Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Chaos called 'St. Mary's Feast'

If you're in ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು/Bangalore for the last week of August or the first week of September, and by your misfortune, you are bound to visit Shivajinagar/surrounding areas... I pity your condition.

Is St. Mary's feast celebrated the most in Bangalore?? I was baffled to find wikipedia's St. Mary's Bascilica, Bangalore link among the top three while I googled for St. Mary's feast. Confused, I searched in as well to make sure that location preferences are avoided. Still I find the same result.

What we call Bowring Church, actually St. Mary's Bascilica, the oldest church in Bangalore, located just opposite to Shivajinagar bus stand, is the source of chaos.

In short, this St. Mary's feast, is the celebration of virgin mother of Jesus, Mary (who got sainthood just because she gave birth to the messenger as a virgin??!). Did she take long to take birth (15 days of celebration)?? I don't see Christmas celebrated that long; atleast here in Bangalore.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, St. Mary's feast celebrations started almost more than 600 years after her birth. Why did it take so long for them to celebrate? Mary's birthday is still unknown but they celebrate it on September 8th of the Gregorian calendar. There is no solid proof that it falls on September 8th.

To my misfortune, I've been to Shivajinagar during this season almost every year since a minimum of 8 years. Its getting worse year by year. The worst I experienced was today, when buses from Balekundri Circle (Indian Express) to Shivajinagar on the Meenakshi Koil Street was blocked in the morning. So every bus from Indian Express were detoured to BRV ground and reached Shivajinagar via the Central street. I calmed myself saying 'Fuhget it! This is gonna get over this week' but while coming back from Domlur to Shivajinagar, no matter how many alternative routes taken by the bus, I had to wait 1.5 hours to reach Commerical Street. All buses denied to go to Shivajinagar. Let alone buses, no vehicles. After a 10 minute walk to Shivajinagar, I was shocked to see Shivajinagar Bus Stand completely occupied by these people. How can they use it?? Never have I seen such a thing before.

Not a single bus in the vicinity of Shivajinagar. I walked past the Meenakshi Koil Street towards Balekundri Circle passing by tens of beggars pleading alms on my way.

Not all agree walking from Commercial Street to Indian Express like me. Its irritating to most of them. Even the policemen couldnt control the situation. All I recollect such a thing happening was a year and half back when our infamous Devegowda called for a jana jaagruti samavesha at palace grounds affecting people commuting in the vicinity of Palace Grounds.

One more thing I need to mention here is that majority (more than 95%) of people attending this feast were Tamilians. I felt like I was in some busy town of Tamil Nadu while I walked past them. All black faces, in strikingly irritating orange uniforms (not to discriminate but to explain the fact). Was totally bugged up by their celebrations. Never have I seen Christians whom I know talk about St. Mary's feast; neither any other church celebrating it other than St. Mary's Bascilica.

I've seen Karaga/Ganesha festival being celebrated all over Bangalore but never is it this troublesome. Its distributed all over and not concentrated in one location. Blocking one of the major business zones completely for days together for some festival is irritating to many. And this St. Mary's feast started some 10 years ago I feel. Nowhere I saw it getting celebrated in my childhood.

I'd like to recall when the first person who tried to evangelize me, telling that 'truly speaking, there is no festival in Christianity; its a sin for a christian to celebrate any festival; hard core christians don't even celebrate Christmas you know... blah blah blah.' Now what is this feast considered to be??

I personally feel this is another method towards their evangelism strategy. To hell with them.

I like to give one message to those who celebrate this feast. If you want to celebrate, celebrate it in a distributed fashion and not concentrating near Shivajinagar. Its annoying to many who live in the city. First of all, get to know whether this can be celebrated after all (as your bishops, clergymen whosoever is concerned...)

Please do not try to play with the sanity of the city.