Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Temple Stampede Deaths- Where else will this happen?

Its heart-throbbing to note for the second time in a year, deaths in temple crowd stampede. People pushing and rushing to temples in India is not an uncommon sight, and as a frequent visitor to Lord Balaji hills in Tirumala Tirupathi in Andhra Pradesh, I am not unaware of the facts behind it. But its unfortunate that neither the government nor the people learn from the history.
Every time I go for Balaji Dharshan, I used to be highly cautious to put in all my energies not to lose my grip on the wall or on the barricade and not let the pushing crowds behind me fall on my child who is made to stand in front of me. The least I could do to ensure she is protected. What would happen if the control is lost, is someone makes a dirty strong push. Same thing.
Prayers and places of worship are said to be closer to heaven, but should not be passports to heaven directly. But it is happening time and again in our country.
Endowments revenue is said to be one of the important revenues to the governments, one side no bigger action is taken to restore the heritage, old temples, architectural marvel pieces that speak volumes about the age old traditions, history, glory of various time periods, technical competence and sculptural excellence, maintain the facilities or support the ever increasing devotees in all the famous places of worship. So much money is being given by people as donations and there is no proper accountability for all these. The temples are still in the same old ways where there is no proper lights, ventilation and space for people to move around. Those days temples mainly catered to smaller crowds who carried the big lantern lamps and follow a high amount of discipline and walked behind the kings and queens, scholars and artists and maintained the serenity. Today is world of hustle-bustle. People still want to continue worship, blessings on special occasions, but still have to manage the humdrum of the normal lives, making them run everywhere, buses, trains, markets and temples are no exceptions. I have seen people chanting slokas in trains, singing songs in buses, praying online. I am not an alien to this common sphere of life.
How to prevent such things in future:
People should understand places of worship is sacred and follow queues, silence and patience.
Government should bring in facilities to manage and maintain huge gathering.
All temples should come up with the proper emergency exits, lights, ventilation's and first aid medical facilities.
Restoration of the temples has to be happen with immediate due diligence to provide amenities to suit the current needs of the people
Endowments department of every state government should be made accountable to adhere to certain changed rules and regulations and not blindly follow what has been set Pre-Independence era.
When the whole world is heading towards change, technological advancement and when the world has other things to worry, it is frightening and sad to note that we have issues that take lives of our innocent people in the most unexpected ways. Let the places of worship not be the places of hell to the people who come there with faith, beliefs and sentiments. Government cannot change the perceptions of millions of followers of various faiths, the least they could do is to provide security, safety and approachability and in times of crisis, emergency exits, aids and medical facilities that can save lives quickly.
This do not stop with just protecting people, temples, but also applies to protecting churches and mosques where there are other types of communal issues that are threatening the people around! Government, Please wake up before it happens again!!!! The secular decorum of our Nation is now under jeopardy!!!

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