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Say NO to Kanya Poojan

Shubh Navratri Readers!

I am glad that I managed to draw your attention to this post, and that is precisely what the role of the misleading header was. Isn’t is true that these days we have been so exposed to and drawn towards negative and controversial news posts on the web that clicking on them has become a subconscious part of our daily routine? Aren’t we all in some way or the other feeding on controversy, sensation and negativity?

Anyhow! A debate on the consumption patterns of online readers is not the idea behind this piece of writing. Neither are the views expressed in anyway anti-Hinduism or anti-religion. I am writing today to help you reflect on some of the positive changes we can so quickly make to the socio-religious fabric of our nation.

I am an ardent devotee of “Maa Durga” on my own, so you can safely assume that my views and beliefs will always bring out the positive aspects of worship…well with some contemporary twists to the traditional ways to thinking may be. For me it always will be a YES to Kanya Poojan. How can I ever say a no when I firmly believe that it is one of the most beautiful rituals of the Hindu society?

So then why did I bring you to this page you are itching to ask, aren’t you? Well, let me quickly jump to the point before I lose your interest. This post is just an attempt to propose additional dimension to the “Kanya Poojan” ritual. A dimension that will add more relevance to the practice in the present day context and address one of the biggest problems in India.

On Astami and Navmi, twice every year during Navratri, Hindus in many parts of the country worship young girls who are believed to be the incarnations of Goddess Durga. As a part of the worship, the girls are offered Prasad, gifts and some token amount of money while the worshiper family seeks their blessings. While this in itself is a wonderful practice that honors girls as divine “Shakti; the current problems that our country is faced with demands that these little goddesses not just be honored as a form of “Shakti” but are also granted “Shakti” in as many ways. And I am sure you will agree, that in the modern world nothing defines “Shakti” better than the power of education.

Nothing beats education when it comes to making the girls more powerful and self-sufficient. So then, why can’t we as a society twist the ritual of “Kanya Poojan” a bit for the greater good of all? Why can’t we actively resolve to support girl child education on the auspicious occasion of Navratri every year? And see how grateful Maa Durga is…she gives us this opportunity not just once but twice in a year!

JUST IMAGINE, how big a societal problem we can solve year after year if we simply resolve to support a needy girl’s education every Navratri!!

Agreed, there are these sections in our society where the girl child’s dreams of education are suppressed at will. Infact, this truly is an irony…On one hand the Hindu Deity of Knowledge is a feminine figure – “Maa Saraswati”, while on the other hand, it is the girls in our country who are being deprived of the right to education. Until we find a way to change the mindset of the people who think this way, I am afraid we cannot do much. BUT this should not stop us from making the changes that we easily can. There definitely are parents who want their daughters to study but are crippled by poverty…why not address the needs of this set of people first?

I do not have ready facts and figures around the number of households that practice the “Kanya Poojan” ritual, but this number is definitely not small. Think of it…how many needy girls can be supported every year with this minor positive modification to the ritual? It definitely makes me super excited. After all, the idea behind the ritual is to get the blessings of those girls. I am not sure if the innocent girls who do not completely understand the significance of the ritual actually bless you when you offer them Prasad. But I am a confident that if you offer the needy girls the gift of education as Prasad they will definitely bless you in return, irrespective of their understanding of the ritual at that tender age. I have a feeling that Maa Durga would not mind this either.

Doesn’t this simple idea excite you as much as it excites me? Then what are you waiting for? Navratri begins today; plan your girl child education support now! Give the little goddesses the wings of “Shakti” they need. We can’t leave everything on the Modi government after all.  Let us do our bit to support the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Abhiyaan”.

Let me make things easy for you. If you cannot identify a needy girl child in your surroundings, here is a list of some credible NGOs you can generously support:

I am sure many other names can be added to the list above. So if you know of any NGO worthy of a mention, please leave a comment below.

As I close this post, let me make an earnest request – DO NOT share or like this post until you yourself act on this idea. A single act in the right direction is any day better than a thousand likes and shares. Likes and shares do not change the society, meaningful action does.

Jai Mata Di!

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