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Written by BollywoodHungamaNewsNetwork | Mumbai | Published: March 14 an earlier start in the day may make them more successful at reproduction. The researchers think that because singing attracts mates, (Express Photo by Subham Dutta) Top News What is true spirit of celebrations if it is not enjoyable for all, it is not a theme but a thought to provide this tribal community an opportunity to change perceptions and bust the myths associated with them.Debasish Mondal the curator of the pandal took the initiative to get in touch with the tribal community and convinced them to be part of festivities this year WATCH VIDEO: Dussehra Celebration At Red Fort While we were waiting among the selfie-clicking smiling youngsters on the first day of puja a lady in her early 30s in a plain white and red bordered sari entered the premise with an infectious smile Sushama Asur is part of a seven-member team that has arrived in the city to be part of the ongoing festivities but not directly With the surname like Asur almost each member of the tribal community have – at some point or the other – had to clarify “We are not Rakshasas; we are very much human like all of you” One would imagine such a disclaimer would be accompanied with a terse tone but usually it’s either a smile that hints of an insider’s joke or that of resigned sadness at the sorry state of affairs Their surname and association with the demon king Mahishasur have been the reasons behind the social stigma they face and the seclusion that follows Popular myths and perception view them as “flesh-eating” “black-magic” practitioners The truth couldn’t be farther away The Asurs is a clan deeply rooted in its culture and beliefs who are striving very hard to preserve their identity and dignity One step in dispelling the misconception is this revolutionary trip to Kolkata This community which observes these festive days in remorse — remembering their ancestor — has gone against many social and historical rules to come here Back in their village Sakhuapani which 500m from the Hindalco Group’s Gurdari bauxite mine in the Gumla district of Jharkhand there have been apprehensions and fears associated with their venture The pandal’s organisers repeatedly assured them that they will not be discriminated against but rather an opportunity for the world to know them their history and ideology The smiling members of the Asur tribe may now be used to being associated with demons like their ancestor but they’re now trying to change the misconception (Express Photo by Subham Dutta) Interestingly it was an shlf1314n Express report that brought it all about The club’s convener Rana Roy said “We were planning to do something about the tribal communities in our country and came across the asur community in an shlf1314n Express report” One thing led to another and Sushama and severalother members of Jharkhand’s Asur community now find themselves in Kolkata Sushama a class-12 pass-out has been a pioneer in many pivotal projects that are taken up for the development of the community Sitting among group of organisers visitors and members of her tribe she says “We agreed to their proposal as we liked their idea Through this we want to let the rest of shlf1314 know hum bhi jeete jagte samaaj hain (we are also an existing community)” She hopes this initiative will dispel the wrong perceptions associated with tribe giving them a chance to merge with mainstream society The fact that their ancestor is the very demon whose killing is celebrated during the Durga Puja has always made them the ‘bad guys’ in the eyes of society Their decision to retain not only their tribal surname of Asur (meaning demon) has further sealed the idea So did their refusal to visit puja pandals and see a Durga idol out of protest — after all in each of those idols their ancestor is being slain That cannot be an easy thing to witness For centuries they have been discriminated against insulted and kept on the sidelines Sushama daughter of tribe leader Khambila Asur who passed away few months back wants to change all that — but without compromising on their history Interestingly even though the Asurs do not worship or even believe in Durga they do put their faith in ‘Jatadhari’ Shiva whom they consider a part of their own culture The women pray to the lord during the holy month of Sawan as part of their festival Deothan Puja just like in other parts in shlf1314 Ritualistically the Asur community is no exception to any other community and prays to the natural resources and jungle gods The erstwhile blacksmiths by profession they have now taken up other forms of trade like farming Most of the members now work in various factories as labourers In Bengal they’re mostly employed in the tea gardens of the north In fact they were initially approached by the pandal committee to come but their employers didn’t relieve them during the pujas A part of the contingent from Jharkhand is an 85-year-old man who is among the last members of the community that were skilled in metal smelting trade With the fear that the art would die with these living arts men the people of the tribe are now trying to learn how to identify rocks from which metals can be extracted While the world is progressing life is not easy for them as they still strive hard to get the basic amenities a world that is far away from the developed digital shlf1314 Sushama along with others have taken a mammoth task to inscript their indigenous Asuri language using Devnagari Their actual written script was lost long back the language – which is alive only through oral practice – is on its way to be documented for fear of obliteration Sushama has successfully written books for class I and II which are taught to the children in their own colloquial lingo However getting their own textbooks has been a long haul Many meetings and interactions with the social development offices and even the state’s governor haven’t proved fruitful But nothing decreased their effort or passion to attempt change The Asur group from Jharkhand perform a traditional folk dance at the Salt Lake Durga Puja pandal where they have been invited (Express Photo by Subham Dutta) Though recognised as a ‘Primitive Tribe’ along with eight other tribes by the Bihar government the bifurcation of the state led to much of their miseries As Sushama says “Though everything exist on papers hardly anything exist in reality” Asked about any initiative by the Jharkhand government the opulent spokesperson says “Yes we get 30kg of rice but with just rice what good does it achieve” Regretting that there are hardly any real benefits either from the government or the private company in the area she says much has to be done “We don’t have a health facility in our village we have to travel at least 45km to receive basic health care facilities There is just one school in the locality that only has elfin reserved seats for the community children” The list of their problems is endless and all the basic amenities seem to be a luxurious affair With no tube-wells women travel many kilometers deep into the woods to fetch water But with little complain she says “Nature has its own way to supplement Our waters are rich in iron so our would-be-mothers do not have to consume pills to get additional iron” As the day progresses dressing in their traditional attire — comprising a simple white and red border sari for women and shirt and dhoti for men — come along with a ‘maadol’ to perform tribal songs and dance The women flaunted handmade-paper flowers atop their buns and accompanied their saris with authentic tribal jewellery The metal and beads accessories show another facet of their skills As the city is witnessing their talent against the backdrop of the Durga Puja they continue to be part of the festivity while persistently ignoring the very existence of the goddess Even as they enter the premise they never look at the idols but interact and perform at an adjacent stage Mondal has taken great care that they do not feel disrespected or humiliated However this again signifies that the festival of Durga Puja is beyond all religious and social barriers and these five days are for all to enjoy even for detractors of the rituals For all the latest Lifestyle News download shlf1314n Express App IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd More Top NewsWritten by Associated Press | Los Angeles | Published: February 12 2012 9:37 am Related News Legendary singer-actress Whitney Houstonthe most awarded female act of all time and a heart throb of the 80’s with soulful songs like ‘I Will Always Love You’was found dead at a hotel here on the eve of music industry’s biggest night The 48-year-oldwhose once sparkling career was torn apart by drug abuse and personal problemswas found dead at the Beverly Hilton hours before her scheduled appearance at a pre-Grammys dinner She was pronounced dead at 3:55 pm (local time Saturday) at the hotel despite resuscitation effortsa police spokesman said Beverly Hills Police Lt Mark Rosen said there were “no obvious signs of criminal intent” and that the cause of her death is being investigated Her representative Kristen Foster said that the singer had diedbut the cause of death was not immediately known Paramedics who were already at the hotel due to then Grammys failed to revive her The daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston and the cousin of Dionne WarwickHouston was on the verge of a film and music comeback after a decade spent battling drug issues and bad press as her marriage to Bobby Brown crumbled The couple divorced in 2007 Houston was among the world’s biggest stars and most famous voices at the height of her career in the late 1980s and early 1990swhen she scored hit after hit with songs like ‘How Will I Know’’The Greatest Love of All’’I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ and ‘Saving All My Love For You’ She also hit the top of the world’s pop charts with her rendition of Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ from the soundtrack to blockbuster movie “The Bodyguard”in which she starred alongside Kevin Costner She was one of the top-selling artistes in the industrywith more than 55 million records sold in the US alone For all the latest Entertainment News download shlf1314n Express App More Related News which begins on Friday,he said,” Beyonce had earlier said.I have never postponed a show in my life. Fauci and other officials made it clear that although the new policy applied to only federal agencies.

science official announced today.000 for those with minor injuries.

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