Even as I write, I can hear holy chants in the background, as a religious ceremony goes on in a temple nearby. The festival season, as it is called in India, has started with a big bang. In the state of Maharashtra, the 10 day long Ganapati festival kicked off with devotees bringing the idol of Lord Ganesha in their house. However, the limelight was on the so called richest temples and associations, which own the most precious idols and spend the highest amount during these ten days.
The spending on just the idol is in millions, and the total spending on the ceremonies and other celebrations may spiral up to reach over a billion rupees. While at some place, the focus was on making the largest idol ever seen, at another popular association, devotees had created the Lord’s four arms out of real gold. And all this while the rupee is sliding down hopelessly and the economy is trying to maintain some sanity in the face of extreme challenges. There can be two explanations for such splurging; one is that the people who are organizing these festivals are not at all affected by inflation and gloomy job market. Another explanation can be that people are frustrated of all the economic and political upheavals and want to please the Lord in every way possible, so that He may help us mortals!
Whatever is the cause, the pomp and show is greater than ever before. And this is just the commencement. There are about a dozen more festivals to follow and with each one, there will be celebrations and expenditure beyond imagination. Financial leaders opine that though there is positivity in the air, it does not mean that the economy is back on track. This spending might be restricted only to religious festivities; in fact, spending on other products may see a slump.
So what is it with deities and donations? Even politicians believe that it giving hefty donations ahead of elections will help them win the votes. As I said, this is just the beginning, Dussehra and Diwali are yet to come and we will sure see more such spending to celebrate our beloved Gods. May the deities bless the rupee and save the economy!