It’s never easy to find yourself in a new country with unfamiliar people, but that’s the case for many Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain refugees who would like to stay in India. Home Minister Amit Shah wants them to know they will never have a place to stay in his country.
Shah said, “We will expel each one of them.”
This was in stark response to Chief Minister Banerjee who wants to allow the refugees to stay in India. “You will not be forced to leave India by the Centre,” he said. “Before NRC, we will bring Citizenship Amendment Bill, which will ensure these people get Indian citizenship.”
Banerjee provided land right to dozens of refugee colonies who are currently situated on government-provided plots. There are at least 237 colonies currently situated on private land, and the residents of those colonies need a place to go.
These events are transpiring during the Hindu festival of Dussehra, which some Jains are celebrating by burning a demon effigy in Monroeville. A 15-foot likeness of the demon king Ravan will be lit up using a string of fireworks affixed to its body.
Temple President Hitesh Mehta said, “All of the Hindu community comes here to celebrate.”
Jain participants have invited the general public to experience the festival as well in an effort to share common beliefs and practices — because most people don’t even know that the Jain religion exists.
Mehta said, “We plan and we fast and we worship. You are purifying the inner soul during those first nine days. On the 10th day the bad tendencies are removed.”
On that day, evil is purified through the symbolic burning of the effigy. This represents the moment in history when Ravan the kidnapper was killed by Rama, whose wife had been stolen by the demon.
If the celebration seems familiar, that’s because it bears striking similarities to the pagan week-long holiday that used to be celebrated in Ancient Rome, Saturnalia. During this festival, Roman citizens would eat and drink, and a period of general lawlessness ensued. Everyone would choose someone to engorge with food, drink, and sex, and then at the end of Saturnalia that person would be slaughtered (having been the symbolic embodiment of evil).
Saturnalia was eventually stolen and assimilated by Christians, who used the familiar holiday to capture some of the pagan blasphemers. Saturnalia eventually turned into Christmas!