Friday, May 21, 2010

Lunacy, Lunar Calendar and the Buddha

It is a common perception that after Bihar was amputated in 2000 and the new state of Jharkhand was formed, the former was impoverished because of the loss of its mineral wealth and industries, which were located in the territory of its separated twin. I have a different take on this and I hope to prove my point if you have the patience to read on.

Today, Friday, the 21st of May 2010 has been declared a university holiday on account of Buddha Jayanti. With the advancement of knowledge and information, a school –going child shared this information with me:
Legend has it that Gautam Buddha was born on a full moon night in Baisakh according to the Hindu almanac that corresponds to the months of April or May in the Gregorian calendar. It was on this day that after attaining enlightenment and after preaching the five principles of life and the eight-fold path to truth, he transcended the mortal state. Thus Buddha Jayanti celebrates three important events in Buddha’s life: birth, nirvana or enlightenment and parinirvana or passing from the mortal state.

There is just one small glitch here. Today, Friday, the 21st of May 2010 is not poornima. According to the lunar calendar, Buddha's birth anniversary can't be today and neither can be the anniversary of the two other two events. QED. Hence the birthday cake for Lord Buddha ordered by the university will probably be cut without anything to celebrate. No blowing out the candles, no Happy Birthday to You, no applause, no return gifts, no nothing.

It brings me back to the story of loss. The greatest loss for Bihar after the bifurcation has been that the Mental Hospital has remained in Kanke, which is in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand. No institution for mental dysfunction is located in Bihar and while the development index of insanity has shown rare inflationary trends the opportunities for therapy are non- existent. As for quality higher education, so too for sanity, one has to be a part of the contemporary Bihari diaspora.

Incidentally, Buddha Jayanti is on the 27th of May. But we can take home a positive: if Patna University sneezes today, India catches a cold tomorrow. Like the French in Europe and Dunlop tyres in India, we are simply ahead. Or should we say SIMBLY AHEAD, as would my friend Ancelloti Nair Purandeswari from Kumarakom?

9 comments:

  1. Ha..ha...See the advantages of working in such a place: you are engaging your creative faculties! Why are you wishing for the Kanke Mental hospital? Read it the other way: Max. no. of people in Bihar are mentally challenged, few are normal; the normal need to be sent to a place where they can become like the mentally dysfunctional. Happy Buddha Purnima!(PU ishtyle)

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  2. Well said Sir. Perhaps the loss of mineral wealth can be compensated elsewhere but to make good for Kanke-is going to be a tough call. Having come back to Bihar after a good 18 years - I find myself totally at bay. I rue the day I opted for this transfer. Ashutosh

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  3. Perhaps the mental hospital shall be relocated somewhere near the legislative assembly, i guess.

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. For all we know there might be some method in this madness!A group of Charlies may just have been in need of a holiday!!

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  6. They don't need to declare a holiday to have a holiday.

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  7. this is really an amazing thing that the hindu almanac is so scientific.. we shuold have stuck to that.. by following the english calander all our celebrations are happening on wrong days.... we celebrate our birthdays on the wrong days... wedding anniversaries on wrong days... it is not only the birthday cake of buddha that is cut without having anythig to celebrate but all our cakes are cut without having anything to celebrate.... needs to be done something about it!

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  8. Smriti, you are becoming a diurnal deconstructionist.

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  9. learnt it all in the factory that produces lunatics! To say that I am not one starts another series of binaries: center/margin, lunatics/non-lunatics...why take the troubling of privileging one against the other....I am always happy if cutting of cakes gives me an extended weekend and who knows 27th may again be declared a holiday due to the Dalai lama's visit!

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