The flickers of Diwali lamps
|Let the lamps remain different|
This is the seventh Diwali of mine in succession without any Diwali lamps anywhere in the neighbourhood. I live in a region of India where Diwali is not celebrated. Like most villages in Kerala, mine too does not celebrate Diwali though half its population is Hindu. This indifference to Diwali doesn’t signify anything more than the cultural diversity of India. Even the Hinduism in this country has more shades than the advocates of a monolithic Hindutva are ready to acknowledge.
One of the most beautiful aspects of India is its cultural diversity. The North-east is nothing like any other part of the country. Their foods, dresses, languages, and even physical appearances are an amazing contrast to those in the other parts of the country. The differences in the other parts (such as between north and south) may not be so highly accentuated but they are far too many to be accommodated comfortably in any system or ideology that ventures to homogenize them.
The cities in Kerala, however, celebrate Diwali on grand scales. That is because of the presence of people from the North in large numbers. It is not the Malayalis who celebrate the festival, in other words.
Should the North impose Diwali on all Indians just as they are going out of their way to impose Hindi?
According to a recent study, 305 attacks took place in India on Christians alone (leaving aside the countless assaults on the major enemies of Hindutva advocates) in 273 days in India. These attacks are all a part of a comprehensive strategy to impose one particular culture with its language and religion on entire India.
What is happening in India under Modi is a huge and cruel farce. Modi will be hugging the Pope in the Vatican while his supporters are attacking the Pope’s institutions in India. This is quite typical of what has happened in many parts of India earlier in history too.
For example, a group of people who came to be known as Namboothiris entered Kerala from the North sometime between the first and fourth centuries CE and soon became the lords of the entire region by employing strategies very similar to those wielded by the Modi-Shah duo today. Though these Namboothiris constituted less than one percent of Kerala’s population, they became the owners of most of the land and remained so until the 18th century by manipulating the political powers with the help of religion. Something similar is happening today in India. The only difference is that the corporate bigwigs are doing in India what the Namboothiris did in Kerala.
By the second half of 19th century, the Namboothiris in Kerala had become a totally degenerate people. Greed and lust had corroded their very souls.
Do I see the flicker of similar greed and lust (more for power now though the Namboothiris lusted after women as much as power) in the Diwali lamps nowadays? If the Festival of Lights can bring some enlightenment to our leaders, there is hope for a better India. I’d like to hope that this Diwali will bring some light at least to the people whose hearts are becoming increasingly darker.
Did someone tell me that Diwali is about the victory of the good over the evil? Well, wish you a Happy Diwali.
PS. This is not meant to hurt anyone’s sentiments especially on the occasion of a festival. I lived in the North and Northeast for most part of my life as an adult and Diwali celebrations were very much a part of my life. Do I miss them? This post is an answer to that question. To myself more than to anyone else.