I know this topic is quite a controversial/sensible one which can never end when we start debating. The views expressed here purely based on my life experiences. Request you to read it with an open mind and by the end if I hurt your feelings, then please accept my sincere apologies.
It is the festive season in India - Ganesh Chaturdi, Durga Puja, Diwali all in a span of 2months. It is a little too tough for people like me to take. Not because I am an atheist, but because of the inconvenience these festivals cause to people - including those who actively participate in the celebrations.
For instance, let's talk about Ganesh Chaturdi. The point I am trying to make here is nothing new. Most of you agree to it when you think rationally. I appreciate the fact that the Ganesh idols are fabulous. They depict the artistry. Few of them are absolute genius stuff. But what is the point in having one idol in every street? I literally find at least one idol in every street, clogging the way, offering prayers during the evenings which unfortunately are also the peak hours for traffic. Sorry if I sound too harsh, but the fact is, I find it too easy to drive through the narrow lines of old city or the patchy roads of rural Indian villages than to reach my home during these gala period. And what are those loud speakers for? to show that you are also religious? Will your god do not accept your prayers if you do not use loud speakers? or to let the guys in the other street know your Ganesha is more powerful than theirs ? sorry.. the later point sounds too silly, or is it ? :-) Prayers are meant for peace of mind, but these noises day and night taking the peace out of mind. No body likes power cuts. But I have started liking them when it happens during the time the prayer time. Yeah... I know... there is a little sadist in me !
Then comes the most interesting part of these celebrations. As soon as the prayers and the offerings to the god are done, then begins the entertainment. A huge curtain kind of thing is used to cover the idol and the rest of the dais is used as the stage to perform ! I can understand if those performance are some way related to the god, religion or tradition. But in most of the cases, they are none of the above ! They usually sing and dance to the tunes of Indian movies and if u apply another filter and keenly notice, they are item songs ! Now, we all know the kings and emperors liked the music (at least they projected it on the screen in Indian cinema, so we believe). But Gods ? Isn't it too ridiculous to have both things on the same stage ? - prayers followed by nach-gana. I do not know if there is any one out there to justify this senseless act. I agree - we all need some entertainment. But the question is, is this the right platform ?
It is absolutely annoying & disturbing to drive through that crowd. Can we all not celebrate together at a single place ? after all what are the temples for, if not to celebrate the festivals.
It is Diwali time now. Which means more explosions, more noise, more smoke, more pollution, more panic, more injuries and more irritation! Diwali is supposed to be the festival of lights - unfortunately over a period of time, it turned out to be the festival of noise and explosions. There are so many socioeconomic issues in our country. Everybody talks about pollution, child labor, poverty kind of topics, but nobody thinks about ways to control them. A simple no to explosives will solve at least 2 of the above 3 problems I have mentioned. I have a pet at home and I know how scared it gets during Diwali time - mostly due to the noise. It searches for a place to hide itself during those few hours. When they bark, we shut them. Unfortunately they cannot throw it back at us during this time. I feel sorry for the pets - poor things.
I never understood God, probably never will. Thanks to my belief in Science. I believe in only what I see and what was proven. Yes, there are some questions in this universe which are not and probably will never be answered by Science. But neither can Religion/God. I respect the religious sentiments of others, so should they. I do not discriminate between race, religion, cast or creed. If there is one religion that I follow, it is humanity. I go along with people who have similar interests to mine. I strongly believe that the world will definitely be a better place if we stop discriminating between various races and religions.