The Hindu religious festival (ritual) “Maha Kumbha” has started on 14th January 2013 in Allahabad, India. It is a 12 yearly event. About 1.1 crores of Hindu devotees are expected to take holy dip in Trveni Sangam in Allahabad. Hindus consider Trveni Sangam, the confluence of three rivers, viz Ganga, Yamuna and under-ground Saraswati, a very holy place.
Triveni Sangam is a vast shallow and utmost filthy water space to take a bath. Moreover the scientific evidences show that the ancient (and now non-existent) river Saraswati flew through western India and Pakistan and was far away from present day Allahabad.
But Hindu believers don’t give a damn about these facts and have been going to Allahabad for the holy dip. This reminds me of Aldus Huxley. He visited Vanaras (Kashi), India during nineteen thirties to observe the Hindu rituals during Solar Eclipse. He observed “It was said that the eclipse of Sun would be visible from Vaneras. But it needed more than the smoked glass to see it. The eye of faith was also indispensable; that alas we did not possess….”.
Human being cannot survive with out water. India has been a country of many rivers. Indus valley and Aryan civilisation of India was thus river based. This dependency on river water was reflected in the glorification of major rivers in ancient India. In Vedas and Puranas rivers were elevated to the status of Gods. The subsequent development of the ritual of holy dip in holy rivers (to wipe away the sins) possibly came to impose periodic social congregation with religious directive as enforcer. In such congregation, religious matters were discussed and propagated as a tool for social control.
Today we don’t need such bogus and unhealthy rituals in the name of religion. However, if by taking holy dip in filthy water, this large group of Hindus remains away from doing bad things for same days at least, there is some gain. The commercial aspect of “Maha Kumbha” is another positive side.