[M Panging Pao]
September and December are the festival months of India. Right from Vishwakarma Puja to Durga Puja, Diwali, Kali Puja, Muharram, Janmashtami, Christmas, etc, the festival season seems to be never-ending.
Even in our predominantly tribal state and region, these festivals are celebrated with pomp and gaiety. The festivals are marked with well-decorated and lighted pandals displaying decked up idols of different gods and goddesses. Singing of hymns, kirtans, festive music, carols, etc, mark these days. Most people come out in their best dresses, and shopping is frenetic during the festive season. Most streets are marked by various stalls selling jalebis, mala rotis, pakoras, balloons, etc. During these festive days, musical nights and cultural shows are organised late into the night.
For most Arunachalees who depend on outsiders to get jobs done, many works and projects are held up due to workers going back home during the festive seasons. Many projects are slowed down or stalled during these days, and alternative arrangements must be made by the project managers.
[Flights Of Fantasy]
Being a diverse country with many religions, castes, races and tribes, in total there are about 17-18 gazetted holidays and about 30 restricted holidays per year in out great nation. Additionally, there are 52 weekends in a year, ie, 52×2 = 104 holidays (Saturday and Sunday). Then many employees are entitled to add prefixes and suffixes. In addition, there are many bandhs and strikes enforced by many organisations and groups. These days there is also a preponderance of ‘mega festivals’ and ‘central festivals’ of different tribes, many of which last for many days.
Any logical reader would realize that there are too many holidays and non-working days in our nation and state. In may be safely concluded that there are about 140-150 holidays or non-working days per year in India. As per many reports, India has the third highest number of gazetted holidays in the world.
Though ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, and festivals should be enjoyed by all means, there should be a rationalization of the number of holidays or non-working days in our state. With so many less working days or productive days, can we aspire to be a super power? Should there be so many holidays? (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)