Heritage & Culture Curry: Navratri, Durga Puja

Wishing you a very happy Navaratri and Durga Pujo…with a varied thoughts platter on current circumstances to ponder over.

“Tradition is a guide and not a jailer. — W. Somerset Maugham.

My heritage is a huge part of everything I do and write about; it is, after all, part of what has made me who I am. People tend to believe that to be modern you have to disengage from your heritage, but it’s not true. I have never denied my background or my culture, even while embracing every other culture.
Every book I wrote is steeped in local culture and heritage, to the extent as was possible, while looking out into the wide open sky — embracing the winds of change, of contemporary broadminded liberal views.

More often than not, we do not have the mental and moral bandwidth to tune into views and thoughts, other than those which float around easily and readily on the social media surfaces.
After Tanishq, it is now Akshay Kumar’s ‘Lakshmi Bomb’ that people are verbally bombing. And why…because a transgender Muslim named Asif, who apparently starts out with a Hindu girlfriend Priya, is shown marching up in a red sari with a trident — like that carried by Shiva.
Now whoever said only Shiva can uphold the trident, or so have we learned from all the mythology that premium publishing houses of the country have kept was satiated with! They even suggest such mythological plots and characters to young writers, to churn out sensational Sita and Ram plots in upholding a woman’s so called ‘character’ that may be then bartered by a patriarchal society’s Sas-Babu soap operas, for our family’s intellectual ‘manthans’(churning).

So if Tv media houses, now even newspapers trying to match their histrionic skills, serve us exquisite doses of sensational dramatics, then Indian segments of top international publishing houses keep our mental appetites salivating with sensational reinvented mythological dramas. They’re catering to what their audiences want, over what it needs, isn’t it…so why only Tv channels bear the flak for serving us the hot dishes we crave, as we illustrate by raising their TRPs; without any social or moral responsibility!

In ‘Lakshmi Bomb’ that’s the latest troll bomb, the scenes are supposed to be horror-comical, and Akshay Kumar is known for his dramatic comic sense like for example in ‘Singh is King’. But then, you have to exercise your mind even for comedy that’s not on your face as is common, or have to be so positive and confident like the Sardars to cook up several of the Sardar jokes they themselves apparently do. Then Bollywood had made ‘Udta Punjab’ highlighting the drug menace in Punjab, but the state didn’t revolt or ban the film. Yet Bollywood is so sensitive when the finger is on themselves today. It’s obviously because their commercial interests are jeopardised.
But then, social media trollers are those who basically totally lack self esteem, so how are they supposed to laugh at themselves and the society we live in! Thus have lost the comedy in the ‘Lakshmi Bomb’ plot completely and are clinging to the apparent religious horror they see in it.

As for Tanishq, people are now going on an overdrive blaming the company, and even Ratan Tata for his lack of a spine. If he thought like us non-thinking couch commentators he wouldn’t be where he is — that is to say he wouldn’t be the achiever he is!
Has anyone wondered whether the brands business associates are willing to risk shutting shop, losing the trickle of business since the pandemic now perhaps reviving in the festive season; not to mention the properties and assets of their huge investments in the mostly franchisee model of business! Then if shops are vandalised, wouldn’t goondaism and robbery of high value items be easy in the name of upholding religious beliefs especially when people are economically frustrated. Who then would count and stop at not just the losses to all the numerous franchisees but their lives and those of their employees! Too many people stand to lose too much…not just Tanishq or Titan and Mr Tata.
Is religious disharmony, or ones ego and self image of having a spine; worse still exposing ones own stake holders and business associates worth it — in risking foolish trolling to continue leading to easy goondaism now in the current economic situation.
In fact withdrawing the Tanishq advertisements which cost so much is a lesser moral price to pay than the risks, but a graver financial price to pay in withdrawing in peak buying season when advertising drives sales. Few can match Tanishq’s branding and marketing might. Corporate competition and all the varied local jewellers also suffering in the pandemic must be the happiest now, as the giant had to bow out of displaying its might. But a giant also has to have its priorities right, and lie low to save its strength already flagging, so as to survive in a famine or a crisis like this pandemic.

So first we have to learn to think, before trying to deduce the foresighted thoughts and actions of high thinking responsible people, brands and organisations.

Why do you think Twitter attracts the most potent troll bombing squads …because it’s easy to throw a few barbed words and have the society jumping around like acid bombs have been dropped on them personally. One doesn’t have to justify, explain or illustrate their thoughts to put out some dramatic comments and light the fire on lazy and decaying mental-logs, dripping hate — frustration, fear and anger especially from the pandemic. So then the forest fire of hateful words spreads, in which the media houses happily bake their plum and cherry topped icing cakes and serve it back to our entertainment starving minds.
Our revulsion to think is not only from ineptitude, now overgrown just as weeds around people who once might have liked to think; but from sheer moral resistance to it since we wedded social media apps. Till it’s even fashionable not to use your mind, as long as you can procure the icing thought cakes from these social-media mental dessert parlours.

“The less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it.”
—Mark Twain.

“It is a fine thing to establish one’s own religion in one’s heart, not to be dependent on tradition and second-hand ideals. Life will seem to you, later, not a lesser, but a greater thing.”
— D.H. Lawrence.

In my view, a woman’s greatest asset and strength is her precise intuition, foresight and ability to think, to teach and guide the future generations and not her mere appearance and all that adorns her like jewellery or fashion garments.
So let us celebrate the strength of a woman by respecting and celebrating that intellectual capacity and power that can herald physical and moral strength in the women in our lives. Thus they will lead our children out of this herd mentality inculcated by social and organised media.

#culture #heritage #curry #lakshmibomb #bollywood #film #akshaykumar #tanishq #tanishqad #media #indian #navratri #durgapuja2020 #durgapuja #trolling #strengthofawoman #values #herdmenatlity #marketing #socialmedia #patriarchy #poet #novelist #literaryfiction #authorlife #publishinghouses #indianpublishers #socialresponsibility

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