Stop the unruly acts during Thaipusam
The Star- 3rd February (letters)
BATU Caves is one of the more popular tourist spots in our country. It is also a holy place for thousands of Hindus who flock there during the Thaipusam festival to fulfil their vows.
I was at Batu Caves during Thaipusam this year, and was saddened by the many unsavoury incidents I witnessed.
First of all, the behaviour of some teenagers in the crowd who did not even care about pregnant women, babies and small children irked me. Where have their values gone?
Another sad thing was the consumption of alcohol which caused great discomfort to others who could not concentrate on their prayers.
I think people who visit the Batu Caves temple during Thaipusam without any intention to pray should not enter the holy site.
The above lament by one devotee is not a new phenomenon. I wrote about this in 2002 and not much has changed, which also means the Indian Malaysian public manners and attitude never changed much over the decades.
This year, I have seen things which are even worse. For example there was a group who was carrying the ‘kavadi’ for fun, parading it around until the compound with no intention to complete the prayers. They made lots of noises to attract attention. It was already chaotic, but the public, the bystanders, were more interested to view the antics of these stupid Indians, who have no respect and regards for the religion. In a way, instead of condemning them, the public were in fact encouraging such act, as a form of entertainment.
As for the Temple authorities, they were more interested to make money, who cares if the so-called devotees are adhering to the religious norms. No representative from the two rival Hindu Councils and Hindu Sangam ( why two! Indians what - Have to be divided) were making any statements or reminders asking devotees to behave or adhere to religious norms. What we see at Thaipusam in Malaysia differs from those of in India, hence most of the so-called religious practices are man-made, here by creative Malaysian Indians.
While the above writer mentioned about behavior of teenagers, the adults are no different. It’s their own despicable attitude that encourages the young to emulate them in the first place. Most of the rituals and practices presented for world view that day are never forced upon by the religion. It was on their own will and creativity. Last year there were kavadi’s with Liverpool and Manchester United. So much for Indian creativity. I can only wish that the Indians channel their creativity towards other meaningful endeavors, like their children education.
Some spend thousands on kavadi that is never compulsory. Imagine how much funds that can be accumulated and channeled towards more meaningful causes from just one day.
As for the temple authorities at Batu Caves, they were more interested in reaping profit from the biggest show in Malaysia. They allow stalls to be put up almost ¾ of the temple compound, leaving little space for people to walk about. They also put up a huge fun-fair to add some light hearted entertainment following to some serious religious undertakings by the devotees.
Who is listening? No one, because nobody likes change and nobody wants to change. What about it leaders, even they, including the higher educated ones, don’t want Indians to change. Because as long as Indians remain stupid, these equally stupid politicians can continue to fool them and take advantage to advance their narrow agenda. The religious leaders on the other hand, does not want to make enemies with politicians, who controls most of the temples in the country, hence they tend to keep quiet.