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Festivities of August and an Impending War

by Rinku Khumukcham
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By: M.R. Lalu
As I write this, war clouds are hovering over the tiny island nation of Taiwan and its giant neighbour People’s Republic of China. The world is watching with awe as Nancy Pelosi flies back from Taiwan with the conviction that the dragon is unpredictable and untrustworthy. Would the gigantic dragon spew fire on its tiny neighbour? Can the world afford one more war simultaneously fought as a gargantuan country mercilessly pouncing on its tiny neighbourhood? We need no scholastic definitions to define the catastrophe that a war is capable of unleashing. Between Russia and Ukraine, the modern generation of the day got much of its knowledge as to what a war would look like. Certainly the world is not growing a better place for human concomitance and war draws lines between generations with history gleefully narrating the level of bloodshed that wars have shaken the world with. Though peaceful, India is also susceptible to the tremors of war with their social and economic implications sticking out firm and the geopolitical ramifications surface. Amid the fury of raging wars, for Indians, July month was full of excitement and expectations. They rejoiced at the selection of a personality, who with her umbilical beginning with the downtrodden folk of the country, the tribal communities; could rise to hold the office of the President of India. The great tribal traditions of India are sure to get a boost and a scope of rejuvenation.
August is predicted to bring joy unspeakable to the farming folks in India as one among them; the son of a farmer is destined to become the Vice President of the country. Jagdeep Dhankar is all set to hold his noose tight in the upper house of the parliament, the Rajya Sabha. The country would witness mounting distress among the opposition and hullabaloo disrupting the proceedings of the house. Let us expect a great deal of tutoring from the new chairman with his legal expertise strengthening the normal routine of the house. August also brings indescribable happiness as the month is loaded with numerous festivals and the festivities certainly give the people of the country a genuine cause to come together. Independence Day this year comes with a distinct jubilance and splendour.  Seventy Five years of India’s upbringing as a multicultural, secular and civilized society speaks a lot about its evolution as a nation. This year, with the Prime Minister’s appeal to add more flavour of patriotism in the festivities with his Har Ghar Tiranga campaign; India is all set to celebrate the festival with beauty, fervour and tradition. A moment of gathering and a recollection of our struggles to walk into the freedom – we as a nation, had probably gone through the cruellest of experiments and the imprint of the wrath that the invasion had on our psyche cannot be easily eradicated and the Tiranga abhiyan is sure to keep the fire of patriotism burning. The national flag hoisted on every rooftop would generate a sense of belongingness breaking the barricades of differences.
Adding to the essence of India’s oneness, brotherhood and kinship, comes Raksha Bandhan. A ceremony to cement the relationship between brothers and sisters, Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the full moon day of Shrawan month and of course comes in the month of August. The rakhi ritual signifies the bond of protection, obligation and care. The eternal love that it invokes between brothers and sisters probably gathers holy emotions of oneness and the society strengthens its impulse of togetherness, depleting inconsistencies and inconveniences. Like Independence Day, this colourful festival with traditions of yore holds the essential power to transform the country into a unit of connectedness. Excitement of August does not end with Independence Day and Raksha Bandhan. Janmashtami comes with great pomp and gaiety in the month. Across the country festivities will be active to celebrate the divine appearance of Lord Krishna. From Mathura to Guruvayoor, with varying traditions, temples dedicated to Lord Krishna across the country hold different rituals and religious processions. It is a blissful occasion to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna who dared to advice a mentally retarded Arjuna in the gruesome battlefield of Kurukshetra. The Mahabharata brings a great deal of lessons suitable for the modern times eternally penetrating into the social strides of modernity. The advent of Krishna brings equal amount of jubilance and recognition for being candid on finding solutions to the complexities of life. Little children in the disguise of Lord Krishna and his divine companion Radha walk in tune with the music of a divine elation in the streets of India. Krishna, through his great gestures of attachment and respect towards his childhood friend Sudama, taught us the relevance of equality in a society.
The festival that needs no narration is Ganesh Chaturthi. Beautiful Ganesha idols, reminding us with a great amount of wisdom that Lord Ganesha was known for, fundamentally bring us the glory of empathy in life. The clay models of the Elephant God turn out to be the depiction of the great characteristics that he came into the world with – like intelligence, obedience and logical interventions. He still stands as a perfect example of devotion that a child can exercise to his parents. History attributes credit to the founder of the Maratha Empire Chatrapati Shivaji for his beginning Ganesh Chaturthi as a worship ceremony. By transforming Lord Ganesha’s birth celebrations into a public event with mass gathering, Bal Gangadhar Tilak wanted the essential oneness of Indians to replicate once again against the colonial dominance of the British. This experiment had literally transformed the collective imagination of Indians in the direction of a well meaningful mobilisation against the cultural invasion of the west. Much has been added to the pomp and gaiety of all the festivals that India has been culturally interwoven with. And the woofs of cultural eminence generated through colourful festivals in the loom of tradition and modernity in India could successfully detoxify the essence of alienating thoughts that India has been deplorably subservient of.   Markets and internet are afloat and aplenty with national flags and rakhis. Everything, from clothes to bangles to pen to pencil is a new tricolour design. New trends dominate the social media and profile pictures unequivocally turn into patriotic with the symbol of national unity the tricolour becoming omnipresent and forget not – India is changing. The Prime Minister is taking the lead in this pursuit of patriotic jubilation. August obviously compels us to recall the Mahatmas, the Netajis and the Bhagat Singhs. Among the rising powers, India is embellishing its embroidery of success with its Atma Nirbhar initiatives. The festivities of August should take us further to the realm of extreme efficiency and self sufficiency.  War is still looming on the horizon but for India, it is a season of festivities.
(The author is Freelance Journalist/Social Worker)


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