Sunday, 2 March 2008

Hold Chhat puja in Mumbai: After all, Holi-Diwali are now celebrated in South, Durga Puja & Ganeshotsava reach North India

The merchants of hate and division are creating a needless controversy over Chhat puja in Maharashtra. MNS leader Raj Thackeray has dared Lalu Yadav to perform the puja in Mumbai, after the latter announced his plans with an eye on North Indian votes.

Now the poster girl of Hindutva in the past, Uma Bharti has openly supported Yadav and said that she would also perform the puja. She has challanged Raj to dare stop her from the ritual. At one level you find it all, a non-issue, blown out of proportions.

But the fact is that there should not be any objection to Chhath in Mumbai. Bal Gangadhar Tilak initiated Ganesh Puja in Maharashtra, which was not just nationalist but also had communal overtones. It spread across the state and has in recent years entered Uttar Pradesh and other regions.

People in these states hadn't seen the Ganesha tableaux and the festivity, were surprised but never opposed this 'new culture'. They didn't feel threatened. Similarly, the Durga Puja has now become a national phenonmenon and it is not just Bengalis who participate in it.

Muslim artisans make the idols and people of various religions and regions are part of the celebrations. Until a few years back Holi and Diwali were not celebrated in cities in South India. And if you were in Bangalore or Chennai on Holi, you had a strange feeling.

But North Indians have reached there and now you hear sound of crackers and also colours of Holi splashed in Hyderabad and other metropolitan areas. But when it comes to the most cosmoplitan city of India, the retrogressive and divisive Shiv Sena, and its off-shoot Navnirman Sena, show their xenophobia.

Maharashtrian culture is threatened by Chhath. What nonsense? The culture of Maharashtra is not so weak. The problem is with the governments, both State and Centre.

Those spreading hate, even if they are politicians, should be booked and charged with anti-national activities. The groups and parties who create this atmosphere need to be dealt firmly.
[Photo Chhat puja on Juhu beach courtesy Mumbaidailyphoto]

If the Congress has the guts, it should book these sort of troublemakers and band of goons under the MCOCA because it is organised crime. If one is a leader or member of a political party, he doesn't get license to spread hatred and must not be treated above the law.

But Congress and other parties are equally to be blamed. For pushing its own agenda, it likes to have creatures like Raj Thackeray, who make Shiv Sena and the BJP uncomfortable. That's where lies the failure of Indian political class and our society.

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