Yaoshang- as the festival of colour is locally known is just around the corner. Arguably the most anticipated festival will be celebrated by young and old alike without exceptions to caste, creed or faith in a day’s time. And as with everything that has gone through the changes brought about by time, the manner of celebration has undergone a sea change from how it was a decade ago. The five day cultural extravaganza which used to be predominantly about playing with colours by the boys and stopping of passersby for contributions by the girls during the daytime while the evenings were marked by Thabal Chongba – the traditional dance where finely decked girls dance with the boys to the lilting music, have undergone changes which have started raising eyebrows and concerns.
Playing with colours and spraying with coloured water on passersby have given way to splashing of dirty and smelling water which have resulted in frequent quarrels and more unfortunately to unwanted accidents. While the state security and traffic police personnel have stepped up their vigil to prevent unwanted incidents and curb excesses during the festival, the trend for the youth to abuse the festive spirit and indulge in excesses have been on the increase. Triple riding on two wheelers, speeding, incessant honking, throwing water balloons at passing motorists and four wheeled vehicles packed beyond their stated capacity have come to be the norm rather than the exception and a definite recipe for disaster.
Another aspect of the festival that has started to evoke more criticisms is that of the unearthly hours into which the Thabal Chongba is being dragged on. While the nocturnal revelers might very well be having a great time with the gradually extending period of celebration, for those who are trying to get some rest and quiet, and more importantly those who are not in the best of health, the shrill noise of the loudspeakers could very well escalate the condition.
It would not be possible for the government machinery to keep the society in check during such festive periods. It is for everyone of us to voluntarily shoulder our responsibilities and try to control our near and dear ones. A good way to start would be to make the young generation understand the origin and essence of such festivals to enable them to celebrate the occasions in the right spirit and attitude.
- Published in Editorial