Urban youth & age-old customs

Does age-old hindu customs and rituals make sense in today’s world? I would refrain myself from talking about religions due to my lack of knowledge.

Hinduism is about way of life and all shapes of different God’s are manifestation of human mind. These God’s are given a shape according to the principle. So came in Brahma as creator, Shiva the destroyer and Vishnu the preserver. With this as reference vishnu was always in different avatars at different times depicting that God is there to maintain and preserve. Also to set things right whenever there were evil activities around.

Certain rituals have a meaning which to be followed or to be noticed or celebrate had to be given name of God. It made sense in olden times when people were not educated and they just followed what was told. In today’s times, especially the urban youth question why/what/when. This is also due to the spread of knowledge through education and through forms of media. The influence of the West is also something not to be left out.

With the tendency to question each and everything there is an ability to rebel or revolt when the answers are not sufficiently explanatory. And the other thing is also the way in which celebrations happen in other parts of the world especially the West.

  1. This also explains the fact why New Year is celebrated widely and more prominently than individual regional new year. For instance, Indian New Year’s are significance of change in season. Like, beginning of summer season indicated beginning of new year. Celebration of English calendar new year includes parties which attracts our urban youth. Here is the first deviation from our age-old customs. How many can explain the significance of India’s regional new year significance. Moreover, not all Indian states have same day as new year. The packaging is what would make a difference. We don’t have hotels or resorts calling out saying Ugadi parties or Puthandu parties.
  2. Pongal/Sankranthi is a harvest festival which is also losing its value. Its like thanks-giving festival just like in the west. Different sections of society celebrate pongal/sankranti in different ways. Again see the branding of thanks-giving of USA and how we do here. We also have offers on purchases of mobiles, home accessories, clothes but it doesn’t catch many an eye. We don’t go and sit from midnight outside stores awaiting its opening. And how does it explain the fact that only women in the family have to make the rice boil over. It doesn’t make sense in today’s urban world where men don’t go to the fields and return with the harvest or the women contribute in the same. With changing times there should be a way of difference in celebration and how the whole meaning is conveyed. The other part is mixing politics with festivals.
  3. Deepavali/Diwali has so much celebrations all over for the simple reason that it involves bursting fire-crackers. And everyone around you are bursting crackers, you don’t want to feel alone in the midst. This festival has amazing branding that people burst crackers, causing pollution and unmindful of the fact that most of the fire-work companies use child labour. Today’s youth & kids do they know why this festival is celebrated? And in current age when there is so much of awareness about pollution does bursting of fire-crackers make sense? Why not do it in a quiet way with a visit to temple and feeding poor?
  4. Death anniversary custom of elaborate activities. In olden times there was a relevance since brahmins were poor and it was a way to feed them. Today there are lot other poor people, orphanages which need time and money. Doesn’t it make sense in feeding today’s needy. They need more time and somebody to sit with them. Wouldn’t this make the God’s more happy?

There are lot more things would save it for later posts.

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3 thoughts on “Urban youth & age-old customs

  1. Nice article Sathish. This will certainly serve as a food for thought for many. Avoiding crackers and helping the needy, people can do this with immediate effect as it is completely in our hands.

  2. There is a huge disconnect between the cities and villages. In the villages all these festivals are still huge and much more festive than Thanksgiving, New Year’s etc.

    • Yes I agree Arvind. This disconnect cannot be bridged in like 5-10yrs. But there are lot of things in question which cannot be answered with logic or reasoning. We only try to derive the meaning. We need to go really back to understand lot of things and whether they hold good today!

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