For last eight years, firing of Kadabeen, a 250-year-old barrel gun, in the air has been one of the major attractions in Khajrana Ganesh shahi sawaari (procession) that is taken out every year on occasion of til chaturthi in Indore.
On Sunday, Indoreans once again heard deafening booms of the gun during the procession in Khajarana as members of Rajvaniya family of Ujjain fired the ancient weapon.
The Rajvaniyas, who live in a small house at Dholi Gali in Ujjain, have been firing Kadabeen
during Shahi Mahakal Sawari (royal procession of Lord Mahakal taken out in Ujjain on every Monday of the shravan month as per the Hindu calendar) for almost 200 years now. For last eight years, they have become a part of Khajrana procession in Indore too.
“This is our fourth generation, which takes part in shahi sawaari of Mahakal, Ujjain. The Kadabeen was gifted to our forefathers by some king who had come to visit the Mahakaal temple,” said Raja Rajvaniya.
The gun might be two-and-a-half centuries old but firing it is not an easy task. Kadabeen weighs around 10 kilogram and when fired, recoils with a tremendous force, almost equal to being hit with a 30-kg weight at a high speed.
“Besides taking care that the recoil of the gun doesn’t hurt my body, I have to wear a special protection on my fingers and thumb to keep them safe from a lot of heat generated by the gun after every shot,” said Ravi Rajvaniya. The family holds an all India licence for the gun.
The method of firing this gun is a bit different from the modern rifles. Before they shoot in the air, the Rajvaniyas move the gun up and down many times and then fire in the air while simultaneously moving the barrel upward to reduce impact of recoil.
Along with the gun, the Rajvaniyas have over the period introduced another innovation--- flower firing barrel ---which they use in such religious processions and even marriages. The barrel is placed on top of a four-wheeler from where it fires flowers as and when required. “We had to move with the time. There was a time when we held a place of pride in Ujjain’s Mahakal Yatra. Now, we have to take part in marriages and other possessions to make our ends meet. This modern flower firing barrel is an improvisation which is welcome at marriages, parties and possessions”, says Deepak Rajvaniya, who handles this modern gadget of the family.
To honour the services rendered by the family, the Rajvaniyas were given special dresses by Mahakaal trust three years ago, which they wear while firing the Kadabeen.