Tidbits of Damu Bhagiyam - 4

"Hey Bhagiyam, the turnover of this alcohol company has been on the rise because of the many celebrations like New Year, Valentine's Day etc., Of course bachelor bashes have added to this. The season between December and March have been full of weddings and therefore, the parties have been increasing the sale of alcohol," said Damu while going through the quarterly results of a Spirit Company in a financial magazine. The made for each other couple were popular for looking into several issues.  

Bhagiyam was busy reading Swarajya but she heard Damu speaking about the turnover of the alcohol company. "Oh yes, it is because of western cultural influence. Consumption of alcohol is not good for health. The New Year parties are known for revelries backed by violence. There is no safety absolutely for people on the street on such occasions. Well, Valentine's Day has beyond romance and gone into a stage where the well-being of a person is affected. No one is interested in approaching love in an ethical and healthy manner. Better not to speak about the bachelor parties. Nothing but liquor is consumed on such occasions. All these bad habits and undesirable lifestyles are adding to the financial wealth. I am but reminded of the story of Kalidasa chopping off the branch which supported him while he was perched on a tree. Our country had such healthy economic benefits those days. Festivals and occasions were clean, eco-friendly, and healthy. They got people together and revved up the economy, " stated Bhagiyam with a worried look on her face. Bhagiyam had done an undergraduate programme in economics and was known for aiding Damu in his pursuits.

"Yeah Bhagiyam, I remember all of this and more. Remember our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi promoting the Kite Festival in Gujarat during his tenure as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Gurumurthy and Prof P. Kanagasabapathi of Coimbatore did a lot of work. They had visited Gujarat, studied the details connected with the Kite Festival. Several Muslims were involved in the Kite business. Every detail connected with Kite production was done. A full SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis was made. The requirements in terms of finance, logistics, material sourcing and marketing was made. Techniques required for popularizing the Kite Festival was undertaken. Lots of the vendors needed financial help, the enumeration done was documented, and everything required to make it a success. The Chief Minister, Narendra Modi had given them a patient ear and eventually got them to publish a Coffee Table book on the Kite Festival. All the officers and stakeholders were called for a meeting. This meeting sorted out every issue connected with the festival. A global Kite Festival was promoted, and the turnover increased from less than hundred crores to several hundred crores. The positive economic strength of our culture was brought out in a positive way, " added Damu. “He spoke about Aadi 18 when people would pay respects to their elders on the banks of rivers. Lots of consumables would be purchased and it would always help the small trader with income.”

Bhagiyam spoke at length by recalling all the festivals. She turned into a fabulous micro and macro economist that very moment, "Our festivals give an economic opportunity for flower vendors, personal care items, cleaning agents, fruit sellers, and farmers eventually. The priests, transport service providers, stores which stock items required for the poojas etc., stand to gain. Plus it is very positive. Every sector gains. Say, Akshaya Tritiya helps jewellers, Vijayadashami for car showrooms, Diwali for textile and sweet shop people, Pongal for the rural people. Rakshabandan for home vendors and craftspeople. I know one Binal Shah of Coimbatore selling Rakhis from her house. She was perhaps the first woman in Coimbatore to ride a Bajaj Chetak scooter nearly thirty years ago. Rana Pratap became history while using the historic horse Chetak in the battle of Haldi Ghati is still remembered. Here we have one Haldi wearing lady riding the modern Chetak meant for the masses."

Damu spoke about the sale of items during Navaratri and Ganesh Chaturthi, "I have heard of the jeweller, P. A. Raju Chettiar of Coimbatore giving Pori (puffed rice) and ground nuts, jaggery etc., to everyone in his factory. This is the habit of the jewellery community and they do the same. The Vasavi Kannika Parameswari Temple Navarathri gives opportunities for florists, cooks and other service providers who fix the pandals and mike systems. The general consumption increases during such festivals. Ganesh Chaturthi has been helping idol manufacturers and flower vendors alike. Of course, the farmers gain because the houses use a lot of farm produce for the purpose of making offerings to Lord Ganesha. The Jewellers of Coimbatore would exchange Sundal (Channa) during Ganesh Chaturthi and Navarathri. Cooks like Jeeva would be busy. The Rasavadai Iyer would be fully occupied. Turnovers would increase and temple tourism will be on the rise on sacred occasions. Hotels, logistics businesses, transport service providers and curio shops will gain enormously. I agree with you Bhagiyam, all these developments and profits based on our culture are positive and do not send a negative message. No alcohol, no violence or difference of opinion. These festivals are a win-win for everyone. Our civilization has sustained itself because of these virtues."

Both Damu and Bhagiyam spoke about the fellowship and camaraderie that were part of the cultural economy. Bhagiyam was keen to add a few words, "All our festivals have evolved over time. There is a lot of diversity and therefore each day is celebrated positively by one set of people in a different way. This helps the system to flourish. I was wondering why it was not much appreciated some years ago. It was at that time I read the book by R. S. Narayanaswamy Iyer. The author has written as to why our country had come down. It was due to disruptions in the form of invasions and colonization. These factors had ruined our system. They had disrupted negatively. Now that the wave of liberalization brought in Prime Minister, P. V. Narasimha Rao who has begun yielding results despite things to have changed. It goes without saying that Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his team did a good job by continuing the process. This has helped our people to regain our lost National Pride. Now, the youngsters are no longer sneering at our traditions. They are keen to embrace modern technology and social reform without disturbing our ancient tradition. Technology is helping us today. People are able to positively use the internet and social media. This is now once again reviving our culture. Thank God that the threats are being addressed in a peaceful and productive manner. Now the ideological and economic disruptors practicing a scorched earth approach are able to understand the merits of an economy based on culture and tradition. Let us hope for further developments in this direction."

"I fully agree with you Bhagiyam and now please reward me with a nice cup of Badam kheer please," smiled Damu.

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