PHOTO FEATURE OCTOBER 2014
King Mahishasur's martyrdom
Well-known painter Dr Lal Ratnakar has created a series of paintings depicting the Bahujan rendition of the Puranic story of Mahishasur and Durga. According to this rendition, the Surs (gods) sent Durga, who was a beauty, to slay Mahishasur, the king of Asurs (today's Bahujans). Unaware of the conspiracy, Mahishasur informed his family members of the likely arrival of Durga in advance.
The conspirator gods hid around the abode of Mahishasur, waiting with bated breath for the success of their endeavour, for nine full days. After Durga killed Mahishasur by stabbing him with a dagger, the gods stormed Mahishasur's palace and massacred the Asurs mercilessly. The Puranic story says that before slaying Mahishasur, Durga drank liquor to her heart's content.
After the killing of their valiant king, the Asurs gathered on the full-moon night of 'Ashwin' (a month of Hindu calendar) to mourn his death. Dr. Ratnakar's paintings are based on this chain of events.
'Ashwin Purnima' (the full-moon day of Ashwin month) falls five days after the 'Dasveen' (tenth day) of Durga Puja. This year, Mahishasur Martyrdom Day will be observed in various parts of the country on 9 October.