Diwali's new gods - computers, laptops, mobiles
Come Diwali, and traders now have newer gods to pray to: computers, laptops, iPads and mobile phones.
Yes, the customary prayers to Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi still take the pride of place, but with changing times, Diwali puja has taken newer forms.
"Computers, mobiles and laptops have become the most integral part of business in India," B.C. Bhartia, national president of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), an apex body of the trading community, told IANS.
CAIT national secretary general Praveen Khandelwal agreed.
"In view of the rapid computerization, most traders across the country have changed their accounting system from the traditional "Bahi-Khata". So, for Diwali, traders will also be worshipping the modern business tools."
Earlier, for ages, the Indian trading community has used the "Bahi-Khata" accounting system. This was operated by the businessmen themselves or trusted book-keepers known as "Munimji" in northern India.
By and large, the "Bahi-Khata" system was written in Hindi or Mundi language. With the introduction of sales tax around 1950, ledgers, cash books and stock books came in.
In the 1970s, to comply with the taxation system, 'Munimjis' were replaced by modern accountants.
At the dawn of this century, computer-educated accountants replaced their earlier avatar.
Now, computers, laptops and mobiles are widely used by traders. The latest addition in this system is iPad.
A CAIT survey showed a year ago that although only 18-20 percent of traders in India have taken to computers, sooner or later almost everyone in the industry will.
The main puja on Diwali day organised by CAIT will take place this year too at its headquarters at Karol Bagh in the heart of Delhi.
There, elaborate vedic prayers will be offered to Lord Ganesha, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Hanuman too.
One trader answered: "We consider that prayers to Lord Hanuman can resolve any problem. Our biggest problem now is FDI (in retail trade). To resolve this, we will pray to (Lord) Hanuman."
(Brij Khandelwal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)