Public Holiday

My Ma went to the bank yesterday, and found it closed. The security guard there knew it was a holiday, but didn't know why. Anyway, Ma came back and asked me why the bank was closed and I told her - it was Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's birthday.

This raised a question in my mind... what is the significance of celebrating holidays on birthdays of famous personalities? How many of us know who Dr. Ambedkar was beyond the title of "Father of Constitution" or the fact that he was from a low caste who defied all odds to achieve great academic success? Why Dr. Ambedkar alone? We celebrate so many birthdays of famous citizens of India by making it a holiday - M. K. Gandhi, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. Radhakrishnan, Subhash Chandra Bose, Rabindranath Tagore - some of them on a regional basis, but I really think we miss the point of celebrating the birthdays. We take it as another holiday for us to enjoy. Tell me honestly, what works for you better? A school giving holiday on Dr. Ambedkar's birthday, or a school having normal classes with the assembly time (or any other period) used for letting everyone know of his philosophies and vision? I don't remember gaining any additional knowledge about Mr. Gandhi from watching "Gandhi" year after year on DD during the time I was in school!

But no one protests in India because we don't believe in our right to work, it is rather the other way round - we just need an excuse to not-work! If we collectively believed in our right to work, we would not have bandhs and hartals as late as 2009! I am sure we can find better ways of doing things!

11 comments:

Kanchan said...

I share the same sentiments but have my doubts on whether everyone looks at their 'right to work' as a right in itself. As of now there seem to be more people believing in their 'right to a public holiday'.

~ ॐ ~ said...

I think there are two questions in your post...

1. about the off on a birthday

2. about the willingness to work


1. I am not sure if a holiday is a need, but then it kind of works out well for most people... I like the way holiday's work here in firangland. Most of them are on a Friday or a Monday and give people longer weekends... I am not sure most people/kids/children would like lectures on the philosophy of vision as we are currently so much tied up in what "is" and not what it "should" be... even I am doing the exact same thing here and unfortunately don't have a solution for it...

2. Willingness or no willingness, what misses in my opinion is the accountability... in most of the govt. offices, there is no accountability or turnaround times attached to things... the recent example being my mom's NOC for her Visa... it has taken almost 4 months and we still are waiting for some "babu" to sign the file when he feels like doing it... there is no way that he would be held accountable for the pain that anyone goes through because of his laid back I don't care attitude... and ditto is the situation all around... we just don't care... even here I am not sure what is the solution, though I am sure there is some...

Piggy Little said...

its a funny thing u know bohemian...my stats teacher in class xii told this story to us...abt some ppl from some foreign country who once came to india to study india's education system.

when they went bak and were asked to give their observation, they said that punctuality was a brilliant feature of the indian education system: they were mighty impressed by the fact that the "bell ringing" that separated the classes ALWAYS rang on time ;-)

u may be thinking what is the relevance of this here...but i feel its gen. reflective of our chalta hai attitude.

B. O'Hemian said...

@Kanchan
Precisely my point.

@Prashant
The only question was "off on birthday", willingness to work or the lack of it is the reason why no one does anything about it - as I see it. The babu culture even now, is shocking. I am going through that culture right now!

@Neha
Chalta to hai... par kab tak?

Reeta Skeeter said...

hmm very thought provoking post this..

Kanu said...

I apologize for I am not the one who would protest a holiday. To be honest it is a discomfort when you have your own set up and he banks act up...for you work irrespective of the day. Hell you work Sundays as well...

But school...every child enjoys a holiday man...right to work? Kids just wanna have fun!

I am said...

hmmm as a school kid, I think all I care about is a Holiday :) no homework, no teachers, only TV and Games...

:)

why, whom, and for what is NOT my responsibility but my parents/teachers :)

Butterfly said...

How come those cursed flowers have not appeared on your blog? They are blooming on everyone else's blogs...:-/

Anyway,of course, a holiday on the great men's birthdays works for me, otherwise, I would have to stand in the morning school assembly and listen to someone's learnt-by-heart speech about those men's achievements. What's the use of those speeches? No one listens. They just go on fidgeting and wait for the time when the speech will finally end. So, its loads better to stay at home. Only one occasion is an exception and that is Tagore's birthday because the speech is always followed by a function. Everyone watches that patiently and happily because it is not boring. :-)

Adisha Agarwal said...

I don't think I have anything to say about this... The kind of environment I work in... we follow neither the Indian Calendar, nor the client's (US / UK) calendar... Its everyday working for us except for the week offs... that too with on-call.. :(

B. O'Hemian said...

@Kanu, Tanu, Titli

So what is the benefit / significance of that school holiday?

@Adisha
I know what you are talking about.

Rohit Talwar said...

Oh I don't know about grave issues like school man, now if I think about it, it just means an off from work - and if it happens to be a Friday, I'd love to have many more birthdays marked on the calendar, please.