A Festive Soliloquy

Festivals have ceased to make me happy since a couple of years. They don’t carry the same innocence and excitement any more. And since India is a nation that celebrates culture and life so vivaciously, it’s weird to feel this way about culture. Really, but what is culture? Is it merely being happy and celebrating and spending money while many more can’t afford a one-time meal? I think it is. We have commercialized and categorized celebrations too. Festivals no longer bring happiness because while the rich can splurge however they wish the poor worry about meeting expenses and trying to make their children not feel the brunt of being helpless and poor. Do they not have any right to be happy any more? And when I see this blatant display of wealth everywhere with not an iota of discomfort on the faces of those who are flaunting it, it makes me wonder as to whether we have ceased being humans after all? Poverty can’t make everyone move to tears. Why don’t we, the common people understand that the widening disparity between the rich and the poor is eventually going to lash out at our very own psyche? Do we not care about those who are lesser than us any more? What happened to the values of sharing and giving? We no longer believe in values of any kind.

This creative pollution is suffocating and it will no doubt keep the young in its smog for long if they never decide to open their eyes and minds to the society we are living in at the moment. Everything has become so individualistic. Surely, this was not how freedom was envisaged by the freedom fighters and nationalists who fought so hard for it. Today Freedom has come to symbolise right to choosing material happiness and nothing else. Even the Law cannot or safe to say, is unable to define or impose fundamental rights and duties of citizens. Our ideas of culture sadly do not reflect the freedom associated with it. For us, Culture wholly means priding about one’s religion. And rightly so, we are witnessing gigantic senas’ (groups) that have fundamental ideologies with nothing to do regarding culture. The entire concept of culture and society is messed and horribly mixed with vile notions of racial supremacy. One wonders if this is the radically progressive nation people dreamt of after attaining independence from the Imperialist rule? We lack visionaries and the vision to make our people self reliant. Yes, we do lack things that make a nation great, that ensures progress of a nation & its citizens. We are still not acknowledging what we lack as a nation. If administrators focussed so much on improving basic social and infrastructure needs of the citizens, we wouldn’t have to constantly dwell in the past (which has no glorious documentation) to stand on par with the world. In fact, our competition is not with the world. It is with ourselves. It should be. We as a nation must strive to be better than we were 50 years ago. Instead, we try to prove so unceremoniously about how better we were millions of years ago, which is basically just lying to ourselves. We know its not true. Nobody knew what happened then, Why don’t we keep calm and focus on reformation of the people, of the nation we care so much about?

No one understands my words, says the poet Dharamdas. I belong to another land, where they speak a different language.

We have indeed become strangers to our nation and our people. Our identity hereafter is marked by our religion not by brotherhood. The shared ideals of mutual respect for each other is lapsed in time. Dignity and Love are mere words that no longer make a cut with fundamentalists’ dictionary. And if we don’t speak up now, we never will. No one will speak for us or on our behalf if we don’t voice our agitation now!

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