Whenever a Hindu festival approaches, there is a flood of social media postings, videos, and forwards labeling the event (regardless of which one!) as backward, harmful to the environment, or wasteful. It also includes tips on how to enjoy the occasion in a meaningful way.’ The fascinating issue is that the folks giving the advice have neither studied the festival’s roots nor comprehended the spiritual significance underpinning the ceremonies. So what gives them the authority to prescribe how Hindus should celebrate our holidays and rituals?
A few years ago a simple unprovoked Ram Navami festival by Hindu groups in Bhadrak, Odisha, resulted in violence and the imposition of CrPC 144 for many days. Sri Ram Maha Yagnya Samiti filed a petition in the High Court, claiming that this infringes their basic freedom to profess, practice, and manage religious matters under Articles 25 and 26 of the Indian Constitution. Following the HC’s notice, the state government submitted its reply, in which they allegedly erroneously claimed about fatalities and injuries in last year’s unrest while displaying 1991 figures, when there was massive violence in Bhadrak during Ram Navami. According to the state administration’s response, the single bench judge affirmed the decision to impose 144.
Challenging this, the Samiti proceeded to a bigger bench, which sought the response again, and when the court realized that these were supposedly 1991 statistics, it permitted the Samiti to carry with our Kalash Sobha Jatra and Sankirtan. They also directed the Bhadrak district government to take all necessary precautions to avert any adverse incidents.
Why should a Hindu have to go to court to enjoy his holiday quietly in this secular country? While law and order are state subjects, it is also the state’s obligation to defend people’s fundamental rights, which include the ability to profess, practice, and administer our religious affairs. To preserve law and order, the state cannot restrict its inhabitants’ fundamental rights, especially when there is no provocation from the persons enjoying the holiday.
What, particularly, is a danger to law and order? Hindus enjoying Ram Navami, or others protesting and taking offence? If the answer is yes, they should do some soul searching. If the answer is former, they need some soul searching. And if the answer is the latter, prevent the latter. Denying the former, only emboldens the lumpen and religious fanatics, and also sets a wrong precedent.
Every Dharmik event is in sync with the natural world. Holi is a festival that celebrates the arrival of spring. As a result, gulal and colored water are thrown at each other during festivities. Before critiquing this section, it is vital to note that playing with colours is known as Rangpanchami, and it occurs after the Holi celebrations. During the Holi celebrations, a ceremonial fire is worshipped, which lowers the Raja-Tama frequencies in the environment. This brings the Divine vibrations closer to us. Colors are employed to greet these holy vibrations with pomp and gaiety. It’s a type of worship.
Deepavali, the festival of lights, was also scrutinized by the ‘liberal-secular’ media, who wasted no time in criticizing it by equating it with a false feeling of being the source of pollution. Secularists have made a common cause against Deepavali celebrations, accusing Hindus of creating pollution and considerable harm to the health of children and adults alike by exploding crackers.
A new tendency has evolved in which media outlets attempt to portray the Hindu way of life and the items they hold dear in a negative manner while conveniently omitting the violations made by other religions’ holidays. There is a determined effort being made to make Hindus feel guilty about their way of life so that instead of taking pride in their traditional mores, Hindus feel embarrassed about continuing to practice them.