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Nirantara Rajyotsava

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Governance

Last Sunday (12th Dec) evening, around 9 PM, as I was passing the Raheja Residency (Koramangala), I noticed the road festooned with the Crimson & Yellow streamers and associated decorations, and a music performance going on in a pendal put up on a vacant plot, adjoining the complex main gate. Even on reaching the complex where I stay, almost half a km away, I could hear the same music, it being played that loud. However, since my flat faces the opposite direction, the sound stopped bothering me, once I reached my flat, and I forgot all about it. Next morning however a resident, whose flat faces RR, informed that, with her school-going children unable to sleep because of the noise, she was forced to call up the police, who appeared to have acted to stop the show, or atleast to reduce the noise level.

From the colour combinations of the decorations, I am presuming it was it was yet another Rajyotsava celebration. Now, the state officially observes 1st Nov as Rajyotsava day, which is in effect a 'compulsory' holiday. Starting from then, the celebrations go on throughout November, and are now beginning to spill over even on to December. And for the entire length of the period, the week-ends have become unlivable here with music blaring out from multiple loudspeakers mounted at all the main road junctions, starting early in the morning, going on through almost the entire day and even late into the night.

In addition, is the putting up of the pendals on arterial roads for the performances, blocking them off totally for well over half a day, one road every week-end, by turn. One such time, when I called up the police, I was told that permission had been obtained for the show. When I asked how permission can be given for such shows every week-end, particularly for the blocking up of the roads, and use of the conical type loud-speakers (that I had thought was banned), I was told that local politicians were involved, and suggested to bear with it all.  

I decided to do a bit of checking out as to who was behind it all, in pursuit of which I spoke to about ten shop-keepers/ restauranteers in the area. Almost all of them said that it was largely the doing of the local auto-driver mafia (I would have chosen to use a milder term - but, it was none less than the Transport Commissioner himself who said something to the same effect - check this), who use the name of the local MLA for organising it all, though he rarely ever attends any of the events. They went on to add that they are coerced into contributing to the funding, though they don't enjoy the goings on any, all of these being in addition to their losing out on business due to the blocking up of the roads.

A resident living close to the scene of action called to ask if I could also check with the police, his checking not having evoked a favourable response. When my calls too failed to evoke any positive response from the police, I called back the person and asked him to take a few pictures and send them to me, for putting on Praja. The picture added here (the one taken in the night) is the one taken by him, from the rear of the pendal (put up on 9th main, 4th block, adjoining the Maharaja junction), his not quite daring to take a picture from the front, for obvious reasons.

This person, who is quite active in the local RWA circles, couldn't find one single recognisable face in the crowd that had gathered for the event. They were clearly all outsiders. The question that arises is why should outsiders be holding their celebrations in Koramangala, and disturbing the peace here? Also, by lending support to these goings on, tacit or otherwise, isn't the local MLA causing to lose his standing in the local community?

Celebrations are all very fine - every body indulges in them to some extent. In fact, when I was running my own factory, every Nov 1st was celebrated in grand style, including with musical sessions where the workers never let me off till I sang at least one stanza of my favourite "aakaashave' beelali maele'". But, this 'nirantara Rajyotsava' for weeks and months on end, blaring out loud music and blocking up roads, and that too by a bunch of auto drivers and other outsiders, is something that perhaps needs to be resisted by the Koramangala community, lest it eventually follows the dreaded MNS (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Mumbai) pattern.

As for promoting Kannada language and culture, there are many better ways of achieving them - here's an example.

Muralidhar Rao

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Ravi_D's picture

Utsavas

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Rajyotsava in the name of the land, Ganeshotsava in the name of lord almighty, and other utsavas just for their sake - are aimed at helping us improve our 'tolerance' you see; one of the two primary requirements to live around here - patience (since nothing happens on schedule) and tolerance (because everyone is free to act without regard to others' plights & rights).

I had a first hand experience of someone demanding a sum at our office for one of these utsavas, and throwing a fit when we didn't oblige. No idea how you can put an end to it. Everyone has their version of it - one sponsored by the ruling party MLA, one by the aspiring ruling party leader (see him advertising wishes to the MLA on every occasion on every standing thing in your locality)  , one by the opposing political party, one by the local 'dear-leader', one by the autowallas, and another by local shop-wallas (or for that matter, in one of the apartments I know, one by the apartment-society-wallas).

Why do we have this sadistic pleasure (in harassing someone other than yourself)? 

murali772's picture

minister takes a dig

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Lamenting on how Rajyotsava had lost its true meaning, Suresh Kumar used humour to emphasise what could be done to add value to the language and its celebration. “Rajyotsava is celebrated in every corner of the state. But it has been reduced to ‘orchestrotsava’. We need to ask ourselves if Kannada is really alive in our homes,” he said, while reminding the listeners that neither Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh nor Kerala had Rajyotsavas for their languages.

For the full report in the New Indian Express, click here

The matter came up in passing when a group of us from PRAJA-RAAG met him this past Monday - check this. Talking of these kinds of shows, he told us, in addition, of how, on the 26/11 anniversary, at some commemoration ceremony organised in honour of the late Capt Sandeep Unnikrishnan, he was terribly saddened to see hoardings put up by political parties (including his own), having larger than life pictures of various neta's, alongside a stamp-sized picture of the martyr proper. Immediately, he had written letters to the Presidents of all the parties, pointing out the irony, apart from the disrespect caused to the memory of the slain hero, as also the damage to the image of the political class as a whole. Sadly, he stated, he was yet to receive a response from any of them.

Muralidhar Rao

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