Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Sabarimala tragedy.....

The tragic incident that happened on the 14th of January has been analysed by the media as usual. Shock and condolences has been expressed perfunctorily by our political leaders and a pittance of solatium has been announced. The amount has become a standard nowadays - Rs.1 lakh for loss of life and Rs.50,000 for sustaining injury - how cheap is human life in India. So many reasons have been put forth for the tragedy and suggestions made.

But there is one thing I would like the Kerala government to do forthwith - Explain that there is nothing miraculous about the Makarajyothi or Makaravilakku in clear terms. The star that appears in the horizon is nothing but the bright star Sirius which would be visible for about two weeks around this time of the year and the other light is just the camphor being burnt in the adjacent hillock by the employees of the Kerala Electricity Board. So much for miracle. Maybe there would not be such a rush to witness it.

It is a crime for a government to let this go on and allow innocent lives to be lost. A stampede is an indicator of so many things that went wrong that day - poor planning, lack of co-ordination, nil crowd control, poor lighting, encroachments and so on. It happened once before in 1999 for whatever reason....it could happen again if no lessons are learnt. Administration cannot turn a blind eye saying it is a matter of 'religious faith' and gladly fill its coffers. Is it too much for a citizen to expect a 'pro active' government which would take this issue seriously, investigate it thoroughly and more importantly, apply it to other places where things could go horribly wrong in a similar way. The Puri Rath yatra and the Chithrai festival in Madurai Azhagar temple comes to mind.

Wikipedia has two entries - 1999 Sabarimala stampede; 2011 Sabarimala stampede. It is upto the government to ensure that there are no additions to that.

4 comments:

Sachidanand Mohanty said...

There was another stampede in 1999???
There are probably so many stampedes and such in India that it all becomes sort of a blur in my memory ... stampedes in or around temples, in railway stations, in Army recruitment camps, buses falling off cliffs in Himachal, boats drowning in Bihar, and on and on ...

ELANCHEZHIAN said...

As rightly pointed out by u the communist govt of Kerala is duty bound to demystify it - no use in announcing commissions and forgetting to implement

prema -just sharing my thoughts said...

The number of 'devout'devotees is increasing every year and thereby the amount of money that the Devaswom earns is also increasing during the peak season. The Govt. along with the Devaswom Board can atleast utilise a percentage of the earnings for infrastructure facilities, making available medical help in case of emergencies and a lot of other needful purposes. I am sure the good lord 'ayyappa'is not going to be offended by a few acts which will help the mere mortals.

Vijay said...

How will the govt. explain things to people in clear terms when it makes enormous profit out of people's ignorance?