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Sorry, But All Festivals Are A Farce

Once upon a time I loved Christmas, but no longer…

30/12/2016 6:05 PM IST | Updated 31/12/2016 9:49 AM IST
Rupak De Chowdhuri / Reuters

I have previously written fledgling and hackneyed rants on policy and politics (shameless self-aggrandization? Check). In a continuum of that tradition, this is another trite, flatulent and self-important piece of vapid writing of year-end musings. So there you go; you have been forewarned about the insignificance of this disquisition and you may leave now to retain your sanity and your ebullient mood, during this festive season; because if you don't leave and plan to read ahead, then you are extremely lonely; are picking up the dregs of life (just like me); and have scant disregard for the sacrifice that our soldiers make at the borders, because your time would be better utilised whilst standing in the serpentine queues at the ATMs, which would otherwise have been spent in perfunctory tasks like earning a daily wage and feeding your family or reading my irrational diatribes.

These events [are] nothing but nefarious machinations of man-made cults in order to foster a false sense of community that is more associated with servility than liberation and freedom.

Right now, there is a distinctive cheer in the air—the yuletide spirit, if you may. This spirit sustains itself, without fail, each and every year, and more so in a year like 2016, what with the crippling out-break of the Zika virus; the terror attacks across the world; the world battling the symptomatic effects of trenchant nationalism and isolationism; the capital of India battling its worst air pollution episode in the past few years; the hoisting of the singularly desultory scheme of demonetisation on the unsuspecting citizens of India, among other things which ranged from the ridiculous to the hope-affirming. Clearly, 2016 was a busy year. At the end of this turbulent year, we can, at least, be thankful that Christmas has not transmogrified into "Good Governance Day" and we can still go around intoxicating our resolutely anti-national souls with illegal substances, whilst forcefully standing up in obeisance to a song, in direct contravention of the libertarian freedom enshrined in the Constitution.

India always celebrates its festivals with fervour, with Diwali and Christmas standing out as first among equals. Even though I identify myself as an agnostic (which means, by the iambic pentameter with which this nation's citizens' are measured nowadays, that I am a Hindu-hating heathen), I have had a long and enduring love affair with all festivals (Christmas in particular). My most vivid memory of celebrating Christmas is from the early 2000s, when I would wake up on a "Dilli ki sardi" morning in my pyjamas, in anticipation of Santa Claus, and would be greeted with two pecks on my cheeks from my parents and a gift stocking which would contain everything from exotic chocolates (which in those days meant a Ferrero Rocher or a Toblerone) to the latest edition of a Champak/Chandamama/AmarChitra Katha comic to vintage Reader's Digest copies to warm woollens for the agonising season ahead. The day would be spent either with the limited number of friends I had (whilst gyrating to cheesy Bobby Deol chartbusters in an era where you could do these things without the fear of being judged) or nursing heart-break as a result of unreciprocated feelings by a paramour. The day would then end at Connaught Place, where the annual Santa Claus buggy ride would beguile us kids and numb our senses into submission and we would happily give in to the lilting, euphoric and dreamy mood of Christmas.

All religions and the regalia associated with them are human constructs born out of the futile need of avarice and super-ordination.

People close to me know that I am a person who is firmly behind the fashion. I still, pine for the innocuous innocence and the deeply ingrained misogyny of the 1990s and early 2000s and am repulsed by the decadence and narcissism that has been obtruded upon us by the selfie decade. Growing up, as countless (trashy or not) American teenage movies and vertiginous novels have attested to, is a bitter-sweet experience (more ginger ale than white wine). And this has decidedly robbed, for me, some of the ephemeral qualities associated with all festivals. My outlook, shaped by realism and pragmatism, has now rendered me to see all such festivals through a jaundiced prism, which views these events as nothing but nefarious machinations of man-made cults in order to foster a false sense of community that is more associated with servility than liberation and freedom.

Clearly all festivals are a farce. A typical Jungian archetype is the god-head/god-figure, and that is what every religion perpetuates and reinforces through these annual shindigs. The pusillanimity of the unwitting proletariat is manifested in this abjectly labyrinthine maze of religious codas which seeks to dehumanise humanity through the contrived artifices of hero-worship and collective observances (read festivals). Just like we can agree over the subjective nature of "right and wrong" or "good and bad" due to them being predominantly human constructs, we can also agree that all religions and the regalia associated with them are human constructs born out of the futile need of avarice and super-ordination. Machiavelli has extolled at length on how religion and the events associated with it are used to control the common populace, remarking that if religion is the foundation stone of corruption and prodigalness, then the events and festivals associated with it are the enabling tools to rationalise and perpetuate the postludes associated with it.

At the end of my rant, I can only say that please do not let my well-founded scepticism and cynicism stop you from partaking in the inherently mendacious happenings, which we, unwittingly, celebrate with much mirth and happiness, and I wish you a not so Merry Christmas and a not so Happy New Year!

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