Onam is celebration of prosperity, unity, happiness, harvest..
Like any other festival celebrated in India, Onam too is under sinister radar of Left liberals of India.
In fact, the political scenario of Kerala which has been in favour of communists, has enabled them to falsify entire narrative around Onam celebration.
Every land and culture have their own unique customs and traditions. Kerala too has developed a peculiar political behaviour different from rest of India. Hailed as the most literate state, Keralaites tend to look down on other regions in India as ‘unschooled’.
However the way fall into the web laid by leftists time and again without ever doing a soul search is astonishing.
Even the ‘Ayyappa swamy’ couldnt change this scenario. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Every year leftists begin turmoil during Onam, with a false rhetoric of Brahmana ‘Vamana’ oppressing Dravida Dalita ‘Bali’.
How did a grandson of Prahlada, who was in turn grandson of Brahmana Kashyapa , became an Dravida Dalit? Leftist loose their mind on ‘Janivara’ sacred thread on Bali, why not, he was a brahmana after all.
The Kerala government have been creating controversies by meddling with Hindu affairs after assuming power, but the majority in Kerala never raised their voice.
Years back, RSS weekly in Malayalam, Kesari came up with the onam special edition. Kesari had an article describing the story of Vamana avatar as in Bhagavata Purana.
Leftist intellectuals started scaremongering using the depiction of Vamana, the fifth avatar of Lord Mahavishnu in the article as North Indian hegemony by the Parivar.
They even accused RSS of ‘Hindutvaization of Kerala’s Onam festival’. What is their intention? Onam is a Hindu festival, wasn’t Hindu, the name of the original culture of the land before Islamic and Christian rulers came?
If we check the Hindu literature, the story of Mahabali is associated with the fifth avatar of Lord Mahavishnu, the Vamana avatar. He is also known as Trivikrama and has been worshipped so in various parts of India.
King Mahabali performed Vishvajit yajna and conquered the whole three world. As the gods left devaloka, mother Aditi worshipped Lord Mahavishnu by observing Payo Vrata and pleased Vishnu was born as her child to help Indra and other gods to get back their rightful place.
Like his grandfather Prahlada, Mahabali was also an ardent devotee of Vishnu. He promised the Brahmin boy who approached him to fulfil his desire. The boy asked for land that can be measured by his three step. With two strides, he covered the whole universe leaving nothing for the third one. Staying truthful to his word, the King humbly showed his head for the boy to measure.
As the story goes, Lord Vishnu got pleased by the supreme sacrifice of the King, sent Mahabali to Sutala, and promised to make him the Indra during the Savarni Manu’s era.
He also blessed King Bali by promising his protection & care from all ailments in Sutala until SravaniManvantara. By being kind to the request of a Brahmin boy, through his selfless sacrifice, King Bali, an Asura attained supreme protection of Mahavishnu. The moral of the Story is that ego will only bring downfall no matter how much punya one has acquired, where as surrender to God will clear all these worldly bonding and one attains supreme power and happiness.
Onam in Kerala is believed to be the commemoration of the return of King Mahabali to see his folks. But historically, references Onam festivities dates back to the ancient Tamil Sangam text, Nalayiram Divyaprabhandham of Alwar saints.
Noted historian and former Chairperson of Indian Council for Historical Research M G S Narayanan confirm that Vamana was the hero of Onam until the 11th century and that Bali became more popular only after the 16th century.
Festivals are not solely based on history. The official onam celebrations in Kerala start with the procession called ‘Atha chamayam’ from then Kochi kingdom to the Vamana Moorthy Temple in Thrikkakkara, Ernakulam. A mandapam exists in the temple representing Mahabali. Keralites place mud pyramids of Onathappan, in the middle of the Pookkalam (flower carpet ) made for welcoming Mahabali.
Leftists cry foul when someone tells the story of Vamana and Mahabali as it is in a Hindu text. There have been several legends associated with the identity of the King Maneli, one such is based on a 16th-century poem written by a poet Sankara Pillai in which Maveli is a local chieftain loved by the people of central Kerala. Keralites have been singing this song also for decades.
Vishnu is believed to have promised to Bali about an annual festival in his name where people wear nice clothes, eat delicious food, decorate their houses with flowers, colours and by lighting lamps. The festival is named as Bhadrapratipada in Skanda Purana while it is described as the Kaumudi Mahotsava known as Deepapradana in Vamana Purana. King Sree Harsha explains Deepapratipadutsava in his 7th-century play Nagananda.
In Karnataka too during Deepavali the cowdung are formed as a pyramid and worshipped as ‘Balindra’.
Onam legend in the present form developed as a mixture of an ancient folk tradition combined with the Tamil festival of Onam and the Bali worship came with the migrants from the Deccan.
Sangam text Maduraikanchi, written by Mankudi Maruthanar provides detailed information about Onam festivities in the Pandya Kingdom. Scholars have found similarities between the Onam celebrations in the Tamil land and modern Kerala.
Nalayiram Divyaprabandha of Vaishnava Alwar saints also deals with the Thiruvona Thiruvizha marked as the birthday of Vishnu. Many temples in the ancient Tamil land celebrate the birth of Vishnu on Onam or similar day.
This debate about Bali’s origin and him being a dravida king also revealed the utter ignorance of leftists. Their political opportunism are often propelled by half cooked ideas on Hindu Puranas.
These leftists are same people who call Ramayana and Purana hoax and Myth, but they appear to side with Bali and Ravana only for their political vendetta.
From the oldest text of Rigveda to the various texts of the ancient, medieval, and modern India depicts the tale of Vamana avatar of Lord Mahavishnu. Thiruvonam of the Month of Shravana is the birth star of Vamana/ Mahavishnu, and it has been an occasion of celebration in various parts of India.
The ancient Tamil land, of which the present day Kerala also was a part, had been celebrating a festival called Onam even during the time of Sangam texts. However, somehow the ancient festival of Onam was turned into the arrival of the ‘Ideal King’ Mahabali, and the myths and dreams of a by gone socialist paradise got placed in the forefront. Thus the contemporary saga of Onam as the return of the Maveli was born.
Every festival binds people together, on the occasion of Onam too let us celebrate tge rich culture in unity, keeping leftist’s ideologies away.
Dr Sindhu Prashanth