By S.T. Ravikumar
Mysore/Mysuru: With the second wave of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic causing untold havoc across the globe, with lakhs of people losing their lives and Mysuru being no exception to the deadly pandemic, dark clouds seems to be hovering around the conduct of the world famous Dasara in Mysuru this year too. Last year also, when the pandemic broke out, the Dasara was conducted in a simple and symbolic manner.
As the second wave of the pandemic is proving to be more deadly, the Government at present, is concentrating on keeping the pandemic in bay, for which it is using much of its resources.
Compounding the problem for Mysuru, which hosts the annual Dasara, is the high COVID test positivity rate, which has forced the Government to extend the current lockdown with no relaxations till July 5, when all other districts have got much relief from lockdown relaxations that will come into force from June 21.
This year, the Dasara, popularly known as the Naada Habba (State Festival), is scheduled to take place from Oct. 7 to 15. With less than four months to go for the all important grand event, there are no signs of either the Government or the District Administration making any start on the preparations and this is attributed to the prevalent COVID crisis, which is haunting the entire country. The District Administration, which is currently bothered about bringing down COVID positivity rate in Mysuru, which is the highest in the State, seems to be showing little interest in starting the Dasara preparations, as lives and livelihood matter more than anything else, with the second wave of the virus attack proving to be more fatal.
Simple and symbolic manner
With the second wave of the pandemic taking a high toll in the district, the Government is most likely to celebrate the Naada Habba in a simple and symbolic manner this year too just like last year, when the celebrations were limited to the city Palace.
However, as the State is facing one problem or the other every year, be it floods, drought or Corona, Dasara, which was a grandeur event since the times of the erstwhile Mysore Maharajas, seems to be gradually losing its splendour and gaiety with the passing of every year.
Last year, renowned Cardiologist and Director of Bengaluru’s Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences Dr. C.N. Manjunath, had inaugurated the Naada Habba atop Chamundi Hill on Oct. 17. Dasara procession was taken out on Oct. 26, with the popular Jumboo Savari restricted to just 270 mts. within the Palace premises. Jamboo Savari was inaugurated by CM B.S. Yediyurappa in the presence of District Minister S.T. Somashekar and other dignitaries.
S.T. Somashekar, who continues to be the District Minister, may get the opportunity of managing Dasara for the second straight time. As far as top officials of the district such as DC Dr. Bagadi Gautham, MCC Commissioner G. Lakshmikantha Reddy and ZP CEO A.M. Yogesh are concerned, this year will be their first experience of Dasara organisation.
No horse ride
However, Rukmini Madegowda, who was the Mayor until recently before she was disqualified by the Karnataka High Court on charges that she provided wrong facts about her assets during the filing of nomination papers for the MCC polls held in 2018, has lost the golden chance of riding a Horse during Dasara procession, which privilege the incumbent Mayor has as the first citizen of the city.
With no signs of any Dasara-2021 preparations as yet, DC Dr. Bagadi Gautham told Star of Mysore that the District Administration is yet to receive any directions from the Govt. on the start of preparations.
Pointing out that the Administration is too busy in keeping the rampaging COVID-19 in check, he said that the District Minister is currently engaged in COVID control and no discussions are so far held on Dasara. Asserting that COVID control is the topmost priority at present, he said that Dasara is about four months away and the District Administration will follow any directions, if and when issued by the Government.