Should Bollywood have a place in Mysore Dasara?

ROHITH BATNI writes: Come 2012, for some, “Mysore Dasara” could mean a train between Mysore and Dasara. Yes, that’s how far the Mysore Dasara celebrations have been steered away from the host-City.

Here’s a brief recollection by a Mysorean of how the ‘raayara kudure‘ has been progressively becoming a ‘raayara katthe‘.

Mysore Dasara 2008: Organizers launch the fest’s official website in tens of languages, barring Kannada. Guess why. They presumed Kannadigas wouldn’t refer the site. What they failed to understand was that using Kannada on that site actually represented Kannadigas and the people that’ve been historically celebrating Mysore Dasara.

Feedback was provided, interested people worked with these organizers to inform the importance of having Kannada as the binding spirit behind Mysore Dasara celebrations – both online and on the field.

Mysore Dasara 2009: The refurbished official website now featured the Kannada version; pages displaying most information in Kannada. Meanwhile, a new event called Yuva Dasara started playing mostly Hindi music.

Feedback was provided again by interested citizens of Karnataka to stop playing Hindi in a Dasara function as it is just plain incongruent to do so. It’s like playing Michael Jackson during a temple prayer offering. MJ’s music is not bad but is plain incongruent in a temple prayer scene.

Mysore Dasara 2010: The official page of Dasara now features English and Kannada only, a pretty good move keeping in mind the impossibility of maintaining the website in ten+ languages, most of them international.

But the Yuva Dasara event continues to play Hindi music, drawing widespread flak from Mysore Dasara tourists. The event just entered the hall of infamy of cultural programs held in Karnataka, yet endorsing week long irrelevant, non-Kannada (mostly Hindi) entertainment content.

All public feedback seemed to be falling on deaf ears, and departments of the populist state government seem to deriving calculated benefits out of these broad daylight murders of Mysore culture.

Mysore Dasara 2011: Opened the gates to a totally new version of Mysore Dasara – in fact a morphed version fielding Mizorami, Oriya, Bengali, Gujarati, you-name-it, dance artists and chefs alike.

Tourists landing in Mysore to witness the unique Mysore Dasara and its heritage are now challenged to treasure hunt for the original Mysore (and Karnataka) culture and tradition.

This time it is the Mysore-less Dasara Food Festival, the Mysore-less Yuva Dasara, and so on.

Anyone taking a guess what Mysore Dasara would be about in 2012? May be a good suggestion to name a train between Mysore and Dasara for that’s how far the two have been rendered.

Did we hear someone say – “in 2012 I am expecting the Polar Bears and Icy-cool Penguins to walk the Vijayadashami Jambu Savaari? Oh my! Aren’t those penguins popular among people, so what if they donn’t fit well in a Dasara procession?

Photograph: The Bollywood music composer duo of Vishal and Shekhar performing at the Yuva Dasara music festival at the Maharaja College ground, in Mysore on Sunday (Karnataka Photo News)

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