Know more about Narmada Kumbh

published on February 8, 2011

The basic idea behind this social kumbh was to bring closer that section of the Hindu society which lives in forests and hills far from the madding crowd and so called civilized world. But their seclusion has become bane for them as they are exposed to the vultures in the guise of service providing missionaries and trigger happy naxalites or insurgents. The pace at which these people are being converted to alien religion is amazing and alarming too. As Swami Vivekananda or Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar warned aboutr conversion of Hindus to alien religion, these converted forest-dwellers or hill-people were made to stand up against the Government of Independent Bharat in revolution at various crucial areas of our country. The alienation of these people from the Hindu society and apathy of the mainland dwellers towards them was also responsible to a great extent for them to get attracted to the Christian missionaries whose sole aim was to break the Hindu society and bring in the Empire of God.

But during the Sabari Kumbh of Dangs it was observed that these forest-dwellers and hill-people are still Hindu to the core of their hearts and they can be saved from being exploited for anti-national purposes by the missionaries. They still loved Lord Ram and Krishna; they still worshipped Mother Sabari and have great faith for Mother Nature and her creations. The experience of oneness that Sabari Kumbh gave to the organizers prompted them to organize yet another kumbh. And thus was born the idea of Ma Narmada Samajik Kumbh at Mandla in Madhya Pradesh.

This second kumbh in the series of social kumbh will be held from February 10 to 12, 2011 at Mandla, a small town nestled in the lap of Ma Narmada which flows encircling this township and boasts of rich cultural and historical heritage. Mandla is known for its association with Gond Queen Rani Durgavati who fought with the mighty Mughal Emperor Akabar’s army and gave a crushing defeat to them. The Gonds were never enslaved by the Mughals. It was during the British occupation of Bharat that they were made subjects of the British Empire.

During the Puranik literature Mandla finds mention as Mahishmati township which used to be the capital of mighty king Sahasrabahu. He once took Ravana captive and did not release him until Ravana’s father sage Pulastya came and sought his release. Later, during the Adi Sankareacharya’s period Mandla was known as town of learning as most learned scholar of that period Mandan Mishra and his equally learned wife Bharati lived here. Adi Sankaracharya had ‘sastrartha’ with both of them. From this debate and churning there evolved a new mantra of reinstating the lost glory to Hindu thought and life values and ethos.

At present, Mandla is home to various janjati people such as Gond, Baiga, Ponwar and Bhil etc. who live in seclusion and are vulnerable to conversion to Christianity and attacks of the Naxalites and Maoists. It needed the much awaited ‘milk and sugar’ approach to bring back these people into the cultural mainstream and what could be better option than to organize the social kumbh at the very place.

The Kumbh has three main objectives viz. to consolidate the faith of the people towards their Dharma, to instill a sense of strong patriotism and nationalism and to strengthen the feeling of social harmony along with development of the region. Mandla is relatively backward region that needs development of infrastructural facilities. It is rich in forest produce and minerals as well but lacks the infrastructure to utilize them in the most proper way. Thus, the people are poor, and the region is underdeveloped—the two aspects that breed violence and a sense of alienation. No wonder then the Naxalitesa nd Missionaries have taken advantage of such a situation to spread their network.

To manage the kumbh and its related activities a national level body called Maa Narmada Samajik Kumbh Ayojan Samiti has been formed and its organizational network has been extended at the village level in the regions adjacent to Narmada river. Participation of people from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, UP, Uttarkhand, Maharashtra, ,Gujarat, Goa, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and North-eastern states is expected. According to the organizers 25 to 30 lakh people are expected to participate in this biggest event of the present decade.

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