Ms. Dimpy Suhalka
Bharat is a culturally blessed and religiously diverse country. It is bestowed with the essence of spirituality and festivities. Numerous festivals of Bharat are the true manifestation of its rich culture and royal tradition. Bharatiya economy has long and strong relation with religious activities. The great Bharatiya economist Kautilya had said that self-reliant economy can dwell having both economic and religious connections. According to Kautilya’s Arthshastra, Arth has a close relationship with Dharma.
Our country is known for shrines, holy voyages, festivals and rich cultural events. Most popular and the highly celebrated events are Festivals. These are symbolic of belief, spirituality, togetherness, love and harmony. Festivals represent the religious and cultural psyche of the people of our nation. People from across the world come to witness the joyous spirit of these festivals. Festivals along with socio-spiritual role are also playing vital role in aiding the economy.
The festivals of Bharat being one of the prominent events have been serving as a great support to the economy from ages. Festivals foster employment, generate income and provide velocity to distribution of wealth among all the sections of society thereby making Bharat Aatmanirbhar. Economy flourishes at the time of festivals and the impact is seen from each individual to aggregate. Festivals have been an example of self-reliance and enabling economic prosperity.
The festivals of Bharat benefit the entire society as a whole. All the sections of the society become part of the economic distribution. There are many who look forward to the happening/occurring of festivals for their earning. Actualising the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, it seems that Gods have created the festivals with a concern that entire universe is one family hence each one is fed during festivals. The society is benefitted both socially and economically.
Festivals are the gateways to happiness. Festivals enable social connection, spiritual connection and economic connections among people. Festivals can be said to the carriers of happiness, peace and prosperity. Festival, as we call in Hindi "Tyohaar" originates from the Sanskrit word "Tithivaar" or we can refer to the Sanskrit word "Parv" which means celebration. Hence, the meaning of the Festival can be referred as celebration of an occasion falling on a specific day. Festivals can be classified into four broad categories namely national, religious, seasonal and regional. Bharatiya festivals are exemplary of the great Hindu legacy that we are taking forward.
HISTORICAL REVIEW OF ECONOMY OF FESTIVALS
The inferences of grand celebrations of festivals can be found from our holy scriptures like Shiv Puran, Ramayana, Geeta etc. There are many well-known stories of festivals that we can find in our scriptures. For instance when Lord Rama came after the victory over Ravana, the happiness was celebrated by the entire region. The Sundarkand of Ramayana states that the entire Ayodhyaji was decorated with Diyas to lighten up the celebration of the home coming of Lord Rama. There were a feasts and festivities in every house and surrounding regions. There was showering of flowers, music, dances, sweets, decoration in the palace and the houses. The inferences of celebrations from Treta Yug and Dwapar Yug have been evidences of socio- economic prosperity during festivals. In the Vedic era, there were yajnas, dances and celebrations during the ashwamedha yagya and various such celebrations were organized. This is an example of existence of celebrations indicating social and economic activities that can be found in our history. This means economic activities used to get a boost during festivals then from those times.
RAKSHABANDHAN AND DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH
The bond between a brother and a sister is beyond words. Celebrated on Shravan Purnima, Rakshabandhan is highly popular festival of Bharat. The term Rakshabandhan is a sum of two words namely Raksha and Bandhan, where Raksha stands for protection and Bandhan indicates the verb to tie, which means a "a knot of protection". The festival having its social importance also has a huge impact on the economic prosperity. With huge revenue generation and distribution of money, the festival has an economy of itself.
The festival is loved and celebrated widely across the nation. Sisters visit her brother to tie the sacred thread Rakhi. Usually sisters carry Rakhi, Shreefal (Coconut), Sweets, Kumkum and Akshat along with them. If we see the economic distribution of wealth of this festival, we can say that, a sister usually buys Rakhi let say of Rs. 100/-(minimum), a coconut of Rs.20/-, sweets of average Rs. 500/- making a total of Rs.620/-. Assuming that a women ties rakhi to five people on an average and spends a minimum of Rs. 500/- on each, this makes a total expenditure of Rs. 2500/- that a women spends on an average on this occasion. Assuming that ten thousand females tie Rakhi on this occasion in a city, then an average spending of Rs. 2.5 Crore circulates in the market. The distribution of wealth that takes place in the aggregate economy of the country has huge and vast impact. Such huge impact cannot be neglected. It is imperative that festivals serve as a booster to the economy and the traditions of our country are aiding them to keep the economy vibrant.
ECONOMIC IMPACT ON ENTIRE CHAIN
The economic impact on the entire supply chain of religiously important products and other products useful in festivals can be seen. The income reaches to the end farmer who grows cotton and the stakeholders involved in collecting and processing the cotton to make thread on their share of economic benefit. Industries involved in making decorative articles that are used in the beautification of Rakhi. Wholesalers who buy in bulk and sell to the small vendors, jewelers who produce and sell ornamental rakhi and transporters, there is a vast chain where the distribution of income takes place. From farmers to the retailers, the entire supply chain of rakhi earns its income from the festival as shown in the figure 1.
RAKSHABANDHAN: FROM HOLY KNOT TO AATMANIRBHAR BHARAT
The Rakhi was the local product of Bharat for it was the part of the local culture and festival of our country. Bharat used produce Rakhis locally earlier, as it was then just made of thread. With time many beautifications started happening in Rakhi, slowly other countries also started producing Rakhi and found a huge market to their produce thereby earning income from us. From past few years handmade rakhis are in trend and also the awareness of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Campaign, people have become aware of promoting local produce. There is a huge market of Rakhi, which is though once a year business but has huge economic potential. The five pillars given by Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi, Economy, Infrastructure, System, Vibrant Demography and Demand are all supportive of the local produce of our country. The products like coconut, sweets, kumkum etc. are already the produce of our country and with a large production of Rakhi we are setting an example of Self-Reliant Economy from years. With an urge to be Vocal for Local, nowadays people have started opting for entrepreneurship, producing the products on our own, thereby making Bharat Self-Sufficient. Undoubtedly the Festival of Rakshabandhan has been an enabler of economic prosperity. It is worth saying that the Economy of Festival is one of the strong pillars of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.