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Karva chauth: Ruling elite's clever way to exploit sentiments of people by promoting superstition

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* 
India's successful landing on moon in August this year was one of the biggest achievement of our scientists and technical experts. It was a moment of pride for all of us. The world acknowledged our strength and leaders celebrated it. However, India has miles to go in terms of building up  society based on the solid foundation of scientific and rational humanist thinking. On the day of Chandrayan landing on moon, our loudspeakers on the prime time were reading so much about our science and technology but the same darbaris on November 1 were bringing 'moon' on their prime time shows. 
On November 1, on the Karwa Chauth day, our darbari channels expectedly brought moon in their studios. They 
 brought all those priests and Babas, who enjoy keeping people subjugated to superstitious beliefs. There is nothing wrong in wishing long lives for their husbands. I think each one of us, including our wives, children, parents, deserve a good and meaningful life. I am saying meaningful because even venturing out can bring breathlessness in you. 
I have no issues with people celebrating certain festival but how can watching moon on a particular day can help longer lives of men whose wives keep the fast. Clearly, India's priestly capitalist combine has cleverly used superstition, fear and market together. So, you keep people subjugated to the superstition and claim it a big 'cultural heritage' and then use the sentiment to market products. 
All the traditions in India are cleverly used by the Brahmin Bania classes. One legitimises the superstitions in the name of culture and tradition while other markets it. We are in the festive seasons. The climate outside our homes are absolutely filthy. Our rivers are stinking and yet people will go there and take a dip to fulfill their dreams. So much so that people are not going to listen to doctors or scientists that they should not take a dip into the polluted Yamuna in Delhi or we should not burst crackers. On the Diwali Day, we will achieve the amount of pollution that we are not able to during the rest of the year. Yes, after that we all will discuss things on our prime time shows and there will be 'experts' who will then start comparing it with slaughtering on Eid and blaming activists for not criticising Islam or Muslims. The entire ecosystem is basically built on whereaboutary. 
India's ruling elite has found a clever way of exploiting the sentiments of the people through promoting hard superstition but now it will be detrimental for our own lives. Our rivers, mountains, cities, and nature everything is under the threat. Our celebrations have become a direct threat to nature. Rather than protecting the nature, we are competing for its destruction. You can not clean mountains and air just by worshipping. The priests will be there on prime time telling people the about the 'appropriate' 'occasion' and 'time' to do things. Next Day, the same channels will be pretending to discuss about environment and the dangers to it. Experts will then blame it on farmers and crop burning while ignoring the pollution  due to crackers. 
The government and netas have shown no interest in telling people to not engage in things that destroy nature. Thousands of idols of different gods and goddesses are flown in to rivers during Ganesh Puja, Durga Puja and Kali Puja in different parts of the country. People dont care whether the river stink or not. All they are worried about their 'puja path'. During the Chhutth, the same devotees will go into those rivers which are stinking. These people have no time to take a day off during the month and clean the river. These people will continue to throw their puja dirt in the rivers. Children take a pledge in the schools ( I dont know whether these pledgees are still there) against bursting of crackers but once home, there is a competition among the family members who have burst more. 
It is a sad commentary on the usual affair. How cynical can we be that we are bothered about everything in the names of traditions and culture but will do nothing, absolutely nothing to make our environment better. Yes, we will have a #Swchchata day celebration and take  photograph of it to place it on our table but we wont do practically anything do reduce our own garbage and exploitation of the rivers.
The river that I saw in Delhi is stinking. It is not more than sewage line but we are not ashamed of it. 
Not everything is traditional. Frankly speaking, Karwa Chowth was never a festival in Uttarakhand or Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. It was purely a Bania Punjabi dominated urbanised festival but today thanks to the Bania Brahmin media, it is glamorised as a great cultural heritage of India and 'celebrated' everywhere.  
Our long lives are purely based on our life styles. There were many who did not celebrate it. It clearly magnified the institution of marriage and glorified the patriarchy. Of course, there are many who  claim that they keep fast for their wives, however let us not make tall claims about the lives of the people. Enjoy your day if you want to celebrate. People can love each other even without showing it off on television and without fasting for each other.  
I have no issue with your celebration but let us not glorify it. Enjoy your faith but dont try to give a scientific explanation for it. 
*Human rights defender 


Anonymous said…
Its now more of a fashion. Women fasting don't realise everything is one sided in Hindu religion.


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