During her speech at the parliament, HRD Minister Smriti Irani strongly objected to some JNU students’ alleged depiction of Mahishasur as a ‘martyr’ lured to his death by Durga.
However, in the midst of the JNU sedition controversy, it is but a fact that there exist tribal groups in the country who reserve faith in the demon king, and urge the truth be presented without bias.
In a report by The Indian Express, Sushma Asur from Sakhuapani village in Latehar’s Netarhat underlines that there is nothing to fight over, and that her tribe believes that Mahishasur was their king, killed dishonestly by Durga.
Asur are officially classified as a Primitive Tribe Group (PTG) numbering less than 10,000 in Jharkhand.
Experts have asserted there are tribal groups across Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh that worship demon kings and mourn their slaying.
The Asur believe they are the descendants of Mahishasur. They do not not celebrate Durga Puja. According to their rituals passed on through generations, the tribe must take protective measures on the night Mahishasur was killed, Sushma said.
These rituals are not just limited to Asurs, demon king worshiping exists in Santhals, one of the largest tribal groups. They mourn the deaths of Mahishasur and Ravan, said Vandana Tete, an activist working on conserving the heritage of tribal groups.
Said Ajit Prasad Hembram from Purulia in West Bengal, who has been organising events to observe Mahishasur Martyrdom Day since 2014, says there is no reason for the present government to stretch the matter. The tribes have been following the tradition since generations, he added.