Was it a man-made accident or a massacre? When a ‘man-made common sense’ said bursting firecrackers was dangerous when there were thousands of people around, what made those so-called custodians of Hinduism go ahead with the recipe of disaster?
Are temples failing to fulfill the very purpose they are built for – bringing your soul nearer to God?
The supposed journey of faith in life – from the ritualistic worship practices to the higher spiritual connects – are temples snapping the cord here by putting more emphasis on pomp and show, on materialism?
Shouldn’t temples be the places inspiring you to see that next step in your life when you don’t need a temple to be with God?
Over 30 crore deities are a way of life in Hinduism – giving easy access to faith – and the chance to transcend to that higher spiritual realm - but what about manipulations of faith like this – something that happened at Kollam’s Puttingal temple in Kerala?
If grand buildings and premises wouldn’t be there, would it deter devotees from visiting a temple? Suppose, if we had the ‘Dwarkamai’ as Sai Baba had left – preserved in its pristine form – would it make any difference? After all, that doesn’t prevent you from developing the dependent infrastructure with changing times.
High and mighty temples, aren’t they fundamentally flawed then – with practices like VIP queues, gender discrimination and multi-crore buildings – where you can find all but spirituality that a drenched soul desperately seeks?
This tendency to shower your power in any possible way – from gunshots in wedding processions – to sacrificing animals in temples – to displaying fireworks in weddings and in temples – isn’t it a social malaise?
And how deeply ingrained is this? Kerala chief minister Oomen Chandy said the government could not ban the practice of firecrackers exhibition in temples. Even after this massive tragedy, no strict action like putting a blanket ban on firecrackers/fireworks is expected from the all powerful Travancore Devaswom Board that manages over 1200 temples of kerala.
But the biggest, the most important question is, can state allows people like the temple priests or the people accountable for managing larger gathering that we see at religious events, to continue with their charade, with their whims and fancies of their perceived versions of ‘social might’?
PS: An annual ritual of firecrackers exhibition associated with the Puttingal Temple in Kerala’s Kollam district went horribly wrong after the huge stock of firecrackers stored in near vicinity of the temple and a densely populated area caught fire. The accident took 105 lives and the toll is expected to rise as many wounded are critically injured. Though the district administration didn’t allow the display of firecrackers, it is clear the government machinery didn’t take the matter seriously, something that allowed such a huge stockpile of dangerously inflammable material at a place where thousands were expected to gather. The government’s reluctance, at a time when Kerala is scheduled to elects its next government on May 16, would certainly have emboldened the Kollam temple administration to go ahead with its plan on firecrackers display.