SabariMala – another tragedy at the abode of the lord

It is no more an exclusive incident at the abode of Lord Ayyappa, that so many people lose their lives at his feet. Over the past decade, there have been more than two stampedes and dozens of vehicular accidents in this place. It is very difficult for us to still understand what is so wrong with the administration to still not put into place a system of safety and also impose the rules on coming devotees, so that they could avoid such mishaps that take away so many lives, and with it the trust on the lord.

Though such accidents are not new in Kerala where we have had the boat mishaps at Kumarakom, or at the Thattekad, Sabarimala is a place where such accidents should be foreseen. As far as reports are concerned, two very substantial reports have been produced after accidents in 1992 and 2007, which suggested for the improvements to be made in the pilgrim spot. But these would just reduce from tragedies to judicial probes and be forgotten with the time.

There would be a lot of reasons given by the administration and the police for the lapse in security. From the accessibility of the place to the count of the police persons, non-availability of enough medical aid to increasing numbers of devotees, the reasons are many. But the concern is why these are still not mended. The amount of consideration given to the administration selection and temple politics is much more than the safety of the devotee’s life.

The blame is upon god now. Everybody wants to know why the devotees after observing fast for 42 days, doing several poojas, given up their daily pleasures in life, are finally submitted to a death not worthy for them. It is a different thing to evaluate how many actually heed to the original pre-pilgrim rituals and fasts, as many indeed perform these only according to their convenience. For many it has become just a yearly visit to the hills, and they do it because they feel they are committed to this ritual. They do not follow basic processes for the pilgrim, and most often wants to rush into the temple and run out back to their businesses in life. The intention of being there with the lord is totally vanished.

We all need a better mindset, as administrators, as government, and even as devotees. These incidents teach us something. We need to learn from the past, to better our future. Even as the tragedy still lurks in our minds, let us focus on what more can be done from all our sides, to prevent such accident that paints a black mark on us all, and the god.


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