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Celebrating Deepawali: to avoid another offshoot, Hinduism requires corrections
Hinduism requires institutionalization, rationality and integration. The size of idols, particularly those of Rama, should be made more uniform. There should be more equality in the usage of roli, akshat and offerings, etc. while celebrating Deepawali.

THE MANNER in which Hinduism is practiced today appears hugely amorphous and heterogeneous, nationalism and secularism, notwithstanding. It may require certain corrections and amendments in view of the high consciousness of the people. Hinduism requires institutionalization, rationalization and integration. Of course, Hindus can not have equivalents of Vatican and Mecca nor they can have equivalents of Bible and Quran.

In fact, polytheism and regionalism if contained to appropriate level unite Hindus. Hinduism requires lesser exclusiveness and more inclusiveness in its practice failing which Hindus can fear another offshoot to their religion. This time the branching could result in huger deviation in ideologies than those in its previous offshoots, like Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. The numerical dominance of Hindus in India and its liberalism and pluralism along with the stability of the subcontinent are inter-related. Therefore, the branching could affect the geopolitical stability of the subcontinent and should be considered negative in its impact. In order to stop this, Hindus need to structure their theories formally.

The first and foremost thing in institutionalizing the Hinduism, is the size and material of idols. There should be only two sizes permitted for idols inside homes and a single size in almost all the temples. For those who are well off, the material of the idols should be alloy or metal and not clay. An attempt should be made to homogenize the ritualistic parts, keeping the regional variations intact to some extent. The various forms that a deity can take should be reduced and structured. Hindus should try to make their festival appear more uniform. The specific case of Deepawali, the festival of lights, is discussed.

The changes in Hinduism do not come by abolishing or hurting consumerism. In fact, it is other way round. People should spend more and try to drive out many outdated products completely from markets and societies. With improvements in infrastructure and increase in salaries, the social structures and the norms need to change. Functionalities need to be improved upon. The consumerism can help the unity and proposed homogeneity amongst the Hindus. There are certain symbols and products whose forms and prices should not vary much. But this can not come without compromising the quality somewhat and reducing the price of the highest-priced products.

An example is roli; vermilion, that Hindus put on their forehead. From riches to the good middle class, all should try to put the same quality of roli and tilaks. The rest should follow the same within their groups. Also the akshat; unbroken rice grains, and the materials with which Hindu holy symbols are made should be made more uniform. It is not mere supporting consumerism but the middle class should be ready to pay more for undoing the vast diversity in products and inequalities in society. In any case innovation should be promoted and the newer and costlier indigenous products should be welcomed. The governments, both Union and states, can reduce or even eliminate taxes on the products supporting equality or quasi-equality.

India has still vast population of poor and they need help from better offs and riches. Economically better off Hindus should make sure that at least one poor that they know celebrates Deepawali’s all rituals. He or she should help him or her buy the bare minimum products necessary to celebrate the festival. All Hindus should make it a point that they do not consume stale food nor do they offer the same to needy or maids on the day of the festival. Other than offering to poor, Hindus should offer to Brahmins as well.

The day of Deepawali is the day of celebrations and in order to maintain the feasting nature of the day Hindus need to improve upon quality of their products. Hinduism emphasizes on the substance too, other then forms, and that should be the basis of introducing newer products. For example, in many parts of the north India, rice flakes and baked rice are the offerings for the night after puja. That needs to be changed somewhat and only microscopic contents should be taken care of. Hindus can use rice, wheat, sugar, salt, dry fruits, fruits, and purified butter to make various newer Hindu products for the Deepawali. There should be more emphasis on baked products as compared to deep fried products. People should take healthier food as compared to cholesterol rich food. Information should flow at a higher rate about products.

There should be certain norms on how the day should be spent. Up to good upper middle class Hindus should try to go to Rama’s temple as Rama is not only the first historic Ishvara but the first among gods of any religion. Rama’s name should be taken on the day at least once. If possible, Rama’s idol should be worshipped. The poor and middle classes should make sure that they celebrate Deepawali with decency. Liquor should be avoided by middle classes and poor and the money should be spent on buying various products. The middle classes should celebrate it in the greenest possible way as per their standards but should follow the traditions completely. All Hindus should make it a point that they do not take non-vegetarian food on the day.

The riches among the Hindus should make it a point that they follow traditions fully and respect the deities. They should avoid non-vegetarian food and should burn at least one phuljhadi. They can take alcohol within limits as permitted by their bodies. They should talk in their native languages. The rich non-Hindu Indians should make it a point that they do not take beef on the day and also that they participate in the festival.

The beauty of Hindus lies in celebrating their festivals mostly in the social sense. They should maintain this. Enjoyment and comforts should override any other factor. But as India aspires to become a major global regional power, people should make Deepawali more formal. The companies should pay their annual returns around the festival. The riches should invest in social sector around the festival. But there is a word of caution; the talk of granted equality, to the extent possible in Indian society, on the day of the festival should be testable—those who are offered by their superiors should also offer it to people lower than them. In India the masses follow the elites and riches and the first offer should come from them.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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