Kumbh Mela - How to stop this madness?
#1
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/02/11/wor...h-mela.xml

Any idea how to stop this madness? I am not talking about just improving safety but about stopping this silly idea of millions converging on one spot for a bath.

From the link.

Quote:Hindu lore says that when the Moon and Jupiter align, the Ganges and Yamuna are joined by a mystical river, the Saraswati, bearing the divine nectar of immortality.

Those who bathe in the conjoined waters are cleansed of their sins and given blessings that extend through several generations, Hindus say. Pilgrims make the trip not just for themselves but for their children and grandchildren.

WTF!

I am speechless.
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#2
(11-Feb-2013, 11:46 PM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: Any idea how to stop this madness? I am not talking about just improving safety but about stopping this silly idea of millions converging on one spot for a bath.

The humanitarian response shouldn't be contingent upon the cause of the congregation, a humanist response can place equal emphasis on both redressal and responsibility, a secular humanist response can question whether State redressal is owed when responsibility was private, and a Kemalist secular response can involve a suggestion of prohibitory orders of the Section 144 variety when religion encroaches upon public spaces. Each of these responses spans a range from the empathic to the interventionist, none of which are off the table from a Cultural Naturalist standpoint, a standpoint which may however be expected to be wary of the Kemalist approach or a militant atheist approach that insists on an unremitting maintenance of the socio-cultural critique on religion not making allowance for other considerations such as a humanitarian tragedy.

Since some realism is called for urgently, rather than hypothetical responses at the extremes of accommodation and prohibition, here are some things the commentariat and freethought advocates could do to begin with, as a Step Zero of sorts:

- Desist from dignifying a practice of dubious medieval origins as 'intangible heritage' to be preserved, from manufactured exultation over Guinness book entries and from premature self-congratulation about the State's crowd management. It would have been a telling and instructive comparison if a news feature were to compare the administration's preparations on a 'war footing' for pilgrim accommodation at this mela, with the scarcely livable conditions in refugee camps and displacee camps where the abdication of a State that is busy with mela event-management is painfully evident. However, media coverage of the jamboree has been almost of an exultant and cheerleading variety. As a telling aside, the coverage is not just indifferent but unmistakably sneering during the annual Chaithyabhoomi gathering. So for starters, the mainstream media can go easy on the cheerleading.

- Television debates at the very least could exact a price in terms of popularity and cultural capital from public figures who participate and endorse such mass gatherings. Despite Jawaharlal Nehru's advice to public figures to avoid participation in such melas way back in 1954, few lessons have been learnt and political participation has continued to exacerbate risks in such gathered during recent decades, notably during the 1992 Mahamaham stampede. As things stand, an innocuous cattle-class tweet seems to incur more cost in terms of lost popularity than atavist celebrity endorsements of the Kumbh Mela. Celebrities who count messages calling for safe cracker-bursting during Diwali as a discharge of social responsibility, would do well to examine how responsible it is to strain already burdened infrastructure during such events with VIP convoys and camera crews.

- It is understandable that constraints in terms of resources, personnel, time and audience attention-span mean that grassroots rationalist organization's programmes focus overwhelmingly on miracle exposure via debunking demos, leaving little time for raising risk-awareness about other miracle claims such as sin-cleansing baths. It is obvious that a lecture with slides with a history of shrine stampedes cannot pull crowds like a miracle-exposure which doubles up as a magic show does. It is reasonable to assume that the overwhelming majority of the most vulnerable pilgrims are not frequent visitors to the blogosphere where freethought articles can address the issue. An ancillary strategy for targeted outreach with mass appeal, about which it will be nice to see some coverage of previous and ongoing efforts, is the staging of street-plays as satellite events to miracle-exposure shows, which revolve around themes in the rationalist superstition-battling agenda besides godmen's parlour tricks.
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#3
Arvind, Thanks for that exhaustive and informative post. The thing about Chaithyabhoomi gathering is totally new to me. The double standards of the media and society is shameful.
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#4
(11-Feb-2013, 11:46 PM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: Any idea how to stop this madness? I am not talking about just improving safety but about stopping this silly idea of millions converging on one spot for a bath.

Do you wish to murder these Hindus in order to stop this "madness"?

Does the Kumbh Mela enrage you? Does such a practice of inadequacy summon bloodstain fury from you, that you may desire to suppress such a practice no matter the cost and no matter the course of action conducted in the process?

Are these Kumbh Mela-ers a curse upon this world? Are they more vicious than Jihadists that rape school children? Do you wish to murder these innocent Mela-ers that engage in a practice that doesn't physically harm you in any way whatsoever? Do you wish to destroy them?
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#5
(06-Jul-2013, 01:54 AM)TheInquirer Wrote: Do you wish to murder these Hindus in order to stop this "madness"?
... Do you wish to murder these innocent Mela-ers that engage in a practice that doesn't physically harm you in any way whatsoever? Do you wish to destroy them?

For anyone whose intent isn't flamebaiting, it should have been clear enough that the OP is motivated by a dismay of preventable loss of life. To misread such a conversation expressing concern over loss of life as some sort of 'call for extermination', is something that can arise only from malicious intent or rank stupidity or both if we choose to sheath Hanlon's razor for a second. It seems a reasonable accusation to level against those who cry foul of any criticism of pilgrimages like the Kumbh Mela, that they value their inherited dogma over human well-being even when presented with evidence of demonstrable harm the dogma causes. It also seems reasonable to assume that an apology is owed to the writer of the OP, for such deliberate misquoting and slanderous attribution of intent that wasn't at all conveyed. Regular participants in these forums will be aware that any call for violence against people is tolerated not even in jest, as is amply demonstrated in this instance.
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#6
TheInquirer-- enough. Nobody here is talking about killing Hindus except for you. We are only talking about irrational beliefs and practices. And we don't talk about Islam because most of us were raised as Hindus-- it's what we know best. Plus, there aren't many other people criticizing Hinduism. Please stop putting words in everyone's mouths. Captain Mandrake never said anything about killing Hindus, and neither did Arvind.
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