Do you wish to prove that you are a virgin or you have no extra-marital relations? Well! There is a simple test. All you need is a strong skull or scalp on your head and have guts to get a dry coconut cracked on your head. Even if you do not have such a clean slate, this cracked coconut would absolve you from all sins and bad things. You do not believe in this! Any way, two communities, known as ‘kurumbas’ and ‘24 Manai Telegu Chettiars’, from Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Andhra, certainly believe so. They had their coconut breaking rituals recently at Mahalakshmiamman Temple in Mettumahadanapuram village in Karur District of Tamilnadu, at the time of yearly Adi festival.
During this festival, 750 men and women got at least one coconut cracked on their head, by the head priest of the temple, Shree. Periyaswami, to prove that they have no extra-marital relations. Shree. Periyaswami has been performing this ritual every year for last 23 years and during the ritual he wears footwear with nails.
All kinds of emergency medical service, ambulance was kept ready near the temple and there was heavy police presence. However, no one used these services. Many of the disciples had wounds but they just applied turmeric powder and ash. There were number of women in the crowd of disciples. They had no fear to get the coconuts cracked on their heads. The coconuts used in the ritual are completely cleaned and a layer of turmeric powder is applied on the surface.
Promiscuity is a major problem in the Kurumba community. This could be because of disproportionate number of women (2/3rds are women) in the community. This may be the reason why people from this community are encouraged to re state their honour and cleanness by this method. Government also sees this as a measure helping eradication of AIDS drive and actually encourages it.
Is it not a simple test to re state your honour?
12 August 2009