It was Gudhipadva on March 28. I received pleny of images of gudhi and wishes for the new year. What surprised me this year was the number of messages that said Hindu Navavarshachya Shubheccha. When did Gudhipadva become Hindu newyear? At best it is Marathi new year.
Gudhipadva is the first day of the first month (Chaitra) of the year, making it the new year's day. But this calendar is not The calendar of India or Hindus. To start with there are regions that follow the amant system and others that follow pournimant system. In north india the month ends with a pournima or a full moon day while is the south it ends with amavasya ie no moon day. This clearly makes the first day of month 15 days apart so how can we have the same new year's day?
Secondly, there are regions that follow a completely different calendar system other than the lunisolar calendar that we use in Kalanirnay for example. The Malyalam calendar is a solar calendar. First of each month is based on the movement of sun through the zodiac. When I started digging more I realized that there are other regions that follow a similar method. Read more details about different calendars in India here. I have not even started digging into conventions in different communities that start the year on different months.
People calling Gudhi Padva, hindu navavarsha or Hindu new year wipes out all these differences. These are not nuances. These are completely different practices.
I wondered where the 'Hindu nava varsha' nomenclature came from suddenly as I had not seen it before. Seems that RSS always referred to Gudhi Padva as Hindu nava varsha. I wonder if the copy paste and forward system of whatsapp made it so ubiquitous that it finally reached me. The question is whose new year is it then? Mostly Marathi upperclass hindus pretending that their practices are the practices of Hindus of all shapes and sizes.
You might think it is a small thing, it is just wording but for me it showcases homogenization of hinduism and what it means to be hindu. It is disturbing.