Srikakulam: Locals in Kedaripuram village in Andhra Pradesh have been worshipping Mahatma Gandhi as a goddess for decades with the belief that the deity provides them with bumper yields.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, villagers celebrate the festival, named Gandhamma Sambaram, every kharif season before beginning work in the fields.
The elderly people in Kedaripuram village in Srikakulam said their ancestors have been celebrating the festival after independence in 1947.
However, some are of the view that the ritual is there since era of Inamdari system, when two men received 250 acres of land as a gift from the then rulers and made the farmers work in their land.
“Our elders, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, then staged a satyagrah and got the land freed. A Gandhi Youth Association and a Gandhi-aided school were built in the villages,” said 65-year-old K Falguna Rao, sarpanch of Kedaripuram.
“The villagers used to organise a festival before starting cultivation in the inam fields to showcase their unity against the Inamdars. Villagers in north coastal Andhra usually worship goddesses before beginning farm operations. So we consider Gandhi as a goddess who blesses us with bumper yields. Thus we named the festival the Gandhamma Sambaram,” Rao said.
The festival is celebrated on a Thursday two weeks after the Jagannath Rath Yatra in Odisha.