Navratri: the Torture of Maiyaji by Shubha Tiwari SignUp
Navratri: the Torture of Maiyaji
Prof. Shubha Tiwari Bookmark and Share

Gone are the days of sober and somber mood of navratris when ‘Durgasaptshati’ was properly read and chanted. The household used to be pure. It used to be time for some thought process and spiritual introspection.

Indians know how to suffer and suffer silently.

The whole of north India has seen a kind of transformation in the last decade or so as for as navratris are concerned. Every ten steps and you see a pandal. Roads are happily dug. The blaring and glaring sound of loud speakers makes life hell for students and their parents alike. No one can think. A huge effort at collective deafness is underway.

Cheapness is spread all over. From Adi-shakti, Maiyaji has been reduced to ‘maiya badnam hui, languria tere liye’ and ‘maiya ki diwani aur sheela ki javani’. All this is simply beyond me. I fail to grasp the fact that we are actually celebrating a religious occasion. One song said, ‘De do maiyaji ko chanda.’ The money is not for devotees; the song proclaims that maiya is asking for money. Songs that bring sexy, hungry, wild pictures have been freely parodied and are being shamelessly played in every nook and corner of many Indian cities.

The other day, when I raised this issue standing in a group, one prompt response came that ‘enemies’ of Hinduism are spreading these songs. The next response was centered on the fact that when one community can shout from the rooftop, why can’t ‘we’ also do the same? Great logic! The other response was that politicians are funding these cheap, distracting events to divert the public attention from real issues. I was aghast. When are we going to own our weaknesses? When would have the courage to say, ‘We’re wrong here. We need to correct ourselves’.

This whole farce, ugly ‘tamasha’ of navratries has gone into the hands of unemployed and unemployable youth. The money collected goes to fund wine and other harmful things for these frustrated, idle so called ‘young’ people. The other day, my elderly father was hit by a raging biker. My father’s crime was that he dared to cross the road. A pandal was set nearby. Roads have been taken over by maiya devotees.

The torture of maiyaji will soon be replaced by temporary roadside stalls for Diwali. Indians know how to suffer and suffer silently. There’s a law for everything in this country. The level of allowed sound level at a public place is fixed. But who cares? Go ahead. Navratris are on. Play wild songs wildly.  Hit people on the road. Eat and drink. Be free. Navratris are on. No one would object. How can anyone dare object? Religion is at stake.

But irony apart, educated and sensitive people are a minority in our country. Freedom is misinterpreted as gruesome and wild behavior. Misuse of public property, destruction of public property, in-sensitivity towards others, stark class divisions, and friction among classes are only too apparent to be missed. Durga as the original power, the fountain of creativity, and energy of creation has given way to some new, filmy avatar of maiyaji. I feel sad for maiyaji. Let’s see how long her torture continues. ‘Picture abhi baki hai, dost!’      

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Comment Hi,
   This is a good article. The true spirit of festivalas is lacking in almost all corners of our country, be it a village or a big modern city. 
   During Ganesh festivals especially , things turn much worse. Pandals everywhere. lots of roads and streets are blocked. Filmi songs are played from these pandals. I cant forget the instance when i  heard a song from an old movie hindi 'Disco Dancer' being played from a Ganesha pandal !!!!
   Worship has become a mere show off.  It is a chance for the unemployed and frustrated crowd to strut their stuff.  
  "In the depths of silence one hears the voice of God'- so said Aurobindo (or was it Swami Vivekananda ?? ) Going by the current situation, hearing voice of god is a far cry !

10/05/2011 05:37 AM

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