BJP MP stops holding of ‘Mahisha Dasara’ event in Mysore

Published : September 28, 2019 12:29 IST

Pratap Simha, BJP Lok Sabha member from Mysuru. Photo: M.A. Sriram


In the region of Mysuru in Karnataka, Dasara marks the day when goddess Chamundeshwari killed the demon Mahishasura and the event has a history of more than 400 years since the Wodeyar dynasty that ruled the region began to celebrate it with royal fanfare.

Over the past few years, a counter-event has begun to be marked in Mysuru by progressive and lower-caste groups who disagree with the dominant upper-caste narrative of the event. According to this version, Mahisha, after whom the city of Mysuru is named, was not a demon but a Buddhist ruler of the region. These groups come together a few days before the official start of the Dasara celebrations in Mysuru to celebrate ‘Mahisha Dasara’. This is not a religious event but a gathering of a variety of Dalit and rationalist groups under the aegis of ‘Mahisha Dasara Organising Committee’. After garlanding a statue of B.R. Ambedkar, they congregate at the town hall of Mysuru before proceeding to the Chamundi hill in Mysuru where there is a stature of Mahishasura.

The BJP MP from Mysuru, Pratap Simha, created a ruckus this year on the morning of September 27 preventing the “Mahisha Dasara” event from being held. He publicly derided senior police officials atop the Chamundi hill for permitting the erection of a stage and providing facilities for the event after which the event was banned and Section 144 of the CrPC was imposed in the city.

Speaking to Frontline, K.S. Bhagavan, the Mysuru-based rationalist intellectual who has been targeted by the Hindu right wing for his views in the past, stated, “We have been marking ‘Mahisha Dasara’ for the past six years as we disagree with the Brahminical interpretation of Dasara. We form four processions named after Buddha, Bhima, Asoka and Mahisha and proceed peacefully to the statue of Mahisha on the top of Chamundi hills where we give speeches and sing songs. Why has this event been prevented this year? We have documentary evidence that proves that Mahisha was a follower of Asoka who was sent to south India to spread Buddhism. This is a conspiracy of the BJP to prevent lower-caste assertion.”

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