Cultural integrity and government apathy...Chhath in NCR saw it all
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Cultural integrity and government apathy...Chhath in NCR saw it all

In Dwarka people from different communities came together to observe the festival. On the other hand in East Delhi, several groups of devotees had to perform their rituals with filthy drain water.  

Cultural integrity and government apathy...Chhath in NCR saw it all

The Chhath Puja celebrations in Dwarka reiterated the unifying power of festivals. People from many states, where Chhath has almost no significance, have celebrated the festival and engaged in the rituals. For instance, people from Rajasthan, Punjab, South India and Uttarakhand were present on the ghats to express their solidarity with the festival. The puja was organised in Sector 11, Sector 15, Sector 8, Dada Dev Mela Ground, Dabri Road of Sector 2, Sector 14, Kakrola, Barat Vihar, Madhu Vihar, Sitapuri and some other places.

Yesterday, at the time of sunset people had offered fruits and sweets along with water of the holy Ganges to the setting sun. Today devotees shall offer their prayers with a concoction of raw milk and holy water.

One of the biggest celebrations in Dwarka was held at the DDA land (near the sports complex) in Sector 11 by Dwarka Chhath Puja Samiti. About 20 artificial Chhath Ghats were constructed here. Interestingly, these ghats were named after places in Bihar, which is essentially the state where Chhath Puja has a great social and religious importance. Local leaders, police officials and social workers of the area had joined the celebrations and expressed their sentiments and views.

Swapan Das, a resident of Sector 6 said, “I have been going to the Chhath Ghat for the last 10 years. I am a Bengali but have great faith in this puja.”

Another visitor to the puja ground, Madhuri Rawat Varshney from Uttrakhand said, “Through this festival, people are getting closer to the culture of Bihar.”

Speaking to City Spidey, Mayor of South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Kamaljeet Sehrawat who is also a resident of Sector 6 said, “Chhath reflects the cultural richness of our society. It is indeed a wonderful feeling for me to be present in the Chhath Ghats of my area.”

East Delhi was also throbbing with the pulse of the Chhath devotees. Hailing from Bihar and Eastern UP, these devotees had thronged the various ghats along the Yamuna to observe their rituals.

Incidentally, the state government has prepared around 500 ghats this year across the NCR for Chhath puja. However, these ghats suffer a quality difference. While some are cemented and have clean water, others are in the vicinity of dirty drains and have filthy water.

Also the civic authorities have not bothered to improve the condition of the existing sites of worship. For instance, every year, around 10,000 devotees living in parts of Noida and New Ashok Nagar come to perform Chhath Puja around a dirty Noida irrigation drain near the New Ashok Nagar Metro Station in East Delhi. Despite tall claims of improvement by the Delhi Government, East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) and local area municipal councilors the devotees (mostly women) who come here to observe the rituals have to contend with dirty polluted water.

Giriraj Singh, a member of Poorvanchal Chhath Puja Committee said, “Last year we were promised cemented ghats and clean water by the EDMC. However, none of the two things have been delivered.”