ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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New Celebratory Sites For The Hindu Male

From Solemn Celebrations Marking India’s Freedom Movement, National Festivals Have Become Vulgar Sites To Celebrate The Hindu Male.

Contemporary India has been witnessing the growing presence of a new masculine identity that is pervasive, violent and intimidating to the “other,” be it a woman or a Dalit. This male self is visible on the streets, whether in the form of a mob turning violent, or as part of a religious procession, performing the male self in all its glory, or as part of film launch which often turns into a frenzy over the presence of a celebrity. Another potent site/space of masculine performativity are national festivals, celebrated over days, culminating on the streets, as a show of strength, sending out signals of the hegemonic structures of the nation through the Hindu male self.

Hindu religious festivals are no longer just ritualistic practices or appeasement of the gods, but are an integral component of the symbolic warfare initiated by the authoritarian leadership heading the nation state. Hindu temple festivals are conducted with elaborate spectacles bordering on vulgarity; even in a state like Kerala with a left led government helming the affairs, temple administration works along similar lines. Temples have emerged as prominent political spaces, no longer sacred spaces for quiet reflection or communion with higher powers. Temple festivals display a complex dynamics of power as public spaces—exclusively male spaces—with the presence of other genders being minimal or completely shadowed by the loud, arrogant male presence. The drumbeats, the air charged with energy, the loudness and the carnivalesque atmosphere define the nature of such festivals. The Hindu male performs an act of power and authority. The communal dimension of such festivals has indeed played a prominent role in defining the identity of the independent nation state for over a century.

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Updated On : 28th Nov, 2022
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