Spin on Street Celebrations of Festivals

29 August, 2009 at 11:43 1 comment

Quick show of hands in “civil” circles will reveal that people who celebrate festivals on the street like say, the loud, rowdy and boorish ‘Vinayaka Chaturthi’ are perceived to be uncouth and bevarse. In fact, the first impression anyone gets on seeing such tamasha will second that…

But a young Indian called Kartikey Sehgal delves deeper and has a different take on the matter tying it all in with a naive and ignorant understanding of culture and economics. The summary is that if road stuff is vulgar, then what about night club dances? Why stuffy superiority of English speaking masses? Some quotes…

Rich people dance at discos and other city spots that attract money. Such places are enclosed and its activities are not for the poor man. The people attending these places may not dance on the streets during the Ganapati festival. Compare them with the economically poorer people. They can’t afford discos. But they see the same films as the rich people. They like the same songs; the same actors; music and dance. Festivals are an occasion for them to let their disco-desires out of the system and feel privileged.

Do uncouthness and incivility require a definition? You could set a benchmark. Do the poor people trouble or threaten the non-worshippers? The women? Do they treat you well? They do. And immediately let me inform you that they are not obliged to do so; this is not a one way examination. Should you show any disgust to their appearance, colour, language or dancing, then they are not obliged to be polite to you. You may have uncomfortable thoughts about the elephant-God or the people but remember that they are celebrating a culture, a system than has been prevalent in India since (at-least) 5 century A.D.

You don’t appreciate them when they recite the Gayatri Mantra or the different devotional songs. You feel that those songs are somehow allowed or ‘okay’. You judge them and decide for them because you can speak the English language and feel that you are better placed to take decisions. So you pass them by the road and if they sing devotional songs then you walk on, without feeling any relation to them but if they sing and dance to film songs then you decide that the people are hypocrites or uncultured. If those poor people spoke in English then they would give you a fitting reply whenever you judged them. Why shouldn’t they stop you on the streets and ask you to join them or at least offer you some eatery? You are one with them and if anybody has moved away from the Indian way, it is you and not them.

All in all, a cute but flawed piece which I feel has its heart in the right place. Go read.

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    Entry filed under: BoP, CWorks, India, Life-Theories, Poverty, WebXP.

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