July 8: Life becomes difficult when it does not rain. Farmers try all sorts of things to make the rain gods happy. Some get frogs married, others perform ‘pujas’ or worship. But, the Bhil tribals of Mewar, Rajasthan, are different. They plunder or rob the houses of traders, most of whom happen to be Jains, says a report in ‘The Indian Express’ newspaper.
The Bhils believe that the traders keep the monsoon clouds trapped inside their lockers. The only way to free the clouds is to open the locker. In the process, the traders’ treasure chests are emptied too!
The traders have learnt their lesson. Every year, around monsoon time, they lock up their property and run away before the monsoon. They come back only after the rains.
But that does not prevent the Bhils from doing what they want to do. It is something they have been doing for several hundred years.
Just before the rains come they start beating their drums. That is a signal for Bhils in nearby villages to get into action. Men gather in the night and prepare for their night raids.
Why do they do it? The tribals told the journalist that they do not rob the traders to make money. It is to bring in the monsoons. The police posted in the area say they know about it, but have done nothing about it because they have never received a complaint from the traders. They say life is very unfair. The Bhils rob them before the rains. If the rains come, the Bhils are convinced that it is because they robbed the Jains. So they continue this custom!
But experts say that there is a deeper reason behind this custom. They say that it is one way for the poor to show their anger against the rich in society. For, often the rich get richer by exploiting the poor. The Bhils use this custom to show their anger and protest.