AS the festive season of the year has started, the atmosphere is soaked in the spiritual flavour. In a country India, which has a thousand-year-old rich cultural history, the excitement among people for celebrating any occasion, specially the festivals, can be seen. The festivals are celebrated with fanfare and excitement is seen during the processions. There are many occasions when huge rallies, marchs or processions are taken out either to welcome the deity or to bid adieu, to celebrate the birth anniversary of a leader, to mark Independence Day, Republic Day, during Election campaigns etc.
Tradition of taking out grand processions is very old. It all begins with huge crowd on the streets, devotees attired in traditional clothes and boisterous crowd of youngsters pumped up with energy dancing on the resounding beats of DJ, ‘dhol-tasha’ and ‘sandal’ to the pandals, homes or any respective destination. The mood in such processions is full of gaiety and devotion with chants of god reverberating across the streets. People, specially youth, express their joy and excitement by sprinkling ‘Abir’ and ‘Gulal’ in the air. The streets, through which these rallies are taken out, are decked up. The atmosphere turns electrifying amid chants of slogans from all corners.
But, many times these processions take ugly turn as some people present in rallies create chaos while expressing their happiness and presenting the culture in an ‘uncultured’ manner. Traffic is disrupted, rules and regulations are taken for granted creating trouble for the commuters. Many times, these processions are taken out at the cost of culture and public comfort.
Streets are left dirty, anti-social elements present in the processions consume alcohol and make the atmosphere unholy. Youngsters shout irrelevant, cheap slogans such as ‘pappi lelo pappi lelo Ganpati ki pappi lelo’, ‘Nagpur ki choriya, ganapati bappa morya’, ‘maine khaya chewing gum, mera Ganapati Singham’ leaving the listeners embarrassed and make mockery of their own customs. In the name of processions they indulge in violence, perform bike stunts on the road, tease women and also end up molesting them.
Talking about the disorientation of youth, a well known consulting psychologist from Nagpur, Rita Aggarwal, said, “In India people don’t like quietness and solitude. People in India are more community oriented, social and extravagant in celebrating occasions. From the marriages to the cultural processions, and to the rallies there is a lot of pomp and show. Sometimes such celebrations create huge inconvenience for the people, student, and to the patients in the hospitals. The residents are disturbed by the glaring music.”
Speaking on the issue of public conduct, Dr Arun Kumar Sinha, Rtd Professor and a ‘Citizenhood Educator’, termed it as a larger issue which relates it to display of religious and personal sentiments in public spaces. He said: “People should keep in mind that we are all citizens of this country and we are bound by the constitution of India and its directives. There should be a ‘Citizenhood Quotient’ in every person which will remind them to be a responsible citizen and improve their capabilities.”
Not only it’s about the chaos created in the religious processions but on Independence Day and Republic Day, the youngsters go bizarre on the streets in the name of celebration. They take out uncontrollable bike rallies, honk, flash the National Flag in the air, shout, scream and dance behind huge DJ trucks playing shady songs. The youth indulging in such acts portray themselves as the most patriotic people but as soon as the Sun of August 15 and January 26 sets, their patriotism also sinks deep down.
“As far Independence and Republic Day is concerned, there is no formal ritual involved and in that case the youth go directionless. These youth need to made aware, educated about the proper way of celebrating an occasion. The energy of these youngsters need to be channelized in a proper direction,” Rita Aggrawal added.
The love, respect for nation and the martyrs of freedom struggle should come from within. Celebrating an occasion is the right of every citizen given by the Constitution of India under article 19 which guarantees the Freedom of speech and expression to the people. But, without understanding the meaning of it, the privilege of freedom is ruined. This form of celebration isn’t good for centuries-old culture and customs we have.
The people watching these revellers feel ashamed and end up making an opinion about the culture through the form of celebration. An eminent personality from the city was compelled to express his opinion about the 10-day Ganesh Festival on one of the social platforms through his post. He termed the celebration as start of “utter mayhem, chaos, lawlessness” and further added that, “it is a blasphemous, relentless assault on our senses and sensibilities.”
“There is no harm in taking out procession to celebrate and express happiness. But, this should be done in a proper manner, keeping the decency factor in mind. A procession is not only just a celebratory march but also a reflection of the culture and values,” expressed Dr Sinha.
While talking about channelising the energy of youth, Rita Aggrawal said, “Youth need to be informed about the rules and conduct in the public. The authority needs to put strict restrictions or issue guidelines for taking out processions peacefully. The brazenness in youth will ultimately affect their own future and they need to understand that. Such stubbornness is due to the rural mentality which many urban people still have.”
“This is a complex problem wherein we need to look at the cultural angle of celebrations, we need to bring in change in attitude, beliefs and values. The people should have respect for people, property and privacy. The town planners need to bring in a system and construct huge public spaces at various spot for such celebrations. The mindset needs to be changed. Youth should be informed to be disciplined and given better ideas to celebrate a particular occasion.”
However, Sinha suggested that the society needs educational and resource centres for public. Every educational and community institutions where the youth, their behaviour and conduct are focused upon. They need to be taught that what is expected from them as a good citizen, how to respect other people’s rights, how to respect the environment.
In a culturally diversified nation like India, the sentiments of public is at peak which reflects in their action during celebrations. No one has the authority to stop people from expressing happiness and joy, and if done it will be like restricting them from the rights given by the constitution. But, at the same time it is a responsibility of every citizen to not only preserve the values, traditions, and rituals of their own community but also of others. The problem is not the celebration but the way it is celebrated. It is not only important for the present generation but also for the generations to come.
– Long Live the Indian culture