रस्या: स्निग्धा: स्थिरा हृद्या
“Foods dear to those in the mode of goodness increase the duration of life, purify one’s existence and give strength, health, happiness and satisfaction. Such foods are juicy, fatty, wholesome, and pleasing to the heart” —Bhagwat Geeta,
The festival of lights and sweets is around the corner. Along with the energy and enthusiasm of festivities, another itinerary is invariably added to all Hindu festivals – the Woke Gyan! What was supposed to be the awakening phenomenon, especially against the issues of social and racial discrimination, has turned into another movement to promote negativity, divisions and rejections through the cancel culture. From how Deepawali has nothing to do with Sanatan Dharma to how it is essentially a brahminical and patriarchal celebration, celebrities and intellectuals will serve us all kinds of narratives through a chocolate-coated, half-hearted knowledge, combined with a sinister agenda.
Soon you will read ‘Laddoos are bad for health’, ‘Milk and milk products in Bharat are adulterated’ and ‘anything prepared in ghee is unhealthy’. Bharatiya local sweets freshly prepared every day would be labelled as unhygienic. Instead, market players selling chocolates and other junk food items, certified by foreign agencies, would be promoted as healthy and hygienic. Both these processes happen simultaneously, and this is not a coincidence. Besides lack of knowledge about the spirit behind the Sanatan festivals, for which we are responsible, systematically discrediting everything that is Bharatiya is the intellectual and political agenda of anti-Bharat forces.
First of all, festivities and food preparations in Bharat have a unique geo-cultural connection. All the traditional food items, including snacks specially prepared during Deepawali, express the diversity, colours and prosperity we experience with the changing season. Another harvest season is over. Depending on the geographical location, coconut, rice, suji, besan, wheat etc., will be the food ingredients, along with milk, ghee, jaggery or sugar. Whether pitha in Assam and Jharkhand, Karanji in Maharashtra and Ela Ada in Kerala, all the stuffed delicacies depict Bharat’s diversity and unity. Non-Bharatiya intellectual parameters can never understand or be able to digest this phenomenon.
Secondly, any festival of Bharat is not devoid of spiritual or divine connotations, and so are the food preparations for it. The Sanatan Dharma emphasises the correlation between spirituality and food choice without relinquishing the need for taste and health. Hence, as a tradition, all festivities have historicity, and every feast is considered Prasadam. Even in most temples, you find a similar tradition of offering sweets as Prasadam, the sacred food offered to the deity. The concept of purity or satvik is essential to this, and traditional Bharatiya sweets with ghee, sugar and milk as their primary ingredients (all satvik) are natural choices. From ancient times, we have been preparing pure food and offering it to others before self-consumption. Festivals pass on this eternal value to the coming generations. Historicity linked to the homecoming of Prabhu Sri Ram to Ayodhya or the killing of evil in the form of Narkasur by Goddess Mahakali all form part of our shared national consciousness.
Our local Halwais, confectioners, have perfected this art and science and gone global with their brands. Not that there are no incidents of adulteration or side effects of excessive sugar consumption, but those are associated with the quantitative demand and greed facilitated by market forces. Homemade and local sweets are always much healthier and hygienic than Cadburys and cakes.
Thus, our festivity, feast and flavours, especially Deepawali, embody the accumulated Bharatiya values of inherent unity expressed in diversity, the victory of light over darkness and goodness over evil. Intellectually colonised minds naturally find this problematic as their intention of imposing uniformity has been drastically failing in this sacred land. So instead of getting carried by wokes, we must awaken to our cultural heritage and culinary values associated with it. This Deepawali, while cleaning our houses and workplaces, lets clear our minds; Be vocal about local products instead of buying imported narrations about us. And have divine delicacies like laddoos and payasams and enjoy a sweet, sweet Deepawali.
“May your home be filled with light and your mouth be filled with sweets this Diwali!”