Winter has come, many believe, to Mumbai. But actually what we feel now is not extreme cold that would warrant us to go under woolen or thermal clothing. It is cold, but of a pleasant kind.
The sultriness of weather is gone. We are not sweating. The days are bright, as there is breeze that keeps us refreshingly cool. The sun rises late but sets early.
So it is Hemant, not Shishir (Winter), in Mumbai.
I wonder when our students at school, and in turn we the general populace would wean off the colonial hang-over, to understand that unlike the Westerners we don’t need to have our streets to be full of dry autumn foliage for comparison, so that we can call this period, when our plants like Priyangu, Lodhra, and Lavly are flowering, a distinct season unique to only India, Hemant i.e. Pre-winter.
In fact, our local system of medicine, Ayurveda says that during this season our digestive capacity increases and the body needs heavy food. That is why during Diwali (which falls in this season), a lot of sugar, jaggery, and coconut items are consumed for health.
So we in India, as opposed to our western conditioning, have 6 ritus or Seasons.
Vasant – February 18 to April 20 (Indian Spring)
Grishma – April 21 to June 21 (Indian Summer)
Varsha – June 22 to August 23 (Monsoon)
Sharad – August 23 to October 23 (Indian Autumn)
Hemant – October 23 to December 21 (Indian Pre-Winter)
Shishir – December 21 to February 18 (Indian Winter)
To understand the Seasons and what kind of diet to eat, health measures to follow go to
In our quest for Secularism, we have sacrificed the wisdom of our ancestors, the wisdom necessary for a healthy mind and body to thrive in this land, our country.
I too want us to be Secular, for religion to stay separate from Administration. But we need to re-think about what Secularism in daily life and schools ought to be. Why our students are not taught the basics of our Seasons like the above? Is it because the Hindu calendar is the only way of keeping track of the seasons? Aren’t we throwing away the baby with the bath water? Do most of us even know that we have a national calendar which is not the Gregorian Calendar?
But more on Secularism, and Pseudo- Secularism, and Votebank Secularism, BJP brand Nationalist Secularism later, in another article.
Meanwhile, stay warm, and enjoy the sweets.
Happy Hemant!Read More