Celebrate or not : Whose festivals are they ?

– Vidya Bhushan Rawat


The festival season is not over yet now. Something is today and will continue for next six days till the Chhath comes. A careful analysis will tell you how we celebrate male supremacy during these festivities. Just a few days before Diwali, you have Karwachauth and now in next one or two days, you have Bhai dooj and then Chhath too will give you a glimpse of celebrations for sons. India is a continent and therefore will have more festivals than anybody else. There is cultural crisis and cultural hegemony through festivals too. Patriarchy too is enforced through them. Now, lots of researches and narratives to justify them.
Many people dont want to celebrate it because they feel this is not their identity. Others suffer in continuous confusion as to what do you say when some body ‘greet’ you with ‘ Happy Diwali’. Friends are confused in it. ‘ How do I answer their happy diwali greetings when I am not a Hindu, said a Buddhist friend. There are number of them who are now suggesting that there is a reference to Deepdanostsav in Buddhism while other suggest that such festivals dont exists in Buddhist countries. Lots of debate should we be celebrating Hindu festivals or not or shouldnt we ?
Now, this crisis is not with Muslims or Christians as they are clear about their identity and hence they participate in Diwali and Holi in the similar way, as we might participate in Eid and Christmas. The issue is so much in our mind that if a politician greet people ( who is not expected to celebrate Diwali), we get disturbed and blame him as ‘sold out’. I think, we need to ponder over a few things on these issues and save ourselves from tensions and isolation. One no festival in India is celebrated with one narrative and if you have traveled across the country and seen how things are celebrated then you will find out that most of our festivals are actually Bahujan Adivasi festivals and not really brahmanical as being projected. The brahmanical forces hijacked them and build their own narratives around them otherwise a God like Shiva can never be a brahmanical god.
Dusshera festival have different and diverse celebrations across the country. In Bengal it is Kali Puja, in Gujarat it is Durga Puja, in the north it is Ram leela and among the Adivasis and many places, it is remembering Mahishasura. While, the north Indians dont eat non vegetarian food during the Navratris, Bengalis rejoice it. Similarly, Dipwali is not celebrated in the same way. In many places in Maharashtra Diwali is people’s wish to have ‘ Bali ka raj’. Most of the festivals had local cultural practices.
While people may practice same religion, it is not necessary their festivals and cultural practices are same. Islam and Christianity too have these diversities according to regions and languages. In India, because all the non Muslims and Non Christians are termed as Hindus hence we confuse this diversity as Hindu festivals. Most of our festivals have relations with seasons or crops, whether it is Diwali, Makar Sakranti, Baishakhi, Holi, Dusshera, Basant Panchami but all these festivals are celebrated in diverse ways and narratives. There are no homogeneous narratives in relation to this and therefore we need to be careful when we analyse them.
The Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Diwas is celebrated on October 14th but equally important is that a huge number of people remember it on Dusshera day which is termed as Ashoka Vijayadashmi day. Festivals were used by political leaders for reaching the bigger masses and it is true that Hindutva leaders reached it first. The counter narrative that was built by Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar was not repeated by politicians who swore by his name.
Every Indian religious places that has brahmanical links today, has a Buddhist or Jain past. Dig any place and you will find it. Similarly, every brahmanical festival today is somewhere a Buddhist past too. The bigger reality is that diyas and lighting of lamp was a common way of celebration in the past the only thing is the narratives. It is important for all of us to delink ourselves with all the brahmanical narratives and rituals of these festivities by completely rejecting them and celebrate them in a much more rational and egalitarian way.
Even if you dont want to celebrate it there is nothing wrong. People like us move out of Delhi and be with communities we love, share our happiness with them, enjoy moments with your near dear ones.
Brahmanism have destroyed the good spirit of the festivals. Today Diwali Dusshera and Holi impact our environment more than anything else but now the Banias too build up the narratives with the help of brahmins and you see the vulgar display of wealth during this period. All the campaign in the name of swachch Bharat and clean India is brought to naught by the same elite which happily pose with a ‘glossy’ ‘jhadu’ in their hand.
I know Delhi must have become a gas chamber today and our ‘messiahs’ will be quiet. he wont speak on this biggest non-sense that we do. He he wont speak against how all these festivals are choking our lonely planet.
No festival should be allowed to destroy our lonely planet. We cant have celebrations decided by the market today. Protection of environment as well as health is more important. Destruction of environment in the name of ‘celebrations’ is ‘unique’ to brahmanical culture of India. It is time we wake up, reject these dangerous practices and enjoy festivities without bringing God and god-men in between. Celebrate festivals without Gods and their rituals and I can say, you will able to protect nature and human race as well.


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