I haven’t been writing for a long time with a reason. I’ve been travelling a lot in the last month: Salem - Bangalore - Bombay - Nasik - Bombay - Bangalore - Salem - Coimbatore - Bangalore -Salem! I’m off the Madras tomorrow. However something came up that had me fired up.
Are you confused? Well! That is the new secular way to greet people at Christmas time- at least if you were in Birmingham (Winter+ Festival). The ‘Christian’ west now thinks it is more politically right to call the Christmas Holidays as Winter Holidays and the Christmas tree as a ‘Community tree’.
I’ve actually been pissed off with the whole political correctness & pseudo-secular movement which seems to have reached the heights of absurdity this year. I’m not particularly religious. However growing up as a Hindu in England we always celebrated Christmas with our friends and at the hospital where my dad was working. My rights and sensitivities as a ‘minority’ was never affected.
Growing up later in Brunei (an Islamic country) we always had a Christmas tree (abet a plastic one) lit up at home during Christmas. It was just the spirit of the season. Most of the day would be spent with friends of ours (who were Christians). we were part of the family, helping out, receiving visitors and even attending Midnight Mass. Conversely they would spend Deepavali with us in a similar fashion. We also celebrated Id Mubarak (Bakrid) and the Chinese New Year. Such exposure has made me strongly secular with the belief that religion is a personal issue as long as it does not inconvenience the public. If someone wants to celebrate a religious festival, it’s their right. It’s also your right as an individual to participate or ignore it.
I fear this neo-liberalism run amok. It will just end up with a backlash serving no one’s interests, let alone the so called minority sensitivities, and give liberalism a bad name. I consider myself a liberal, but I reserve the right to smack my kid! (i.e. when I have one)
You have a choice. Either enjoy the spirit of the season or just ignore it. There is nothing wrong with Non-Christians having a Christmas tree during Christmas, Non-Hindus bursting crackers during Deepavali or Non-Muslims enjoying a good Biriyani during Bakrid.
Merry Christmas what ever your faith.
BTW, the family tradition of having a lit Christmas tree during Christmas survived with us in Salem till recently. We had a real Christmas tree growing in front of our house. Lighting it was just part of the festive season. Unfortunately last year, it had grown too big and as part of a new landscaping effort the tree was cut down.