If you ask Video Volunteers’ Community Correspondent Bideshini Patel to rate her childhood on a scale of 1-10, she would probably give it a negative marking due to the neglect and abuse she faced. But if you ask her to evaluate her professional life as an impactful journalist, resolving basic...
Raja Festival: Three Swinging Days For Women
August 12, 2011 | By: sarita
Raja usually ends with a land ritual (bhoomi puja), performed by women. Shailabala, an elderly woman explains: “There is a small mountain where, on the last day of Raja, we women perform the rituals for the land”. Through these rituals, female farmers pay respect to the land, which will soon bear new fruits and feed them. While the festival is particularly appreciated by women, its importance is equally acknowledged by men. A male villager states, “Women observe Raja because they toil all year round and face so much stress. That is why they need a break for a few days”. In a twist reminder of antique carnival, gender roles are suspended during three days, power relations transformed, and positions swapped. While women swing, men take up their chores, from cooking to washing the dishes. And according to the former, “it feels great”, “good, very good”.Sarita Biswal, our Community Correspondent in Orissa, shot this video in her village, Kochillana, in Cuttack district. Born and brought up there, she has been celebrating this festival for years, gradually understanding its complex symbolism. She was keen on documenting the event because she is aware that the festival is slowly fading away in urban areas. But above all, she enjoys these days of relief for women. Shooting among women of her community, in this time of lighthearted celebration, was a pleasant experience. “Women were delighted when I was shooting. In particular, they appreciated the fact that I was showing this festival from their own angle”. Indeed, Sarita’s video succeeds in capturing the playfulness and joy of the women around her.
Piyali Mandal / March 27, 2023