By Kishor Cariappa
There are conflicting views emanating whether Madikeri Dasara next month should be a low-key affair or should be conducted with the usual pomp and grandeur. Kannada and Culture Minister Jayamala who visited Madikeri last week has added to the confusion by claiming Madikeri Dasara will be a grand affair this year too.
The truth is Kodagu is yet to recover from the floods and landslides which hit the district in the third week of August. Even though only a few places were affected, we as a society should stand behind the flood-affected displaced families in their time of need. Rehabilitation is going to be long drawn process which will need donations from individuals and corporates in addition to the government grants.
With an eye to win top prizes, committee members of 10 temples in Madikeri leave no stone unturned in their effort to raise funds for tableaux which cost a minimum of Rs 10 lakhs per tableaux and goes up to Rs 25 lakhs. The cost has been escalating over the years. They visit every household in Madikeri to collect the funds from residents for their Dasara activities. While it was the norm every year, this year calls for an exception due to the floods. There is no point wasting Rs 20 lakhs per tableaux on the Dasara night to win a trophy when many families have lost so much. The same amount (lakhs) can be donated to build houses for the displaced and make sure they lead a normal life very soon. Low key celebration is the need of the hour and no gods will be upset with the decision.
With Kodagu just recovering from the disaster, there is no point in having lakhs of tourists visit Madikeri during Dasara and proving a point about resilience. For some time, tourism can take a backseat. Even before the tourism boom, Kodagu has done well in all economic indicators among other districts in Karnataka.
It is time to be more thoughtful and help our fellow sisters and brothers in their time of grief. Kodagu can emerge stronger next year and get into to the grandeur mode in 2019. A low-key Dasara will not hurt anyone.
Let us donate to help the flood-affected.