October 14, 2005

Sarkari Dasara, Not Our own

Watching ‘dasara’ telecast on our city channel I sensed a conspicuous lack of proactive public involvement in the proceedings. The parade looked so stage-managed and unexciting that is so typical of a ‘sarkari’ show. It was tough deciding which of the floats was least inspiring. In my reckoning the one depicting the evils of drinking takes the cake. The float displayed a poster-size painting of Gandhi and showcased a bottle labeled with the skull-and-cross-bones logo.
If the parade wasn’t much to write home about, the spectacle we presented elsewhere was pathetic. Take the helipad scene, telecast live on CM’s arrival in the city to flag off ‘Jamboo Savari’. Mr Dharam Singh was greeted by a group of women carrying plastic pots and squatting on tarmac. There were men angrily gesturing at the CM. He was in town to join the festivities and, and one would have thought, that as the chief guest Mr Dharam Singh deserved a cordial public welcome, cutting across party lines. Instead, we see TV footage of our first citizen, the city mayor, resorting to dharna, protesting the delay on the part of the government in the release of a Rs.50-lakh dasara grants.
Far from projecting the image of a ‘people’s dasara’, the TV footage substantiates the belief that it was a state-sponsored dasara, not our own. It turned out to be, not an occasion for all-round festivities, but an opportunity, for party political and group interests, to gain publicity mileage for furthering their own agenda.
It is not my case that the pot-carrying women and the mayor did not have legitimate, and pressing grievances. My point is that the agitators could have been discerning enough in their choice of venue to ventilate their grievances. They could have taken up their issues with CM at the circuit house or wherever he was staying. Incidentally, delay in the release of dasara grants until after the event illustrates the state of utter non-governance, of the government of the day.

See item - ‘Showcasing Mysore’ - on ‘Issues & Ideas’ web page.

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