Formerly a weblog focused on Umred, this blog has transformed to delve into topics that align with my interests.
POLA: Festival FOR the Bulls or OF the Bulls?
POLA: Festival FOR the Bulls or OF the Bulls?

POLA: Festival FOR the Bulls or OF the Bulls?

In the month of August, on a new moon day it was POLA in Umred, an interesting event to witness. Pola is a festival mainly followed in Maharashtra and a few other states in India, when farmers worship their bulls. Bulls/Oxen have been used for agriculture in India since ancient times, so this festival is their way of showing appreciation for the beast. It is also derived from the teachings of spiritual Hinduism which advocates respect for nature and all living creatures. A very noble teaching indeed considering we are all part of nature.

On the day, I woke up to very loud music outside. And around mid-afternoon when the noise started to get louder still, I climbed up on the terrace to get the birds-eye view of the scene. It looked organised in a very disorganised setting. All the bulls decorated and lined up, and hoards of people and bulls adding to an already crowded area. I must admit that I was hesitant at first to walk out there in the middle of all the commotion but I dared myself to walk down to feel the pulse of the activities.

And I tried. I tried hard to like the whole festivity, to let the crazy energy sink in, the atmosphere around, farmers dressed in new clothes and their distinctive (amazingly white) caps, kids with balloons, toys & smiles and even the loud local music which weirdly felt more foreign to me than all the music from Cirque du Soleil.

But no matter how hard I tried to enjoy, my mind would wander and drift back to the bulls – not for the decoration but to wonder. To wonder what I would think or feel if I was one of those bulls? I looked at their faces and thought – perhaps I would say – Hey! if you want to worship me, let me decide how I would like to be worshiped or treated rather than you deciding how you would like to treat me. Maybe think from my perspective a bit more on my day.

If you find it hard to figure out the bull behind all the decoration in the picture, know that it is symbolic in a way – if you know what I mean.

At the end of it, I think I finally found a way to reconcile my conflicting thoughts with the event – concluding that maybe this festival is really for the farmers who I have huge respect for. And as for the bulls – in spite of all the stress of lining up, surrounded by huge crowds and loud music; for once in a year they get a thorough bath, special food and most importantly they get to walk around without a heavy cart on their shoulders.