There’s something with the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) which makes it attempt rewrite the History time and again. Although, every political party tries this rewriting by bringing to fore holidays, monuments, name changes, based on its own philosophy and icons; BJP doesn’t even shy from replacing Global symbols with its own.
Take this for instance,
The BJP Government at Chhattisgarh has decided to celebrate February 14 (or Valentine’s Day to most of the World) as Mata Pita Pujan Divas (Mother-Father Day). According to the official sources, the CM has already issued orders to schools in this regard.
I’m not sure, how this Mother-Father thing will actually materialize; but one can assume that, it will have the usual Hindu ways of making a prayer — Lal Tika on forehead (vermilion on forehead), flower showering, burning lamp, concluded with ‘feet touching’ of the parents. And irrespective of whether a pupil does all this in his personal religion or not; all pupil present will be made to do this.
That said, many will see this as BJP’s state wide attempt to steer ahead its Hindutva ideology (which will not be a wrong inference as well). But since that bush has been beaten hundreds of times, hence lets not see the MPPD that way. Instead, lets try to look into the mindset which tries to ‘control the masses’ by tactics like these. In simple, lets try to look into why does political parties like BJP, try to replace existing symbols with their own.
A Brief Look:
Tactics like these do have their impact depending on the entity the symbol has been put.
For instance, if a monument, city or state is rechristened; and the new name remains for a couple of decades, the whole character of the entity changes. For example, the entire character of Bombay changed since it is rechristened as Mumbai. The marked cosmopolitan character of erstwhile Bombay, now Mumbai, looks tinged with regional aspirations.
The possible reason for this change in character is: Monuments, cities or states don’t change their names themselves, it’s the people, who include both the rulers and the ruled, rechristen them. Hence, If Calcutta now Kolkata; and Orissa now Odissha, don’t feel the same; then no one but the dominant group of people living there are to be seen responsible; who used name change to steer ahead their own aspirations and beliefs.
On contrary, when the nature of the festivals or days which people celebrate, is tried to be changed using the same tactic; it seldom has its impact. There are reasons for it as well.
Celebrations are a state of mind.
If the world celebrates Valentine’s Day as the Day of love, that too “love between two people who are more than friends and definitely not family members”, it’s hard to replace the state of mind associated with that day(which comes from the history associated with the Day), with some other feeling.
In simple, unlike names of Buildings, Cities and States; Festivals don’t define themselves from name boards at Railway Stations and Airports. People have a definite mindset for a festival, hence they celebrate it, and not the other way round. Hence, people can create new festivals on blank days, like Bal Gangadhar Tilak did with Ganesh Chaturthi in 1893, but can’t make people to celebrate a popular festival, differently.
Hence, BJP Government’s decision to celebrate 14 February as Mata Pita Pujan Divas, looks unusual.