Dr. K. ‘Kali’
The just concluded ‘Dussehra’ festival is a glaring example of how individualistic and isolated society, we are becoming.
The festivals, whether social or cultural, being collective and cooperative, signify the importance of inclusiveness and unity in life. Festivals and celebrations used to be inclusive and collaborative, but now that spirit of ‘one for all’ and ‘all for one’ is disappearing from social and public life.
Even the burning of the effigy of Ravana has become a ritual to celebrate ‘Dussehra’ or ‘Vijayadashami’. At every nook and corner, one can find Ravana effigies being erected and burnt.This trend is uncommon. Previously, people used to collect and throng at a central place in the town or city and collective festivities used to take place.
But now, the market has reached the doorstep of homes and small effigies of Ravana are available in abundance and parents buy one for their children and burn the same near their gate. Thus Dussehra is being celebrated in people’s own house.
The cultural and social significance of this festival, symbolic importance of victory of Truth and Dharma, has vanished into thin air. Collectivism and cooperation have evaporated from our social life. Market economy and business mindedness have taken over the social and cultural aspects of our life.
Huge malls and gigantic departmental stores have usurped our local fairs and Melas. Economic realities have made globalization possible and have made us mutually dependent in business and commercial world. But in our social and cultural life, cooperation and mutual dependence are losing the place to individualism and isolation.
We are marching towards a society, which is exclusive and promotes individualism. First came nucleus family to replace joint families, then came single child family, then came DINK- Double Income Group and no child and now individuals having living relations, no family, no commitment and no responsibility. This is to adventure in wayward mores. Society is going into prehistoric days- without culture and civilisation.
This festival of Dussehra is the festival of masses, where people used to celebrate and rejoice collectively the victory of Truth and Dharma over evil. Burning of effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnath have deep meaning and significance and has not just been a ritual. This used to remind the whole society collectively through Rama-Ravana battle, where victory comes to Rama, being a symbol of Dharma and Truthfulness and Ravana is defeated because of ego and wrongdoings, despite all his power. Instead of learning lessons of universal brotherhood and inclusiveness, making cooperation imperative, the very spirit of the festival is changing and social and collective consciousness need to be awakened and spirit of mutual give and take need to be instilled in every walk of life, then only true rejoicing and celebrating will be experienced.
The author is responsible for the views expressed in this article.