Regardless of how you define success, it takes effort to achieve it. Sincere, dedicated effort I mean. That too, if it is an event organized by a Government machinery, it takes that much more effort to make success a reality! Red-tapism, political interference, lack of immediate accountability, all such things prove an impediment for any ambitious program to become a reality in a government set up.
I am mentioning about this year’s Dasara festivities at Mysore. It had all the stumbling blocks, the confines of course.. Yet, the State sponsored festival, is an astounding success this year. Successful because, it was more of a people’s festival managed more efficiently.
Like any other year, well ahead of preparations of Dasara, a planned setup was put in place. The difference was sticking to that plan and execution. As part of preparations, there were loads of suggestions taken from the common man, senior citizen, former and present people’s representatives, literatterus, veteran journalists, and alike to make Dasara more colorful and distinctive not compromising on the traditional flavor. It was ensured that most of the sensible suggestions are implemented in true spirit. I am happier, that even after me relinquishing the position as District In-charge Minister of Mysore, my successor Mr.Ramadas has carried on with the spirit to a logical conclusion.
When I was given the responsibility to implement this year’s Dasara, I had my task cut out. My foremost desire was to make it more a people’s festival.. Simpler in approach, sophisticated in implementation. It was a journey; I took to Mysore by train too to garner some suggestions on improvising Dasara this time. Some of the firsts that added up to the fervor of the festivity this time are here.
- Uttarakhand is a State which hosts Kumbh mela. The mela has become more famous by its elegant administration. To a State with just a 15 million population, an approximate 80 million people had visited this year’s Kumbh mela sans any security lapse. No one commented about overbearing government administration. Fascinated, it prompted me to speak to the Chief Minister of that State, Mr.Ramesh Pokhriyal. I wanted a people friendly police for this Dasara at our own Mysore too. Uttarakhand administration was kind enough to send their DIG to share their experience with our police. Our police force deployed for Dasara festivities were given a thread bare training to be more generous and people friendly. Result; there were no security problems and no complaints from people too. In fact, Times of India wrote an exclusive story on this changed image of our Police.
- There was also DASARA THALI- a special menu for all those who visit hotels in Mysore during the festival time. Hotel associations were kind enough to provide sumptuous food at a very low price.
- We had put a blanket ban on the posters and the flexes in and around the place of celebration. This was well received.
- It was a conscious decision not to carry the pictures of any politician except the Chief Minister on all the posters, banners and buntings that are put up at the designated public places and those released to media. This was implemented in true spirit.
- ‘Kingdoms that ruled Karnataka’ was the theme that was decided for Tableus that were to be put for procession. It was decided well ahead of time. We had a video conference with all the District Administrations too and explained about this concept. When I watched them on TV’s yesterday, the scene was really colorful and attractive.
- Manaranjana Dasara was a new event organized this time which show cased some real good local talents too. Yuva Dasara was also a hit considering hundreds of youth actively participating in it.
- Balarama has been the cynosure of all eyes during the famous Dasara Procession. It was one of the longstanding demands that the 750 kg Ambari (howdah) need not be put on his back as early as two hours before the start of the march and make the poor animal to suffer. This was taken in right spirit. And this year Ambari was placed on Balarama just few minutes before the green signal and he was saved from the unnecessary torture.
- There were not many political speeches involved and importance was given to the events and their success.
Many such newer initiatives, more people friendly and lesser political influence were tried this time which really collaged well to bring more fame to our prized festival. Behind all this success, there was an effort which deserves appreciation. It was a commitment by the District administration, the Police force and political leaders, who co-operated by whole heartedly agreeing to the above said changes.
Although I was not involved in the final moments of this Dasara, the professional management of the show has given me a great satisfaction that reinstates people’s belief in the system. My heartfelt acknowledgments to all those who were part of this grand success!