Sant Claus (of Indian Origin ?)

santa

Shobhaa De (in Matters India)

The autho Sobha De is an established writer, columnist, opinion shaper and social commentator, who is considered an authority on popular culture.)

Are there any doubts about the origin of the person known throughout the world as Santa Claus? If so, kindly refer to our Puranas. Better still, ask scholars like Dinanath Batra or the highly educated HRD Minister Smriti Irani, who had submitted a detailed and learned paper on the subject during her two-week crash course at Yale University.

Not only are there specific references to a sage with a snowy beard, clad in a bright red coat in our ancient texts, but if one examines the scriptures closely, it becomes abundantly clear that this gentleman also greeted followers with a sonorous ‘Ho Ho Ho’ and drove a sled in the Himalayas pulled by fleet-footed deer.

Besides, Sant Claus took an annual yatra to the plains during Diwali and gave generous gifts to his devoted bhakts. Children, in particular, loved Sant Claus and waited for him under the village Peepul tree which was decorated with colorful paper buntings.

Centuries later, Western copycats decided to steal our idea and claim it as their own. Which is how Santa Claus was born. This is nothing new to us these days. We are discovering for ourselves how the Wicked West continues to claim credit for our original scientific breakthroughs made millions of years ago- like organ transplants and missiles.

It is time for all right thinking patriots (oooops! touchy subject), to reclaim what rightfully belongs to us. Pretty much EVERYTHING!

Even though I am not a student in a Kendriya Vidyalaya, I am a keen student of our Great Indian Culture. In order to respect the sentiments of our beloved HRD Minister, I am sacrificing a public holiday on 25th December this year, to stay put writing an essay on Shri A.B. Vajpayee – the Grand Old Man who has been sadly neglected by his own political parivaar, but remains a revered neta for millions of his countrymen. I will also attempt two more essays – one, an (un) critical analysis of Madan Mohan Malaviya, and the other on Good Governance (of which there is an abundance, ever since Narendrabhai took charge of the country).

Please note: There is no coercion of any kind involved. I am doing this of my own free will, as a proud citizen who realizes the significance of “Good Governance Day” and has no problems with the fact that it now coincides with what is globally identified as X’Mas Day. If only we had had well informed and evolved ministers like Smriti Irani in the past, we would not have wasted our time celebrating a festival called X’Mas… and believing in Santa Claus.

I want to thank Smriti Irani for showing me the path and making me acknowledge my grave error. Henceforth, 25th December at our home will be marked by a solemn, satvik celebration of all that is superior and uplifting about our values and culture. No more attending midnight mass at the historic Afghan Church in Colaba or at Mount Mary’s Church in Bandra. Forget carol-singing and making merry.

We will focus on making the festivities more ‘Meri’. Ji haan – there’s nothing more inspiring than reclaiming our roots, our hijacked heritage, our stolen icons. Goodbye also to mulled wine and X’Mas pudding. This year, I plan to serve chhaas, dhokla and theplas to friends. The only exchange that will take place will be of ideas, not gifts. Forget parties and dancing, And please! Totally forget hugging and kissing. No more smooching under the misletoe or decorating a X’Mas tree. Jingle bells? No way! Only temple bells. Remember, instead to water the Tulsi in your aangan at midnight and greet one another with a ‘namastey” only. This is our Bharatiya Sanskriti, and don’t you dare forget it! Or else….!!!

Achcha… but what do I say to my grand children when they ask about Santa? Maybe, I’ll just tell them to check with Smriti Irani…

(This article appeared in ndtv.com on December 18, 2014 under the “Opinion” section. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV and Matters India are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV or Matters India and NDTV and Matters India do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

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