Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Traditions and invented traditions - barati and Rath Yatra

Kaleidoscope would like to relate the frenzy crowd of age old tradition to the invented traditions.

Age old frenzy crowd at the heart of the Hindu extravaganza

A few years back Kaleidoscope went to varanasi to explore and make sense of the city. The day he reached varanasi, it was Mahashivratri. He remembers walking more than a couple of kilometres to reach the hotel. The hotel was located very close to the famous Dasaswamedh ghat. Because of the Mahashivratri, the approaching road to hotel which passes through major arterial road connecting Kasi Viswanath temple was closed.  He has never seen such a frenzy night in his entire life. People dressed in many avatars of Lord Shiva, his wife Parvati and their followers came and go. The entire crowd called themselves as 'Barati' simply meaning bride's or groom's party. He didn't sleep for the entire night and watched the spectacle. He could see people from different parts of the city and also from the different corners of the world participating in the procession. No one asked their identity, religion, caste or creed. The procession was coming fron different Muhallas, police administration kept a strong surveillance and people - many highly intoxicated  enjoyed the space, the spectacle and the emotions.

Invented rath and BJP in Tripura

In February 13, 2018 a procession on the occasion of Mahashivaratri began from Ayodhya. It is scheduled to reach at Rameswaram on March 25 on the occasion of Ram Navami. It is supposedly carrying 'purely spiritual' matter with no political implications.

There are little details that Kaleidoscope wishes to focus on.

1. 41 day long yatra covering 6000km
2. It is expected to cover 224 loke sabha constituencies
3. Primary objective is to aware people about the importance of constructing a grand temple in Ayodhya
4. Make people understand the importance of initiation of Ram Rajya of best possible governance.
5. The symbolic rath is designed according to the proposed design of the ram mandir

It has already covered many constituencies. Last time there was a massive Rath Yatra we have witnessed the darkest hour of the post independent India -Demolition of Babri. Kaleidoscope doesn't know what holds for Rameswaram this year.
Meanwhile there is a win in Tripura, followed by destruction of a Lenin statue and vandalizing several CPIM and Left party offices across the state.

There is indeed a deep rooted difference in the psyche of the crowd which comes out of the age old tradition and the sudden eruption of inventing traditions. While kaleidoscope can remember the smell of marijuana, alcohol and totally intoxicated 'barati' completely immersed in the imagined marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva there was  no hatread, no question of identity issues of the participants asked. Varanasi never asked those essential details. Meanwhile, ram navami rallies carried slogans of a monolithic Hinduism and the symbolic Rath Yatra which had 'no political intention' links ram rajya, 'will construct temple there/  mandir wohi banayenge' and elections together. The crowd becomes ready to do anything. As kaleidoscope like one billion and more Indians remember Babri incident.


  1. Expose them kaleido.

  2. Very nicely elaborated. Keep it up Suman.