Gadchiroli Oct. 7 (District Correspondent) The historic ‘Dussehra’ festival of the Aheri Estate was celebrated with a grand fervour and enthusiasm on the sprawling grounds of the Aheri Raj Mahal.
At the outset, the Raje was taken into procession in a decorated palanquin that moved through the town and reached the Gad Aheri fort where a traditional puja of a Shami Tree was performed. The procession then came back to Raj Mahal and culminated into a massive public meeting that was attended by thousands of tribals and other people of the area. The people exchanged Dussehra greetings by distributing the Shami leaves to each other.
Addressing the gathering, Raje Ambrishrao Maharaj said that Aheri Dassehra has a great historical background. It is a tradition passed down from generation to generation. This glorious tradition belongs not only to the royal family but to the entire people and this festival belongs to the people, so it is the responsibility of all of us to maintain it.
Since many years, efforts are being made to organize Dussehra Mela at various places for political reasons to reduce the popularity of Aheri Dussehra, but even today I am overwhelmed to see the love of the people towards our family, he asserted.
Speaking further, Maharaj said that it is very sad to see that the people of the entire Aheri estate are facing many problems. It seems that the root of most of the problems is the Surjagad project. It is because of this project that the roads have damaged and the citizens are in trouble. Raje warned that if the suffering of the oppressed people is not stopped, he will come to the streets along with the people.
In the grand festival held under the guidance of Rajmata Rani Rukmini Devi, President of Dussehra Committee Kumar Awadhesh Rao Baba, Rameswarrao Baba, Pravinrao Baba, Chiteshwar Baba, Vicky Baba, many devotees from the adjoining Telangana, Chhattisgarh were present.
It is sad that nowadays every issue is being politicized. Even though we gave land to Adarsh Durgotsav Mandal for 40 years so that we could celebrate Durgotsav, some people used to abuse us. Since many years that place is being used as a playground, so find another place and I will extend full help to build the temple, he assured.
A few people have made Durgotsava a private property. The donations so far have been misused otherwise a grand temple could have been built, Maharaj pointed out. The festival is being used for the political purposes and that should be stopped, he warned.
This year’s Dussehra festival recorded an unprecedented response and presence of citizens after the outbreak of Corona. Besides various parts of Maharashtra, the people from Chhattisgarh, and Telangana attended the programme. Traditional tribal dances and cultural programmes were also organized in the night as a part of the celebration.
Photo Raje Ambrishrao Maharaj addressing the Dussehra meeting. The people attending the programme.