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Government of India, and Kumbh Video Competition

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Yes, if after reading the headline you’re thinking of video competition to celebrate the ‘essence’ of Kumbh-2021 organised by the Government of India, you have hit the bull’s eye. And, if it is hard for you to believe above is the screengrab from the website. Courtesy to mygov.in.

Screengrab from the website, Courtesy mygov.in.

Firstly, the Kumbh Mela is a pilgrimage and a festival in hinduism. It is celebrated every four years, and maha-kumbh is celebrated every 12 years. This maha-kumbh mela is being organised in Haridwar, and will end towards the last week of April. The reasons for the celebration according to some historians dates back to Adi Shankar, but some debate the existence of Kumbh Mela until the 19th century. Anyhow, that is beside the point. 

The point is, India is a secular state. The early constituent assembly debates on the subject unanimously point out that the Indian state or civilisation has always been secular, and doesn’t want to become a theocratic state. The word secular wasn’t added in the preamble, but the constitution lays out rules for the state to not discriminate or promote a single religion. Even if that reason is not sufficient, then it is a pandemic. During the first wave of coronavirus, India witnessed an horrendous propaganda to ‘otherise’ tablighi jamaat, and through them the muslims. Flashy graphics, high octave music, voices, and continuous and manipulative debates every weapon in the arsenal was used to persuade you to believe that they are the super-spreader. 

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To an extent I do understand, it is not wise to impose restrictions now at the pilgrimage site. Simply there are way too many people to control. It can indeed lead to stampede, or worse. Basically, the government should have pre-planned. The situation in states like Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra etc. is horrifying to say the least, and such video competition presents an entirely different priority for the government. 

As I write this, India records 2.17 lakh cases in a day. The situation is much grimmer than it looks. The least you can expect, if not most, for at least the government to not promote such gatherings. Not because of hinduphobia, but because it is a pandemic which we’re dealing with.

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