The Kumbh Mela is centred around faith, sacredness, spirituality, and holiness for each and every Hindu. A dip in the holy Ganga is still counted as an achievement for many, as was highlighted in the words of Uttarakhand’s Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) new recruit Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat. CM Rawat was recently in the headlines when he spoke about how ripped jeans were responsible for girls bearing the brunt of a conservative society wanting to maintain its decorum and decency. For him, organizing the Kumbh Mela seems to hold a higher priority than urging and ordering steps for containing the spread of COVID-19.
What about those saints and seers suddenly lacking clarity when it comes to taking basic precautions against this deadly mutating virus? Did we see any of them on our screens demonstrating the do’s and don’t’s of wearing masks and practicing social distancing? None of the guidelines was followed, except for openly flouting the rules and regulations, principally for the pride and purpose of faith.
The jury could have been out had it been for a religion other than the one preached and propagated by a majority of the country. Instead, people took to grilling and hounding the poor Tablighi Jamaat guys, who were name-called, shamed, shunned, and held responsible for committing something which they weren’t responsible for at all. As a result, within the public consciousness, they were accused of being culprits with regards to the sharp spike in COVID cases last April, with the lockdown in place.
Leaders and representatives struck a cautionary note with their gestures towards this sensitive subject, calling for calm and restraint, applying to everyone except for those leaning more towards the right of the political spectrum, extracting political mileage which would translate into electoral milestones, to the best of their capacities. However, for the average citizen, this is extremely irksome as they get nothing from a crisis that has only been unnecessarily protracted. This is something which neither Tirath Singh Rawat nor Yogi Adityanath would acknowledge or appreciate!