I have had a couple of visits to Pune recently and I have to admit, the city impresses me. Not because the city is too hi-tech or anything like that (Bangalore is far ahead in that sense ;)) but because of the way in which the the usual Urban Life and the Maratha Culture coexist and compliment each other. I had been there during Navratri (Dussera) and I could see singing and dancing everywhere, with Dandiya and all that. (Not like the loudspeakers playing some prerecorded cassettes here in Bangalore, adding to noise pollution.) The involvement was exceptional with women, kids and elders just letting themselves lost in such a way, that you either join them or lose yourself watching them. (I was in the latter half.) And I had spent four years in Bangalore before this, and I could not know when Navratri came and disappeared (Any festival for that matter). I don’t intend to draw comparisons between the two cultures of Karnataka and Maharashtra, but I’m comparing the way we live our lives in the two equally sized cities. Even we have a rich and diverse culture but most of it is confined to smaller towns and villages. How often do we see Yakshagana, Doddata or Kolata (Bear me, I know there are more to list out) here in Bangalore? Even if we do, I’m sure they are confined to a specific part of the city and the attendance isn’t impressive and hence the encouragement. Eventually, we should not be surprised when we no longer see these cultural assets.
It was not only the cultural aspect that caught my attention in Pune, but also the sense of nationalism. In every cinemas across the city, it is mandatory that you stand up for the National Anthem before the movie starts. Believe me, I have never seen even one youngster show any sort of disrespect or reluctance towards it. Even on the roads, I could see three out of every five vehicles either bearing a national flag, or a Hindu flag (I’m okay as long as they are not communal. By communal, I mean ‘my God is supreme and the others are not’ attitude.) Hat’s off to Shivaji Maharaj for uniting the communities together and bringing up a society that is so patriotic. Even in my part of Karnataka (Sirsi, Hubli-Dharwad), there are Shivaji-Chowks almost in every part of the town.
I do condemn when the same set of people say Belgaum (Belagavi actually) is their part of the state. Nobody is perfect, let’s accept that. As our own legendary poet Sarvajna says, ‘Pick one good thing from each person and adopt it, you’d eventually become the Perfect, the Sarvajna‘, I’m just trying to pick up good things from our neighbours and let’s adopt it. Don’t you think our living would be much more fun and harmonious that way?
Let’s start that today by putting India first.