A Study on the Cults of Indra and Hudumdeo in Bengal: Do These Have Vedic Roots?
Jalpaiguri, West Bengal,India
Abstract:: : The Cults of Indra and Hudumdeo in Bengal are now almost obsolete. But in the past, these two traditions of worship were widely prevalent among the people. The worship of Indra in the festival of Idu Pooja is nothing but the continuation of the ancient festival of Indra Dhwaja, which is constantly mentioned in the ancient scriptures. An interesting feature of the Idu Pooja is the use of sal trees. It is believed that the tradition of Idu Pooja may have been a tribal festival that was adopted by the Aryans. Metaphorically it also represents the victory of the gods over the demons, which may be interpreted as the victory of Aryans over the non-Aryans. The cult of Hudumdeo is likewise a non-Aryan practice. Most peculiar feature of this cult is the dance of undressed women in the dark to please or frighten the rain god for ending drought. It is thought that Hudumdeo is a folk god representing theVedic gods Indra or Varuna. The association of Hudumdeo with the Vedic gods Indra and Varuna was perhaps a later development which was introduced to make the rites more acceptable to the Aryan society as the latter have taboos regarding the participation of women in religious rituals.
Key Words:Hudumdeo, Indra Dhwaja, Idu Pooja, non-Aryan, Varuna, Sal tree etc.