The India Secular Republic’s war on Hindu festivals continues unabated.
What started on the national stage in 2015 as a petition in SC by HINO lawyers, firing from the shoulders of their infant children, asking for a ban on firecrackers during Diwali to ostensibly combat ‘air pollution’, has now grown into a hydra-headed monster. In just 6 years, the anti-Hindu forces with tacit backing of the Indian state have managed to extend the Diwali firecracker ban to all states, and each of our festivals is now severely restricted in some way or other.
The real causes of air pollution are too thorny to tackle for governments and judiciary, as any action will upset influential votebanks and vested interests. So bashing Hindu festivals and rituals becomes the easy way out to show that ‘something is being done’. Who cares that an entire indigenous firecracker industry in Sivakasi, TN is now devastated and those impoverished workers are perfect prey for soul harvesting missionaries?
Covid-19 lockdown and social distancing norms have become a convenient excuse to gradually pass all sorts of arbitrary restrictions on size of murti (which the colonized state still refers to as ‘idols’), puja rituals, ban on distribution of sweets, fruits, flowers (?!), and the sort of control-freak specifications on crowd numbers and sanitization that wouldn’t be seen at a government office or even a public park.
But the latest guidelines issued by Bengaluru corporation BBMP as per news agency ANI push the boundaries even further. It says that no drums, dhak (a traditional Bengali drum played during Durga Puja) will be allowed during the visarjan procession.
The Dhak is at the heart of Durga Puja, just like Dhol-Tasha is for Ganesh Visarjan procession.
In the words of a Puja committee organizer, “Puja does not assume the festive aura without the maddening beats of the dhak, the large drum that men hang around their necks and play with two thin sticks to infuse the frenzied rhythm into listeners. Those enchanting beats are enough to conjure up the sights and smells of Puja.”
It is pointless to even ask the BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta or his juniors who thought of this latest meaningless guideline, as to what connection playing the Dhak has with Covid-19 transmission? Will a silent, sombre visarjan procession keep the virus away? For that matter, why set a maximum size for the murti in public pandals and inside private homes?
Most of our babus are brainwashed products of a system seeped in colonial-era thinking, and derive pleasure from throwing their weight around and harassing the common Hindu.
For them, enforcing their sense of Constitutional Morality (CM) in a Talibani fashion on passive and religiously disorganized Hindu society, probably gives them a sense of satisfaction at having taken their ‘civilizing mission’ forward. But when it comes to dealing with the religiously organized and aggressive minorities, the same babu becomes a lamb. He/she will justify the meekness in front of Abrahamics as ‘secularism’, ‘tolerance’, ‘inclusiveness’, or the more honest ‘maintain law & order’ excuse which actually means – “if we don’t allow, they will riot”.
Even the legendary Hindu ‘patience’ (apathy) will eventually run out in the face of such relentless insults and assaults on their religion, festivals, culture and way of life. Or will it?