Navratri is a nine-night period in the Hindu calendar dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga, the bestower of health and provider of security against the evil forces of the land.
An individual besieged with ill-health feels dejected and loses hope. He must get well so that he can earn and enjoy his life. Health is the most critical aspect of human development and this was revealed during the corona pandemic.
The ongoing pandemic had brought economies to a standstill. In every country several companies had to close their doors and workers were sent home. Governments had to implement strict curfews and other regulations to bring the pandemic under control. All other activities including entertainment and education had to be sacrificed to restore the health of the nation.
In addition to ill-health, criminal threats to our well-being and properties are setbacks to human development. For example, praedial larceny is a disincentive to production and cannot be ignored. In this scenario, it is the duty of the government to protect the interest of the farmers. If not done, our farmers would be left with no choice but to abandon the fields.
When hordes of invaders enter a country to plunder and loot, the government has a duty to resist. Over its long history India has been victims to invaders, looters and plunderers. If today India continues to flourish as a dharmic civilization it is only because of the heroic deeds of its brave sons and daughter like Rana Partap, Sivaji, Tegh Bahadoor, Guru Gobind Singh, Lakshmibai and a host of others.
History has taught that critical for development are strong security forces. The US is the most powerful country because it has taken care of its internal and external security. Without security a nation would always be vulnerable. India continues to be threatened daily by terrorists from some of the most backward countries in her neighborhood. Cross-border terrorism is a reality in Kashmir that the Modi government has to arrest if India has to realize its development goals.
The Balkan region-Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, etc.- of south-east Europe remained economically background because it had to contend with aggressive enemies at its gates. The expanding Ottoman empire occupied these regions of the world including the Caucasus and stifled their growth and development for centuries.
The world needs development -housing, education, food, health care, etc.- but so long as terrorism is a reality these development goals will remain elusive. It is therefore important that individuals, families, communities and nations strive to ensure that their security arrangements are fool proof.
When the demonic forces invaded heaven the gods and goddesses fled to save themselves. Helpless, they took refuge at the feet of Lord Brahma who advised them to merge their energies to create a powerful weapon to destroy the demons. That powerful weapon became manifested as Mother Durga.
The army and the police are the Shakti in a society. It represents the force of good to fight evil. Mother Durga went on to defeat the demon Mahishasura who was known for his magical and destructive powers. Mahishasura had the power to change the shape of his body at will, that is, assume any form he wished. In this way he was able to deceive the people. Finally, he was captured and destroyed by Mother Durga, thus, winning her the title “Mahishasuramardini” – Slayer of Mahishasura.
Food production is of paramount importance for the health and security of the nation. Without a vibrant agricultural industry, the nation’s security and health would be compromised. In our country, our farming community has an aging population. More so, our farmers continue to use traditional farming techniques. More incentives have to be provided to attract youths into the industry to introduce modern scientific farming techniques that would make production more efficient.
Food preparation and nutrition also need to be emphasized. The average household eats poorly. The meals are not balanced with all the nutrients in the proper proportions. Poor nutrition combined with lack of exercise contribute to a range of life-style diseases such as diabetes, high bloods pressure and other ailments that are plaguing the society.
Also, health and fitness need to be equally emphasized. Yoga and keep fit classes must be integrated into the activities of the mandir. Parent need to ensure that children are sent to the open savannah to engage in some physical activities.
Today, the demons are manifesting in poor health. Diabetes is the modern day Mahishasura that needs to be slain. The Hindu community is at a cross road. It needs to decide if it is going to walk the path of dharma or just surrender to the demons of bad habits.