Son-in-law gives donkey ride a miss

| TNN |

Nashik: The villagers of Wadangali, nearly 40 km from Nashik in Sinnar tehsil, were at a loss this Holi searching for a suitable "javai" for the customary donkey ride - a 150-year-old tradition.

The "javai" (son-in-law) they had selected this time did not not turn up for the custom the villagers have been following all these years with a belief that such a procession would ensure ample rain.

In accordance with the custom, the villagers take out a procession with the newest son-in-law of Wadangali on a donkey and they garland with old footwear on the day of Holi. And as they parade him through the village, they continue to jeer at him.

Vadangali festival in Holi - YouTube
Mar 13, 2017 - Uploaded by shripad rukhawad
All my friends happy Holi.
On Thursday, the villagers were in for a shock to realise that this year's son-in-law, Anand Jadhav, was nowhere to be traced. "As the donkey ride is apparently humiliating for many, the sons-in-law these days avoid visiting our village on the day of Holi. We are in touch with some newly-wed young sons-in-law and some of them have agreed to be a part of this tradition. The procession will be taken out any time by Monday without notice," said Deepak Khule, one of the villagers who takes the to keep the tradition alive.

According to the tradition, the procession can be taken out any day between Dhulwad (Holi) and Rangpanchami, which will be celebrated on March 28.

The sons-in-law of Wadangali are aware of the tradition and many of them avoid a visit to the village during Holi. Jadhav, this year's choice, also skipped his visit just a day before Holi apparently fearing the humiliation.

"Many sons-in-law, however, volunteer to face the humiliation to keep the tradition alive. And the year we have the procession, we consider it lucky. Sons-in-law who volunteer for the custom get huge respect, gifts and felicitations from the villagers once he takes the donkey ride ," said Khule.

According to villagers the tradition started some 150 years ago. "The similar tradition is followed in some villages of western Maharashtra also. Wadangali must have taken inspiration from such places," said Murlidhar Khule, a senior citizen at Wadangali. Last year, Khule's son-in-law Ravindra Geete had volunteered for the procession.

Murlidhar Khule remembers an incident during the British days, when a British officer in charge of Wadangali area was so fascinated to the tradition that he requested the villagers to give him a donkey ride.

Manohar Margade, a folk artist and researcher of the rural lifestyle in Maharashtra, said, "Sons-in-law enjoy an honourable position in Indian families. However, Holi is the occasion on which the respected people are insulted. Tradition in Wadangali must be the outcome of this belief."

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