Thanks Cyndi for this insightful comment. Yes, I did want to distinguish between the personal and public sphere as far as celebration of religious festivals is concerned. I have my own ways of celebrating some of my Indian festivals, but that doesn't give me a right to make public statements regarding how rituals aren't important and how they are so regressive and all that.
And sadly, in India lately we are seeing so much of this kind of silly discourse. And almost all of it is reserved for things related to Hindu traditions and customs. India is perhaps the only country in the world where the religious majority is constantly made to feel ashamed of its practices, customs and traditions - so much colonial baggage is there behind this phenomenon. Under the guise of "secularism" so much minority appeasement goes on that it is mind-boggling, in a way such lopsided and distorted secularism is even built into Indian constitution.
So much needs to be changed if India truly wants to be a secular nation. But sadly, the task is rather difficult and so many social-political forces are aligned in a way that it may not be feasible in the near future. And now to top it all, we have the unstoppable force of commercialism and consumerism. What will be the future direction of Indian renaissance and decolonization - only time will tell.
I appreciate your stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Thanks much!