In the olden days, people had values of culture, privacy, principles, and sentiments. Ethics and empathy remained the hallmarks of yesteryear. Honesty and hard work were held in high esteem in those days. Any shortcuts for making a living were rejected outright. The morality of a person received more appreciation than his outward appearance.
In the present modern world, people are growing mad of money, materials and competition. Getting money, power, and fame through the shortest means is considered to be ‘the Smartness.’ Consumerism and Competence are given much importance. The values of life and the dignities of personal life have been forgotten. One of the latest trends of exploitation is the commercialization of the peoples’ sentiments and emotions. A few illustrations will explain this dangerous development.
In India, during the Dussera festival that extends over 7 days, Dandya dance is performed as a cultural event. In order to popularize their brand and sell their stocks, many leading business houses and television channels run the sponsorship of this dance event. Of late, many people view this dance not as a cultural symbol, but as a way to getting fame and name. Similarly, Jallikkattu is a traditional sport held in Tamilnadu, India, to encourage the brave youth tame the fiery bulls.  However, the arrival of sponsors has led to the competition and rivalry among the owners of the bulls. Jewelry shops announce discount and other offers on the occasion of Akshya Tritiya which Hindus believe to be an auspicious day for purchasing the gold.
Around the world, love and relationships are commercialised through celebration of the Father, Mother, Brother and Sister Days. Special occasions like New Year Day and Festivals are no exception to such exploitation by the commercial establishments. The discounts and offers made by the businesses make the people buy the merchandise or participate in the festivities by incurring fresh debts and spending the saved money.
The main ill effects of the commercialization of the sentiments and beliefs are. 1) Cultural invasion occurs where the traditional systems and practices are deliberately twisted to promote business  2) Brain wash is carried out by the name of customs and practices to persuade the people to believe in the value of the merchandise sold 3) Level of savings has gone down 4) Debts are encouraged through the credit card and hire purchase routes, and 5) Social animosities like robbery, crimes, corruption, bribery, etc., crop up paralyzing the normal lives.
The impact of such commercializing the beautiful feelings and traditions of the masses cannot be accurately quantified and measured, but they need careful scrutiny for understanding the harm done to the society. Of late, in many countries, the administration and social groups have opposed the use of decadent Western culture in order to protect and cherish the traditions and culture of their native lands.
Mohan Thulasingam(Author Mohan Thulasingam is a Ex-Banker and can be contacted on tmohan0311@hotmail.com)

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