A centuries old curse of a pensive woman who committed Sati on Diwali along with her son keeps a small village of Sammoo in Bharanj sub-division of Hamirpur district of Himachal Pradesh away from festivities as celebrating it had brought misfortune in the past.
Pooja Kumari, pradhan of Bhoranj gram panchayat, said elders always warned the younger generation against celebrating the festival as the family which makes special dishes on the occasion faces mishaps in the family.
“Our elders tell us a tale of a woman who wasn’t allowed to visit her parents’ home on Diwali since she was married in the village.
And when the woman (Gasniyan) was allowed to visit her parents and was on her way, the soldiers of the king informed that her husband, who served as a soldier, had died on duty which meant that she wouldn’t ever be able to see her parents.
The woman committed ‘Sati’ along with her son and before doing so, she cursed the entire village that they won’t be able to celebrate Diwali festival ever and whoever does so, will face misfortune,” she told The Statesman, adding since then no one in the village celebrated the festival.
Pooja Kumari said though in our modern world, we don’t fall for such superstitions and many times, children burst firecrackers on the occasion.
But whenever a family tries to cook special traditional dishes (as in the past celebrating the festival meant relishing dishes with loved ones) a fire breaks out in the house or in the neighbouring house which is hard to douse.
There were instances when someone who had left the village for a better life in the city, tried to celebrate the Diwali, there was always an incident of fire in their house or in the neighbourhood.
Though the reason for the fire might have been something else, but for fear of the curse, the Sammoo village residents hadn’t celebrated the festival for centuries, she added.
She stated that the locals celebrate the festival on the next day and cook traditional dishes on the day but these are first offered in a temple named Gasniyan, located on the other side of nearby rivulet where the woman’s stone statue is kept.
In fact, on other occasions too, the locals offer a part of first harvest at Gasniyan Temple and it is so much revered that people make wishes for some unfulfilled work and when these come true, the people pay obeisance at the temple.