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

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

Malaysian MP Karpal Singh (C), pictured in this 2010 photo, has died in a car crash.  SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

Malaysian MP Karpal Singh dies in car crash

VANCOUVER DESI Malaysian MP Karpal Singh died in a car crash Thursday morning while travelling through the country’s western state of Perak, according to media…
Continue Reading »

pregnant wife

Daughter of murdered Surrey teacher gets over $500,000 compensation from father

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI The young daughter of a Surrey school teacher murdered by her husband has been awarded more than $500,000 in family compensation…
Continue Reading »

Vaisakhi Parade Surrey

Vaisakhi Parade: Values of Sikhism to wash over the streets of Surrey

VANCOUVER DESI The streets of Surrey will be filled with the colours, sounds and sights of Sikhism this Saturday as some 200,000 people are expected…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

pregnant wife

Daughter of murdered Surrey teacher gets over $500,000 compensation from father

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI The young daughter of a Surrey school teacher murdered by her husband has been awarded more than $500,000 in family compensation…
Continue Reading »

Desi Hockey Dad threat

‘It got quite graphic’: Hockey dad charged with threatening 10-year-old player on his son’s team

Burnaby Winter Club team had just lost a playoff game IAN AUSTIN THE PROVINCE A Burnaby Winter Club hockey dad appeared in North Vancouver court…
Continue Reading »

Vaisakhi Parade Surrey

Vaisakhi Parade: Values of Sikhism to wash over the streets of Surrey

VANCOUVER DESI The streets of Surrey will be filled with the colours, sounds and sights of Sikhism this Saturday as some 200,000 people are expected…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Desi Hockey Dad threat

‘It got quite graphic’: Hockey dad charged with threatening 10-year-old player on his son’s team

Burnaby Winter Club team had just lost a playoff game IAN AUSTIN THE PROVINCE A Burnaby Winter Club hockey dad appeared in North Vancouver court…
Continue Reading »

Surrey Vaisakhi Parade

The sheer awe of Amritsar

VANCOUVER DESI Amritsar, literally a Pool of Nectar, derives its name from Amrit Sarovar, the holy tank that surrounds the splendid Golden Temple. Guru Ramdas,…
Continue Reading »

Vaisakhi Parade Surrey

Vaisakhi recipes and the concept of free kitchens

VANCOUVER DESI Food, especially feeding others for free, is a central philosophy of Sikhism. Sikhs do not have many strict rules regarding food but many…
Continue Reading »

Muslim Surveillance Program

New York police ends Muslim surveillance program that sparked outrage

TOM HAYS And JAKE PEARSON THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK — The New York Police Department said Tuesday it has disbanded a special unit whose efforts to…
Continue Reading »

Selfies - inked finger-Twitter

Indian city bans selfies inside polling booths (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI The next selfie you snap could land you in jail – for Indian voters at least. According to Indian news publication the Bangalore…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Porn Queen-desi

2 States author listens to Sunny Leone’s Babydoll number to unwind

VANCOUVER DESI The author of  2 States – which has now been adapted into the Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor film – has an interesting…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood actress

Gallery: Bollywood celebrity shots this week

VANCOUVER DESI More and more Bollywood stars are sharing all the glitz and glamour of their lives with fans – a personal touch – the…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Bombay Velvet’ gets new release date

IANS Mumbai – Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap’s much awaited film “Bombay Velvet”, which was reportedly planned to be released on Christmas along with Aamir Khan’s “P.K.”,…
Continue Reading »