Basant Panchami or Sree Panchami or most popularly known as Saraswati Puja is a festival to which students from all over the north-eastern part of India look forward with much of enthusiasm, especially the girls.
Whereas Punjab celebrates this festival as Basant Festival of Kites, Assam for the record and from last few decades has witnessed it as an unannounced fashion parade and even as an alternate to St. Valentine’s crush with fashion among the school-college goers. To reflect, we have our TRP loving and so called news channels by our side by now.
Though it is a religious festival to worship the goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and learning, it holds a bigger importance in the Hindu Mythology. Saraswati, a part of Tridevi (Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati) is a divine form to help Lord Brahma in ‘creation’.
Apart from being a day of worshiping Devi Saraswati, Basant Panchami also relates to Kamdeva and Rati as per Indian ancient literature. Further, as per Wikipedia content, Basant Panchami relates to Shringar Rasam as well. And that might be the reason love & fashion is always in the air during this particular festival. Whatever it is, we are experiencing a paradigm shift; festivals along with traditions are being nearly revamped to match the one tiny notion of mankind called ‘change’. Actually in practical there’s no ‘change’ in a singular identity or vacuum; only the growth and acquisition of knowledge persists, rest is just elevating oneself to the perception that mankind has named as ‘change’.
Talking about this perception, a tree is always there starting from the seed till it ends up in a lumber-mill or paper-mill, the change we name/experience is just about the different stages it passes through, and on an honest note festivals like Saraswati Puja are on the edge of this perception along with our lifestyles. We have almost forgotten the seed, that tree and are stressing too much on the mill without knowing where that tree will finally end up.
So, is that really acceptable? Shall festivals like Saraswati Puja only refer to an unannounced fashion parade? Well, in Assam, it had gradually happened to be so. The way we people are twisting our culture & traditions in the name of modernization, only a song like Disco Bhonti or some Washing Powder can be expected to rescue us; period! No doubt that some traditions might and should reshape with the time, but it doesn’t mean that we can have a full-feast, dance in Kongali Bihu and forget the holy basil; one more period here!
Having fun in a festival is not the actual problem here; problem lies in the non-acceptance of the roots/seeds we belong to! And non-acceptance happens only when we compare, mostly with others. Learning to preserve own culture in the digital age is must, but in no way it should mean that we can twist it anyway we want. No, we can’t and importantly we shouldn’t.
Even comparison is somewhat required, but only to grow and never for the sake of show! And growth never can be synonymous to the fashion IQ one might have. Fashion IQ might help those in the run of TRP, but not the entire masses. Further, the widespread irresponsible adoption & usage of social media has fueled the battle of comparison a step further; it is making more of Narcissus everywhere with Sisyphean time being spent on it! Yes, we all are falling in love with ourselves like Narcissus and are rejecting best of our lives possible otherwise. We are running after the mirage at the cost of the water! In economics, we could have called it the opportunity cost.
We are talking about fashion and festival, and no festival can be imagined without proper clothing and dressing. Yet, it never means that there should be a comparison, as comparison often leads to discontentment only. So, to some extent the decision taken by many colleges across Assam to make the college uniform compulsory during Saraswati Puja 2017 is not an evil idea at all.
Many of my readers might disagree with my views here, but that’s OK! The part that is not OK is the fact that we are the people who love to worship every divine feminine existence, and yet we reject the equal rights in our society. Our words & expressions shouldn’t be just symbolic, rather it should be converted into actions in whatever the way possible. Stopping the unnecessary fashion craze, ceasing our importance to outer beauty and popularizing the intellectual roots to strengthen our traditions & cultures among the youngsters is the actual need of the hour, or they will mostly live a fake life till the mill.