How closely the agriculture is associated with life and celebrations of Indian subcontinent is seen with festivals like Holi, Diwali or Pongal/ Makar Sankranti.
The agricultural crop year in Indian Subcontinent and also in South East Asia is largely from July to June.
The Indian cropping season is classified into two main seasons-(i) Kharif and (ii) Rabi based on the monsoon. The kharif cropping season is from July –October during the south-west monsoon and the Rabi cropping season is from October-March (winter). The crops grown between March and June are summer crops. The terms ‘Kharif’ and ‘Rabi’ originate from Arabic language where Kharif means autumn and Rabi means spring.
The Kharif crops include rice, maize, sorghum, pearl millet/bajra, finger millet/ragi (cereals), arhar (pulses), soyabean, groundnut (oilseeds), cotton etc.
The Rabi crops include wheat, barley, oats (cereals), chickpea/gram (pulses), linseed, mustard (oilseeds) etc.
The harvest is an important occasion for rejoicing in all agrarian societies. Diwali which occurs at the end of a cropping season is along with the above custom. Bali Pratipada is dedicated to the farming community and thus the farmer is popularly known as Bali-Raja (king of the land).
For Farmers, a Festival marking the end of one Harvest and the beginning of another is a festival time which is also heralding the beginning of a new season or new crop year.
The association of this New Year Padava or Padavo, with Diwali also substantiates the harvest festival theory. The end of one harvest and beginning of another meant the end of one cycle of activity and the beginning of another.
The word Padava is etymologically quite close to the Sanskrit word for crop which is Pradurbhu. Padava might be a corrupted form of the original word for “crop” which was used to term the New Year festival.
The Sanskrit term Prati-Pada has two aspects 1) Prati means every 2) Pada means feet or cycle.
Or colloquial term Padava also has two aspects 1) Pad means feet or step 2) Va means come or welcome
This is the every year occurring cycle of harvest the 1st one is Kharip and 2nd one is Rabi. That is the main reason of celebration of new harvest and new crops, which welcomes the Laxmi (wealth and prosperity) and a new beginning on Deepavali Padava. Both the Padava of year 1) Chaitra Padava in March or April and 2) Deepaval Padava in October or Novemebr are indication of beginning of new harvest season
In a popular Shloka in Sanskrit where 7 immortals are remembered one is Mahabali who was proponent of the agrarian or agricultural economy अश्वत्थामा बलिव्र्यासो हनूमांश्च विभीषण:। कृप: परशुरामश्च सप्तएतै चिरजीविन:
In one of the popular verse the socio-economical mind-set of Indian sub-continent is described beautifully.
उत्तम खेती मध्यम बान। अधम चाकरी भीख निदान॥ Best profession is Framing, then comes trading and manufacturing, the lowest is serving someone and the profession should not be looked upon is begging.
On this occasion of Bali-Pratipada let all of us salute to that King of land because of him we get our daily bread
A well-known Kshtra-pati Sukta in Rigveda is dedicated to such king of land- the farmer
शुनं वरत्रा बध्यन्तां शुनमष्ट्रामुदिङ्गय- May the strap binding the Plough bring Welfare and Prosperity to all, and May the Goad swinging towards the Oxen or bull (now tractor) bring Welfare and Prosperity to all.
Compiled by: Dr Sandeep Sadanand Chaugule, you may reach out to him on Twitter @sandipchaugulle