There’s been a nice irony in New Delhi tonight where top politicians led by prime minister Manmohan Singh, and Sonia Gandhi, the governing coalition’s leader, went to the old city’s Ramlila grounds to celebrate today’s Dussehra Festival (picture below on Headlines Today tv).
The festival marks the triumph of good over evil as King Rama defeats King Ravana, who had abducted Rama’s wife Sita to what is now Sri Lanka.
Displays of fireworks all over the country have this evening ended with ceremonial burnings of Ravana effigies, often in a trio with his son Meghnad and brother Kumbhakaran. I’ve just seen Ravana go up in flames in Golf Links, where I live in localDelhi– see the pictures here.
The Ramlila location in Delhi was accidentally symbolic because it was here a month or so ago that Ana Hazare, the Mahatma Gandhi look-alike who has led a massive campaign against corruption, defeated the government. First the politicians pleaded with him not to go on an extended hunger fast, then they jailed him, then pleaded with him to leave jail, then agreed to pick up some of his anti-corruption demands.
In this context Hazare, even though he has many critics, is on the side of “good” and the government symbolises “evil”.
Hazare was at celebrations in his village tonight where he said, ”We all need to burn the Ravana of corruption inside us”.
Meanwhile Riding the Elephant has happily celebrated Dussehra because it has today brought the total number of daily hits to a record for the blog of over 1,100.
People visiting Elephant have mostly been searching for photographs of the festival that I’ve have been writing about here, with pictures from around Delhi, since 2007 (see links below). This has brought an amazing total of around 2,000 hits on three old Dussehra posts over the last four or five days.
I guess it’s appropriate that my Dussehra posts have beaten popular articles that more often than not have covered what might be dubbed the “evil” side of India – the previous one-day record (764) was on December 8 last year , just after I had written about how leaked mobile telephone tapes linked to the ongoing 2G telecoms scandal revealed “media flaws that fit with modern India”.