Id, Gandhi Jayanti and All that

Today as India has the birthday of the “Father of the Nation”, the whole country has to have a public holiday – as it has been for the last 50 or more years.I don’t know since when the concept of public holidays came into existence and who decided that which days of the year should be public holidays – mandatorily – and which days may be optional. Now, this year it also happens to be “Id” today. So it was nice for those people who work in private establishments. Since it’s not mandatory to give leave on festivals, therefore, they wouldn’t have got a holiday but for Gandhi Jayanti!
“Bapu ki Jai.”
So many thoughts go through the mind when I think of Id. I come from a city where Hindus and Muslims have lived together for ages and therefore have been part of each other’s festivals. (Forget the crooks, here I am talking of the common people who are neighbors and friends).
As long as I was there, we would look forward to our Muslim neighbors’ homes for “sewaiyaan” on Id and they would be equally enthusiastic about having “gujhiyas” on Holi or the “gulab jamuns” on “Diwali” :-).
It’s such a nice feeling to be among good neighbors who are there for you when you are happy and also when you are sad. They are the extended family in truest sense because it’s them with whom you first share your joys and sorrows, than with those who are family but a little far away.
Back to the topic – these festivals come every year and many families have had quite an action-packed year – but on that festival day, I don’t know the force behind it, the tradition has somehow carried forth for so long. May be that’s what the Indian culture is all about. We celebrate the festivals in more or less the same way now as we did hundreds of years back. And I wouldn’t say that anyone is yet bored with it :-), at least not me.
Now to Gandhiji – his birthday has simply reduced to being a public holiday where people start planning their long weekends or if it’s in the middle of the week, then just some relaxation. I wonder what was in the mind of those who decided that this should be a holiday. What are we paying respects to? Only in the morning some politicians would go and put some flowers on Gandhiji’s samadhi and some channels will air some movies about patriotism and that’s about it. I think it’s time that something should be done. Just as an idea, may be some NGO can arrange some campaign like donation of food or clothes for less fortunate ones, or may be some kind of peaceful march for better education, administration – something that tells that we remember the Father of the Nation. Otherwise, we can very well have for example, Abhinav Bindra’s birthday as a public holiday – after all he brought the only Gold medal for India in Olympics! That’s more contemporary than some old guy who has been long dead and whose statues are garlanded once a year while being a place for birds to sit (and s*it) for the rest of the year.
May be Gandhiji needs to be remembered a little more than merely having a holiday on the 2nd of October every year, and may be not!

One thought on “Id, Gandhi Jayanti and All that

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  1. Its not about the holidays or which day is declared as holiday. Its about the common general philosophy of Indian. How many of us thought to do something different, & this many includes me as well. How many of us think twice before acting something which is against law or against humanity? Today, common Indian is seen as ignorant, idiot and without any self respect, I do blame ourselves only for this perception. Now this applies to 2nd October as well that as a common Indian, I will sit in my house & enjoy the holiday, I don't care why this holiday is there.India needs a change & change must come from within ourselves.


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