Roadside Temple in Khandwa, and few thoughts…

I have noticed that temple during my last visit in 2010 as well. At first look, it could easily be misunderstood for an ordinary shop, sandwiched between two other shops. But on second look, you could see the saffron flag flying and a temple bell hanging near the main door. People – mostly women and children – go in and out of the temple doors occasionally.

This temple is not old; it just appeared there sometime in last 8-10 years. I don’t remember noticing it when I first visited Khandwa. But for last few visits, the temple became more and more visible and prominent. During this visit, I found that the temple owners have become so controlling, that the public road in front of the temple has been blocked by 2 long, thick concrete barricades on Thursdays. Reason? a special puja in the evening!

If there is an alternate road, I would not be against this crime against public. But there is no proper road in the first place! The so-called road, which is used by at least 3 colonies (approx.100 houses) is just a collection of stones, loosely bounded by dry mud. It is that road the temple-enthusiasts block on each Thursday.  Whenever blocked, vehicles come out of the road, in to the open space next to road and continue.

Powerless people live their lives around the temple, without any apparent complaints.. Or have they lost their power to question? Have they lost their voices? I don’t know.

It is hard to believe that a public road could be easily blocked by a few people, on a regular basis. What a shame! This place too has a councillor, an MLA and an MP. Don’t they see this unruly behaviour?

How could this happen?

I am being naïve; anything could happen in name of religion in India. Another example is the early morning music that comes out of temple loudspeakers, all across India. It is now March, when students go through their annual final exams, which decide their results for whole year, future career and rest of life. During these critical times too, the loudspeakers do not respect the flow of life. They scream over the population.

Be sure, I am not against religion, though I do not follow any of the various available flavours. I am not against God, though I do not believe in a super human power living “above” us, looking through the clouds, on all of us at all the time. But I am definitely against disturbing normal life of a street – and a town – in name of religion and God. I am sure none of the religions – or any of the Gods, if they exist – approve this blockage.

Is God that deaf that the loudspeakers have to scream so loud? Or for that matter, does God sleep, from which He needs a wake-up call?! At least for those kids who are preparing for their final exams, can these loudspeakers be kept quiet during exam seasons?

Prayer should come silently from heart; then it is sincere and pure. If it screams out of loudspeakers each morning, it is just that – a scream and not a prayer.

What should be done?
1. City / town authorities should immediately put an end to screaming loudspeakers. At same time, temple authorities should ensure that provisions are made for those devotees who need to pray at early hours to visit the temple and pray silently.

2. Put an end to the weekly outrageous act of road blocking, period. Roads are made to travel, not to pray. If it is done once a year, or even twice a year, it could be tolerated; but not on a weekly basis.

What do you think? Are any of above blasphemous, unreasonable demands? Am I asking for too much?