The festivals of Bharat bring happiness to the faces of those who celebrate them because they serve as a platform to bring communities together. Celebrations of festivals such as Ganesh Chathurthi, Ram Navami and Holi are known for their processions and community celebrations. Irrespective of caste, creed or familial background come together to celebrate these festivals in unison. Maharashtra is known for the jubilant processions that are organised during the Ganesh Chaturthi. West Bengal for Durga Puja and Odisha for the Puri Jagannath Ratha Yatra. In the south of Bharat, various communities celebrate annual festivals called Thiruvizha where grand chariots are used to undertake the procession of deities.
However, it seems to be the case that processions in India have developed an ominous bearing as we are increasingly witnessing these processions being disrupted by certain anti-social elements. One such incident occurred in Nuh district in Haryana where two home guards, identified as Neeraj and Gursevak, were killed and more than 200 people were injured and dozens of vehicles were set on fire as mobs pelted stones at the Vishva Hindu Parishad procession to stop them. The violent clashes erupted after Vishwa Hindu Parishad's 'Brij Mandal Jalabhishek Yatra' was stopped by a group of young men near Khedla Mod in Nuh, and stones were pelted at the procession. Initially, the Hindu side fled, but later they retaliated.
It is alleged that the mob pelted stones at the procession based on the rumour that Monu Manesar, a local vigilante, who is reportedly absconding from police, was a part of the procession. However, Monu Manesar did not participate on the advice of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which feared that his presence would create tension. Despite this, the mob pelted stones at the procession which intrigues one to question the intention and the instigator of the mob that pelted stones.
The Brij Mandal Jalabhishek Yatra was started in the Mewat region in Haryana by Vishwa Hindu Parishad around three years back. The main purpose of this yatra is to throw more light on the grand ancient temples that are situated in this region and increase the footfall of these temples. In pagan systems, festivals embody its vitality and the death of Roman Paganism began by banning its public festivals. Incidents such as those witnessed in Nuh will pave the way for the governing administration to limit the scope of such celebrations to maintain social harmony. This is likely to result in increasing apprehension amongst Hindus to carry out processions in public. Thankfully, the strong resolve of the Hindu community in Mewat has ensured that the Brij Mandal Jalabhishek Yatra was actually completed.
The Central Government and the State Governments of India must take stringent action on those who engage in activities that disrupt the celebration of festivals. Apart from that it is also important for communities to not get demotivated by such incidents and continue to boldly celebrate their festivals that not only boost the economy but also improve the social fabric. Only a flourishing socio-cultural economy that is complemented by a peaceful community will ensure that India stands First.