Thanks to social media, we feel the presence of every festival. With people working from home, the amount of “happy” wishes for any festival has gone up manifold. Today, we get wishes for so many “utsavs” we did not even know existed! Thank God we did not get wishes, telling us, “Happy Tika Utsav!”
So today, though all working from home, we are mentally feeling the spirit of Ugaadi and getting ready for Vishu and Tamil Puttand tomorrow. Before corona, we might not even have registered these but today, when we are looking for the minutest of reasons to feel happy and celebrate, the “happy new year” messages are good; post corona, festivals have become all about cooking and eating – we just need a pretext.
Today’s one message which got forwarded many times is the “Unity in Diversity” where it lists how various states celebrate this new year in their own way, with their own name. Many have chosen to call is “Hindu” new year but then that defeats the tag of “unity.”
It’s a new year in Kashmir too, known as Navreh; Ugadi in Karnataka; Baisakhi in Punjab; Gudipadva in Maharashtra; Cheti Chand in Sind and tomorrow, its New Year for Keralites as Vishu; Tamil Putthand in Tamil Nadu; Bohag in Assam; Pana Sankranti in Odisha and Pahela Boisakhi for West Bengal on the 15th.
And that makes us wonder – how come all celebrate at this time, irrespective of their geography?
And a closer look shows us very clearly that it has all got to do with the farm sector. If one carefully looks at all our festivals, which were celebrated much before the arrival of fiscal and British, they are all based on harvest season. It is only when the farmer has money that there are celebrations. There are no festivals during the sowing and toiling period as they seldom have time to celebrate and little money. That could also probably be one of the reasons why, we follow the 1st April to 31st March fiscal as the quarters track the agrarian cycle very well.
The Kharif cropping season is from July –October during the south-west monsoon and the Rabi cropping season is from October-March (winter). And the harvesting - Kharif crop is from September to October, while the Rabi crop is from February to April.
But then the reason why we have the fiscal is actually is a legacy left behind by the British. They followed the accounting period of April to March after they decided to adopt the Gregorian calendar system of accounting. It was the East India Company which first brought in this fiscal and once the British established their rule in India, naturally, all companies started following the same. Other “British colonies” which follow the same accounting year ending are South Africa, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Burma, Singapore and Canada also follow the same. There are some 33 countries around the world, which follow the same April to March fiscal.
Well, basically, it’s a new year today, tomorrow and day after. It’s a new fiscal too. Yet, the old virus remains between us, wreaking havoc. Maybe, the next year will be better and celebrations will be about food and lots of friends and relatives. Seems like a dream….