Rainbow India

Hi all,
This post would try to give a bit insight into the Rainbow gathering which was held in Haridwar and the comments in the mainstream media.

There were quite a few mainstream channels which were showing the Rainbow gathering which was being held in Rajaji National Park. You can see some of the results here and one of the news reports here.

Most of the mainstream media channels had been projecting the Rainbow gatherings and the Warriors as foreigners camping in an protected wildlife park, drinking, playing loud music and being nude.

Now while I don’t debate the fact that they are foreigners what I do object is the narrowest sense in which the media has been projecting them. The India I know stands for multi-culturism and liberty which has been missing. I would try to give a broader perspective as I know the culture quite a bit.

1. Nudity :- This is the most controversial one which is being shown. It shows lot of narrow-mindedness and a strict narrow view of our own ‘hinduism’ . If they are ‘bad’ so why don’t we equate the same to Naga Babas about whom we (the Indian public) are both scared and revere. Some of which are the benevolent Digambaras and the more exotic ones.

Another interesting point is some of our best known printers internationally have been those who painted nudes. For e.g. F.N. Souza

2. Drinking and/or Drugs :- Both of these are used in countless spiritual practices. The main thing to know though that usually as a rule even if they use drugs they use ‘natural drugs’ rather than chemical ones. Mushrooms and other sorts of hallucinogens for altering consciousness but all from nature. There is a long list of incidents and practices of the same in Hindu spirituality so wouldn’t waste time in giving links.

3. Loud music :- Again as a rule people usually sing, have a djembe (African drum) or didgeridoo (long pipe) or any other exotic musical instrument . To whatever little or much I have interacted with them I have never seen them use electronic music during the gathering. After the gathering winds down and people are in the city its a different deal altogether.

There are other pieces of the puzzle which should have also been expressed if the mainstream media was concerned about them. The Rainbow warriors are not environmental destructors but environmental protectors. They are more civic minded and try to lead as much a low carbon use life as possible. They were one of the first people to protest at the Nevada Test Site and have been parts of many green movements . They have also known to partner with Greenpeace and in fact quite of the original leaders of Greenpeace had been part of Rainbow . This book “EU enlargement and the environment: institutional change and environmental Policy in Central and Western Europe” by By JoAnn Carmin, Stacy D. VanDeveer is the latest book which shares a bit of their involvement . A slightly older reference book on the same subject would be “Environment and transition in the Czech republic” .

This is not to say they are without issues. Just like any anarchist group they have their own group dynamics which plays out in each gathering but they are far far off from ‘disturbing’ people as was being portrayed in popular mainstream media.

I wish we could respect and celebrate the differences and diversity rather than be controlling.

The last I know on the subject were they were forcibly evicted from the grounds. It would have been interesting to know if they would have done the same if the Sadhus would have been there doing the same thing .

Here is some info. on the Gatherings and a slightly more commercial twist to things. Please do note that there is a difference between the two communities as far as structure and some philosophies go.

Till later!


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