Monday, September 21, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
It’s no secret that millions of rupees are spent during the major festivals in
Let’s take some example. I’ve been trying to get an estimate of the amount of money spent in Durga Pujas and the Ganesha Pujas in Bengal and Maharastra, Diwali throughout
Now let’s see how this $1billion is being spent and where the money is actually flowing. The first name that comes to my mind is Kumortuli – the traditional Bengali name for the place where the idols are made by highly skilled people who have been doing this job for generations. Without creating the idols all these people would have had absolutely no other job, because the only thing that they know is to create these highly artistic idols. This form of folk art is one of the few surviving old arts in
Next comes the thousands of laborers who get employment for close to 100 days just for putting up the pandals. Employment for 100 days for something constructive is something that even the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme fails to provide in many cases. I’m not aware of anything else where people pull in money to create guaranteed employment for so many people. You have to just see the creations of these people to believe what’s the level of skills and creativities they have. Undoubtedly the pandals created during Durga Puja are folk art, technology and creativity at their zenith. I don’t know if there is any other domain where all these unknown faces of the creative world would have shown their skills in this big a scale.
Then there are the people involved in setting up the fabulous lighting. People who have seen the Durga Puja in
The millions of people who throng the various Puja venues are catered to by few thousands of small time vendors who sell snacks, handicrafts etc. Never ever do they get so many customers. They wait for this period of the year for the most brisk business.
Dhak, a form of drum (dhol), very specific to Bengal, is an inseparable part of the festivities in
Finally, Durga Puja is also a cultural festival. Almost all the Pujas have back-to-back cultural programs for all the four or five days. These give opportunity to many artistes from various fields of performing arts. Even the highest paid singers in
A very crude estimate says that there may be roughly 5000 Durga Pujas in
Had it not been for the Puja, almost this entire amount of $1billion would have been either not spent at all or spent for something else which would have taken much longer to percolate to these 1million people. For example, say you pay Rs.1000 towards a particular Puja. Had there not been this Puja then you would have either saved this money or spent on eating out or buying some CDs, or watching a movie or just chilling out in a pub. In all these cases also your 1000 bucks would have percolated to few of these 1million people, but off course not at the rate at which it does in the case of Durga Puja.
The same mathematics would apply for the other festivals also. So all these festivals, which are indirect or direct manifestations of our devotions and religiosity, actually play a great role in our economy. So devotions do ‘pay’ at times!!