By Rachit Sharma:
My inbox is flooded with messages telling me about my level of ignorance. They all have one thing in common: they all describe the month of February as the month of love! I’m yet to make out what are the pre-requisite criteria of dignifying a month with such a stature. Earlier, I was told that the month of January should be celebrated as the month of ‘new hope’. An interesting thing to point out here is that most of the messages I received were forwarded ones, pointing to some or the other organizations having a commercial interest behind them.
Commercialization of festivals is the direct result of globalization. Two questions might be creeping in your mind — firstly, how is this commercialization related to globalization? And secondly, why are these festivals being marketed in such a large scale? Before going into further detail I must mention that this article concerns not only about festivals having religious backing but also with days invented post-industrialization, like Valentine’s Day.
Globalization brought with itself a close nexus among the world different organizations. Post liberalization, suppose an Indian firm having a business in greeting cards was now directly interacting with a USA firm having a business in bouquets; both the firms supported each other logistically. Now the overseas department of that USA firm was maintained by its Indian counterpart, same was true with the Indian firm. This in all broadens the scope of commercialization of festivals. It further heightened the belief that why couldn’t Indians replicate the same success which their counterparts did in USA.
Also, liberalization brought with itself a new breed of entrepreneurs who wanted to experiment with the shores still untouched. Companies started giving out sales and offers like Diwali Dhamaka and Christmas Bonanza. But, Valentine Day with its family (Friendship Day, etc) was still an alien to us.
Then all of a sudden companies migrated to a new theme. They started advertising their product around youth. More and more youth centric slogans started peeping out. Somewhere in the middle companies manufacturing Chocos, soft drinks, greeting cards, etc. saw an untimed opportunity floating in it. It leads to the emergence of Days like Valentine’s, Friendship’s, Mother’s etc. The popularity grew with such ads and then so did the sales of the companies.
Our society accepted most of them. But, few others like Valentine’s Day and Friendship Day are still looked at as somewhat defying ethics. People supporting such festivals and their commercialization claim to have a wider and broader thinking. They call themselves pseudo-secular. On contrary, people not supporting such festivals and their commercialization talk about the degradation of cultural and moral conduct which is brought in by such festivals. Opinions will always stand but in the meantime, the big honchos count their profits.