As the region celebrates Basant Panchami on Saturday, residents of Chandigarh seem to be indifferent towards the festival that ushers in spring. Is it because the festival has arrived earlier than usual with winter yet to relent? Or is it just plain lack of interest?
Harbhajan Bajaj, an 80-year-old housewife, says, “Chandigarh is a city where festivals celebrated in the West such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day would be celebrated but indigenous ones like Basant Panchami are just another day.”
City youngsters were surely oblivious to the festival of kites. Karan Nagpal, a college student, said, “I didn’t know it’s Basant Panchami. I thought it’s in the middle of February.”
Sonia Khanda, who is pursuing her masters in mass communication from Panjab University, blames her generation for lack of interest in indigenous festivals. “We remember Indian festivals only for the holidays. There is no emotion attached to them,” she added.
Saraswati puja today
Local residents may not be clued in, but members of communities from other parts of the country, particularly Bengalis, are geared up for this festival. Neelkanth Das, who hails from West Bengal, said, “It’s an important festival for us. Saraswati puja is held on this day and we seek blessings of the goddess of learning on the occasion.”