HINDUS under Threat: Rise in Shaming Of Hindus festivals shouldn't be ignored
The subtle sermonizing on our festivals was not enough, that now the backdrop of our festivals has again become an opportunity for some to divide us on linguistic fault lines.
Deepawali signifies dispelling the bleak darkness of winter with the warmth of light. The humble clay Diya is a metaphor for the light of knowledge within that destroys ignorance. It is a reminder of the importance of knowledge, self-inquiry, and for getting rid of the evil in and around us. When we share gifts and sweets with our neighbors, friends, and loved ones, we understand the joy of inclusiveness.
Deepawali is a festival that is not only special for the Hindus, but it is a festival that is celebrated by all Indic faiths with equal fervor.
Nowadays though, I know it is Deepawali when I start seeing obnoxious posts on social media about ‘how we should not light crackers during Deepawali because it is not kind to animals’ or how ‘Deepawali is full of cheap display of materialism’. The same people who brag about how they love their ‘beefsteak, juicy and dripping with blood’, are lecturing Hindus not to burst firecrackers because it is ‘not kind to animals’. Self-proclaimed ‘liberals’ who routinely travel business class to attend international conferences and who work and live in an Air-conditioned environment 24/7, wants Hindus to ‘not burst crackers because it is dangerous for our atmosphere
This hypocrisy is not just displayed during Deepawali, it is a behavior pattern repeated before every major Hindu festival.
#FestivalShaming of Hindus has become the new ‘liberal’ sport in India!
Priggish Hindu-hating ‘elite’ have systematically tried to diss, dissect and disrespect Hindu traditions and festivals with a monotonous regularity in the last few years. When it is Holi, they get out of their Olympic sized swimming pools and tell us to save water. When it is Karwa Chauth or Vat Savitri, they tell us how the festival is a symbol of ‘patriarchal oppression’. When it is Ganesh Chaturthi, they give us lectures about not ‘polluting’ water, even as they open their bottles of Evian sparkling water. During Navaratri, as the average Hindu is getting ready to worship the manifestation of feminine strength in the form of the Devi, these people come up with articles about how to do an ‘alternative reading’ of Mahishasura.
Every single Hindu custom, belief, and the festival has come under a savage attack from the ‘opinion-makers’. They mock our festivals and slander our customs using the yardstick of ‘environment unfriendliness’.
Irony is, all Hindu festivals are about respecting mother nature. Our ancestors understood the changing cycle of seasons and devised a festival calendar that would understand, respect, and celebrate nature. Holi marks the beginning of spring, hence the playing with color. Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival to celebrate the harvest, and to remind us that just like the clay Ganesh Moorti, we too are born from the five elements, and must return to them someday. Deepawali marks the beginning of winter, hence the first symbolic oil bath and the spreading of warmth and light by lighting diyas.
Sanatana Dharma has been the most eco-friendly faith ever. Traditionally, we ate our meals on plantain leaves, our diyas were made by local potters, and we used locally grown fruits and vegetables as offerings to the Divine.
Of course, with time, people have changed their way of celebrating the festivals, and yes, some course correction is definitely needed. But the course correction has to come from within the faith.
Hindus are the custodians of faith, not some sanctimonious self-proclaimed ‘liberal’ for whom a Hindu festival means little more than an opportunity to #FestivalShame Hindus!
Hinduism has always been a dynamic faith, a faith that has always adapted to the changing demands of desh-kaal-paristhiti (place, time, and situation). We are like the flowing waters of the great Ganga, ever-flowing, ever-changing, and yet, eternal.
If there has to be any change in the way we Hindus celebrate our festivals, it has to come from within.
We are proud of practicing Hinduism. We respect and celebrate traditions. We have adapted festivals as per sensibilities. Deepawali is about spreading the light of joy.
As a practicing Hindu, one has every right to wish to change the way a festival is being celebrated, but don’t let anyone disrespect your way of life.
Let us reclaim our festivals!