Can We Promote Lohri as National Festival of India by Nalinaksha Mutsuddi SignUp
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Can We Promote Lohri as National Festival of India
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While composing "Why Indians in India are not Indian” a nagging thought of having a national festival continued to cause itching in my mind. We lack any worthwhile thread to bind us all as Indians. The single factor that embraces all of us as Indian is the geographical boundary, comprising all disparate and different states in its fold resembling a federal structure and bestowing sovereign power to the centre. All other aspects of our life – cultural, religious or social mores - are different.

The other national festivals like Republic Day, Independence Day, Gandhi Jayanti and Children’s Day fail to invoke the spirit of festivities across the length and breadth of the whole country. It is still to transcend the formal slant of officialdom and as such finds its place in government and educational institutions mainly.

It can never be compared with the zeal and fervour associated with Dussehra, Diwali or Id, Durga Puja or Ganesh Chaturthi enjoyed by everybody including children and elderly alike. It remains drab in texture and tenor, devoid of exuberance of any joyous diversion.  Otherwise, India is rich in many colourful festivals celebrated with gaiety and merriment in all the states. They are all region specific despite being part and parcel of everyday social life. Again, they are confined to a particular religious group or regional entity. We lack a festival having national flavour touching all cords of the heart of all population cutting across the boundaries of caste and creed.

It is not necessary to create a new festival. It is better to select out of all existing festivals observed in India. However, it needs to be secular.

Makar Sankranti is celebrated under different names in almost all parts of the country. It marks the day when the Earth tilts towards the north from its southward journey in winter. It is the culmination of the shortest day of the year. From this date the duration of the day goes on increasing till it attains longest span again on 21st June. However, it is associated with religious sentiments among Hindus. Though Lohri also falls on this day it is not observed as a religious festival. People of all faiths can adopt it as a secular national festival.

Now, Valentine’s Day and Halloween are gaining acceptance among certain section of people, crossing the barriers of faiths. It is likely to gain momentum in popularity with the passage of time. Both are of foreign origin, which is why people with nationalist sentiments oppose its introduction. Whether they will succeed remains a moot point. But an un-necessary conflict is introduced in the society. Personally I am not opposed to it. When we believe in globalization – it’s inescapable now -- we implicitly admit “vasudhaiva kutumbakam” – all the world is a single family. Again, a “but” butts in: when we can adopt one of our own indigenous festivals why to go in for an imported brand? 

The best alternative is to adopt Lohri as a popular national festival. It is devoid of any religious rituals. It occurs in winter season, can be observed by all section of the people. Main item of the celebration is the lighting of bonfire, around which all males, females and children gather munching favourite crunchies, singing, dancing, storytelling and merrymaking. No formality is involved. You can add many more things, to your choice, to add extra flavour to the celebration. This way we can make at least one day of the year for the heart of one billion Indians to vibrate in unison, and swing and sway in gleeful abandon on this joyous occasion.

Lohri falls on 13th January of every year. Happy Lohri to all!
 


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12/25/2010
More by :  Nalinaksha Mutsuddi
Views: 2470      Comments: 5

Comments on this Blog

Comment Thank you very much for enlightening me on the topic Mr Kundu. I was naive and first time i came to know about Lohri while I was in Himachal Pradesh. I saw children singing songs and asking for some nuts and things like that from door to door and the elders gossip, sing and have some fun while munching nuts around the comfort of camp fire in shivering winter.. I didn't come across any vulgar thing associated.with it. Yes, though not a communist I was an active member of SFI. during students days.However, it is not due to that I was pleading for a secular theme. India is a multi-religous country. So, a religious topic may not be to the liking of all.And it should not be thrust upon anybody. Again i fully agree with you that communism took the place of a new religion. Giving 'Lal Salam' to the departed soul; covering dead body with red flag and making beeline to pay homage to embalmed body of Lenin in the mausouleum are clear examples of replacing religious practices. One of my article published in The Caravan in the seventies had the title "The Old Opium Changeth Yielding Place To New " I wanted to mean that the new 'opium' is communism to the followers.

nmutsuddi
08/14/2014 11:11 AM

Comment Thank you very much for enlightening me on the topic Mr Kundu. I was naive and first time i came to know about Lohri while I was in Himachal Pradesh. I saw children singing songs and asking for some nuts and things like that from door to door and the elders gossip, sing and have some fun while munching nuts around the comfort of camp fire in shivering winter.. I didn't come across any vulgar thing associated.with it. Yes, though not a communist I was an active member of SFI. during students days.However, it is not due to that I was pleading for a secular theme. India is a multi-religous country. So, a religious topic may not be to the liking of all.And it should not be thrust upon anybody. Again i fully agree with you that communism took the place of a new religion. Giving 'Lal Salam' to the departed soul; covering dead body with red flag and making beeline to pay homage to embalmed body of Lenin in the mausouleum are clear examples of replacing religious practices. One of my article published in The Caravan in the seventies had the title "The Old Opium Changeth Yielding Place To New " I wanted to mean that the new 'opium' is communism to the followers.

nmutsuddi
08/14/2014 11:11 AM

Comment Who told Nilanjan Mutsuddi that Lohri has no religious connotation? A gujjar who was converted to a mussalman became a mesiah against women traficking and conversion. That is the story behind the social celebration of Lohri.The scientific significance of Sankranti has got eclipsed by this socio-religious aspect. Some Lohri songs are outright vulgur. How Nalinaksha Mutsuddi got his impression surprises me. And what is wrong with religious holidays? Is NM a communist? And, by the way, isn't communism a religion too?

Sharbaaniranjan Kundu
08/14/2014 01:46 AM

Comment Hi Jaya,
 I agree with you. But why we fail to istill similar feelings in us. Can we put the blame on the leaders only? i think we should search for the missing ingredient throughly.
Thanks,
NM

nmutsuddi
01/08/2011 02:07 AM

Comment  Its true that people lack true involvemnet in national celebrations like independence and republic day. Unlike china and other foriegn countries where they are connected to roots and at the same time making progress it is duty of national leaders and parents to revive and inculcate values.

jaya
01/04/2011 23:36 PM




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