Hindutva, Hindu culture and their heritage are vehemently reeling under great crisis all over the globe. Conversion of Hindus to Christianity is also major threat. Orissa is not an exception. But the astonishing fact is that Orissa'senriched culture, deep love and devotion towards lord Jagannath and Shiva has been proving panacea to combat the saga of Church. Danda naach, a famous folk dance proves this.
Everyday they travel hundred miles bare foot, village to village and door to door carrying the statute of lord Shiva and goddess Parvati along with some sacred books. Robbed with yellow clothes, saffron flags and traditional drums, music instruments handy, they perform nritya (dance) in front of each door and provide the prasad. Singing devotional songs and hymns from scriptures, they administer oath to the villagers to protect dharma, rastra and dharmapitha. Who are they? They are the Danduas who perform Danda nacha, a traditional folk dance not to earn but to keep the dharma alive.
Danda naach is the dance to give punishment to the evaders of dharma. It is very popular particularly in South Orissa and in some parts of Vanvasi-dominated Western Orissa. Nobody knows its origin and promoters. The dance is not seen all over the year. There is a particular period in which thousands of people step forward to perform it. They consider it as their sacred duty towards the protection and promotion of Hindu faith. In the month of April, each year they start this programme and create awakening among the people. Normally as it is an off-season for cultivation, more and more devotees take part. They form different groups and each group remains in charge of a particular area.
It starts 21 days before the Maha Bisuba Sankaranti and ends on the last day of the month. In some areas, it begins 15-20 days before. According to rituals, each Dandua is free to join any group of his choice but it is mandatory for each group to confine within 50 to 1500 members.