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The missing festive spirit of Eid 2015: Are we celebrating festivals the right way?

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By Prerna Grewal

Festivals are joyous occasions which unite people in traditional revelry. Everyone looks forward to festivals because they are occasions when people can forget all the stress and just be a part of the celebrations. This year, some things were amiss during Eid festivities in India.

Like every other year, Eid was celebrated with utmost joy and enthusiasm. However, this time it also turned out to be an occasion of ostensible contrasts.

On one hand, Pakistani soldiers on the border refused to accept sweets from Indian soldiers.

On the other hand, however, Muslims in small town of Lonand, Maharashtra, decided to postpone Eid celebrations to Sunday (19 June ‘15) because the original date clashed with the 1000 year old Hindu Tradition of Varkari.   

Such contrasts especially force one to reflect upon the ways in which acts and ideologies of the past are carried forth to the present and often end up presiding over the humanitarian spirit.

This is especially apparent in the case of Pakistani soldiers not accepting sweets from Indians. Communal tensions intensified by the act of partition in 1947 prove consequential in determining people’s actions and molding their ideologies till date. It also proves significant in shaping contemporary politics within and amongst the two nations.

The second incident, however, serves as an oasis of humanity within intricate web of tensions induced by communalist and fundamentalist ideologies. It is an act that reminds one of the time when people across religions respected and participated in each other’s customs and festivities.

For those willing enough to look through and acknowledge, for those are not blinded by religious bias and communal antipathy and most importantly those who rather than being obstinately determined are willing enough to open the blindfold; the contrast does raise some important questions. Why do we let religion govern every aspect of our life? Why do we let rivalry and religion dominate over gestures of love and friendship?

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Madhya Pradesh Waives off $5.3Bn in Farm Debt

The western state of Maharashtra and northern state of Uttar Pradesh, both ruled by the BJP, announced similar loan waivers last year.

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India, farmers, farm
Farmers march towards the parliament house during a rally to protest soaring farm operating costs and plunging prices of their produce, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The new leader of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is to waive up to $5.3 billion of farm loans, becoming the latest area to offer relief ahead of a national election next year as farmers reel from losses caused by falling crop prices.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party lost the central state to Congress last week dealing Modi his biggest defeat since he took office in 2014 and boosting the opposition ahead of the vote next year.

Congress leader Kamal Nath, who became chief minister of the state on Monday, decided to write off farmers’ loans up to 200,000 rupees, according to a notification.

farmers, Bank
Police try to stop farmers during a protest demanding a better price for their produce on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. VOA

Protests on the rise

Farmers’ protests have been rising in past months due to the fall in crop prices and a rise in the cost of diesel and fertilizer.

Nearly 3.4 million farmers will benefit from the loan waiver, which is likely to cost between 350 billion rupees ($4.9 billion) to 380 billion rupees ($5.3 billion), Rajesh Rajora, the state’s principal secretary for agriculture, told Reuters.

Also Read: Arvind Kejriwal Accuses Modi Government of Betraying Farmers

The western state of Maharashtra and northern state of Uttar Pradesh, both ruled by the BJP, announced similar loan waivers last year. (VOA)