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

Published: February 19, 2013


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.



Police tape-Abbotsford-crime

Nanaimo teen knocked unconscious in random, unprovoked attack outside school

NANAIMO DAILY NEWS NANAIMO, B.C. — Police say a Nanaimo teen was attacked Wednesday morning by a stranger in an unprovoked assault outside Nanaimo District…
Continue Reading »

funniest person

Pakistani comedian among 5 finalists in world’s funniest person competition in Las Vegas

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS LOS ANGELES – An international search to find the world’s funniest person is moving to Las Vegas, where people will get to…
Continue Reading »

attack on Parliament Hill

Soldier, gunman who died in Ottawa rampage identified (w/photos, video) [updated]

ANDREW DUFFY OTTAWA CITIZEN Updates at 5:10 p.m. Soldier killed in War Memorial confirmed as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo Suspect, reportedly Canadian-born Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, killed in Centre Block shootout Police call situation…
Continue Reading »


Police tape-Abbotsford-crime

Nanaimo teen knocked unconscious in random, unprovoked attack outside school

NANAIMO DAILY NEWS NANAIMO, B.C. — Police say a Nanaimo teen was attacked Wednesday morning by a stranger in an unprovoked assault outside Nanaimo District…
Continue Reading »

Factbox: Canada’s past includes shooting at Quebec’s National Assembly in 1984

THE CANADIAN PRESS A gunman killed a soldier at the National War Memorial on Wednesday before being shot in Parliament Hill’s Center Block. Prime Minister…
Continue Reading »

Parliament hill

Narendra Modi condemns ‘extremely disturbing’ Ottawa shootout

IANS New Delhi – Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Wednesday’s shootout near the Canadian parliament in Ottawa as “extremely disturbing”. “News of the attack in…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...


Diwali celebrations in Vancouver and Surrey

DiwaliFest celebrates its 11th anniversary from Oct. 17 to 26 at various sites in Surrey and Vancouver. Diwali Celebration Friday, Oct. 24 at Firehall Centre…
Continue Reading »

Facebook photo showing Martin Rouleau

Canada is Losing the Values War

UJJAL DOSANJH SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI The dreaded happened in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, a quiet historic town in Quebec. Many years ago I stayed there for a…
Continue Reading »

Butter Chicken

Light up Diwali with this delicious dinner: Butter Chicken, Basmati Rice with Peas, Chickpea Masala and Gulab Jamun

Indian festival is a fine reason for a feast BAL ARNESON POSTMEDIA NEWS Diwali is India’s biggest festival. People light candles and divas (small Indian…
Continue Reading »


Vancouver’s ‘Spice Goddess’ Bal Arneson loves celebrating Diwali with friends and family

LOIS ABRAHAM THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO – Ever since she was a little girl in India, “Spice Goddess” host Bal Arneson has loved celebrating the…
Continue Reading »


Heartbreaking photos of two elephants electrocuted in India

IANS Siliguri – Two elephants, including a female, were electrocuted in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district Saturday, an official said. The tuskers were found in a…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Latest

Bollywood kiss

Bollywood’s king of kisses Emraan Hashmi refuses to dance with the queen of sex Sunny Leone

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood’s serial kisser Emraan Hashmi has refused to share screen space with porn star-turned Bollywood-actress Sunny Leone, Indian tabloid Mid-Day reported. Hashmi, who…
Continue Reading »

Jackie Chan

First India-China joint venture film starring Jackie Chan launched

HINDUSTAN TIMES Chinese action star Jackie Chan will star in the first Sino-India joint film production slated to go on the floors in the coming…
Continue Reading »


Saif Ali Khan poses with pants down

IANS New Delhi – Actor-producer Saif Ali Khan was caught and clicked with his pants down while shooting for his new film “Happy Ending”. As…
Continue Reading »