According to Shaktism or Shaktidharma that focuses worship upon Shakti or Devi, a denomination of Hinduism most of the Hindus observes Durga Puja or Navratri, a small group of tribals in Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Assam are in grief. While most celebrate Goddess Durga slaying the Demon King, the Asura tribe from Jharkhand and West Bengal will observe Mahishasura Martyrdom Day on Mahanavami and remember how a foreigner used tricks and illusion to kill their ancestor.
The asura tribes believe they are descendants of Mahishasura and do not worship any god. They say that the Devi Mahatmya story of the Markandeya Purana, which describes the birth of Durga and her nine day battle with Mahishasura, is biased. According to them, the birth of Durga from the powers of Brahma oi, Vishnu and Shiva was a twisted version of the story.
The tribals now have help from experts and academics to bring their perspective to the forefront.
“Ravan and Mahishasur are our ancestors and the celebration of their killing by trickery must not continue the way it has for centuries, The so-called upper caste always had a grip over documentation of Indian mythology and that is the reason why the tribal perspective never got highlighted.” – Sushma, a member of the primitive tribe group (PTG)
Vandana Tete, who has been documenting unwritten tribal folklore, said: “Tribal tales are mostly in oral form and from various Santhal, Asur and Porku folktales we have figured out that Mahishasur was a king and he was killed by Durga. The incident has never been revered in our community. Civilized society should give equal place to all perspectives.”
Admitting that comprehensive research has not been done to look into the real history of mythological events, Tete said the ritual of Durga Puja was sponsored by the erstwhile East India Company for the zamindar families of Bengal to create a socio-religious divide among the tribals and the upper caste.
Mahishasura was a dark skinned and athletically built King of a Dravida/Non Aryan kingdom.
His story is centuries old, when they used to be arch enemies with Aryans(Whites), who spread their kingdom in India along the coast of rivers of the Sind area and later along the coast of the Ganges. and Dravidas, who were in this country from the pre-Aryan days.
Kingdom of Mahishasura worshiped Buffalo; an animal totem. Mahishasura was a natural leader and had military skills superior to the satraps of Aryan kingdoms neighboring his territory. He was a shrewd person who stole a lot of military secrets of the Aryans in his early days by pretending to be a devout of Aryan beliefs to save his people (Something similar to the batmans skill set).
After each of his victories, he took away wealth and weapons of the Aryan sa
traps, leaving them bitter and furious. But he was invincible, commanded a deadly army and plundered Aryavarta at his will. Aryans dreaded Mahishasura who would terrify his opponents soldiers by leading his flock wearing a buffalo’s mask and holding a dead Aryan’s head at the tip of his sword.
Heavily built, dark and handsome Mahishasura enjoyed the awe he inspired among his soldiers and people. His ego grew in size with each of his triumphs. His ego would cause his defeat and death as he aspired to capture the great Queen of the Aryans. In a way, this tragedy was the precursor of that of Ravana.
The great Queen lived and ruled the northern part of Aryabarta. She was adored for her beauty, courage and insight; she was literally worshiped by her people. She commanded great respect among the clans of her kingdom because of the strength of her character.
He believed he would be able to charm the Queen to come out with him as his wife. He continued in his efforts and sent a messenger to her court with this impossible suggestion that was outrageous to the Aryan community. The great Queen sent a warning to Mahishasura, but, he paid no heed to the Queen’s words.
He was infatuated and th
erefore unable to realize that he had crossed the limit.
The Aryan Queen regrouped and led the army herself to Conquer the Mahishasura’s army. He tried all his tricks without success. He prayed to his god,wore his lucky mask and charged towards the great Queen to capture and run away with her. She was far too fast for the worn-out Mahishasura. She pierced the chest of Mahishasura with her spear and the half-dead king was captured in no time . The Queen did not look back, she ordered her General to throw the still alive body of king Mahishasura to her pet lion’s cage.
A King of Mahishasura’s stature could have had a much better life and a more befitting death if he did not cross his limit. But, he was ambitious like the Great Alexander
This great Queen’s victory gradually transformed into the eternal Tale of good versus evil in the hand of the conqueror’s poets and bards. People started to worship the Queen as the deity of ‘Power’, (Shakti’ in Sanskrit). decades after she was gone . When Aryan’s Puranas chronicled this Tale, she was given the name of ‘Durga’, the Goddess whose worship leads to overcome ‘durgati’ (ill-fortune).
Today, few Asuras, especially the younger generation, know who Mahishasura was and what he means to their community and the activists hope to change that and to raise their voice against the centuries-old systematic repression of their culture and religion.
There are two ways of concluding this Tale. We may conclude that Mahishasura deserved his end, because he was evil and tried to over reach.
The second is just the diametrically opposite view: Mahishasura was an ambitious king, fighting with Aryans to expand his territory, no way different from the Aryans who pushed the people of this country down south, beyond the hills of Vindhya. His story was written by the conqueror, therefore, he has been painted as an evil person. If we compare his character with those of many other kings of our history, he was not much different!