Minor girls paraded naked in India’s rain ritual

By: News Desk      Published: 09:42 AM, 8 Sep, 2021
Minor girls paraded naked in India’s rain ritual
File: Photo of villagers pouring cold water over a child to evoke rain

In a bid to end India’s widespread drought, six young girls have been forced to take off their clothes and forced to house-to-house naked in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh.

Locals following an ancient Indian superstition made the little girls parade through the village naked with a frog riding on a wooden shaft that was balanced on their shoulders.

As they walked through the village, women walked beside them singing songs of praise to the rain god.

The girls stopped at each house and begged for foodstuffs, such as bread and flour, which was then donated to a bhandara, or community kitchen, that had been set up in front of the village temple.

Damoh District Collector S Krishna Chaitanya told reporters that the girls' parents had given permission for their children to take part in the horrific ritual and in some cases had even joined in.

He said that there was little that local government can do in these cases. "The administration can only make the villagers aware about the futility of such superstition and make them understand that such practices don’t yield desired results," he said.

Nevertheless, a major Indian children’s rights group, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, has demanded a full explanation from local government officials.

Officials probed Indian villagers who paraded six naked girls, as part of rituals to summon rains and bring relief from drought-like situations.

Regional Police Chief, DR Teniwar, told reporters that the videos surfaced on Indian social media networks, showing the girls walking naked with a frog tied to a wooden shaft on their shoulders. “We received information that some young girls were paraded naked to appease rain gods, as part of a long-held superstition and prevailing social evils.”

Police had not received any formal complaint about the incident but had launched an investigation. “Action will be taken if it is found that the girls were forced to walk naked,” he added.   

Such bizarre rituals to please the rain gods are not uncommon in India. These included women ploughing fields naked at midnight or marrying off donkeys in elaborate ceremonies.