A Game Of Light And Shadow

I’ve been thinking about Deepavali and about festivals in general, and about what they mean to us. Well, here are my thoughts on the issue.

The Sanskrit word “Deepavali” means “an array of lights”. It signifies the victory of brightness over darkness and it marks the victory of good over evil.

The terror attacks on Hyderabad in Dilsukhnagar area, Hizbul Mujahideen’s attacks on Central Reserve Police Force at Bemina, Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav’s conviction in fodder scam case, 2012 Delhi gang rape case and a myriad of such horrific and inhumane acts of evil have transpired since November 15, 2012. We celebrated the victory of “good over evil” last year and we are still celebrating it, but without any credible reason to justify the pomp and splendor.

In a country where 7,200 children have been reported to have been raped, 20 million cases of human trafficking have been booked, 1.3 million cases of road accidents have been recorded and millions of cases of drug trafficking, gunrunning, money laundering, extortion, murder for hire, fraud, human trafficking, poaching and prostitution have been stewed up, and yet, we merrily celebrate the victory of good over evil.

In a country where 32% of the citizens fall below the international poverty line, where 60% of the citizens have no access to proper sanitation, where Global Hunger Index stands at 23.7, where there are more than 400,000 children living on the streets, hungry and in dire need of shelter, we merrily celebrate the victory of good over evil.

In a country where corruption is a way of life, black money is a norm, naxalism is a routine and negligence is a pivotal aspect of the working machinery, we merrily celebrate the victory of good over evil.

In a country where children are being tossed out by uncaring parents, old people are being deserted by unworthy children, where people who can’t walk, who can’t talk, who can’t see, who don’t have access to food, to water, to sanitation, and people who don’t have the comfort of care and concern are suffering in silence, we merrily celebrate the victory of good over evil.

The whole concept of festivals originated for the purpose of commemorating something phenomenal, something instrumental. When something good takes the driver’s seats, when people are assured of change, a change of a positive nature, when the troubles and the agonies of the world are defeated by righteousness and benevolence, when we feel that celebrations are truly in order, that is when a festival holds water. That is when customs and tradition make sense.

Our current predicament glaringly reveals that we have no real reason to celebrate. In truth, instead of celebrating, we are cremating. We are destroying the environment, harming animals and birds, disturbing the serenity and paying no heed to the thought behind the grand celebrations.

Tradition is an indispensable part of the society’s functioning. But it shouldn’t be the only gear running the machine. It is time we recognized the problems with us and it is time for us to make better use of our festivals. It is time for us to make amends for the betterment of our future and with it, the future of this great country.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Barack Obama

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