I almost know what you are thinking. He’s steadily losing it, choosing this title on such an auspicious day. For those of you who do not know Dussehra, it’s one of the big festivals in India; comes just before Diwali, which is a bigger festival in India. Dussehra is celebrated all over India and various states have a very specific definition about why they celebrate this day. There’s God, a king, a demon, a Goddess, some specific events and such. In glorifying the act of the God or the Goddess, we hold public exhibitions of the achievements of our immortal bosses, outdoing our neighbourhood representations by a foot or so.
Every third Indian will tell you that festivals in India are just a way to outdo the neighbouring festivities in height and decibel levels. The communal celebration of festivals was a pre-Independence phenomenon designed for awareness and political debate. Six decades later, all communal festivities have been reduced to an excuse for public display of alcoholism. The communal purpose has been abstracted and instantly made discrete to serve personal agendas.
Today is Dussehra. A festival to celebration the victory of good over evil; irrespective of the versions of the story that you will hear all around the country. It is still a celebration of good over evil.
It is not a celebration. It is an annual reminder. To yourself. To identify the evils and your personal demons. Internal and external; a call to: first, identify them and second, to vanquish them. And you would do a disservice to yourself if you thought that the demons were out there. Those that you really need to fight and defeat are within. The challenge, to my mind, when you prostrate yourself before a deity is not to submit before a higher power, but to look within yourself and look into the eyes of your personal demons. Whether you can fight them or not, is secondary. To face them in an achievement by itself. The path becomes obvious after that. Indian history and culture is replete with rituals. Rituals were defined for those that couldn’t grasp the philosophical premise, and today we are slaves belonging to the lowest common denominator; further we have bastardised the ritual to street-class debauchery.
A while ago, I called it: Lost in Translation
Every philosophy, reduced down, is a call and a vision to live a happy, fulfilling life. That happy life lies some distance away – and to get there, we will have to walk over the corpses of our very personal demons, who inhibit us; make us live a lesser life than we deserve. Those demons.
Find them; vanquish them.