The Calcutta High Court has adjourned the Durga Puja immersion schedule. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had decided to fix timings for immersion to facilitate Tazia procession. The petitions on Durga Puja immersion schedule are in protest of that!
Well, it is for the High Court to decide on that schedule but it surely raises some key questions on how we interpret secularism in this country. By granting the right to every citizen to pursue a religion of their choice, the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression to every Indian.
However, increasingly our politicians seem to be using the secularism card to secure vote banks. Why is the Government intervening in fixing religious schedules? How does guaranteeing schedules for people of one religion grant others their Constitutional freedom? Somehow the way the political game plan has panned out, it often seems like depriving believers of one religion to satisfy the interest of others is the best policy forward.
But is this the true essence of secularism? Isn’t it about granting equal rights? How does depriving one and granting special rights to another tantamount to equality? Isn’t it about resorting to petty moves to gain political ground.
In case of Durga Puja immersion schedule, one of the petitioners have mentioned that immersion of idols be allowed till 1.36 am on Vijaya Dashami in accordance with the ‘Vishuddha Siddhanta’, one of the three almanacs followed by Durga puja organisers in the state. Another petitioner also pointed out that there was no bar on immersion if the date coincided with Muharram till a few years ago? As far as memory serves me right, immersion happened peacefully despite Muharram.
The question then is why is their a sudden hullabaloo about this entire procedure. Sadly petty politics alone seems to be the plausible reason for it.