Celebrations and longevity of our culture

Deepavali / Diwali. It is that time of the year again. A time when citizens, politicians, State governments and Central government suddenly realize that the air pollution they failed to control throughout the year, is an imminent problem which needs a solution. But how can we take any steps at the last minute when we all wasted 10 months of the year? Guess what we do – we do nothing. Then the Courts are forced to step in and they order what is possible at such short notice – a near total ban on crackers.

Everyone is happy. Governments need not take the blame because they did not ban the celebrations. Citizens have the moral victory that they defeated pollution this year by getting a Court order.

Diwali crackers undoubtedly contribute to pollution. But making Diwali the punching bag and using it to cover up our incompetency during rest of the year is the real problem. And the real impact is not just banning Diwali celebrations, it is also about slow degradation of our culture.

Culture is not just something that we practice. It is something we pass from one generation to the next. It helps our society stay united. It provides guidance to the people in difficult situations. It encourages people to live a good life. An important way to pass our culture to future generations and to ensure it flourishes is through its celebration. We ban these celebrations, we are blocking the longevity of our culture.

  • Crackers are a major source of pollution. Creates health problems. But there are other alternatives available, like green crackers, which ensures we do not damage the environment but still continue to celebrate Diwali with the same enthusiasm. Unfortunately, we do not invest any effort in coming up with these alternative solutions. And the only option we are left with at the last minute is to ban the celebrations completely.
  • Sankranti attracts criticism from few people that birds will get hurt due to kites. So lets ban kites. Navratri gets its own share of attacks.
  • Holi is a target for few other groups. Water gets wasted. So lets stop Holi.
  • Bakrid is ridiculed for its animal sacrifices
  • Thanksgiving and Christmas is objected due to turkeys and trees that get impacted.

In the times we live, all these celebrations have some issue or the other. But banning them completely is never the solution. We have to identify a form of celebration that is more acceptable today.

Same applies to national pride and loyalty. The concept of nationalism has to be put into people’s domain as frequently as possible. A nation stands to lose if we do not do it.

January 26th, our Republic Day, incurs a lot of cost in its celebrations. 1000’s of participants in the parade, security arrangements, fly pasts by fighter aircrafts and fuel guzzling military equipment. The whole celebration must be costing a lot of money. Should we then ban Republic Day celebrations and use all that money for some other purpose? We do not. We must not. Republic Day is the celebration of our Constitution. It signifies the importance of Constitution and how it has a central role to play in the way our country prospers. Every Indian must know about it, respect the Constitution, be aware of the people who helped create it and be reminded about it.

October 2nd, Gandhi Jayanti. Huge cost incurred across the nation as it is a public day. Imagine the impact on industrial output and economy if the entire country comes to a standstill for one day? It is like someone calling for Bharath bandh. Isn’t it? No, we are wrong. October 2nd marks the birth anniversary of the Father of our nation. This day represents the fight and sacrifices of a generation of Indians who overturned 500+ years of foreign rule on our soil. This day marks our respect to Gandhiji and everyone else who were part of the non-violent movement that brought India its independence. You take out the celebration (national holiday, school textbook references, currency note picture etc) and the idea of Gandhi will just be a distant memory in people’s mind. Next generation of Indians will not even know that the biggest battle ever fought by Indians was a non violent one.

It is an absolute must that celebrate our festivals and events of national importance. Yes, with changing times, the way we celebrate should also change. As citizens, as Governments, we have to take steps to ensure celebrations continue and our culture continues to flourish.

Please free to post comment here or message me on Twitter @VijayIvaturi

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