By Praveen Kulkarni
The Ganesh visarjan process which should happen on the day of Anant Chaturdashi overflows into the afternoon/evening of the next day. This happens every year, year after year, perennially, perpetually.
Some Ganesh mandals begin their procession after midnight. Our youngsters, in big numbers, take pride in the indecent and immoral display of music, money, crackers, tobacco, liquor, and God alone knows what other things. Cabaret songs/music, deafening levels of volume, gyrating and sleaze/indecent dance movements. . . all this during Ganesh Chaturthi/Anant Chaturdashi processions?
We see the same scene during Shiv Jayanti processions and many other religious and dharmic occasions. At other times, we say GARV SE KAHO HUM HINDU HAIN!! Should we, as Hindus be proud of such behavior? Is this Hindu tradition? Is this what our ancestors have taught us? Have we ever known of such customs in our history? The world is learning Hinduism from us. Is this what we project as part of Hindu tradition?
Do we realize the repercussions of such celebration on different limbs of the society that we live in? There are children studying in not just someone else’s home, but our own house too. Infants and toddlers are petrified by the sound emanating from the music systems arranged in varying layers atop vehicles. Senior and super seniors are a part of almost every family . . . have we spared a thought for these silent sufferers of our celebrations? Have our sensibilities and sense of humanity and social responsibility divorced us?
We blame the Government machinery for its inaction. Whether it is the Police, the Municipal Corporation, the Electricity Board or whichever arm of the administration, are we not adding to their already unmanageable workload and operational difficulties?
We demand speeding up of smart city projects. It is our absolute constitutional right to demand amenities and facilities and infrastructure as honest taxpayers, no doubt.
Why/how do we conveniently overlook that it is also our duty to be, become and behave as smart people, living in a smart way and grow as a smart society?
In a family function or a social get-together, each one is free to play, dance and enjoy cabarets and any kind of behavior. . . but why do that in God’s name ???
With the kind of religious fervor that is displayed in the society, a few uncomfortable questions come and keep coming to our minds . . . again and again
Are we making our elders, parents, and forefathers happy and proud of this kind of behavior?
Is this how we value the legacies of Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and other religious and social reformers?
Would they endorse and/or be proud of what we are doing under their name
Are we setting a model example for our children and future generations to follow?
If our children were to do the same thing, would we like/endorse such behavior?
Is this the way our society is going to progress?
Where is all this going to take us?
I know very well that I am a minuscule minority in this regard. I know I may be labeled anti-social, ati-shahana, old-fasihoned and outdated. I also know this will not make any difference to those celebrating such occasions. I have just vented out my pain and agony. . . a stupid common man that I am.
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