Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Are pilgrimage places still that divine as we treat them?

Before starting this blog, I would like to apologize to all of my regular and sincere readers (although there are a few) to not have been able to write since a very long time. The tiring work schedule, after all, often limits us from doing something that we surely want to do from our heart! But I am writing this blog today to discuss with all of my readers, a travel experience to one of the most holy places of Maharashtra and also in India, Shirdi.

Shirdi is a very renowned place of pilgrimage in Maharashtra that has the presence of the God Sai Baba. Every day and round the year, lakhs and crores of pilgrims visit this holy place to seek blessings from Sai Baba for their future, new business and jobs, and a lot more. Some also come to thank God for obtaining something that they truly desired for. So, I have been to this much beloved place of people and pilgrims recently this weekend. Although watching Sai Baba and seeking his blessings was an incredible experience, there are a few disgusting things about such pilgrimage and holy places that have often come into light over the rece
nt years but were ignored somewhere and somehow.

What is the idea of people behind visiting these holy places? Of course, it is to seek the blessings of God and obtain peace in a holy and sacred temple as beloved as that off Shirdi. But are these places still the same what we consider to be? I know it was weekend when I visited the temple and also that summer vacations are still going on so the place is bound to be crowded. And I do not have any problem with the large crowd. Of course, my entire family was prepared to stand in a long queue and wait for our turn to come! But what followed next, in the line, was truly an annoying experience! It is often observed that these large places of pilgrimage such as Shirdi and even the popular Lalbaughcha Raja in Mumbai during Ganesh festival are visited by a number of celebrities and VIPs. And whenever these so called VIP people come for darshan at these sacred places, politics happens! Yes! The management would put the line of common men on hold and make them strand for hours together without even explaining or announcing the reason for the delay caused. And the same thing happened with us that day! As we walked in the line, suddenly the line was stopped for a long duration of 45 minutes. For this entire 45 minutes period, the line did not move forward an inch and no one knew what was the reason for the delay. Also, when the management knows that there are about lakhs of people stranded in the queue, the arrangement of water was far from where we were and we could not leave our line because of the barrier gates.

Within 45 minutes, the line began moving but only for a good 10 minutes duration. Later it was stopped again since it was time for aarti and the aarti continued for nearly half an hour. After having done with this, when people were already frustrated and sweating like hell, panting and looking for water, the line was once again halted, this time too for no reason! And this again lasted for a good duration of 45-50 minutes. Some devotees also tried to ask the policemen present around to know the reason for the halting of the line but to no use. No one cared to announce the reason. And why would they? They very well know the love of people for God and that no matter how long you make them strand, they would still sta
nd with patience to visit and seek blessings of the beloved God! But is this what would give you peace and happiness? The real idea behind visiting these places is to get blessings from God, not to stand in a line for hours and that too for no reason! So helpless and idiotic we all felt about ourselves!

After some time, when the line continued and we finally reached the temple and saw God, everyone prayed from their heart right when they had just reached the entrance of the temple. As we were let go near the beautiful idol, it was not even a couple of seconds when we were literally pushed away and asked to leave by two women who were controlling the crowd in the temple. I mean, is this the way you ask someone to simply leave even without letting him stand in front of the idol for a single minute after having waited for the moment for hours together? I absolutely understand their concern too, if everyone is let to stand, there would be a large crowd in the temple and people wouldn't move! But then, there are some ethics on how you treat people! This has also been the case at Lalbaugcha Raha last year during Ganeshotsav when some of the volunteers of the mandal were arrested and detained for having misbehaved with devotees.

The problem with people is that they feel proud in standing in long queues to see their beloved God and the management takes advantage of this. It is my humble request to all the management teams of such holy and scared places: Please let people pray to God atleast for a couple of minutes and treat them like humans! After all, they wait for long hours for that moment! And do not let celebrities take blessings for more than 10 minutes; there are people waiting eagerly to sought blessings too and they might have already waited for long enough than you could imagine!