The full moon day in the month of Chaitra is
the most auspicious day as per the tribal calendar, to pray for
the blessings of Goddess Danteshwari, the community Goddess of the
Gond tribals of Gadchiroli district. Tribal culture being the integral
part of Shodhgram, the temple of Goddess Danteshwari graces Shodhgram
near the entry gate. SEARCH organizes every year a jatra or carnival
to mark the full moon day in Chaitra.
It is a three-day event culminating in Pooja
of the Goddess on the third day, the full moon day and community
feast. Invitations for the Jatra are personally extended by SEARCH
to each of the tribal village where SEARCH is active.
All the important village leaders and representatives
of the GramaSabha and the Pujaris, the local faith healers and priests
are invited for the Jatra. All the village level workers of SEARCH
from the 37 villages also attend the Jatra.
It is a gathering of about 1000 persons in Shodhgram.
The invitees, the tribals from the villages start arriving by afternoon
of the first day and leave after the Mahaprasad or feast on the
Final stage volleyball championship matches for
the cup instituted in the memory of late Dr. K.V. Chari form an
integral part of the Jatra. In the evening, the atmosphere is livened
by presentations of tribal folk dances and songs in the open air
under the moon lit night.
The second day is the day of health assembly. Dr Abhay Bang and
Dr Rani Bang discuss the issues concerning tribal health and development
with the invitees, review the programmes conducted in the previous
year and encourage the participants to identify the problems, which
they would like to address with the help of SEARCH.
At the end of the deliberations and discussions
an election of sorts is conducted to decide the problems to be taken
up during the forthcoming year. Ballot boxes with names or symbols
of the problem are made and the assembly members cast their votes
in the appropriate for representing the problem of their choice.
A count is taken and finally the priorities emerge. The assembly
then deliberates the possible action plan, the contribution the
villagers would make and the facilitation required
from SEARCH. Resolutions are passed and a blueprint of action is
the output of the exercise.