New Delhi: Kedaripuram, a village in Andhra Pradesh, worships the leader of Indian independence movement Mahatma Gandhi as a goddess.

The villagers celebrate the harvest of the kharif season in a festival that features Gandhi as a goddess. They believe that the diety wields power to them to deliver a bumper crop.

The festival is known as Gandhamma Sambaram and is celebrated on a Thursday, two weeks after the Jagannath Rath Yatra in Odisha.

According to a report by The New Indian Express, this festival was started by the ancestors of the villagers after Independence in 1947.

“Our village has a history with Gandhi’s satyagraha. Our forefathers had participated in the movement. Our elders told us stories of how they were inspired by the struggle, and fought for the rights of farmers inside our own village,” K Falguna Rao, the sarpanch of Kedaripuram said.

The village has a tradition of worshipping goddesses  before the begining of farm operations and to keep this ritual alive, they started worshipping Gandhi as a goddess.

“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,” K Falguna Rao said.
The festival is not a religious festival and people from all faiths come together to celebrate it.