The Puri Rath Yatra whose origin dates back to as ancient as 810AD, first started by the then Gajapati Maharaja as directed by Adi Shankaracharya, is a mini Kumbhmela in itself where lakhs of devotees get a visual treat of the three chariots adorned by lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra. Although this year people have to satisfy themselves by watching it virtually via their screens.
Even in this hour of crisis, the highest echelon of justice, the Supreme Court of India was left with no choice but to revoke it’s previous decision and give permission in favor of the Rath Yatra; call it the Lord’s wish or the government’s liaison to honor the faith of the public.
As India is entering the peak of the pandemic, it is also facing very unique challenges in itself which no other country has to handle along with addressing this pandemic. With multiple religions and multiple faiths, secularism and diversity have made the government to walk on a tight rope while imposing curbs on large human gatherings because with a multi party political system it is becoming next to impossible to firmly put the foot down while refusing the permission to such religious congregations.
Not an atheist myself, I am a person who believes in the presence and the power of the divine yet would the Lord himself want this? He who always wishes first for the welfare of us humans would himself probably disagree.
Not just today’s verdict but look at the future ahead, be it mega congregations oriented religious dates such as the Dussehra festivities around the length and breadth of the country which is celebrated with such pomp and grandeur or the Mahakumbh Mela which is speculated to happen in Feb 2021 for which there again would be discussions, refusals, petetions and what not. Is the time of the highest authorities of justice and power in the country such as the Supreme Court of India and the government, being divided in looking into such not currently essential yet sensitive matters pertaining to religion and faith while they should be completely invested in handling the worst ever combined crisis of the pandemic and recession?
Does this mean it is time that the policy makers relook at policies of secular and religious freedom over Nation’s and people’s welfare?
Also with an already fast advancing world and in today’s ever changing and uncertain new normal scenario, what do the millenials have to say to this who comprise of 60% of the country’s population?
I reiterate, the supremacy of faith over the crisis of a pandemic which is costing human life and irreparable losses; doesn’t exactly sound like a balanced society when one looks at it practically.