24 June, 2021

Cross-Currents In Festival Circuit

To open up or not? As the season of festivals comes knocking and the pandemic lurches on, parties play games over the vital question of safety.

Mamata Banerjee inaugurating a Durga Puja in Calcutta.
Photograph by PTI
Cross-Currents In Festival Circuit

Politics and religion together make for a potent potion. Add to it the festival season, impending elections and a pandemic, and you have a cauldron that’s brewing an unpredictable mix.

Concerned about people letting their guard down ahead of the festive season, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an address to the nation on October 20, struck a note of caution. “The lockdown may be gone but not the virus,” he said, exhorting people not to be complacent till a vaccine is available.  

It’s the time for month-long festivities in the country that include Navratri, Durga Puja, Ramlila, Dussehra, Diwali and Eid—most involving community celebrations. Then there is Chhath puja, Gurpurab and Christmas to end the Covid-scarred year.

With the number of COVID-19 cases crossing 76 lakh, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan also urged people to celebrate festivals at home and to avoid public places. He cited the cautionary example of Kerala, saying the state—now witnessing a second wave of coronavirus cases—is paying the...

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