OPINION

Krishna's Temple of Shame

August 22, 2010
sufferingsocrates

I had been to Guruvayoor today, with my parents, wife and grandmother. I came visiting my ancestral home here, and we all went to the abode of Lord Krishna in the evening. Both my parents and grandmother being senior citizens (who qualify for being aged 60 or more) had the option of waiting in the senior citizens queue. While my parents by God's grace can take care of themselves in the meandering queues at the temple, the same is not true for my 93 year old grandmother.

My grandma needed atleast a person or two to hold her through the rush in the queues. Our plan was that my wife and I would accompany my grandmother, and my parents will get into the senior citizen queue (SCQ) in any case. While one person could manage taking care of my grandma, we thought I could help her along in the same senior citizen queue (SCQ). However, things took a different turn once the temple was opened for the devotees.

We got inside, and reached the SCQ with grandma, and asked the lineman (helping with the queues) to help grandma get inside. He objected saying we had to wait and only one person accompanying a senior citizen can be allowed. I agreed, but asked him to let my frail grandma get into the queue with my wife, so that she doesn't have to be stuck in the congested queues. He instead started objecting violently, and started asking me how could I accompany her when my grandma can take care of herself. This maddened me no extent, but the guy had a big ego and made my 93 year old grandma wait for more than five minutes. I lost my temper and repeatedly requested him to atleast let go of her and my wife inside since she can't stand for long.

My request fell on deaf ears, even as the guy said he will take care. I walked off furiously, and joined my parents in the same SCQ queue behind. I joined my father, since I was told by the linesman earlier that one person can accompany a senior citizen. As it turned out, once we reached the same spot, where the earlier guy was disputing with me, I was pulled out, saying I cannot get in. This was the tipping point as far as I was concerned, and my poor parents too got into the whole argument, as I let off my steam on the linesman. He asked my parents to continue in the queue, while I had to remain outside, since I was an 18 year old in his eyes. I shouted at him, and asked how he could say that. He said, I could go meet the manager. I walked off in a fit of rage, with my mother trying to calm me down, but with no effect.

The manager sang the same tune, and I soon realised there was no use talking to any of the hypocrites. I went back to the same spot, and stood there, as an obvious irritant to the same linesman, in the pretext of praying to Lord Ayyappa near that area, and kept taunting them. I watched them coolly let in youngsters and children, who did not have any senior citizens with them, while many others who were older than 60 were made to wait outside. I started saying aloud to one and all, how youngsters were being allowed inside, without following the supposed rules.

The flouting of the rules grew outrageous, what with Congress MP Shashi Tharoor visiting Guruvayoor at the same time, after his nuptials with his nth wife. This time it is Sunanda Pushkar. They had the entire path cleared for them, while my grandma was being crushed inside the SCQ, with my wife struggling to hold on to her. It was infuriating to say the least, with more and more youngsters being allowed inside the queues. Shashi Tharoor may be an MP, but that doesn't give him any greater right to visit the temple than any other senior citizen. Forget his case, there were numerous others who got a free entry.

I made sure I created enough ruckus near the manager's office too and enough people heard me, though this wouldn't have changed the hypocritical nature of the Guruvayoor Devaswom Board workers. The supposed strict adherence is selective and downright discriminatory. If they are only bothered about those who wield financial power or political power, the can't call themselves as being strict. At this rate if Tharoor recommends a terrorist, the authorities at Guruvayoor would let them in without hesitation.

I did not have any regrets of not visiting the sanctum sanctorum, since the very purpose was defeated by such double standards. I wouldn't be surprised if the Guruvayoor Devaswom board cleans up if Tharoor defecates anywhere near the temple. They would wash it and clean his rear too without hesitation. I wouldn't stoop to such cheap levels, but the Devaswom board well could. In the garb of being strict, they just harass those who are really genuine and not let them pray peacefully.

It looks like the Devaswom board is impotent and out of its wits and lacks basic common sense. If its truly a world renowned temple, it has to have paid queues in place, instead of carrying out such outright hypocrisy in the temple premises. I felt ashamed of their conduct and my impression about the supposed strictness in Kerala temples has been shattered. Its only in Kerala that priests in the temple are considered untouchable. Its only in Kerala that men have to be shirtless (read - bare chested). As much as I am God fearing, I do not think going through such irritant experiences are worth it at any religious place. Its a shame that the Guruvayoor Board ill treats its devotees while licking the feet of politicians and influential people.

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