A people’s festival? Or a festival of gods & kings?

PRITHVI DATTA CHANDRA SHOBHI writes from Oakland, California: Shobha Karandlaje, the minister in charge of Mysore district, held two meetings last weekend.

At the first one, a district-level review meeting of officials and people’s representatives at the Zilla Panchayat, she pronounced that the fertilizer crisis was “not serious”.

Then, in a second meeting on the preparations for the Dasara this year, she outlined her grand vision of this year’s festivities.

Let me quote from a report in Star of Mysore:

“Mysore Dasara is very much a personification of kings and Goddess Chamundeshwari, and in this context, the kings of other countries would be invited and felicitated during Dasara.

“Talks have been held with the Union Government for the realisation of this vision, during which a list of the kings and kings of other countries were sought, thus paving the way for a new trend,” she said.

Dasara as the personification of Gods and Kings?

Does the honorable minister not realize we live in a modern, democratic era? Why felicitate kings? Is there any reason to recognize and honour royalty today? It is unconscionable for a democratic representative such as Ms Karandlaje to make such a suggestion.

What bothers me is simply this.

On the one hand, Ms Karandlaje et al seem to be incapable of recognizing the reality that stares them in the face. Hence the reality denying statement on fertilizer crisis. On the other hand, they are keen to take us back to a medieval period.

Do they not even realize how reactionary and backward looking they sound when they speak of honouring kings?

What’s wrong with these people?

Photographs: Karnataka Photo News (left), and Picasa