Today, India is celebrating 72nd Independence Day by hoisting our tri-coloured national flag in all corners of the country. Hoisting and unfurling Tiranga is a happy sight to behold.
How does Indians celebrate it
There are normally 02 ways of celebrating it.
First one is official hoisting ceremony which is held on the pattern of Red Fort ceremony. At the Red Fort, the Prime Minister of the day hoists and unfurls Tiranga which is given weaponised salute by joint command of 03 Defence Forces of India & Police of our capital city. It is followed by speech of the PM and other related ceremonies.
This ceremony at 0730 hrs. in early morning of 15th August is attended by high and mighty of our country and sets the tone for similar ceremonies in all capital cities of India. This ceremony travels to the Panchayat and village level officials even in the remotest part of the country. It includes all offices of Central or State government and all educational institutes and every other government and private organizations in the country. Defence and Police forces follow this day as per protocol in their own campuses based upon availability of resources.
Over a period of time, cultural programmes depicting nationalist themes and prize ceremonies highlighting the contribution of individual in nation-making or high achievers of organizational goals have become an established norm.
Sweets have a special place in these ceremonies, especially for kids and persons,young at heart. Hot jalebis and colourful ladoos are part and parcel of such ceremonies.
The 2nd way of celebrating the day begins at home. Citizens of our country, having the resources, hoist and unfurl flags at lawns or courtyards of their home. All family members get together and do it in a private ceremony. Mostly, it is done by eminent citizens. In the same way, youths and persons,young at heart, pool their resources in the community and celebrate Independence Day at a public or private place. Such ceremonies also includes senior citizens and respectable persons of the community.
3rd way of celebrating Independence Day
It is actually through a lens. But, this lens was not available to our forefathers. Actually, our great men/women belonging to an earlier era were not privileged to have it.
It is through the lens of social media-savvy common citizens many of whom have no idea about the solemness of the occasion. This independence day is celebrated on virtual screens. There are 02 ways of celebrating it on social media. You get a good photographer or give your camera phone to a friend and capture the flag and yourself in the same frame and post it on Facebook , Twitter or any other website with a catchy slogan. I agree with this spirit. It is indeed a noble gesture.
However, there is another way of doing it. I have some strong reservations about it. Some kids or persons, young at heart, try to stretch their arms and twist their faces to impossible angles to take a selfie with flag.
Now, tell me, is there a normal way to take selfie with Tiranga flying on a high flagpost ? But, seeing is believing and I agree with spirit of boys.
Continuing on the social media celebration of Independence day, I must acknowledge the contribution of Whatsapp freedom fighters. They keep forwarding colourful I-Day messages to each and everyone in their contacts list. I agree, this phenomenon is not exclusive to I-day and people do the same thing on every festive occasion, but does it make any sense ?
If you wish to greet happy Independence Day to anyone then go to their home as I-Day is a declared holiday in all parts of India. Talk to them in patriotic tones and on some national issues. Eat sweets at their home and spread the joy of Independence all around.
Same things, I wish for our news anchors or should I say neo- freedom fighters. Do not just wear ethnic Indian wear on I-Day only. Talk about some sensible topics in a civilized way. Let everyone peeping from your screen talk freely. You have called guests (by inviting them) to your show, let them enjoy some freedom on this Independence Day.
Freedom means the ability to have individual choices. All souls must be given freedom to let them be in their pristine state. Freedom means no boundaries, no conditions, no if’s and but’s. But, if wishes were horses……
We need to value our freedom more. I shall quote my brother today that social media has made us unsocial. Is it so ? We need to think deeply. In the end, everything boils down to common sense. But then I remember the prophetic words of a thinker of bygone era.
I wish to quote Voltaire today –
“Common sense is not so common”
That’s it for today. Cherish your freedom till it last as the world is bound to come to an end some day in distant future. This journey of earth will end some day. No one knows, when ?
If you like it. Share your views on this page. If it provokes you to say something, do not hold back. Remember, you have the freedom to say it.
What to do on a Sunday ? It’s a million-dollar question if you are a working middle-class professional doing a salaried job in India.
Though, the question arises for everyone but it becomes a puzzle only for people working in a fixed time-frame on weekdays. Weekdays in India varies from 05 to 07 days based upon job-profile of the individual. In the same way, working hours varies for everyone in our country. Though we are not as lucky as employees in France to have an average 30 hours per week work hours but most people in organized sector works between 40 hours to 84 hours on an average. Though, this data is not constant and people keep moving up or down the ladder but our situation is not as bad as people allegedly working in North Korean labour camps who may work for 112 hours per week on an average.
But, data by nature is dynamic and it keeps changing. It is rumoured that Netherlands may have reached an ideal average working hours of 21 hours per week. Unbelievable ? Why are Indians trying to get Green Cards for US, Europe is a far better destination considering lesser number of working hours while enjoying a fat salary. It is a proven fact that the more your country moves up in the development index, your working hour gets reduced.
Same formula is also partially true for top hierarchy in an organization. People working at lower rungs in an organization always have an intrinsic feeling that top man is good for nothing and his favourite pastime is to make sure that subordinates live in hell. But, like in a honeybee colony, functions of Queen bee, Drone bees and Workers bees are clearly identified so that Colony survives. So, all office-goers like worker bees have to slog for long weekdays to collect honey from all sources so that they survive in rat race of life.
So, now you realize the importance of Sundays. It is not that Fridays and Saturdays are not important but Sunday is like top of the cliff where you enjoy the wind on your face but need to climb down next day to slog again.
Coming back to the issue of doing something on Sunday. Actually, a large percentage of people prefer to do nothing. Normal office-going men prefer sleeping on Sundays. However, kids and wives feel that Sundays have been gifted by god to make merry. They try to squeeze the juice out of husband/father and indulge in shopping in nearby markets/malls or go out to watch movies and eat out in a famous restaurant.
Some health-conscious people walk or run long distances or cycle on country-side roads. Some people visits friends/families and have jolly time at the expense of host whose Sunday gets twisted due to uninvited guests. But, this normally happens in small towns not in big metros where neighbours don’t even recognise each other.
If you are bachelor then there are perks like sleeping for longer hours and eating to heart’s content, watching TV, using Internet and then sleeping again. Though, a big drawback nowadays is social media applications in your smart phone. Facebook, Instagram,Twitter, Whatsapp , video-streaming websites,e-commerce websites, fitness/health websites are a big nuisance for enjoying a peaceful Sunday.
The smart phone keeps invading into your personal space and makes you a dumb spectator of other’s lives. Yes, I don’t understand that why are these phones called smart when they make you dumb and erodes thinking capacity of your brain. It is a black hole which keeps your brain immersed in things which aren’t necessary in your life. All screens, be it TV, desktop/laptop,Tablet, phone or anything else is bad for your Sunday. It makes you a slave as you can not keep away from it for a long time. There was a time not long ago when people took Tablets when they became ill. Same is happening again as screens are making our lives miserable. There will come a time in future when we have to take Tablets to get rid of screen from our brains.
Some people carry their screens to even toilets and it is the most obnoxious thing I can imagine. They feel that their bowels won’t get empty at designated place if their eyes are not watching or reading something on screen.
I even know a girl who posted her status on Facebook as – “Dropped my phone in commode and so feeling sad ” and to top it some well-wishers asked – ” how did you retrieved it ? washed with soap or wiped with clothes ? ”
What have we come to as a society ? Where will we go from here ? To shit-hole , I guess.
So, it is better if we keep away from dumb phones on Sunday. I won’t called it smart …how can it be smart ? Either you are smart or your phone is ? Choice is yours.
So, I will tell you what to do on a Sunday. Go to nature along with your friends/loved ones. You may have hundreds of friend on Facebook but they all are like thin air. They vanish as soon as you take your gaze away from screen. Cultivate friends and family by spending Sunday with them. Do anything which pleases you. Clean the mess in house, do gardening , plant a tree in park, run/walk, live life…..see the sun and moon, see stars….meet your neighbours and their kids. Take interest in life of someone in real world.
Do not post a smiling face on your timeline. Walk your dog if you have one or feed street dogs if you don’t have your own. That street dog won’t forget your meal and will profusely thank you by wagging his tail vigorously.Be human, behave like human.
Yesterday, I read about a couple whose ( 01-year old) son’s first word were some words on the pattern of ” Okay-Google” . Because, parents were addicted to Google Assistant so the kid followed their large footsteps. I wish that your kid must speak Mumma or PAAPAA as his first word. This is true joy. Throw away AI-assisted apps from your bedroom and open windows and let the monsoon rain drops touch you. This is bliss.
That’s it for today. Enjoy Sunday.
Today is an auspicious day in the life of a large part of people living in eastern part of India especially in Bihar and some parts of Uttar Pradesh. Chhath Puja is also celebrated in a big way in neighbouring Nepal and various places around the globe wherever people from this region have migrated and settled. It is one of the most important and sacred festival involving rigid but simple rituals emphasizing the abstaining qualities of Indians.
This festival has an ancient tradition which goes back to few thousand years even predating Vedic period.Nonetheless, some rituals of worshipping Sun god are mentioned in Rig Veda. Another mythological fact links the history of Chhath Puja with Ramayan where Sita worshipped Sun after returning from exile.
But, I am not sure about why this festival is the most celebrated festival in Bihar.
One of the reason may be that this festival is a self-inspired and managed festival . Official priests or other holy persons has no role to play in Chhath. All able-bodied women/men can perform Chhath Puja as it only demands distance from one’s worldly possession including pleasure food.
Second reason may be that this is one of the most eco-friendly festival which emphasizes the godly and life-giving qualities of Sun and water sources around us. Main ingredients which are offered to Sun are locally available fruits/vegetables some of which have become exotic due to environmental degradation around us. River/Pond cleaning and preparing step-wise mud slopes for keeping fruits/vegetable is a major part of festivities.
Moreover, it is also a little-bit different from other Hindu festivals as idol-worship in the sense of physical statues and places of worship are not involved. All natural/man-made sources of water becomes the place of worship during Chhath. It also highlights the supremacy of nature over mankind and people from all economic classes offer the obeisance to the Sun on the banks of river/ponds in the same way.
No VIP queues are allowed before Sun.
Chhath is called so because it is celebrated on the sixth day of Kartik month of Vikram Samvat(Hindu Calendar) which normally falls in the month of October-November as per Gregorian Calendar. There is another Chhath named Chaiti Chhath which is celebrated on sixth day of Chaitra month which normally comes few days after Holi during the month of March-April. So, there are 02 types of Chhath, 01 on the onset of Winter and another one at the onset of Summer. Therefore, it seems that Chhath is strategically situated at the gates of 02 major seasons in India. But, the winter Chhath is more popular as it falls in midst of long festival season in India. Here, I will talk mainly about today’s Chhath.
Main festivities of Chhath lasts for 04 days.It is an arduous festival for devotees .
It starts with Nahay Khay (eating after bathing). People take bath in holy river and eat a single meal of rice, pulses mixed with pumpkin and Pumpkin dish prepared in ghee(clarified butter). For younger generations ghee can basically be termed as grandfather of refined oil which tastes like heaven if obtained in pure form. Nowadays, people get afraid if you talk about food prepared in such a rich aroma as modern doctors believe in ignoring benefits of traditional food. So, in a sense, Nahay Khay promotes cleanliness of outer and inner body including vital organs of stomach.
2nd day is meant for Kharna or Kheer-Roti (rice prepared with sweetened milk and bread). People observe dawn to dusk fasting and eat just after sunset after offering it to Sun and Usha (Goddess). Thereafter , the most arduous task begins which includes nearly 36 -hours of fasting even without a sip of water. On 3rd and 4th day, fruits,vegetable,milk and home-made sweets are offered by devotees to setting and rising sun respectively while standing in knee/waist-deep water.
There are strict rules for preparing sweets for this purpose as even cooks are not supposed to eat anything and observe fasting. Thekua (a traditional sweet made of refined flour, sugar,etc.) is a must for Chhath festival and it is consumed in large quantities.These items are normally made on earthen stoves by using clean wooden sticks as fuel. But, nowadays LPG has replaced it in prosperous households.
So, Chhath Puja primarily encompasses abandoning food and other material comfort like soft beds for few days. It promotes austerity and is healthy for human body. Some people also offer to undertake journey from home to river banks in supine manner by prostrations. It is called Dandvat Pranam which means instead of walking on 02 legs , you cover the whole distance on your stomach and chest. Mathemetically, it means if your height is 1.80 metres(nearly 06 feet) and distance from home to river bank is 180 metres then you have to lie on road and get up immediately 100 times. Multiply this several times if you are smaller and journey to river bank is longer. It is pretty strenuous and performing it on empty stomach is a herculean task. But, it is good for your health and continuing it for longer period will make you fighting fit.
But, the story of Chhath has many more shades. So, it will take another episode to complete it. Till then , we shall try to eat less and live a frugal life as rich food or life has disastrous consequences and believe me no one has been able to survive longer on a deadly cocktail of rich life and food.
So, what do you think about this thought, you can let me know by sharing your thoughts on http://www.justcasualthought.com.