Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tragedy at Sabarimala: An example of sick secularism in India.

Sabarimala temple is one of the famous and well visited Hindu (pilgrim) temple in southern India. Every year more than 30 million people from the states of AP, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala make pilgrimage to this temple in a span of 45 days. Yesterday, in a tragic incident, which is waiting to happen, more than 100 devotees died. So called English media reported on this tragedy with trivialities like President and PM offering condolences-they have not forgotten to mention Sonia Gandhi, Kerala Govt.- main culprit- announcing Rs 5 Lakhs to families of deceased and some guesses on what caused the stampede.
One news paper (HT) reports:
Inept security, difficult terrain and poor infrastructure even a casual visitor can make out that tragedy, third in last 60 years, was waiting to happen..............Around two lakh pilgrims had assembled at Pulmedu (32 kms away from the hill shrine) on Friday evening, the last day of the pilgrimage.............Since the area is in midst of forests (Periyar Tiger Reserve) communication facilities weren't available, so it took more than two hours for the outside world to know about the tragedy. Add to the woes only two-dozen cops were there in Pulmedu to control the swelling pilgrims.
But in this age of communications, is temple being in a forest a valid reason for lack of communications? Two dozen cops for controlling and directing 2 lakh pilgrims assembled in one place? And then there is underdeveloped infrastructure.

Much of the media stops here because to dwell  further means stepping on to uncomfortable zone of reporting on true nature of secularism in this country.

This temple provides more than Rs 84 crores (according to 2007-8 records; source: here , at present it is estimated to be around Rs125 crores) through revenue; so this must be more than sufficient to develop excellent infrastructure facilities in the whole area including near the temple. But the revenue goes to state coffers through a body set up by the State Govt., Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which looks after temple and other related temples. TDB is in effect a part of Govt. and managed by political party in power. Temple does not have any authority to spend any money according to needs of temple and pilgrims visiting and for developing required infrastructure. Incoming ruling party spends the money for its ideological reasons but not according to requirements of Hindu devotees. This is what has happened in Kerala; abuse Hindu temples and distribute the revenue from these to Muslim Madrassas for attracting Muslim votes. But look at the part of same report from HT (Hindustan Times):
One of the most secular shrines (before entering the temple a devotee has to pay obeisance before a Muslim saint, believed to be a disciple of presiding deity Lord Ayyappa)........
It is reported that, here also Hindu devotees donate money to this Muslim shrine and this money goes to wakf board of Kerala over which state govt. does not have control.

But why should a secular Govt. should control Hindu temples and spend income they get it in the name of secularism? This does not stop Govt. from taking action against people if irregularities are found. The whole logic of secularism never took place in India properly; secularism is for Hindus but not religious minorities. It is worth to recall that the same thing happens in Tirumala-Tirupati-Devastanam Board-Temple at Tirumala is considered as richest in India- in Andhra Pradesh.

Of course, who can forget Rs 1000 crore Hindus annually pay towards Muslim making a pilgrimage to Mecca (Haj) and J&K Govt. imposing Jizya like taxes on Hindu pilgrims. Every thing goes in the name of secularism and to question these amounts to inviting wrath of seculars and liberals.

For further reading on the fraud at Sabarimala Temple read: SABARIMALA - STOP THIS LOOT AND DISCRIMINATION

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