Friday, January 15, 2010

Cost of Festivals!!!

A newspaper report on the eve of Pongal festival revealed that the arrival of vegetables and flowers from various places to the Metro has come down by 30% when compared to last year. This is obviously due to the fact that the prices have skyrocketed in the last few months beyond the affordable level of common man. The Govt could do very little to check price rise. The cost of a sugar cane in the metro was around Rs 10 during the same period last year in the Metro whereas it is sold at Rs 30 this time. The price gap between small town and the metro is in the ratio of 1:3. Another report had even calculated the cost of making Pongal now to show how alarmingly the prices have gone up. At the end of the day, the demand will have to come down. But the drop in sales has not brought down the prices of essential commodities. Hence the customer is left with the only option of buying the barest minimum required to celebrate the festival in the simplest form. This gives room to the fear whether people will start deviating from the tradition and curtail the celebrations. Slowly the joy that used to derive during the Harvest festival appears to vanish.

Coming to the religious aspect of the festival, this one is meant to thank Sun God, Farmers and the cattle, but for their help a good harvest could not be achieved. The festival is so positioned in the month of January at the start of Uttarayanam when Sun starts moving northward. Hopes start mounting during the next six months that follow because of the wealth accumulated due to the rich harvest. As a result of this comfortable situation, the common man's affordability raises to the extent of conducting marriages for his children in this part of the year. Of late we find people sell their lands to make huge money from real estate owners . The absence of a good monsoon is also another factor that forces the farmers to start selling their lands to Builders of apartments.

I was told about heartbreaking news of sending oxen to slaughter houses, since the customary practice of ploughing the lands with oxen is being replaced by the use of tractors and other farm equipments. The urgent call now is to protect these animals from getting butchered. Philanthropists have to add the portfolio of Rishabha samrakshanam(Protection of oxen) in the same lines of Go Samrakshanam(Cow Protection).Organic farming will ensure protection of cows and oxen which produce natural manure to the lands. It is high time Govt encourage the ancient system of farming that not only protected the animals but ensured a quality crop free from the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides which are harmful to health.

People must realise that all festivals indirectly support the poor sections, generate sanctity every time, generate happiness and activate the soul to think about the Creator who is instrumental for our actions. Let us avoid lavish expenditures and make use of the saved money in conducting/celebrating the festivals which form the roots of our great culture. Considering the great value of the festivals,the cost aspect may take a backseat.