India is currently witnessing a constant surge in the Covid-19 cases and looking at the steepness of the graph, the situation does not seem to get any better. The number of cases has been rising and the Covid-19 frontline warriors are exhausted with each passing day. Our country has recorded close to 3 lakhs cases in a day as of March 20, 2021. Although India has begun the vaccination program and has vaccinated almost 8% population with at least one dose, it is still far from vaccinating the majority of its population. Up until now people of 45 years of age and above were eligible for vaccination, but in the latest development, the Government of India has decided to vaccinate people 18 years and above from May 1, 2021.
India is seeing a tough time ahead and amidst all this scenario, important festivals like Chaitra Navratri which is one of the most auspicious festivals for the Hindu community, and Ramzan, a holy festival for Muslims which is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar during which devotees fast and pray is being celebrated across the country. Keeping in mind the current scenario, both the Hindu temples and the Islamic centre of India have issued certain guidelines and restrictions which are to be followed.
Several states such as Maharashtra which has seen the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the entire country witnessing close to 67K cases in the last 24 hours, Delhi with 28K fresh cases as on Tuesday seeing its highest spike in infections as well as death, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka and Odisha have also imposed certain restrictions to be followed. These states have put a limit to the number of people entering religious places and the guidelines such as wearing masks will be mandatory. A large gathering is banned. The government has also urged people to celebrate the festival by following social distancing, wearing masks, and using hand sanitizers. The government of Maharashtra has banned all religious, social, cultural, and political gatherings.
Recently, the Kumbh Mela was organized in Haridwar, Uttarakhand which includes four ‘Shahi Snan’ and nine ‘Ganga Snan’ the fourth ‘Shahi Snan’ was to be conducted on April 27. But since India has been hit with the second wave with fresh cases every day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter saying that he has spoken to the Swami Mahamandaleshwar, Swamin Adhveshanand, and requested to keep the ‘Shahi Snan’ symbolic at the Kumbh Mela.
आचार्य महामंडलेश्वर पूज्य स्वामी अवधेशानंद गिरि जी से आज फोन पर बात की। सभी संतों के स्वास्थ्य का हाल जाना। सभी संतगण प्रशासन को हर प्रकार का सहयोग कर रहे हैं। मैंने इसके लिए संत जगत का आभार व्यक्त किया।
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 17, 2021
Replying to his Tweet, Swami Adhveshanand replied that he respects the words of our Prime Minister and human lives matter the most and appealed to the Hindus to cooperate and keep the ‘Shahi Snan’ symbolic this year.
माननीय प्रधानमंत्री जी के आह्वान का हम सम्मान करते हैं ! जीवन की रक्षा महत पुण्य है।मेरा धर्म परायण जनता से आग्रह है कि कोविड की परिस्थितियों को देखते हुए भारी संख्या में स्नान के लिए न आएँ एवं नियमों का निर्वहन करें ! @narendramodi @AmitShah @TIRATHSRAWAT #KumbhMela2021 #कुम्भ https://t.co/dNjPPnDztQ
— Swami Avdheshanand (@AvdheshanandG) April 17, 2021
On April 15th the Panchayati Niranjani Akhada announced that Kumbh Mela will be concluded by April 17th. While taking to New 24, Ravindra Pujari Maharaj, informed that in the time of the pandemic, he has urged all the Sadhus from various parts of the country to return to their respective places. He also urged everyone to adhere to social distancing guidelines. He also clarified that they are not under any pressure and that this is just to ensure the well-being of people.
— News24 (@news24tvchannel) April 15, 2021
Despite the Kumbh Mela being cut short and the concluded-on 17th April, many people are blaming it for the rising Covid-19 cases. Sanjay Raut of Shiv Sena blamed the Uttarakhand government for permitting Kumbh Mela.
कोरोना पर शिवसेना नेता संजय राउत का बड़ा बयान. दूसरे राज्यों से आने वाले लोगों की वजह से बढ़े कोरोना केस.#MaskPehnoIndia #CoronavirusIndia #Corona #case #CoronaVaccine #SanjayRaut @gayatrisharma24 pic.twitter.com/eM6lQHAaR6
— News18 India (@News18India) April 13, 2021
Many people compared the Kumbh Mela gathering to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Markaz Nizamuddin last year during the early days of the pandemic. Although there is a clear contrast between the two gatherings, a comparison is being drawn between them.
It would be unfair if we keep on criticizing the Kumbh Mela and call it a super spreader, blame the rallies being undertaken by political leaders and then turn a blind eye on other gatherings such as Farmers’ protest, gatherings of people on the streets calling out Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati ji’s beheading by calling out slogans like “Sar Tan se Juda” and so on. How can one’s religion be a point of concern when it comes to blame for the surge in Covid-19 cases. It is a healthcare catastrophe. How can be one so hypocritical and outrage selectively? If you believe that Kumbh Mela and political rallies are responsible for the Covid-19 outburst, then all the other gatherings which are violating the Covid-19 guidelines are equally responsible for the spread of the virus.
India is going through a crucial and extremely tough phase right now. It is time that we keep aside our differences, stop the blame game, and come together as one nation to fight against the havoc this virus has created. It is important that we help each other rather than politicizing every other issue and arguing over who is responsible and who is not.
“It is important that we as a nation, come together despite our differences and spread a message of positivity and negate the virus with a collective effort.”
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