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Political Play
CA Dr Sunil Gupta
India's law and order takes a backseat during the festive season 26 July, 2014
If you haven't ever observed what the heading says, just visit the Delhi-Haridwar highway during the Kanwar Yatra, an annual pilgrimage of disciples of Lord Shiva. And those, who were spectators of what happened late night during Shab-e-barat, when thousands of bikers superseded the law in the name of communal celebration, know it all.
India, a country which is home to multiple religions and customs, is renowned for religious celebrations, be it the Ganesh Visarjan of Maharashtra, Durga Puja of Kolkata, or the Kumbh Mela of Haridwar and Allahabad. The rich heritage calls numerous travelers from around the world every year, yet the only area of pain is the stumbled law and order state during such times.

Three men on a single bike, and sometimes even four, travel the distance to fetch holy waters of Ganges River, which can later be offered to Lord Shiva. The Kanwar Yatra sponsors open contravention of law, which is allowed in the name of devotion towards the Almighty.

Every year, newspapers cover the instances of nuisance by the Kanwarias who are fearless of the police and binding laws of the land. Similar milieu can be observed at other ceremonies, which reveals how helpless our authorities are when rules are broken owing to religious beliefs. 

For instance, when the bikers were harassing the general public during the midnight of Shab-e-barat on the roads of the capital, the policemen did not dare to take any corrective actions.

Now, should we prefer putting an end to the celebrations, which have been the most sparkling jewel of our crown, or the show must go on in the same manner? For sure, the Kanwar Yatra, Shab-e-barat, and Durga Puja are the times when our spirits move closer to the Almighty, hence an end to celebrations would mean end of India’s and Indians’ exceptionality.

The second option too cannot serve any purpose in the light of what has been happening in the name of faith. The general public is not just the sole sufferer, the policemen and other officials also bear the burden of unwarranted freedom allowed during such periods. And the nuisance created by the group of devotees saves them owing to the fact that the group has no individuality.

Then, what can then be a workable solution?

The constitution of India renders supreme power to the law and prohibits any special perks to a particular cluster. Hence, rules, be it transport laws, civil laws, criminal laws, or the pollution laws, shall be accorded supreme place during all times.

Can you think of a time when motor vehicles without any authentic documents drive freely on Indian roads? Yes, during religious celebrations. The police and other authorities are assigned the task of easing the surroundings for the devotees, should also be delegated the power to curb any unlawful practice. Law shall treat all alike; and remember, the earlier we anticipate this concern, easier it would be to execute the plan of action.

Herein, the participants have to be all of us. Our customs and rituals are the roots of our very existence; however in no way do they support nuisance and unauthorized behavior. Plus, when a particular community rejoices any sacred ceremony, others in case they cannot be cooperative shall not be destructive.

The state governments, distinct legal departments, social and religious leaders, and such other stakeholders of the society need to play their all important part. Nothing can be expected unless a clear and tough message is disseminated in the public that rituals would not be allowed to supersede the law of the land and once the scene is set to welcome positive changes, believe me, our festivals and celebrations will become even more joyful and soothing.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
About The Author
A Chartered Accountant by profession and Director on the board of Punjab National Bank (PNB), General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC) and Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC). Dr. Sunil Gupta is working flawlessly for the economic and social prosperity of India.
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Naim Naqvi
I can still vividly recollect my childhood journey when the serene, spiritual barefoot groups of Kanwariya used to slog the uncomfortable country roads, chanting hymns and Mantras. Beautifully embellished bow-shaped balance would be perched on their shoulders. “Who’re they?” I asked my father. “They are the devotees of Lord Shiva and they are proceeding to Himalyas to fetch the Holy Water.” I looked into their eyes and then my eyes fixed at their bleeding feet. “Are they hurt ? Why their feet are bleeding?” I asked my father again. “They are undertaking this journey in faith and the cuts and abrasions are caused in course of incessant walk.” As a child I felt like saluting their passion and devotion. I asked my father if I could go with them. My father stopped the car near a group of devotees that were resting by the way side under a peepal tree. They were humble, good humored and were excuding with spiritulality. They all greeted us. My father shared some light moments with them and told them what I wanted. They greeted and promised to take me along with them the next time. The next time never happened but the sweet memory of the meeting etched in my mind for ever. I won’t make any comment as to what comes to my mind when I see the Kanwariya devotees these days. “Shab-e-barat” is the Holy Night of Prayers and NOT for the Motor Cycle Goonda Gardi. We have taken religion as a Joke. Prayers and the festivals are meant for internal cleaning of soul and not the gala of demonic acrobatics. In the name of religion we are cheating our souls. Government should not cower down and should deal with them as the law of the land requires as and when anyone tries to take advantage of religion to break the law.
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