Page Mail

On lighting lakhs of diyas at Ayodhya Diwali

Dear Madam,
Though the marriage ceremony is not a religious festival, it is still an occasion of joy and display of barbaric wealth(who can afford to splurge). In Rabindranath Tagore’s short story ‘Kabuliwala’, the bride Mini’s father donated an amount to the poor fruit-trader Rahmat Khan so that he can return to Afghanistan to meet her daughter after several years. In the process, band-parties and lighting could not be organised during Mini’s marriage; but the heart of Mini’s father glowed with much more vigour and lightened up his moral horizon.
But today we get “enlightened” to know that thousands of litres of mustard oil can be liberally burnt to light lakhs of diyas in Ayodhya Diwali so that “entire world” can get “awestruck” by seeing our “ancient culture”; never mind if innumerable people can’t afford to have bread twice a day !
Cutting down unnecessary expenditure, sacrificing a little and donating honest cash or kind to the unfortunate lot so as to include them also in our joy — be it on religious or social occasions — are as “passe” as “pre-historic” 1892 when Tagore came up with his masterpiece ! In this “modern” era, rendering the plight and tragedy of the hapless millions to oblivion of darkness through chest-thumping projection of all things which “glitter” mark the “real significance” of “joy” and “festivals” !
Kajal Chatterjee, Kolkata-114.