“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Murderous State







A most hypocritical, contemptible description about Kerala is ‘God’s own Country’. Time and again the state has proved that its natural beauty is a façade, an ironical joke; the people and their elected governments are as evil as they come. The latest incident that underlines this, is the accident that took the lives of more than 110 people at Sabarimala. While the usual blame-games and drama are being carried out with élan, while the whole issue will die within a week, shall we look at the root cause of the accident and how the entire people of a state stand accused of committing duplicity and mass murder?

A state sponsored hoax

The Makara vilakku, or Makara Jyothis that appears in the ‘sky’ at Sabari mala, is a hoax that has been perpetrated jointly by the 4 departments of Govt. of Kerala; the departments of Forests, Electricity, Devaswom and Police since decades. From the original story of ‘tribals’ lighting the light, the successive governments that has ruled Kerala has stood by and gave clandestine support to the hoax. About 25-30 years ago, a group of Rationalists went up the hill called ‘Ponnambalamedu’ and lit a dozen ‘Makara Jyothis’ simultaneously with the official one. All the Rationalists were caught and beaten up by the authorities. Since then security has been beefed up here; no body can enter the region without permission.

Seehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/bvinod/2662659159/sizes/m/in/photostream/

The picture shows the platform on which sacks of Camphor is dumped and lit. Wet jute cloth is flapped over the lit camphor twice or thrice to make it appear as twinkling star for the hundreds of thousands of believers who throng the temple area far below; among those were the devotees who were trampled to death a few days back.

Those who can read Malayalam, please see http://www.tattamangalam.com/images/makara-jyothi.JPG


I do not want to add anything. It is up to you, reader, to decide. Some of the friends with whom I discussed it, refuse to listen to me. ‘Don’t you believe in God?’ they ask me; ‘Don’t you believe in miracles?’ they ask me. Another set say – ‘Listen, Bala, just think of the earnings our people are getting! You cannot deny them that money!’

BLOOD MONEY. SHAME ON EVERY MALAYALEE FOR CHEATING HIS FELLOW COUNTRYMEN, THE POOR DEVOTEES FROM TAMILNADU, ANDHRA PRADESH AND KARNATAKA WHO ARE DUPED , DEFRAUDED AND FINALLY DEPRIVED OF THEIR LIVES.

The intellectuals are silent; the media is silent; the human right activists are silent. I hear their gurgle as they drink the blood of the dead devotees.

I look at the pictures of the dead in silence. May, if there is one, no God, forgive those in power who continue to allow the Makara vilakku to be lit.

********* Balachandran V, Trivandrum, 18.01.2011

36 comments:

  1. The anger in your writing is very obvious and understandable. I am a believer in God and I believe that God exists in each one of us. I don't agree with going to temples daily for a happier life or anything. But I do visit temples for the peace that it brings within me. But I wouldn't go struggling up to see a Divya Jyothi in between all the rush. Where is the peace there? Maybe Makara Jyothi is a hoax. It's a belief and there is nothing wrong in believing. Govt. is entirely responsible for this mishap, I totally agree.But it's not the belief that needs to be removed, it's the slackness in providing safety to the devotees who apparently bring in a lot of Govt. Revenue. Does the Devosom get to keep this money? No! Why is that BTW?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm sure almost all the people know it is a hoax. But people do get some kind of satisfaction in watching the makara vilakku, just as they watch say a Christmas Carol or just as a carnival.
    But the over importance which media gives for this incident is what is to be avoided and ofcourse media can pitch in to give the right picture icase if anyone is unaware.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Jyothi:"Maybe Makara Jyothi is a hoax. It's a belief and there is nothing wrong in believing."
    You see those dead, you see the evidence I have provided. Still, 'Maybe'?

    I have nothing against belief in God. But let us not make-believe.Read the post once again and reflect on it. If you do not feel anger, may your God help you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Sreejith: You ask those poor people who dump their life savings if they know that it is a hoax. I know there are people who set aside shares, savings for Lord Ayyappa.

    Carnival, did you say? Yes, a carnival in red blood. Look at the pictures in the newspapers, net, of the grieving. Ask them how fun the Carnival was!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Balan,

    If some one feigns blindness will you suggest treatment for blindness?
    Here is a piece of my most favourite thinker, Bertrand Russell, and also check this link for a abridged interview with him in 1959 towards his last days.

    unreasonablefaith.com/2009/12/30/bertrand-russell-on-god


    "There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dares not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not rational, he becomes furious when they are disputed".

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anger, frustration, helplessness.........

    Is there anything else to this? I bet most people know its a hoax. The Devaswom makes heck a lot of money through this.

    I spent my last January just 6 kms away from Sabarimala; I could witness so many devotees walking 100s of kms bare footed for the darshan. They save their part of earnings. Its really a shame!

    Who can live in peace with that blood money?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Who said that I am not angry? And I am not being insensitive at all. I saw all the footage of this on TV too. I cried and I closed my eyes in prayers to let their souls rest in peace. It is believed that Ayyapan takes care of all the devotees who come to visit him. Then where was HE when his devotees were dying there? Where is HE when people are dying of hunger, famine, drought, earthquakes and other natural calamities. How about when someone runs their jeep over people sleeping on the streets? Doesn't that anger you?

    I am not comparing this loss and reason behind it to anything. I totally understand the graveness of this. But blaming it on a belief is not right!

    ReplyDelete
  8. So sad , some one's father, brother, husband...110 lives. Why, why is it so hard to tell and accept truth? Makarajyothi is a state sponsored hoax. Period.

    ReplyDelete
  9. @Jyothi: "But blaming it on a belief is not right!" Which belief? That the Makara Vilakku is a miracle? Or that Gods take care of the needy? For the second, I am sure your Gods have some justification; that all the 110 who died, including children have done something wrong to deserve such a piteous death. Or how about having a 'Suddh Kalasa'? We can de-contaminate the temple and the paths. Or how about a 6-lane drive way through the Periyar Tiger Reserve straight to Sabarimalai? We can have a ringroad too. Anyway, The Lord Ayappan of the 21st century cannot ride a tiger anymore, for the reason that they are nearly extinct. He deserves nothing less than a Rolls Royce!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I guess that my comments on Jyothi's replies to this post should be aptly in this Blog and not mine.
    I did see Jyothi's reply to my comment on her opinion.
    I do acknowledge that you are anguished at the loss of life.But , Jyothi,still hoping and forcing yourself to believe a hoax , is for real ( I mean the Makara Jyothi) is questioning your very own intelligence. If not for this utter nonsense of Mahkara Jyothi, charade there was no reason for this uncontrolled surge of people. If believing is for peace of mind as you may call it, then some marijuana will take one to the heavens . And no stampede either.
    Think friend. I again ask you to remove your blinkers, do not make believe you are blind. Throw the crutch which is not a crutch but an intoxicant.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Anil - What blinkers are you talking about friend? My belief in God? Because that is one debate that is never going to end, until someone clearly answers all the unanswered questions of this universe. I believe in a super powerful almighty somewhere, and no amount Atheist talk will ever deter me away from that path. Humans are all weak minded. Until something happens to instill God's power in you, you wouldn't understand it. If people believe that visiting a certain deity has brought Good Luck and peace to their life, who are we to deny that belief!

    Don't compare Prayers to Marijuana. Its you who is being insensitive and naive here. What to tell someone, who doesn't know the difference between the two!

    @Balakrishnan - Highway, ring road, or rolls royce we all know that this "murderous state" can afford it at least from the revenue that this tourist attraction brings in. I heard just now that they are planning to convert it into a heritage site or something!

    Allengillum , no kind of development is acceptable in Kerala by the narrow minded mallus. But, they are ever ready to break down the culture and traditions of a state just to prove their Atheist point of view!

    ReplyDelete
  12. @Jyothi: The debate is not over belief in God, but about cheating generations of millions, through a crime that is punishable by law. The criminals here is the government and the public who supports this. Nobody questions your right to believe in God. Nobody is questioning the existence of God; all I ask is to raise the voice of your conscience against this fraud.

    "Anti-development narrow-minded Mallus" ? If development is painting the streets in blood, then I am anti-development. But you'd rather have tourist attractions and revenues, wouldn't you?

    Take care that none of your loved ones ever visit Sabarimalai for Makaravilakku. Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa!

    ReplyDelete
  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  14. @Balachandran - I will also keep my family away from Australia, since there was a flood and also because Indians are being attacked! I will keep them away from America, because they might think we r Muslims. I will keep them from flying because of the fear of Kandahar repeating. I will keep them away from the earth because there might be earthquakes anytime! I believe in finding solutions to problems and preventing it from happening again! Not bringing down millions of years of belief to prove a point.You want to make it seem like a street of wasted blood. I want to think of them as matyrs for a better tomorrow! What is fault finding going to get us! I am pro development. If there was development then they wouldn't need makeshift tents and dark roads to spend the night!
    "Swamiye Sharanam Aiyappa!"

    ReplyDelete
  15. @Jyothi: Thank you for your comments, Jyothi! It helped me to see and expose the extremes that the so-called believers can go. Belief is blind. Open your mind.

    Though your comments exposed one extreme stand on the issue, I am sad that youngsters like you refuse to apply rational thought and dare to question the wrongs. I do not think there is any parallel anywhere in the world for Makara Vilakku where a democratic government continue to dupe its people.

    I am sure your tears for the victims of the stampede was genuine sorrow. But when sorrow subsides, set aside your anger and blind belief ( not in God, but in the tamasha called Makara Vilakku) and reflect calmly on our discussion. When you have finished shedding tears for the dead, put yourself in the place of the families who lost their men and children and then- try to understand if this hoax should be allowed to continue.

    Don't take our dialogues as a personal affront. Be cool!

    ReplyDelete
  16. If there is no fear of the floods, earth quakes, terror attacks, hijackings, so on and so forth then dear friend Jyothi, why this running after a known hoax and trying to convince oneself that it is true. People do that and you seem to support it because of fear, fear of some unknown force which you apprehend will throw maledictions upon you because you ceased to believe or turned irreverent, to a hoax practised and perpetuated for centuries feeding on human gullibility.. It gets you know where.. Else, whole life will be wasted looking over the shoulders out fear of the unknown. And since it is not clear to knowledge ,it is a mystery and call it matter of faith?????
    What Balan meant is not to be taken literally. Take the spirit of what he meant. No one disputed your right or anybody else’s right to be a theist. That is one’s own volition
    Millions of years of belief and hence should be held on, you say. People believed since the advent of man that the earth was flat and was the centre of the universe. Would you believe it still - well do believe it because that belief was going on for centuries.

    ReplyDelete
  17. @Balachandran - I didn't take it personally at all when u told me to keep my family away from Shabharimala. :) I am cool. Way too cool actually. I am young but I am not blinded by faith! I was just speaking on behalf of all those so called brainless devotees who visit pilgrimages every year. And for the last time, I dont believe in Makara Jyothi. I only believe in God as a creater, preserver and destroyer. Not necessarily a Hindu one! Hum dost hai na? Inspire of this debate?

    @Anil - It was proved beyond any doubt that the earth is round. Can you go and prove beyond any doubt that this is a hoax? Get it printed on paper and distribute it in classrooms as lessons? It will take some time friend. How come this talk of a hoax suddenly? Because of the accident? Why wasn't this topic discussed so much before this? Or is there a link I can get to ur previous discussions on this. Maybe when there was an incident of a broken bridge or something? Every coin has two sides, it has a value only then. Nothing personal. Dost na? :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Jyothi; Happy to hear that. But please note that I did not call the devotees brainless; instead I said the criminality of the hoax should not go unnoticed and uncriticised. You have every right and reason to believe in God; but you should also have reasoning to distinguish right and wrong.

    You have asked Anil how come the hoax suddenly. May I say something on that? I visited Sabarmalai for the first time in 1964 as a boy 6. I continued to go there as a pilgrim for more than 18 years, till the early 80s. Since then, as an associate in nature conservation action, I have visited the area several times and have been witness to the terrible damage to that area.I have seen how the pilgrims are swindled by the commercial activity. I have participated in the discussion on Master plan development. I and many friends have voiced the opinion that Makaravilakku should be stopped. You would not remember, but nearly three decades ago, the matter had reached even the High Court but it was quashed. You ask why this was not discussed earlier? There are many more things that remains undiscussed. Only at the time of such mishaps one can react. Read my earlier post on Perumon. I came to know about the truth only recently.

    The most painful line in your earlier comment was that you see the dead as martyrs to development! I am sure you are aware of the Climate Change issue and many related environmental issues. The recent floods in Australia and in Leh are directly linked to Climate change. It is snowballing time now.

    Today I read in the newspapers that Rs.120 crores have been allocated for crowd management in Sabarimalai. Further development means the death knell for the sensitive mountainous range and its inhabitants and finally the people of Kerala as a whole. In the Mathrbhumi daily I read the opinions and suggestions of prominent personalities. None of them has mentioned anything about the hoax of Makara Jyothi.

    Your light sarcasm is unwarranted.
    We are not Dosts or friends, Jyothi. We are mere casual acquaintances in the blog world. Just fellow passengers, who can get in and leave at will. But this a place where we meet as strangers and remain friends. And friendship has evolved not because of agreeing over everything, but because of mutual respect and regard. However, it takes time.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oops! Sorry! I didn't mean any disrespect to anyone. I didnt know ur history on this. Was wondering why u didn't mention it in the post.

    I am not dying to be a dost either. At least not yet! Aren't we supposed to learn to control anger as we age! I was called naive and insensitive after my first comment! And thrashed by you too. Where is respect and regard there?

    I am here for a few comments to voice my opinions and yes anyone will respond to thrashing. I suggest you should place a banner on your blog that states "comment only if you are ready to boast my ego". Atleast when u write about current affairs like this!

    Nice making aquaintances with you two. Hope the High Court passes the bill this time. I for one will post an appreciation for whoever accomplishes it.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Phew..

    That was a powerful post and a long debate...

    For me , there is nothing to debate about. The evidence is right in front of our eyes , it is incredulous that people are refusing to see it. Moreover , i understand and empathize with your anger on the so called "communist" government's ploy to promote such idiocy.

    Faith is , and has always been a sensitive issue , for it falls into the territory marked "private" - a realm where logic is non-existent.

    And now , this phenomenon has led to the loss of so many lives..

    It is indeed time that all of us spoke up against this madness.. after all , little drops make an ocean..

    ReplyDelete
  21. @Jyothi: We are contemplating on filing a petition before the High Court. Yet, the forces of politics and money power are very strong. Hope you have read the link on the article by Gopakumar.

    If I allowed only those comments that 'boosted my ego', I don't think anybody would have cared to read my posts! You have all the freedom to speak your mind! :) I have never fixed comment moderation in my blog!

    I am sorry if my remarks seemed as 'thrashing' you. It was a reaction to certain views and not a thrashing.

    We may yet become friends; like I said, it takes time!:)

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  22. there are two sides here... conning people in the name of religion and people begging to be conned! its everywhere.. people have this insane attraction to witness miracles. for them a miracle is the only reason to believe in God. They followed Christ because of the miracles and forgot his teaching. They throng to see SAi baba generate ash and egg and what not dispite proofs of obvious fake tricks... but all the same. I do agree with you and believe that this matter should be publicised.

    ReplyDelete
  23. It is an obvious hoax.
    Its what people choose to believe in that matters. For most people there wont be any choice but to believe because that is what has been instilled in them since they were young. But there are people, like you said, who know what is hapening is false and still close their eyes and believe in it because they fear other people wont accept them. Such is a world we live in and there is little hope to change it. If not makara jyothi there will be something else for people to start believeing in.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Why not file under RTI act, a request for information on
    1. Makarajyothis and
    2. Why people and vehicles seem to have full access into a protected forest?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Jyothi’s comment “bloated ego”. That is indeed naive. And it is because such comments came forth from you – millions of years of belief, floods in Australia, terrorism, skyjacking, and development etc that it could only elicit one observation “naive”. The word means, inexperienced or lacking the required experience, be it of life or matters. I,( and I also vouch for Balan), do not dispute your right to air your opinion, though we may disagree. And this forum is a discussion forum and not for jamboree of friendship.
    The very reason that there was such animated opinions and arguments from you on this canard of “ Makara Jyothi” in itself tells that you are not aware and lacks knowledge of the matter.
    Mentioning about the status of the planet -my question was that, if faith and belief of years are to be not disputed and are sacrosanct, then for centuries, and since the dawn of man people believed the earth was flat and the other planets and stars moved around it, they believed that lightning and thunder was either the angry expressions of Gods or the rumbling of their chariots- then taking by the same logic you have, even if there is clear proof to the contrary one should not deny that faith , is that not so ?
    And tell me what peace do you expect in the melee in a place like Sabarimala? Have you been there?
    Have you seen the verdant, hills and mountains flattened? Now very soon, this stampede will bring in development as you call it ,fly overs and big asphalt roads into the heart of the jungle. The flora and fauns that sheltered Ayappan would vanish in total. Of the 120 crores that is now marked for “DEVELOPMENT” one hundred crores will be eaten by the political parasites.
    And people like you will still clamour for brighter makara jyothi , because that is a tool to bring revenue . And as long as people choose to stay gullible, choose to inactivate their brains such false worships, claims and miracles keep happening, and may be next would be a huge land slide like the one that happened in the Kailash Manasarovar route a few years ago and entrap under a fsome thousands. And believe me such acts are of the Lord Ayappan and Gods of the pantheon,( mother nature ) that they/she detests what we do.

    ReplyDelete
  26. kvs
    RTI only gives you available information. There is no 'official' information for the 2 questions that you have raised.These matters are beyond the realms of 'offialdom'.
    james

    ReplyDelete
  27. Yes, It is a man made jyothi. As to get darshan of lord Ayappa to everybody is difficult on that particular moment ( during makara sankranthi) This system was adopted so that others who could not see the idol on that time can represent the fire as an idol of god himself and seek the blessings for their spiritual path.

    ReplyDelete
  28. In fact, to popularizes it as a miracle is the mistake done by devotees, administration and non-believers (so that, they get something to blabber around against devotion).

    ReplyDelete
  29. @Balachandran - I wasn't going to come back here. But Anil's comment on my latest post, brought me back here.

    I was just mad that Govt. In spite of knowing that it's unsafe still manages to let people go there! Why the Govt. can't stop them on the basis of security. I am not advocating "Makkara Jyothi". That is not my place and yes I have read and believed and know that people have told that they light lamps there to con people. But that still doesn't prove that it was never there! Yes, I believe in miracles, if my child was on her/his deathbed, I would badly wish for a miracle to happen to save her/him. No theory or proof, will stop me from praying so! I am sure most of us, even both of you would? Can you deny that?

    Take it to high court please. Ban Makkara Jyothi or any other belief that you want to. It's not my part to tell u not to. But your personal attack was unwarranted for. Anil's latest comment on my post proves this very fact!

    Do let me know if there is anything I can do to help in the petition to the high court. But in the mean time, I hope they do make more security arrangements there for the next year, just incase, it takes time to get a Verdict. People will still come there next year until you block access! Thats the power of belief! Even if it is a blinded one.

    ReplyDelete
  30. @Anil - on a totally personal stand - Grow up!

    ReplyDelete
  31. @Jyothi: Thank you, Jyothi, for your support. Do read my later posts, even if you may disagree with my views. I will be writing one more soon.

    I understand that you were stung at the word 'naivety'. Like Anil said, the word only means 'inexperienced or lacking the required experience, be it of life or matters.'. One keeps on learning, Jyothi. At 53, I've had a long life and not event-free. Yet I am aware of the vastness of my ignorance; when somebody points out the gap in my knowledge, I feel grateful, not ashamed of my ignorance. We cannot expect to know everything, can we? So, you are young and your experiences in life are less compared to ours, in our mid-50s.Who said - 'Our wisdom comes from experiences and experiences come from foolishness'? You cannot imagine the kind of blunders I have committed throughout my life. But I learn; I am willing to learn.

    Believe me when I say that neither of us intended to belittle or snub you. We may have been amused or impatient or even irritated that you could not see ( in the beginning) the facts I had presented here. And with a kind of right that the elders have,we might have chided you. Don't be angry, OK? Age assumes certain rights; though not necessarily accepted by the young! :)

    One thing I would like to remind you here is that we should have love and compassion of a universal nature. We should not allow ourselves to be bound by any external restrictions, other than what we have reflected upon and such values as we have imbibed through thorough understanding and realization.

    You would have by now learned that the forces that work against the human spirit are among ourselves. I could tell you a hundred stories about that. We cannot change the world, Jyothi, but as we pass through our brief lives here, and look back, we should not have anything to be ashamed of.

    Do visit, write whenever you feel like it. You will be always welcome!

    ReplyDelete
  32. @Anil: lols, loved the 'marijuana' comment...very aptly said. and loved the debate....i personally know a lot of people who justify a hoax bcoz millions believe it or like to believe that they believe in it.A hoax is a hoax, even if a billion people believe in it. And Govt has the moral responsibility to correct it.No amount of revenue can justify spreading a hoax....

    ReplyDelete
  33. I joined this argument late and was lucky.
    We have treaded similar paths earlier.With all due respects to fellow bloggers,there is no point in trying to push our ideals and beliefs on to others. There is no reason to be rational in matters related to religion and faith.Simply because there is no place to be rational or logic there.Faith is faith.We had strong believers among great scientists.

    Religion is one of the topics which I have diligently steered clear. It is a sensitive and controversial topic to talk about. I have always believed in the conscious need for us to show respect and understanding for religions,except when it teaches someone to hurt or kill others.

    No one has claimed the Makara Jyothis as divine.I read in yesterday's newspaper a statement from the Devaswom board related to that,and to the same effect.

    The tragedy is really painful.I don't know if it could have been avoided.With all care and planning,accidents do happen at the best of situations.And that is exactly why we call them accidents.

    It is painful to note that our interactions come to the level of personal hurt.Mutual respect is an essential component of any kind of relationships,between friends or foes.
    Besides peace we make with ourselves, we must also be compassionate and kind to each other; treating each other with loving kindness as if you would be treating your family and friends. There is a saying, “There are no strangers in this world, but only friends we have not met.” There is a certain truth to this as I believe we are interconnected in this world. What we are doing or saying may indirectly affect another.

    Since we are not living life as hermits, there are bound to be communication with people around us. With communication, misunderstanding can easily arise. There is a need for mutual understanding and respect for each other's differences and background. Failing to put ourselves in another's shoes usually lead to conflicts. This can be otherwise averted if we are not too quick to judge others or situations. Let us practice less haste and more patience.

    All religious institutions are commercialized.They have no survival otherwise.

    Gods do not try to protect the believers.If they had done so,life would have been easier and less painful.

    ReplyDelete
  34. The hourglass shaped bride has hips and shoulders that are of the same width, black wedding dresses yet unlike the rectangular bride, the waist is defined. cheap wedding gowns Choose any informal bridal gowns that are strapless, feature a scooped neck line or that have a V-neck line. cocktail dresses A-line dresses are a good shape, cocktail dresses though a mermaid style is fantastic for the more slender hourglass brides. cinderella wedding dresses

    ReplyDelete
  35. Funny this is , people supporting this scam.I seriously doubt how many, among those who go there, know the truth about this.But they are not actually interested in the truth it seems.

    @Jyothi:"it is not the belief that need to be removed" --this is exactly the mentality.

    Do spread the scam, lure those nincompoops in so we can get our money. just make sure that too many wont kill each other in the process. Get more cattle herders.

    ReplyDelete
  36. We all bridesmaid dresses sale know wedding is one of those events that occurs once in a lifetime and requires only a good planning but alos a sufficient funding .however as bride,you must always imagined cocktail dresses yourself looking best on this unique ceremony ,having the most beautiful and valuable wedding dress is on the most important place .at the same time ,as important as wedding dress ,wedding shoes’ cheap wedding dresses selection are really important job. prom dresses

    ReplyDelete

Leave a word, please!