Durga Puja : A Social Interpretation
Durga celebrated in October is not only a religious festival but also a relexation of 4 days from loathsome, busy practicality and an opportunity to spend time and have fun with our near and dear ones . As Hinduism is the religion of the majority Indians , this festival has a high influence on society . Irrespective of religious differences , people from almost all communities cherish the joy of this festival. ( The same is true in Eid, Christmas , Diwali and some other religious festivals.) Goddess Durga is an embodiment of woman power and divine beauty of woman that deserve to be reverred.
But along with this fun and merry-making , an emptiness prevails in the mind. It might be partly due to the seasonal effect of Autumn. Paddyfields are full of greenery . Moonlit nights fragrant with blooming jasmine romanticizes the atmosphere. That is good. But the sad factor is our mind is pre-occupied with stress, agonies and uncertainties of day-to-day life. This mental condition is so grave that no amount of happiness can replace it . This condition is intensified by different features including media , mainly T.V. and newspaper , and now a days , facebook, WhatsApp , Twitter etc punlish a news faster . A glimpse at a news channel or a newspaper is enough to disappoint us totally with news of deaths , accidents, rapes and corruption etc which seem to be inevitable in the present scenario . The peace of the 20 hours’ busy road in front of the residence is interrupted by the alarming horn of ambulence ( sometimes firebrigades too) so frequently . Then we will hear our neighbour’s son is detained for smuggling or found dead at the nearby railway station , result of taking too much drug or a mad crowd standing on a railway track enjoying Dussera is smashed by a superfast train ( reference Amritsar , 19th October, 2018. Many would blame the victims . Many would end up abusing the Indian Railway Again in the procession of emersion of Devi Durga, it looks very ugly when the youngsters dance to the tune of Zilele Zilele.
When science has led us to the surface of Mars, it is pertinent to analyse how much our thinking is polished and scientific . The education system has given us a curriculum . We can study it and achieve academic and professional excellence. But this curriculum is not being able to free our mind from outworn traditional forebearing and superstitions .Education hasn’t illuminated the remote village areas . Still people believe in witchcraft . Inspite of Rama’s cruelty and injustice towards Sita, Ram is worshipped as God . In a country where girl featus is destroyed, everyday females fall victim to sexual harasment and dowries, what is the value of worshipping a statue of woman ?
In a brief YouTube lecture, Osho vents his rage upon Rama and demoralises him for persecuting Sita though he was a benevolent king.
Dr Navlekar in his book A New Approach to Ramayana, says that a lot of question arose in his mind after reading Ramayana . Not finding answers he ‘referred’ them to his elders. But they belonged to an orthodox society and stopped him by saying that it was ‘blasphemy’ to ask such questions about Rama.
Now, come again to Goddess Durga killing Mahishasura , an Indian myth mesmerising people for ages. Mahishasura, a half demon and half buffalo , became powerful with the blessings of Brahma whom he contemplated for thousand years. Lord Brahma fulfilled his desire by saying that neither Mankind nor God could kill him . Devi Durga was born of a bright light generating from Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and empowered with illuminating weapons from Gods to kill Mahishasura.
Some simple but eyeopening points click in the mind. Firstly, If the youngsters were enjoying debilitating music, the elderly people joining the procession should have prevented them. The confusing fact is that they didn’t. Secondly, Valmiki was a poet who wrote the story of Rama and Sita and deified the characters so that the religious minded people of his contemporary would read it. It is frequently seen that people convert themselves from the religion they inherit to another. This might happen due to their losing faith in one religion and believing in another. A R Rahman , the music maestro of Bollywood belonged to a Hindu family but adopted Islam. Noteworthy is that if religious conversion is possible , reformation of the same religion shouldn’t be offensive . Society is not made for religion but religion is created for society . Fourthly and finally , Devi Durga destroying the evil with support of Gods conveys a message to the society . A woman in the patriarchal society of India is powerful with care and concern of men only. She is not inferior to man but to sum up with a quote from Simone de Beuvoir’s The Second Sex , ” values cannot be based on physiology” only but ” the facts of biology must be viewed in light of the ontological, economic, social and physiological context.”