Intro: I have no qualms in being one with senior journalist Sagarika Ghose in accepting the fact that all the colors of India are represented at Christmas. My argument is there would be no harm in adding a couple more. ?
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to him. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man —GB Shaw
Gloominess is what characterises a tribe of utterly alienated commentators on India”s public discourse. Alienated because they have scant knowledge about the very country they are commenting upon and more so as they have almost no inclination to even get acquainted with the same. Their motifs, their symbols, their allegories and analogies are quite distant from the ethos, beliefs and lives of the very people they are supposedly concerned about in their commentaries.
With these inherent fixations, these commentaries can”t be directed for the due consumption of the native people, as in that case empathy, compassion and an inherent commitment for change and transformation would have been devoid of satire and an all round attack on the very civilisational foundations of the natives. If these prophecies are simply meant for the consumption of the foreign alien interests, which can never be wholesome or harmonious in nature, then it”s a different subject matter altogether.
Sagarika Ghose is one such Oracle of Gloom whose imaginations run far and wild. In her latest commentary published in Times of India titled “Santa ki Jai” she goes on her journalistic best to advocate that Christmas is a thoroughly Indian Festival.
If Ghose would have been a little sympathetic to the Indians at large and would have been a bit more of an insider, she would have better used her gift of the gab to champion a more worthy cause rather than spending her creative energies to put forth an article of gloom for an issue which just doesn”t exist.
For a celebrationist civilisation which boasts of “Saat Vaar and Nau Tyohaar” (7 days and 9 festivals) Christmas is already an integral part of Indian way of life duly recognised and assimilated in the national mainstream like Good Friday, like Id, Muharram, Guru Parb and all other important days.
The birth of Christ is a cause of great applause and a source of jubilation for the Indian masses who celebrate the birth and death anniversaries of a large number of gurus, saints and seers. These include ekadashis, pooranmasis, amavasyas, chauths, ashtamis, saptamis and what not bearing their philosophical and religious connotations which are all celebrated in the Indian households.
There is enough space and will to accommodate all celebrations in the Indian way of life. Where there is already so much abundance, accommodating a single day should not be and interestingly has never been an issue.
The inherent gloominess of Sagarika’s piece is either an outcome of a mischievous plot or is probably a result of the sheer lack of comprehension emanating from utter ignorance about the machinisations of the Indian mind.
In the Indian tradition, there are layers of festivities. If on an important festival, someone in the family dies, that festival turns into remorse. It”s not celebrated in the family till another occasion of joy like the birth of a child supplants the same. It”s a fine tradition of locking in and locking out of a social occasion.
The aforesaid was a binary case, so easy to understand. Now going a bit deeper, there are festivals over festivals superimposed on each other as layers of design on a Corel Draw or a Photoshop file. There are merely 365 days in the year, but innumerable social occasions mark the same day. So what you would do? You would simply create a layered framework giving every occasion its due space.
Now depending on the priority and inclination people choose and celebrate in their own ways and means without getting into the unwarranted discourse of celebrating “Christmas Day as Good Governance Day”.
It was probably not the conspiracy of the stars following the dictum of the marauders of Hindutva that Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya and Atal Bihari Vajpayee were made to share their birthdays with Jesus Christ. To add insult to this injury, these two individuals grew out to be the charismatic mass leaders of the Indian people by their sheer hard work and commitment to the public cause.
We do have many in our extended family whose birthday’s co-incide with Janama-shtami, Ramnavami. This poor author too shares his birthday with Ramanujaharya as per the lunar calendar. What we then do is to synthesize the large occasion with that of the personal one. My mother never wailed as Ms Ghose. It rather amused her that I got to born on the same day as that of a great Vaishnav acharya. The latest always take precedence over the old.
If my daughter shares the same birth date as that of MHRD minister, I would naturally prefer to be in the birthday bash of my little sweetheart while would obviously greet the minister as well. I don”t see any contradiction or controversy in this modus operandi.
Similarly, why, can”t the Good Governance Day superimpose on the Christmas festivities? Why can”t the Indian kid be tuned in to this glorious tradition of synthesis whereby he is made to celebrate not just one, but 3 birthdays in one go. He would get inspired by the life and times of these stalwarts in their own spaces and would somewhere create a differentiated impact through his well led life.
The life and times of Malviya ji and Vajpayee ji are a great source of inspiration for the Indian people. By juxtaposing the celebration of their appearance day, with the core central mission of Good Governance of the present disposition should be a cause of great satisfaction rather than remorse to these observers of Indian Public life. We can always dilute the intention and integrity of an action, but as a refresher why can”t we see the immense beauty and effectivity of the entire proposition?
School kids or for that matter, citizenry of a civilisation harboured in a sovereign nation state having a democratically elected majority government should not be treated like an imperial sheep. Their innate intrinsic inclinations and aspirations need to be respected and adhered to.
I have no qualms in being one with Ms Ghose in accepting the fact that all the colors of India are represented at Christmas. Then why not add a couple more is my argument.
Ms. Ghose, it’s time to shed off this gloom and gear up to celebrate the Good Governance Day on Christmas. You certainly can do a great piece on that too. Can there be any better service to Christ who always worked for the poorest of the poor?
-Raghav Mittal ?(The writer is B.Tech and M.Tech from IIT Kharagpur)?