Jam packed lanes, sea of people and enthusiasm galore defined the scene at Itwari today. The occasion was the 132nd year celebrations of Pili Marbat, known for its uniqueness in Nagpur. Even as the entire Maharashtra was soaked in the fervour of Pola (the bull-worshipping festival) today, the energy level of Nagpurians here were unmatchable, as they danced to the tunes of many songs including Zingaat, which dominated the Pili Marbat musical procession. Nation Next gives you a glimpse of the celebrations (see pictures).
The Pili Marbat celebrations date back to 1885. It was started by Tanhane Teli Samaj to oppose the bizarre rules and regulations of the British, which were considered to be social evils by them in those days. Prakash Gaurkar, President, Marbat Nagoba Devasthan, Tanhane Teli Samaj, told Nation Next: “We are carrying forward the legacy of our ancestors by symbolically protesting against various evils prominent in the society today. As a part of the celebrations, a Pili marbat (yellow statue) and a Kali marbat (black statue) are made at the Pili Marbat temple at Jagnath Budhwari. Then these two statues are taken through the streets of the entire Itwari market before they are put on fire at Naik Talao in the evening. It’s believed that these statues absorb the negativity and social evils when they are taken through the streets. And then the negativity and social evils are burnt along with the statues. Today’s celebrations are to raise the issue of separate Vidarbha as we feel that a separate statehood will bring a lot of opportunities for Vidarbha people. Also, through the Badgya (a third statue made by people at large), we are raising our voice against corruption.”
After the procession, which goes on for several kms, the yellow and black statues meet at Nehru Putla Square before they are put on fire. This meeting of statues is also celebrated by people as they dance and shower flower petals on the statues. The statues at the celebration are made by Shende family, which has been making them for three generations now. The statues in 1885 were prepared by Ganpatrao Shende, after which his son Bhimaji Shende took over and now Bhimaji’s son Gajananrao Shende prepares the statues.
Photojournalist: Amar Ashok Jajoo