Saturday, 31 August 2013

Say no to peacock plumes next Krishna Janmashtami and no to water lilies coming Deepawali

A girl holds a peacok feather during Krishna Janmashtami festival
in Lalitpur near Kathmandu. (c) Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters 
I love Krishna Janmashtami, the birth celebrations of Lord Krishna. The only thing I detest is the devotees' love for the peacock plumes. I don't know whether Lord Krishna adorned his hair with a peacock plume or not. Or it was just an artist's imagination to beautify the portrait, it's still to be confirmed. However, almost all portraits of Krishna have a peacock feather stuck to his head band.

The fascination for the peacock plumes on the auspicious day brings traders selling the plumes at Krishna temples throughout Nepal. Imagine – only in the Kathmandu Valley there are hundreds of Krishna temples and at each temple there are at least two traders, each selling hundreds of plumes. If honestly calculated, the number of peacocks trapped and slaughtered for the plumes will cross thousands.

So is it worth buying a peacock feather on Lord Krishna's birthday? I would say a big NO to the feather sellers. Let's make sure that the peacocks stay safe in jungles and are not afraid of losing their lives for Krishna's birthday celebrations.   

Likewise, in Deepawali, similar is the fate of water lilies. The nook and crannies of marketplaces in major towns of Nepal are filled with water lilies. Water lilies are considered to be the best offering to Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth, in Deepawali (Laxmi Pooja in Nepal). Thus, to please the Goddess and amass wealth, people pay a fortune to buy the lilies. And the lily gatherers scour the ponds and ditches of lilies, not sparing even the buds.

Imagine – what will happen if the naturally growing lilies face extinction? Let's choose an alternative to offering water lilies to Goddess Laxmi this Deepawali and not devoid the ponds and ditches of their natural ornaments.

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