Rashmi Ranjan

A tribal couple from Nuapada district, who represented Odisha in the 74th Republic Day celebrations at the Kartavya Path in New Delhi, had to undergo a purification or ‘shuddhi’ ceremony in presence of their fellow tribe members upon their arrival from the national capital.

The couple-Bhujabal Majhi and Kunjei Dei-belonging to a primitive tribe residing in the Sunabeda sanctuary under Komna block in Nuapada district, had gone to Delhi on January 22. The duo was accompanied by Chuktia Bhunjia Unnayan Sanstha staff Himanshu Mahapatra.

The couple received a rousing welcome at Cherechuan, Jamagaon and Sunabeda upon their return to Nuapada on February 2. However, as per the tradition, the couple was initially ostracised and had to go through a ‘shuddhi’ ceremony as the duo consumed food cooked by people from other communities. 

“As per our tradition, we have to organise a suddhi ceremony if we go outside and consume food cooked by others. After we arrive here, we took a bath and organised feast for our fellow tribe members following which we are allowed to live with them,” said Bhujabal Majhi.

“We took a holy bath and offered animal sacrifice to our presiding deity. The ritual is being followed for ages,” said Kunjei Dei.
As per the shuddhi rituals, the couple went to a nearby stream and took a holy dip. Later, they offered a buck, pigeon, hens, 21 coconuts and lemons and rice to their community. Later, they were allowed to live with the other members of the tribe after the duo offered prayers at Sunadei temple following animal sacrifice.

Besides, the couple oraginsed a feast in which the people belonging to their community took part.

“I went to New Delhi with the Bhunjia couple to participate in the R-Day celebrations in New Delhi. Their age-old tradition attracted many during the celebrations,” said Himanshu Mahapatra, CBDA special officer.

Notably, the couple was not forced to undergo the shuddhi rituals, but they did it as a mark of respect to their age-old tradition.

Reported by Mayadhar Saraf, OTV