I spent almost a month and a half trying to check the young minds’ opinion on the number of festivals celebrated by the Hindus in India. The result was a very natural one. Each youngster seemed confused over the facts behind the festivals celebrated in the country. Living in the world of technology or sci-fi era, it is difficult for most of the youngsters to relate to the stories behind these festivals and even the rituals that they find amusing.
No doubt, we Indians have a lot of festivities going on throughout the year. With the elderly members of the family observing fasts and following restrictions, it has been pointed out by the youngsters that with so many things to follow how can one live a free life? Each day of the week is assigned to some or the other God and many people form their routines following something, which may not necessarily bring them good. In fact, with the fast running world, is it really good to live under most of the ‘self-made’ restrictions? ‘Self-made’ because there is different reasoning in different families as per the caste they belong to. If God is one, then what is behind so many stories going around about these customs and traditions?
How can one caste have different “kul-devi” or “kul-devta” as per regional belief? Why is it important to observe fast even when you are sick and not supposed to stay on an empty stomach? Why do grandparents stick to strict beliefs and not move ahead liberally? The youngsters find all these things a mere waste of time, money and other resources. It may also be noted that these are the children among whom some live in joint families and few in nuclear families. Some of them are not interested in any festival but join only with a hope to find something different from their routine life as they are being brought up by a single parent. If every day is to be followed with some or the other limitation, how do people find time for their own pleasures? They also cannot believe the stories given in epics, though they do wonder sometimes that if aircraft like things existed during the times as depicted in Ramayana, why is it dedicated to a discovery by someone in the modern world? The point that people in the ancient times could see beyond cities and even clairvoyant people existed seems difficult for them to understand as the computer age is today’s world and if the people could see so much ahead of time, why couldn’t they stop disaster from happening? Is it that they did not have resources to stop the destruction because when there was so much coming ahead of them, surely they could have changed the path and moved safely and brought safety for others?
When a child at an understanding level is told to study hard enough to create his own future, it means that his destiny lies in his hands. Why is it then said that what is bound to happen, will happen? They do believe that they cannot change the lines of their hands, but they can change anything and everything if they have the will to do so.
As per these youngsters, festivals restrict them to do a number of things. Food habits and outfits need to be followed as per the traditional values, but this is again one point that they feel bad about. If the God’s hunted animals and ate them, why is non-vegetarian food considered to be a big “NO” during the festivities? Why can’t a pair of jeans be worn for a pooja when it does keep you covered?
There are many such questions and confusions in the mind of a young child. No matter what explanation you give, they do not feel convinced. They do believe in the existence of God, but following all the restrictions is not acceptable to them as they feel the need to adapt to the various environments that they are subjected to as a result of steps to be taken to shape their future. They want more freedom so that they can think extensively. Not that they don’t respect what they have been taught, it is just that restrictions laid upon them as part of family culture seems too much to follow.
I really wonder sometimes what kind of an explanation would I give to any child if I make him follow what I do as I am doing what I saw my parents doing and hardly ever asked for any explanation!! We were supposed to follow what our parents did, without uttering a single word. Though I now ask questions and try to understand the rituals and ceremonies, yet I fail to convince myself a number of times.