Another petty ending to a ‘world-famous’ Dasara

Photo Caption

K. JAVEEN NAYEEM writes: No you have not read me wrong and I have not made a mistake in what I have written. I did say ‘petty’ and not ‘pretty’. This year’s Dasara may have been a pretty show especially with its new eco-friendly, LED lighting which stood out as something uniquely different from what we had all seen in the past.

But I cannot help feeling that this year it also became a festival of petty squabbling.

Yes, it was nothing but that, between politicians and bureaucrats, between the real power-keepers and Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, the virtual symbol of royal power and between the Kavadis, the elephant-keepers, and the administration which owns the elephants.

Just before the grand finale this year, there was an ugly and much publicised stand-off between our elected representatives on one side and the deputy commissioner and the police commissioner on the other, over the issue of free passes. I can only say that these kinds of confrontations look very undignified and amount to washing very dirty linen in full public view and media glare.

Issues like these should be settled and sorted out in some official privacy well in time without finding a mention in the press.

In a show with limited seating capacity I do not see why hordes of supporters of politicians should be given free access to have a ringside view while all those who elect them to power are denied a decent seat despite paying through their noses to have it reserved. I agree that in a ‘you scratch my back and I will scratch yours’ set-up there is nothing much one can do to get rid of such despicable things but there has to be a limit to this kind of madness.

Politicians should make it known to their fans that too many free passes will only deprive access to that many guests and therefore this kind of largess cannot be accommodated beyond a reasonable measure.

It is a very well-known fact that year after year we find many holders of VIP Passes and even Gold Cards arriving at the torch light parade venue only to find their seats already occupied by gate-crashers who simply refuse to vacate them despite intervention by the police personnel.

I have myself seen many foreign tourists simply going away in disgust at not being able to get any assistance from the officers who are posted there to prevent such occurrences. Such incidents will only give much negative publicity that only negates our efforts to popularise our Dasara across the globe.

Many mega-events similar to our Dasara are held all over the world every year but we do not see the slightest disorder in the way they are conducted. It is time we learnt to maintain some semblance of order here too. But now this remark of mine should not mean that we should immediately dispatch a delegation to study how it is done there!

A thing that we have been seeing regularly over the past few years is the sulking of the scion of the royal family. By either refusing to allow public display of the royal throne or lending the golden howdah for the procession, he behaves like an over-pampered child who craves for attention knowing very well that these two artefacts are required for the Dasara every year.

Although we have all heard of elephants having tantrums, these days we have been noticing their keepers too being afflicted by this malady. The mahouts and kavadis now regularly resort to arm-twisting tactics to get some extra attention and perks during the Dasara which is the only time when they can flaunt their importance. This is nothing but blackmail.

Knowing that their job is unique in that the government simply cannot find substitutes to manage the elephants which are indispensable symbols of the Mysore Dasara, they choose to go on a strike for the silliest of reasons like not being allowed into the palace grounds through a particular gate.

All this, despite our government bowing down to really comic levels to keep their ego flying high, like getting the State health minister himself to massage their backs or the district-in-charge Minister to serve them food while the media covers and comments on everything they do like having their haircuts and baths before the final day.

While it takes people from many other professions like carpenters, gardeners, sweepers, painters, drivers, tailors, folk artistes and policemen to make the Dasara possible, I wonder why only the mahouts, kavadis and their children should get all the attention and special treatment?

It is time someone made them understand that as paid government employees it is their duty to see that they work cheerfully in a spirit of mutual co-operation with all others.

We all take pride in calling the Dasara a ‘world famous festival’ and yet no one responsible for showcasing it thinks of providing its telecast a proper English commentary in at least one channel for the benefit of all the non-Kannadigas who watch the show on the television or the net.

Although many channels relayed the footage of the Dasara procession and the commentators repeatedly drew attention to the fact that the show was being watched live round the world, not a single one of them thought it proper to provide even subtitles in English.

Should we not ensure that the millions of non-Kannadiga viewers too understand what is happening when they are shown the different activities related to the festival and what the different tableaux and troupes in the procession represent? As hosts of Dasara festivities should we not ask ourselves if we can afford to be so indifferent to the needs of others whom we invite as our guests at the grandest and the biggest festival of our State?

(K. Javeen Nayeem is a practising physician who writes a weekly column in Star of Mysore where the full version of this piece appeared)

Photograph: A stilt-walker at the Dasara procession on the final day of Dasara 2013 in Mysore (Karnataka Photo News)

Also read: What is so “world-famous” about Mysore Dasara?

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7 Responses to “Another petty ending to a ‘world-famous’ Dasara”

  1. yaguara Says:

    On the kavadis, mahouts a comparative estimate on what they earn (received in their hands, not as per records of government) vs the rest of carpenters, sweepers et al penny -penny would enlighten the readers on ROI generated by these handful.

    My point here is, they may(could) be paid the lowest among all the rest and hence merit a special treatment, not considering the fact that elephants are the prime/ main attraction for dussera and what would dasara be without the elephants and without these people doing their jobs with surgical precision would elephants be the same?

    Would anyone not see dasara because a carpenter had a nail poking out from an installation or sweepers leaving behind few leaves or driver not parking within the lines. Ofcourse all the rest may/will do/not-do their jobs as required despite which dasara will continue but kavadis, mahouts not doing their jobs to the T will only ensure the dasara will be an eventful one and does require special attention. May be the media highlighting has made them culprits and eye sore now. since they have been noticed and given a long over due credit which they deserve.

    W.r.t english subtitles new9 or tv 9 (english news channel from the group) did telecast the program with the commentary (quality or information in commentary is a different topic) in english. But DD chandana had better commentary in kannada, so switched over.

    as for rest of all other media highlighted “petty” noises, as long as media is existent with lots of space on pages to fill and as long as politicians exist irode swamy. Munche erd athva mooru paper ithhu jaaga kadime ithhu inthadella ethhi heLtha irlilla ansathhe, eega paper/media jasti ellru important maathhe, “pretty” newse beeku andre ellinda swamy tharodu, intha dodda samarambha dalli petty kelsa gaLu agthade swalpa adjust madkoLi.

    Anthu ishtadru nedsthavralla, nodona nedso asht dina, sadya national animal thara HeLakke national animal aadre en banthu adr bagya extinct vargu thogond hogi Project tiger madthavre.

    “Project dasara ” madilvala inna, ashtakke santosha !

  2. Praje Says:

    Very rightly pointed by Javeen Nayeem. Mysore Dasara not only this year but for the past few years has been a pathetic show. The procession being the worst of the shows in the way it is managed. Did you observe the number of people crowding near the performers or the “Ambari” elephants. I was hoping Arjuna would throw a couple of people into the stands with his trunk.
    @yagauara
    I guess either you’re watching Dasara on TV for the first time or you must be one of those Congi supporters out there. If you had listened to Shankar Prakash during any Dasara you would not know which year Dasara it would be till you saw who the Chief Minister was. It has been the same commentary for the last 5 years.
    Why cannot our Dasara be managed like we have the Replibic Day Parade in New Delhi. It only asks for our politicians and bureaucrats not to demand free passes for their thousands of folks.

  3. yaguara Says:

    @praje
    The congress part is completely misinterpreted and the reference to DD commentary was in comparison to other regional news channel, in my opinion was far better.

    naa heLthirod ishte swamy coalgate, 2g gate, cwg gate and so many other gates alli laKshanthara koTi looti madavre ( as per media and other reports). Prathi govt change aad thakShana car gaLu kaNishTa change maDthare kadime andru… paapa oDh illa en illa aaNe nodkothare. Avru erd hotth anna dasara dina jasti thindru, erd Kms jasti odadidre ksrtc bus alli antha yaake avrna target madthira? eshTo koTi looTi agthidanthe, ivrna hiDkond bereavrige yaake ivr asht oota illa bus illa antha jaalaDod seri alla nanna ansike.

    ashte aasakthi iddre, brashTachara viruddha oraTa maadona, lakshanthara koTi uLithade, NaDu ULithade. ad bitTu yaaro baDava erd hoTh jasti thinda antha avn mele yaake kaNnu and koPa?

    bere visyadalli, dina oDadodu roads seri illa, inna dasara project management and planning ge hodri. Basic amenities illa varsha poorthi adr bagge horaTa madona, mikkid ella seriyaag agaThe.

    fundamentals inda repairi madkond hodre, ella seriyag irathe,varsha poorthi enadru maadi dasara mathra seriyagi agbek andre adu agde iro visya.

  4. babuds Says:

    It went on the expected lines. Houdhu swamy Navirodhu …

  5. ERR Says:

    Nice article Doc! When the ‘world Famous Dasara’ was inaugurated by C.M. and poet Dr. Chandrashekara Kambhar,Govt Kannada Channel Chandana did not even cover the programme! They were showing some recorded programme of Sitar from Luknow channel. Last year when I asked the Station Dep Dir, who is famous for singing’ madhura madhuravee..’, he said Chandana is a National channel and will not show State level programmes! It’s another matter during Jambu savari, he is present and his picture is aired repeatedly! This year ‘Shankara’ channel covered all the programmes live, including the inauguration at Chamundi. The programmes was called ,’Mysore dasara Vaibhavam’ and sponsored by companies from Trichy, Chennai etc !

    Most people in villages still have access to only DD. That being the case, shouldn’t Chandana be showing programmes for 6 crores people of Karnataka than saying we are ‘Central Govt’? ;)

    I have brought this lacuna to the notice of Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath and Minister of Kannada and Culture Smt. Umashree. I have not yet received a reply except for saying, this is being looked into. Hopefully this attitude will be corrected by next year.

  6. The Three Just Men Says:

    Cool down folks. This is a contemporary politician-tainted jamboree which goes by the name of Dasara. The article in a way reflects its irrelevance today.

    The original festival which went by the name of Dasara lost its glory with the demise of the great Krishnaraja Wodeyar. In the aftermath, in the early period of Jayachamaraja Wodeyar for a short while when the then Mysore State was a B state in independent India, a short tail of that glory was palpable. We do not see any relevance of this form of public celebration of Dasara these days, particularly the procession of Chamundeshwari Deity on the elephant being flagged off by a mere mortal in the form of a important politician of the day!!

  7. Manivannan Ias Says:

    First we need to decide how do we want to celebrate Dasara. If that is a state function, then it will have to have different set of officials and systems. Currently, though it’s declared as ‘Nada-habba’, its conducted as a high-profile district festival.

    The clarity will go a long way in conducting Dasara in a grand manner without any problems.

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