A village named Panchal situated in Bankura district(West Bengal) which is 10 kilometer away from Bankura-Burdwan state highway. The village is surrounded by dense forest. Basically Panchal is tribal based area and the villagers depend on forest for there bread and butter.
The village ,Panchal arranges a rural festival ‘Gajon’ in every last week of Bengali calendar year. Which is one of the main attraction of rural culture. In this festival villagers worship lord Shiva. To pacify Hindu lord Shiva(the destroyer) they perform an inhuman and ruthless custom namely ; Baan-forh and Charhak
What is Baan-forh? A six millimeter diameter pointed metal rod is pierced through the tongue and cheek of the performer .In this condition they dance and celebrate throughout the night. Sometimes performer pierced the Baan on his skin-it may be in abdomen .chest ,neck,or any other part of human body. In case of Charhak, the performer is hung from a very tall post with the help of two or more metal hooks pierced through the skin of back then the person is rotated at high speed. People enjoy and celebrate this kind of crude and gruesome religious practice of inflicting pain on one’s own body. It is watched and applauded by thousands-some time lakhs who gather at the air-ground. By the way, the performers all are from tribal classes, none from upper classes. Worship, management committee members of this mela all from upper classes and they are the real conductor of it. The secretary of the mela committee is also the L.C.S.of ruling party C.P.I.(M) .
Problem raised ,when some of villagers protest against this superstition. One man named Shubhasis Chirakalyan Patra, an Ex-Army doctor ,also a founder of the local N.G.O. ‘Bigyan O Samaj’ protest two years ago. He was threatened that time by the managing committee but this incident helped him. He got support of one part of villagers. This year the ‘Science and Rationalists Association of India’s Bankura district branch comes on road with them to protest against superstition.The member of those organization think that they shall over come this problem by their anti-superstitions publicity.

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Replies to This Discussion

I wish them luck. It will take time.

It helps to have something to provide in its place. A different fun-filled celebration, for example.
Now its interesting, I find this practice gruesome as well because of the religious connection. However Iv had shall we say various parts of my body pierced for ....fun. And not with tiny little 29 gauge needles. In the SM underground pain is part of the ritual. Electroshock, piercing, candle wax, whipping extreme bondage and so on.... If these people are doing it voluntary my guess is that there is more than religion going on their mind.
Protesting these events I have no problem with because of the superstitious nature of the festival. but what if it was a fertility festival for whichever goddess from history you wish to choose. Would we be against people having indiscriminate sex out in the open??
I dont think me or mine would in fact we would welcome a little pagan fertility into this very uptight puritanical world.




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