”ATITHI DEVO BHAVA”: which means that a guest is akin to a god, is a Sanskrit verse, taken from an ancient Hindu scripture which became part of the ”code of conduct” for Indian society. India is extremely rich in its culture and tradition which traces its roots back to ancient Vedic stories. Stories in Vedas like the one where Lord Vishnu visited his devotee’s house ratify the foundational nature of the tradition deeply ingrained in Indian society.
The concept of treating our guests akin to god has been passed in our lives by the elder generations, but, with the passage of time, the intensity of this concept is showing a gradual decline in our society. Today’s younger generation is not able to pass on this tradition or concept to the forthcoming generations.
Let’s ask ourselves, how many of us do like guests at our home? Initially, few of us might like it but eventually, it starts seeming troublesome and amazingly, we start trying to figure out that ”when these guests will leave?”
With the passage of time, a great change has been noticed in human behaviour regarding their guests. And interestingly, this behavioural change has given rise to the two sides of the concept of ”ATITHI DEVO BHAVA”. The one side deals with the micro level attitude i.e, as individuals how do we treat our relatives or near and dear ones who are visiting our place. As discussed above, nowadays, very few of us like guests in our homes and very few of us like sharing our rooms and other stuff.
A film featuring Ajay Devgan, titled: Atithi tum kab jaoge?
The other side of it deals with the macro level attitude i.e, the behaviour of our government and nation towards foreign tourists visiting our country.
This value-laden verse: ”ATITHI DEVO BHAVA” has found its place in the tag line of Ministry of Tourism to improve the treatment of the foreign tourists coming in the country due to the popularity that India has gained in the recent times as a favourite destination. In the last few decades, the government has realised the immense potential of this sector and to a very great extent, we have been successful in translating this verse into economic dividends. Several pioneering initiatives like ”Atihi devobhava programme and Incredible India programme – a nationwide campaign has been introduced by Government of India that aims at sensitising key stakeholders towards tourists, through a process of training and orientation. The main endeavour was to boost tourism in India, which in turn is acting as a catalyst for India’s economic growth.
image source: Google
Travel & tourism is emerging as a major contributory in India’s GDP. According to the reports, India was ranked 7th among 184 countries in terms of travel & tourism’s total contribution to GDP in 2017. Travel & tourism is the third largest foreign exchange earner for our nation. As of 2017-18, 81.8 million people are employed in the tourism sector in India which is 12.38% of total employment in the country.
Each one of us knows that the figures reported, relating to Indian tourism are good but this can’t be considered as enough for the growth of this sector. India has still much more unutilised tourism capacities which need to be marked and explored in the near future. So, after analysing the efforts of government and the consequences of these efforts it can be said that, at the macro level, with each passing day, the verse ”ATITHI DEVO BHAVA” is gaining its real significance. But still, as individuals, we are loosening our roots and losing the true meaning of this concept which can prove to be sufficient to pour water over the government’s efforts.
Source: India Today
Source: Times of India
It has been seen that anti-social elements are bringing shame and disrepute by misbehaving with tourists. There are several ugly incidents which were reported recently by foreign nationals in India. A few months back, a twenty-five-year-old American tourist alleged rape and assault by five men in a five-star hotel of New Delhi. A 19-year old German tourist was raped by an unidentified auto driver in December 2015. Another case, was about MahmoodFarooqui, writer, artist and co-director of Oscar-nominated film Peepli Live who was convicted of raping a 35-year-old American Fulbright scholar from Columbia University while she was in India for a tour. With a rise in rape and assault cases that foreign tourists face in India, a fear psychosis has been created amongst them. These ugly incidents put question not only on our governance but also on the citizens of our nation.
So let us think and introspect ourselves for a while, that is really understanding the true meaning of ”ATITHI DEVO BHAVA”, and even if some of us are understanding, are we able to follow the meaning that our Vedas taught for this verse.
Hence, not for the god’s sake but for the sake of our nation, let’s try to adore this verse by truly adopting it in our lives.
AND LET’S NOT ONLY PREACH BUT ALSO PRACTICE ”ATITHI DEVOBHAVA !”.
The author just wants to present the scenario and not at all criticise the nation as a whole. The author is a proud Indian and is concerned about the situation.