the elderly politician in the religious event.
Mostly these rural gimmicks are taken as unfounded traditions but village Sabdavda in Khachrod tehsil in Ujjain had organised a donkey ride for local sarpanch to please the rain god and the area witnessed rains same evening and locals attributed this to their totka.
The Gwalior and Vindhya regions have seen intermittent rains while regions like Mahakaushal, Bhopal, Malwa and Nimar continue to see the continuing dry spell.
Bhopal continues to witness overcast conditions in the last couple of days but the city could only see a brief spell of showers on Monday late evening.
According to the Met office Bhopal, the monsoon had got reactivated on July 10 but the moist winds soon disappeared and the dry spell had continued.
However, Kharif sowing had been above par despite a prolonged delay in the resumption of rains in Madhya Pradesh. Kharif crops require intermittent rains, especially in non-irrigated areas. So long dry spell isn’t a piece of good news for MP farmers but the showers have resumed in the last few days and the locals hope the trend continues in coming days, a senior officer of the department of agriculture said.
Rainfall in June was almost double the normal. From June 1 to 20, the monsoon had covered the entire State and the amount of rainfall was almost 94% more than the same witnessed normally in the month. In June, Singrauli in east MP had received 441 per cent more rainfall than normal, while in west MP, Hoshangabad received 211 per cent more showers than normal, an officer of the MET office said.
Dhar in west MP recorded 69 per cent less rainfall than normal. According to the Met office Bhopal, several parts of Madhya Pradesh have received normal to above normal rainfall. The weathermen have predicted low to moderate rains in and around Bhopal for the next 24 to 48 hours.