Have We Forgotten That Navratri Is Celebration Of The Divine Feminine?
As it is with most festivals, we are fast losing the emotional and spiritual connection with Navratri too. While numerous people still fast religiously through these auspicious nine days, it is hard to look away from how Navratri is increasingly being commercialised. When did it become all about putting up speakers loud enough to burst your eardrums? About erecting pandals on roads and decorating streets with lights, and diverting traffic from them? So that people could dance on remixed versions of Dholida and Pankhira in name of celebration.
In times like these, one craves for being reminded how the coming of the female deity is a call for happiness and joy, which transcends beyond dancing or dressing up. Of how the goddess’ arrival must also reinforce in us the belief in feminine power and enigma.
It seems that today people have turned popular Navratri practices into trends.
Today, every city, town, colony and housing society celebrates Navratri. But the celebration is more about a detailed itinerary, which promise fun-filled nine nights. Organisers hire DJs, caterers and invite celebrities to add more glamour. But with all the cash and enthusiasm flowing out to make these events successful, the emotional connect has taken a back seat.
- It is hard to look away from how Navratri is increasingly being commercialised.
- When did it become all about putting up speakers loud enough to burst your eardrums?
- Do parents and elders tell the children about Mahishasura vadh anymore?
- The celebration of Navratri seems incomplete, if a person doesn’t come out of it feeling humbled by the power and aura of the divine feminine.
Not many want to talk about the valour of the goddess at the centre of these festivities. While parents encourage children to take dandiya lessons, or participate in various events organised in their vicinity, not many use this as an opportunity to induce the virtues of feminine power in them. Do parents and elders tell the children about Mahishasura vadh anymore? A story so many of us grew up listening from our grandmothers, every year during Navratri, today lies neglected among the endless garba contests.
We seem to have forgotten how folklores formed the crux of the nine-day long celebration about femininity and bravery.
Navratri could be a perfect occasion to introduce our children to inclusion and gender equality. By freeing their minds from the age-old notions that women are weaker than men, by using tales which are far older. Celebration of Navratri seems incomplete in my opinion, if a person doesn’t come out of it feeling humbled by the power and aura of the divine feminine.
It tells how women can conquer demons which the best of men couldn’t. Of how applying sringaar isn’t a sign of weakness. Durga wears her femininity with pride, even while she is locked in a bloody battle with a demon. Aren’t these some lovely lessons we should impart to our children? Considering the current atmosphere in our society, the practices which we have ditched, are exactly the practices which we should have embraced. So while there is nothing wrong with decking up and dancing away till your legs hurt, it is just one aspect of the celebrations.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.