October 05
13:56 2017

“In this country we sacrifice only goats and sheep. Why not tigers and lions”, thus spoke Dr. BR.Ambedkar.

Nothing has changed in the tradition of sacrifice, that the irony the above dictum lamenting about, in this country since time immemorial.

There is no hope that it would change in the future, and celebrations of Bathukkamma in Telangana reflects this predicament where the women are being sacrificed(read exploited) as political tools to spread more a political ideology than inculcate cultural feelings among the people.

The Bathukkamma, the festival of flowers seemed to have been losing its age old tradition and its objective of celebrating.

Ever since, The Telangana Jagruthi, a cultural front of TRS has been officially authorised to organise the public celebrations of the festive game of Bathukamma, a cultural symbol of Telangana, the festival has ran into a controversy.

The objective of the festival has now changed political to use it as an instrument to consolidate support base among the women folk.

For ages Bathukamma used to be enacted by theShudras( BCs) and Dalits( Oppressed classes) were not allowed to participate as they were seen as outcasts even by the Shudras of lower order. As it was a festive game enacted by Shudras, upper caste women, populalry known as “Dorasanis” (Feudal Queens)remained aloof from participating in it . They thought it was below their self-esteem.

Now, suddenly, some upper caste women with respective political affiliations began to identify themselves with Bathukamma more for political power than for commitment to protect the cultural symobol of Telangana.

More interestingly, the members of the former feudal families are playing the politics of festival to lure the lower caste women as their support base.

It’s, thus, gradually becoming a game, more of votes, than flowers and culture.

The people of lower order are being encouraged to play Dhoom-Dhams and Bathukammas, while the upper strata is engaged in consolidating their political base to consolidate their own political family fiefdom in the Telangana.

Similarly, the traditional flavour of the Bathukamma festival seems to be slowly missing with several new trends replacing the age-old playing method in recent years.

Singing folk songs expressing lifestyle, happiness and miseries by clapping around the flowery cones is one of the major tradition of the festival.

However, many have stopped singing such songs while relying on DJ system.

A number of Bathukamma songs are available in the market with electronic media producing songs.

Another deviation from old tradition of the play is use of dandiya sticks instead of traditional clapping by the women in play.

A majority of the modern girls, play Bathukamma with dandiya sticks instead of clapping.

Earlier, women used to bend their waist down and up by clapping while dancing around Bathukammas, a sort of exercise which enhances energy levels of the women.

Now, many are simply opting to dandiya sticks by putting an end to the traditional practice.

No doubt, Bathukamma is being played against its ancient traditions by the same people who feel proud of their Telangana culture and traditions which were driving forces behind Telangana Movement which manifested a feeling of inclusiveness when it was at its peak.

Now, Bathukkamma going more political, the feeling of togetherness and festival atmosphere seemed to be disappearing.

Every flower cone appears to be an EVM and those women dancing around it seems to be number of voters pressing the voting button, rather than clapping.

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