Sabarimala tragedy – politicians and media insult Hindus

published on January 15, 2011

Yes, this is not the right time to filter out the rights, wrongs and other details of the various factors that have been causes of the catastrophe that befell the Ayyappa devotees on the Makarsankranti day at Pullumedu. Yet, certain facts are too compelling to be ignored or to be kept mum on.

As the day broke on 15th January 2011, the world came to know about the gruesome tragedy and our society, shedding apart all differences of religion, caste, creed and political affiliations, swung into rescue and relief operations – a noble gesture that illustrates our maturity.

All of us are witnesses to the yeoman’s service rendered by the police personnel, rescue workers from all walks of life and other government officials. This author bows down to them on this poignant occasion.

While acknowledging utmost sincerity and respect for humanitarian values on the part of the rescue and relief team, it is wrong to turn a blind eye on the ubiquitous vote-hungry politician. As reports of death toll poured in, we were also subjected to accusations, counteraccusations and explanations by sundry politicos. The leader of the opposition in the state assembly, who had embarked on a certain ‘yatra’, stopped it midway and rushed to Pullumedu with a number of demands and accusations against the state government. Even a second standard student knows it is comfortable for an opposition leader to demand huge compensatory amounts for tragedy victims because the daunting task of managing funds and budgetary allocations is the headache of the government. Though some of the charges levelled by the politicians are genuine, coming as they are from these politicos who would go to any extent to cling onto power, people baulk at their temerity.

Fishing in troubled waters is the politician’s wont – they would do it always. However, the statements and expected arrival of Rahul Gandhi to the site of tragedy is too much. Of late, the scion of the Gandhi dynasty has been getting rude reception at many places. People have begun to see through his grand designs, be it poor villagers in the north Indian states or people in other parts of the country. At a few places he got bitter reactions from people. Understandably, his mom and his masters have advised the ambitious young politician not to lose heart and keep himself steadfast on the trail of the gullible Indian voter. And so we have the Malayalam media screaming out news about Rahul Gandhi’s arrival to Pullumedu. The media is actually doing a disservice to the people by providing undue coverage to such cheap political gimmicks.

Tragedies are not new to Sabarimala pilgrimage. It begins from 1940s when some vested interests burnt down the temple. In recent history, in 1999, there had been some mishaps where dozens of devotees lost their lives. What is disturbing is the fact that successive governments don’t have a long term policy with regard to the problems of Sabarimala. The governments’ approach has always been piecemeal and successive governments view Sabarimala temple as a milchy cow rather than a responsibility to the people.

As people from neighbouring states pointed out rightly, the state government should provide better infrastructure and facilities to Sabarimala and all places associated with the pilgrimage or else we may have to face the unpleasant reality of tragedies in future as well.

This author can be contacted at [email protected]

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