Celebrate Navratri a new way
Navratri is marked as a festival of nine avatars of Goddess Durga who is worshipped over these nine days in her various forms. Besides observing fast for nine consecutive days, people visit temples and play Garba in the evening. The last day of Navratri, people mark the end of the fest by offering food to all nine forms of Goddess Durga by feeding nine unmarried girls. They believe that the food is consumed by Goddess Durga herself. This is the tradition like everywhere else is followed rigorously in Udaipur too.
These girls are not just fed by one family or once. Most of the families in a single locality invite them and the group of nine girls visits one house after another. After one or two houses, these girls get full stomach. And when they go to the third house, they only do formality of eating. Each of the families however prepares full diet food for each of the girls. Now the food of only initial couple of houses is consumed properly and rest of the houses only run a formality drive and believe that they have pleased the Goddess, really?
Let’s look at some of the questions that will force you to think:
- You fed girls who already have access to quality food. What difference you made to the society then?
- You ran a formality as most of the girls already had full stomach?
- Have you really pleased goddess by over feeding some and leaving the really deprived ones empty stomach?
Of course we call it the tradition that our ancestors had been following and we are bound to follow. Then I call it wrong. Our ancestors used bicycles, scooters, and then mechanical cars; we use new cars that are automatic and have electronic steering etc. We see flat LED TV and roam in multiplexes. We changed with the time and if we didn’t, we’re labeled as orthodox. But similarly we do not change the cracked traditions for we are afraid that God will punish us if we fail to waste the food or perform all those rituals.
In the name of rituals we are actually performing the formality to believe that we have done our part of Pooja of Navratri. While the Goddesses of Navratri who come to your home in the form of poor and deprived girls only get leftover food, that too if you are good enough. And on the other hand you are celebrating Navratri by feeding kids of your neighbors and relatives and leaving the really needy ones empty stomach.
The recent flick by Paresh Rawal called Oh My God pointed towards this old and expire tradition of wasting money in the name of religion and not giving it to the needy ones.
Instead, we feed those rich girls on that day, let’s try something new. From today only find a deprived girl and hand her over a plate of food or simply give her some money so that she can buy food of her taste. Repeat this as many times as you can these nine days and then compare what you lost and what you earned. Life is about using your brain for the best available things that are god for you and society. God is not like a human who will punish you of if you fail to show flattery. Rather God is someone who will hate flattery and love compassion and empathy.
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