After a good monsoon season so far, and with the monsoon period in the last leg of the season, we are now in the “Season of Festivals”! Yes, in the months of August and September, we have several important festivals to celebrate. Beginning with the Independence Day on August 15, we have the Maha Varamahalakshmi Puja on August 24, Upakarmas, Nariyal Pournima and Raksha Bandhan on August 25/26, Thiruvonam on August 25, Gokulashtami/Govinda on September 2 and the Festival of Festivals in Maharashtra — Ganesha Chaturthi on September 13, 2018.
And, of course in the later months of October and November, there will be major festivals of Navaratri and Deepavali.
Hindu festivals are the important parts of Hindu culture. Hinduism is also known as the religion of festivals and India is described as the land of festivals that has many religions and languages across the states.
“Unity in Diversity” is something that is very special about India. Indian culture is full of diversities, be it in language, religion, food or culture. What unite Indians despite the diversities are their festivals.
We should all, therefore, celebrate all the festivals as per the rituals and with pure religious fervour! Every year we have been witnessing to what extent festivals like Govinda and Ganesh Chaturthi are being celebrated in almost every nook and corner and suburb of this city. Having experienced the festivity of these and other great and important festivals for decades, I just would like to submit some Dos and Don’ts in simple terms. These messages may be spread and the society at large, be made aware of the situations we are in, today.
- Because, today, the days are not the same as it were years ago. Today, due to security threats, police and the security forces have to be always on their toes 24×7. The environment and other aspects need to be taken care of. Besides, we are in the midst of facing water shortage and perhaps a drought, in many parts of the state, too. Hence, I would suggest that :
- The celebrations, on the whole, should be on a low key, to be restricted to religious fervour and traditions and not on a lavish display of wealth; It should be purely devotional in all respects.
- Very important to restrict the noise levels. Ban film songs blaring through massive sized speakers and psychedelic effects. Especially in the areas where we have hospitals, a thick population of civilians, schools, and so on.
- Maintenance of cleanliness must be disciplined at all levels. There should be no pile-up of garbage and other items near the pandals and which would inconvenience the pedestrians and the traffic.
- Public roads and streets should never be dominated over, by installing huge pandals, electronic, and electrical gadgets.
- Protection of the environment is extremely important. Trees either must not be cut or destroyed or misused. Display of banners and plastic items, et al must be banned. Wastage of water, eatables and at all other levels must be avoided. After the immersions, organisers should ensure to clean the areas and mainly many sea-shores and immersion sites.
- Every pandal should ensure that they display or show a short film to send good messages which are of use to the society: like girls education, stop child labour, save the planet and environment, obey traffic rules, say no to corruption, and many such worthy causes. Such messages will certainly have a positive effect on the people to go on the right path.
- Display images and pictures of our valiant soldiers and jawans and messages highlighting, lauding, and appreciating their tough mission to fight against terrorism and to eliminate the terrorists.
- Above all the organisers and the people should remain ever alert to prevent any untoward incidents and extend all possible cooperation to the city police personnel and security staff and officers in view of the grave situation the nation faces today.
- All the Mandals and the citizens too should make generous and substantial donations to the CM’s Relief/Farmers’ Relief Fund, etc.
- I wish, this year, the Mandals take steps to install not very-big sized and heavily decorated idols etc. but smaller and medium-sized idols only and the focus should be on having the “Eco Ganapthy Idols” only.
We should all be “socially conscious and active”, have concern for the environment and the planet, create better awareness to the society on the whole and give due value to the religious events. What can be the better way to spread these important messages other than this esteemed and well-read Column!
Let us pray to the Almighty for a safe, peaceful, happy, and grand festival season.
HAPPY FESTIVE SEASON TO ONE AND ALL!
S Krishna Kumar
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)