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Chaviti fete on low key

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Showry Ongole: The ongoing Samaikyandhra movement has dampened the Vinayaka Chativiti festivities in Prakasam district. The festival that is...

Showry

Ongole: The ongoing Samaikyandhra movement has dampened the Vinayaka Chativiti festivities in Prakasam district. The festival that is celebrated on a gaudy note up to 11 days with the active participation of youth every year was reduced to a low-key affair this year. Neither youth at local level nor festival committees led by politicians are interested to carry on with the tradition.
Several organisers attribute this sudden change in festival celebration to the 40-day-long strike with a demand to revoke the proposal to divide the State. The Congress party’s decision to divide the State had spoiled the mood of the people. Their active participation in the indefinite movement has little room for even festivals that usually top their list of priorities.
The financial position of many families was badly hit by the Samaikyandhra movement. Many families were finding it difficult to enjoy even regular food as they did not get their salaries. Non-salaried, especially businessmen and petty traders, were at a loss because of bandh all these days. Even workers also sacrificed their daily wages for the sake of the movement in which masses took part voluntarily.
The transportation plans of many families and social exchanges with friends and relatives were also affected because of RTC staff strike. On the other hand, the prices of essential commodities like onions are out of the reach of common man making cost of living unbearable. The indefinite strike has hurt them psychologically giving room for desperation.
The Chaviti festivities used to be a grand affair with many donating liberally for erecting colourfully decorated huge tents during all days of the festival. Even the youth groups and festival committees were in the habit of competing with one another in installing a bigger Lord Ganesh statue. Regular programmes, both cultural and religious, ‘prasadam’ distribution and ‘anna danam’ formed part of the festivities. Starting from ‘puja’ to the idol, every event in itself was special that used to attract attention of the masses. From the day of idol installation till the immersion on last day of the fete, the activity was hectic everywhere.
This year, the festival committees have failed to secure enough funding for the celebrations. Traders who formed chief donors for the celebrations are no longer in a position to part with money for want of business. Their downing shutters to participate in the Samaikyandhra struggle proved costly for them. As a result, unable to raise proper donations, many festival committees withdrew plans to erect the Ganesh pandals. Some enthusiastic youth groups who want to continue with the tradition of Chaviti Utsavalu, however, restricted the budget to a great extent. Now, they were thinking twice on spending of each rupee collected for festivities. They were even compromised on the size of the statues at many places.
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