festive overkill


Today is eid...

In the past month we have had Navratas, Dusserah, Karvah Chauth, Diwali, Bhai Duj..

Durga has been worshipped and sent off to her abode, Ram has slain Ravana, women have prayed for the longevity of their husbands, Ram has been welcomed back and Laskshmi welcomed in, brothers were feted and now the holy month of Ramadan has come to a close.

Exhausting to say the least and most disrupting as children have not been in a studious mood.. each time one thought one had them back in the fold, up came another festival and off they went.

This is a new trend as some years back many of the above were never holidays...

And we are not through yet: Chatth Puja, a typically Bihari and Eastern UP festival starts on the day after Eid..and this one is three days long with innumerable rituals..

Till late chatth puja was unknown to Delhites.. but today it is celebrated with great pomp, and a must for politicians.. a reflection of the changing demography of India's capital ... over 11% of its population is from Bihar and another 20% from eatsern UP: a large easily manipulated vote bank..

It is heartwarming to see people of all faith celebrate together, but children's studies and other activities do suffer. One should not forget that in the olden days, children were packed off to Gurukuls to learn, and there were no off days!

There is also a insidious and invisible danger that one may not be able to see. Often slums lacking basic infrastructure are legalised to enable the dwellers to get voter ID cards.

One of the most startling example we know is the Lohar basti where we work. A row of tents that barely keep away heat, cold or rain, have been given the name - Rana Pratap Camp - and its dwellers the sought after voter ID. For over twenty years, these people have lived in abysmal conditions, choking on the fumes let out by the cars revving at the red light. No effort has been made to give these citizens of India a proper habitat.

Cities like Delhi are bursting at the seams and slowly choking to an inevitable death. Time has come to start thinking of ways to send people to their habitat of origin. But tem with the people goes the vote bank..

Think about it...