• Aslam Abdullah

Kumbh Mela : From Elixir to Poison


The Samudra Manthana (churning of the ocean of milk) is one of the best-known episodes in the Hindu philosophy narrated in the Bhagavata Purana, in the Mahabharata, and Vishnu Purana. The Samudra Manthana explains the origin of Amrita (elixir immortality).

Haridwar, along with Ujjain, Nashik, and Allahabad) is one of four sites where the celestial carrier bird Garuda spilled drops of Amrit accidentally. The dip in Ganges water filled with a mythical elixir is a long-established Hindu tradition with the peak during Kumbh gathering celebrated every 12 years with millions of devotees worldwide. This year the Amrit has turned into poison as COVID-19 engulfs India at an unprecedented level. Millions of devotees have returned to their cities and villages, spreading the disease at a level that any testing cannot measure.

India was within sight of controlling the pandemic. But three measure events brought the deadly disease back: the Kumbh Mela, the festival of Holi, and the election rallies by the ruling party. More than 50 percent of the country's 80 percent of Hindus participated in these three mega-events without masks social distancing of vaccine endangering their and other communities' lives.

The ruling party leaders believe that an electoral victory is more important than the lives of millions as they lure the voters into rallies with no precaution.

The Hindu religious leaders view their mythology-based spiritual practices as superior to fight any divine law or natural calamity. They have faith in the Gangs dip, cow dung, and urine. They believe that the pandemic would not touch those who follow their dictates. India's Hindu bureaucracy, administration, police, army, and even the scientific community is in the grip of the mythology and not willing to check the disaster looking ahead for the country.

The murderous attitude of Hindu religious leaders has put the country and the world at risk. India is unable to cope with the aftermath of pandemics. In every town and village, death is chasing the people, and families find it hard to dispose of dead bodies. Even in these moments of disaster, the country's ruling elite promotes the campaign to spread the hatred against non-Hindus. In Gujarat, the leaders of the Hindu party, the BJP, recently objected to the presence of Muslims volunteering the cremation of Hindu dead bodies whose relatives had refused to touch them because of COVID-19.

The ruling elite and its backbone, the Hindu religious leaders, including the naked Sadhus, believe in Hindu supremacy to exclude all religious minorities. It considers Hindu mythology as a perfect way of life and promotes rituals such as the only way to attain reincarnation as a god and goddess.

The blind mass following on a religious leadership that promotes inequalities based on castes has posed dangers to human civilization in an unprecedented manner. Hindus are worldwide and, through their temples, promote inequality and hatred towards those who do not share their vision. During the pandemics, they have proven that they do not care for others or even their welfare. Kumbh Mela is an example of this attitude. It has now become a superspreader of pandemics in India. The Holi festival revived a dying pandemic in March, and the Kumbh Melas has added fuel to the fire. At one stage, India had almost contained the pandemics. But Holi led the surge, and now the country is recording quarter a million infected people daily officially. The number of unofficially infected people run in millions.

The world needs to note the murderous attitude of Hindu religious leadership that has deliberately put the lives of millions at risk.

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