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Window Seat: Festival and Popular Culture

22/08/2021 at 8:02 AM

August 16 was the last Monday of the month of Shravan when lakhs of pilgrims visit Shiva temples to pour holy water Shiva linga on this day in several eastern and northern states of India. This journey and ritual is called Kanwar Yatra. Historical records of people undertaking this arduous journey date back to early nineteenth century.

However, the act of carrying water from river and pouring it on a Shiva-linga is based on the puranic story of Samudramanthan. During the churning of the ocean waters (which occurred during shravan), along with various other things that came out of the ocean there also appeared halahal or poison. As nobody was willing to accept the poison, Shiva decided to consume it. The poison was held in his throat, which turned blue, owing to the burning effects of the poison. It is for this reason Shiva is also called as Neelkantha, or the one with a blue neck. Ganga jal was poured on Shiva which helped him to cool down from the burning poison. This probably paved the way for this ritual of pouring water on Shiva linga on particular days.

There is another story associated with this pilgrimage, which says that Ravana, a great devotee of Shiva, used a kanwar to carry the holy waters of Ganga and pour it on Shiva in the Pura-Mahadev temple (Uttar Pradesh). This had occurred during Shravan. The Shiva devotees then followed the annual tradition of pouring Ganga jal on the Shiv-linga during Shravan. During kanwar-yatra Lord Shiva is addressed as Bhole Baba (one who is simple-minded), and the Kanwariyas chant His name.

Like several other rituals Kanwar Yatra has grown over the years and has spread to other areas helped by popular media like films and music. In 1977, a Bengali hit movie, Jai Baba Taraknath, swept the box offices and played a big role in popularising the Shravan pilgrimage to this temple among the locals. Several songs have been composed on kanwadia yatra in different languages- Bengali, Odia, Bhojpuri, Assamese.

In fact it grew to such an extent that it became a public menace. From traffic jams to crowding trains to severe strain on sanitation- it created lot of problems. Many people are actually happy that the month long annual yatra  has stopped for the last two years because of Covid.

Flag ‘hoisting’ and ‘unfurling’

Did you know that on the 15th August, on India’s Independence Day, our national flag is “hoisted”, whereas on the 26th January, our Republic Day, it is “unfurled”.

What is the difference between ‘hoisting’ and ‘unfurling’?

On 15th August, the flag is kept folded, down at the middle of the flag pole, and is pulled up at the tip of the pole before it is spread out. This is hoisting of a flag. It signifies the country was freed after a span of colonial domination. On the other hand, on 26th January (since 1950) the tricolour is unfurled, that is, the flag stays high up at the tip of the flag pole, (not at the middle or lower height of the pole) folded,  and is spread out with the pull of the rope. This is unfurling of the tricolour. It signifies that as a flag of an already free country, it cannot stay hung at a lower height, but is held high above. 

There are several rules related to how we hoist the national flag, what should be the size, when should it be hoisted and where. All these rules conventions, practices, instructions and guidelines that govern the display of the National Flag have been compiled into a Flag Code. Many citizens violate the Flag Code without knowing the rules. Therefore we should know more about the flag code. It is available online free. Just google it. 

IIMC turns 57

Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), the premier media training, teaching and research institute, turned 57 on 17 August. Established in 1965, to train communication professionals of third world countries besides India has grown and diversified. With six campuses spread across the country in Dhenkanl (Odisha, 1993), Kottayam (Kerala,1995), Aizwal (Mizoram, 2011) Amravati (Maharashtra, 2011) and Jammu (J&K, 2012) IIMC is leading the regional language journalism education with courses in English, Hindi, Odia, Urdu, Malayalam and Marathi. It follows a praxis focused pedagogy that prepares the students for industry with right kind of orientation in media ethics and theoretical grounding.

I am proud to be a part of the Institute that has produced some of the brightest media persons of this country.

Tail piece : Chances of happiness for married men

Hema Malini is married to a married man

Sridevi was married to a married man

Rubina Tandon is married to a married man

Karisma Kapoor is married to a married man

Kareena Kapoor is married to a married man

Juhi Chawla is married to a married man

Vidya Balan is married to a married man

Sonam Kapoor is married to a married man

Lara Dutt is married to a married man

Shilpa Sethi is married to a married man

Mahima Chowdhury is married to a married man

Amrita Aurora is married to a married man

Rani Mukherjee is married to a married man

Sarika has been married to a married man

Sabana Azmi is married to a married man

 Sangeeta Bijlani has been  married to a married man

 The list is too long.  

The demand for married men is very high in market.

So, Dear married men, you still can hope for a happy life. Your chances of happiness are not over yet.

(Courtesy: Social Media)

About the Author:

Journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, Odisha. He also writes fiction and plays.

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