I find that some people exaggerate too much while building their “holy” kanwars for the Mahashivratree festival.
You have surely noticed that many kanwars are much larger than standard cars and much heigher than electrical cables on the streets.
I won’t deny, they are indeed beautiful, but have you ever thought about the danger of carrying these things on the roads?
Did god mentioned somewhere that you achieve your “pilgrimage” only when you carry the biggest kanwars to Grand Bassin?
Picture Courtesy of Deepa.
Some common practices
Have a look at the following picture:
- The kawar is much higher than the road deco “pavillon triangles” (someone can tell me the english word please?)
- The guys have not only took the whole lane for then, but even part of the other lane, thus forcing the bus to halt and wait for them to pass.
- Long rods are used to hold cables and everything else, which come into their way.
This scene is very common, you can surely see this everywhere.
A small story…
Some 2 or 3 years back, I had set “la pagaille” into my neighbourhood, lol!
1 or 2 weeks had already elapsed since Mahashivratree but a group of persons left their big kanwars on the side of the road, just like that…
For me, it was an unacceptable thing because
- Those guys were never in any prayers, but just for this one, you can see them present playing the main roles.
- The kanwars were left there, abandoned while being a danger for the road users, that is ME!
In broad daylight, I went there and took some posters with me, in which I wrote:
“Depotoire ici” (Dumping area here) or things like that.
lol, I came back home, and a few hours later, the area was cleaned! haha!
Believe me, since then, no one dares to leave their kawars abandoned!
Setting standards for kawars?
With the increasing number of huge kanwars on the road, the risk of accidents and the probability of having traffic jams are on the rise.
Do you think its time for the authorities to set some standards for the size of kanwars?
Just imagine, what if all the kanwars were small?
- No need to block a whole lane for the pilgrims and the kanwars.
- No huge traffic jams.
- Everyone walking in “file indienne”.
- Decreased risk of accidents
Loads of people would actually be frustrated, specially those “religious” organisations.
Naturally, the government will never go for such standards, since this will definitely make most(?) the hindous hate them!
Very bad for political parties when the majority of Mauritians are hindous.
The economics of Mahashivratree
Before ending, a few humourous advices (sometimes true indeed) sent by $pl@$#:
[UPDATE : As one of the readers(Roushdat) mentioned below, this article seems to be written by a Mauritian Hindu Priest.
Can someone please send me his name if you are aware of this? Thanks.]
Some extracts :
- Do not throw money in Ganga Talao on grounds that wishes will be fulfilled. […] Instead put in donation boxes. […]Â e. g 50,000 (devotees) x Rs 10 = Rs 500,000 thrown in water each year (average estimate).
- […] all offerings (prasad) should be taken away, otherwises it would decay and cause pollution/environmental degradation. Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
An offering costs about Rs 150/200 per family, […] Offerings should be moderate, not excessive. E. g 400,000 (devotees) x Rs 100 = Rs 40 million wasted each year (average estimate).
- Disposal of offerings involves high scavenging (labour) and transport costs. […]
We buy, we carry, we pray and offer in the name of Lord Shiva and leave it deliberately […] ?
Is it religiously correct to classify these offerings as waste ? We are failing in our religious duties.
- The passenger capacity of one bus is about 65 passengers which is equivaient to that of 25 cars. […] This would result in substantial savings in fuel and intangible costs.
- A pilgrimage is always based on discipline and sacrifice. It is not a fun walk. It’s an inner-seeking religious walk.
Maha Shivratree should be performed in a spirit of sacrifice, otherwise it would be adharmic (religiously incorrect).
“Shiva” means change.
It’s high time to change our excessive attitudes and adopt a sustainable mindset in this religious realm. […]
But I ask myself, when will we change?