How many of us actually remember that Dashami is the fateful day on which Ravana lost it to Ram? Any ‘mythologically’ conscious Hindu remembers that quite vividly, and, in fact, draws from such memory more energy to celebrate Dashami or Dasera with all its paraphernalia. Any politically conscious ‘normal’ human being should however hesitate to participate in this euphoria. For, doesn’t this day mark the official beginning of a very long era of colonization, whereby the Dravidians, once and for all, were demonized in the popular imagination to be culturally, socially, economically, and politically ruled over by the fairer and better looking Aryans? Doesn’t this day celebrate awful racist tendencies whereby an entire tribe was constructed as sub-human or demonic in order to consolidate the hegemony of a foreign race? And, unfortunately, this racist drama that saw its climax in the killing of Ravana, never saw a dénouement. The buzzword across borders and within nations has been ‘Kill! Kill! Kill! For, they are not us.” Racism, fundamentalism, religious bigotry, nationalism, purity — the endless list of words that have now entered common parlance and are often pronounced with disgust, was always, already there.
Let’s shove aside our misti doi, rasgolla, and all that! Let’s hold hand and shed some tears, for it was on Dashami, that such fashionably ‘great’ terms as tolerance, love and brotherhood had already been immersed into the river. So all those viswa-nyaka Bengalis who dance to the beatings of the dhaak, and drape themselves in red-bordered saris to play with vermillion, turn your heads (the women are especially requested to recall that soon after the Dashami celebrations, came the notorious fire-trial or the agnipariksha that underscored the beginning of a patriarchal, anti-feminist discourse, in which women have been interpellated to accept an eternally subordinate status)…it’s high time, you actually, ‘thought’!