Do we have any living proof that untouchability did not exist in ancient times? Any LIVING proof that is followed even today, in open sight? Forget all your history books, anything adverse you saw in your village in your childhood, Leftist speeches – just try and remember one photo you kept seeing, but never actually ‘saw’. No? There is one living proof which all of us have chosen to block from our minds, simply because we were never directed to this truth, but were always misdirected to see only faults in Sanatan Dharma. This is the Kumbh Mela, which happens every three years, in four different locations – Haridwar (river Ganga), Prayag (Triveni sangam of Yamuna, Ganga and Saraswati), Ujjain (river Kshipra), and Nasik (river Godavari). The Kumbh returns to each location after a span of 12 years.
At the Kumbh Mela, lakhs of people assemble every day, irrespective of caste, class or sex and devotedly take a bath in the holy waters, listen to holy discourses and visit the temples on the banks of the rivers. Has anyone ever heard of any class or caste distinction during the Kumbh? People sit in whichever Sadhu/Sant/Guru’s tent they want to sit in and listen to the discourses (Katha) on our scriptures. Imagine the possibility of chaos which could happen when crores of people gather in one place – but how many times do you hear of such a chaos? Imagine the mammoth problems of hygiene that one should have heard of, but never heard of. How much money would be required for arranging such an event? Yet, have you heard of any shortage of money in arranging the Kumbh in a ‘poor’ country as ours? Does any one authority start or manage the Kumbh? Or any one authority feed the crores of people who come for the Kumbh?
Mind boggling questions – There’s one place where you can get the answer to all these questions – a Documentary Film called Kumbh – Eternal Journey of Indian Civilization. A must watch film which presents the Bharatiya view of the Kumbh Mela as against the agenda driven, incomplete Western view which we have always been exposed to. Experts like Dr. Kapil Kapoor, Dr. Bharat Gupt, Dr. Ramdas Lamb and more have contributed to the understanding of the Kumbh, under the able direction of the maker of the film –Harshit Jain.
What is special about this film is that finally we are able to describe our own traditions with our own understanding. Westerners and followers of Abrahamic religions have never understood our diversity and the underlying Unity behind it. For them not having one religious figurehead is a mystery. Where they see chaos, we see a peaceful, rich diversity, which helped us become the only race which accepted all as our own & truly worshiped Nature in all its essence. For me, the best part of the film was the understanding of how knowledge was easily spread to every nook and corner of the country, via the Kumbh. Gyaan, Freedom of Expression, Wisdom – all heavy words, seem light when seen through the spectrum of the Kumbh Mela.
A must watch documentary on the Kumbh Mela.
Note: The film was screened by Indic Academy Mumbai in the presence of the writer and director of the film Harshit Jain of the India Inspires Foundation.