Have you ever seen people dancing, holding different parts of dead bodies in hand? If not, then visit Kurmun, Parui, Palashie, Kubajpur, Arachi and some other adjacent areas of those villages in Burdwan on the occasion of ‘Gajon’ which is held on Chaitra Sankranti ( Last day of Bengali month Chaitra & last day of the Bengali year ) and you will find nearly hundreds of ‘Gajon Sanyasis’(Gajon monks) are dancing with different parts of dead bodies particularly head in their hands. Thousands of spectators assemble there to see the awesome dance of those Sannyasis (monks / ascetics). According to villagers, this practice is going on for more than hundred years. But police and district administration do very little to stop such ugly and unscientific practices. According to SP Burdwan, Rajaram Raj Sekharan, ‘I have no knowledge of such incident. I’ll enquire about the matter and take necessary steps to prevent such activities'.
From where do the Gajon Sannyasis collect those bodies? According to a Sannyasi, they collect those bodies from different burial grounds. Those who could not burn the dead bodies due to financial reason, bury those bodies in the graveyard. Sometimes the relatives of dead children do not burn the bodies and bury them instead. These Sannyasis, collect those bodies from different places and hang them on trees. On the very day of Gajon, which falls in the middle of March, the Sannyasis bring these decomposed bodies from the tree and move from one village to another with the dead body in their hand. Large number of people gather around the fair area and enjoy the gruesome scene.
Due to the practice of burying dead children, most of the bodies used are of children. Sometimes the decomposed head or the skull is cut off and in cases of small babies the entire carcass is taken out to dangle and dance with. Bad stench from the decomposed body and the primitive ways of the so called sadhus create an ugly atmosphere. Even children are brought to witness this 'festival' called 'Gajon' . The whole scene is primitive and unhealthy, a kind of visual pollution. But who cares?
According to the General Secretary of the central committee of Science and Rationalists’ Association of India (Name of the organization in Bengali is “Bharatiya Bigyan O Yuktibadi Samiti) Mr. Prabir Ghosh, “our organization is fighting against all these social evil practices. These activities should be stopped. Our Burdwan District wing has submitted a memorandum to the district administration so that such unscientific activities are stopped. But the district administration has done nothing so far.”
One of the Joint Secretaries of the organization and his group in Burdwan district have organized awareness programs in the area quite a few times.
General Secretary of the central committee of Humanists’ Association, Sumitra Padmanabhan told that, “this type of dirty and unreasonable activities in the name of religion or tradition should be stopped immediately. These things adversely affect a child's mind. We want to draw the attention of the local administration towards these criminal practices. Not only is exhuming dead bodies without permission illegal, creating cruel and disgusting scenes in front of public eye comes under Public Nuisance Act and is punishable by law."