When will worshippers open their eyes? Deaths at Kumbh Mela raise questions

Published: February 19, 2013

GURPREET SINGH
RADIO INDIA

Kumbh Mela

Relatives of people who died in a stampede while returning home from the Kumbh Mela festival sit among the corpses of their relatives at the train station in Allahabad, India on Feb. 10, 2013. Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images

If the deaths of over 30 pilgrims returning from the so-called “holy dip’’ in India have failed to shake the blind faith of worshippers, perhaps it might take many more deaths and centuries to end this madness.

Kumbh Mela, a festival of ascetics near Allahabad, India, has remained popular among orthodox Hindus for many years and has continued to attract crowds from different parts of the world. Even those blinded by spirituality in the western world make it a point to attend.

This year’s Kumbh Mela witnessed more than 30 pilgrims dying in a stampede at Allahabad railway station and many of tents burnt because of fires in separate incidents. While the authorities have rightly ordered a probe into the circumstances that led to the tragedy, those indulging in blind faith over supremacy of god should also look hard at themselves.

If participating in Kumbh Mela is a divine duty how come the god, who is supposedly the most powerful and kind being, could not prevent an accident that claimed the lives of pilgrims who took a “holy dip’’ to either please him or to wash away their sins? It is often said that even a leaf does not move without god’s will, then why we should not put the blame where it belongs? Instead of questioning this blind faith and the existence of god, some would rather argue that the victims were fortunate to die while returning from a holy act. What a hypocritical way of protecting someone unseen?

That this madness will still continue even in the face of this tragedy is not surprising as this was not the first time that pilgrims have died while performing a holy act. Stampede is the most common cause of death for devotees who gather in the thousands during pilgrimages. The madness and rush to be the first one to offer reverence further contributes to stampede. People have also died in road mishaps and fires either during their pilgrimages or while heading to or retuning from them. Even the followers of the most modern religions, like Sikhism, are not free from this weakness. People outside India might assume that it has to do with collective religious attitudes of the Indian society, but they should need to know that atheism and free thought have also prevailed during the ancient Indian civilization.

Each incident demands some fair questions: whether god exists for example, or whether god is a sadist for taking the lives of his own followers? It’s a shame Indian society continues to enjoy the benefits of science and technology, yet it has not grown enough to break itself free from the shackles of religious beliefs.


Tags:





Featured

Pakistan

Pakistani girl gunned down by uncle over loud music

VANCOUVER DESI A 16-year-old girl from Pakistan is dead after she was gunned down by her uncle for refusing to turn down loud music, according…
Continue Reading »

desi hiker

This is the picture a South Asian hiker took of a 135-kg black bear. A few minutes later, it killed him

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS A New Jersey hiker killed by a bear in September took a series of photos of the animal with his cellphone before…
Continue Reading »

Badaun suicide

Indian investigators say two sisters found hanging from a tree were not murdered or gang raped

HINDUSTAN TIMES The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has concluded after a five-month probe that the two teenaged Badaun cousins had committed suicide, putting to…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

domestic violence South Asian Surrey

Alex Sangha: Five step plan to curb domestic violence in the South Asian community

ALEX SANGHA SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI There have been a number of high profile murders in the South Asian community in Surrey over the years. …
Continue Reading »

Surrey crash-desi

Surrey crash victim’s son says deporting parolee would ‘send a message’

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW SURREY — A Surrey man who killed an elderly man when he smashed his brother’s Corvette into a Surrey bus shelter…
Continue Reading »

Islamophobia

Stereotyping is alive and well when it comes to Muslim and Sikh religious symbols in Canada

GORDON MCINTYRE VANCOUVER DESI One-third of British Columbians believe radicalized people live among us, according to a poll commissioned by The Province. The survey of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

10413566DESI

University confessions Facebook pages can show the hardships of college life in B.C. (w/video)

NICK EAGLAND VANCOUVER DESI “Today I decided that I would start studying for finals,” an anonymous student wrote to the UBC Confessions Facebook page on…
Continue Reading »

terrorism

Dharm Makwana: Presumed guilty until you miss your flight

  DHARM MAKWANA VANCOUVER DESI By the end of the ordeal my wife was on the verge of tears. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection…
Continue Reading »

suffer in silence

Help for Victims of Sexual Abuse

NIRMALA RANIGA VANCOUVER DESI The reasons for not reporting incidents of sexual abuse or harassment are many and varied. Recently, we have addressed some of…
Continue Reading »

cricket-terrorism-Belgium

Pakistani cricketer labeled terrorist for carrying bat on public transport, deported from Belgium

VANCOUVER DESI A young Pakistani cricketer and his family have been forced out of Belgium after he was labeled a terrorist for carrying his cricket…
Continue Reading »

wild pets

Two “snake catchers” arrested in India for illegally keeping venomous pets

VANCOUVER DESI Two men in Southern India who are known as local “snake catchers” have been arrested and thrown in jail for illegally keeping venomous…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Junior Lata-Bollywood-song-music

Video of 11-year-old girl singing Bollywood song ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’ goes viral

VANCOUVER DESI A video of a 11-year-old Indian girl singing Lata Mangeshkar’s Bollywood song Satyam Shivam Sundaram has gone viral on social media and drawn…
Continue Reading »

sex video-Pakistan-Bollywood

Bollywood actress Veena Malik and her husband sentenced to 26 years in jail for blasphemy

IANS Dubai – Controversial Bollywood actress Veena Malik has expressed “shock” at a Pakistan court sentencing her and her husband, among others, to 26 years…
Continue Reading »

Desi sex

Bollywood’s Emraan Hashmi says he never refused to work with Canadian pornstar Sunny Leone (w/gallery)

IANS Mumbai – Emraan Hashmi denies that he refused to work with adult film star Sunny Leone for a special song in “Ungli”. In fact,…
Continue Reading »