Thane politicians host grand 'haldi kumkum' rituals

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 05 Maret 2013 | 22.23

THANE: The Maharastrian ritual of hosting a 'haldi-kumkum' has sparked competitive frenzy among political parties here with the better halves of corporators and MLAs trying to outdo one another in absurdity and the scale of the celebrations here.

Traditionally, haldikumkum has been a homely affair where married women invite a small groups of female friends, neighbours or relatives, and exchange turmeric and vermillion as a symbol of their married status. Usually, the host offers a glass of masala milk besides Seasame seed ladoos and a gift to the small gathering.

Political parties, however, have hijacked the celebrations clearly aimed to woo the voters. haldi kumkum is slowly turning out to be one grand celebration with special shamiana and decorated mandaps setup to accommodate anywhere between 100 to 1,000 women and the wives of political leaders hands out gifts to the women folk here.

The wife of a Shiv Sena corporator from Vartak Nagar gifted a kitchen tong to each of the 100-plus women who attended the Haldi Kumkum ceremony recently. The pakkad is a symbol of womanhood and is the most useful accessory for a housewife. However, that is not the only reason for deciding on a kitchen tong as a gift. In fact, it is a symbol of my firm grip over my constituents so that they do not slip away elsewhere,'' the politician, who insisted anonymity said.

Sena corporator Nandini Rajan Vichare's haldi kumkum recently was a star affair, as a Marathi sitcom actor was the chief guest at a ceremony attended by over 300 women here. Earlier Sena corporator, Parisha Sarnaik's multiple Haldi Kumkum events at Vartak Nagar is said to have attracted maximum women from the area with the hosts spending in lakhs for the gifts to be given to the women and erecting a special pandal.

With most women unwilling to participate in any political rally or function organized by a politician, the haldi kumkum tradition has been effectively put to use by the wives of politicians to reach out to the women of the house, who usually do not refuse an invitation for haldi kumkum.

In one case, the wife of a MNS leader from Vartak Nagar area has been on a spree organsing the Haldi Kumkums in each housing society in her husband's corporation ward. A representative of the corporator comes calling at the house of the society's secretary and asks him to put up a notice or make an announcement about the Haldi Kummum in their society premises. After the women assemble at the given time, the corporators wive arrives with her small coterie and after giving away gifts moves on to the other society.'' a local leader told TOI.

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