The following series of 3 videos show how the Harvard Kumbh Mela project, like other Western interventions that have benign and noble beginnings, poses a threat to the Kumbh Mela tradition –
The Harvard project published multiple volumes on the Kumbh Mela, and this is just the beginning. They sent teams from various departments to collect data on how it is done, who comes, and keep track of pilgrims even after they return to their villagers. They are claiming to help, but they are coming up with vulnerabilities.
Diana Eck from Harvard who is leading the Kumbh Mela project, said that she is very sad that feminist NGOs haven’t taken the responsibility to do their jobs yet, and she hopes this will change. Soon thereafter, Ford Foundation started giving grants to NGOs who would act as Kumbh Mela ‘watchdogs’. So you will see a whole host of Kumbh Mela watchdogs producing all kinds of reports, Phd dissertations being written…this will become the new fashionable site for anthropologists, human rights workers etc.
Various departments are involved in this study – religion: wanting to look whether it is a Brahmin dominated thing (which it is not), whether Muslims and Christians are allowed since it should be secular, plural. They are almost taking over the future direction and molding our attitudes. They have co-opted and bought off many swamis, political leaders, media persons etc. I got to know this in my travel and interactions with Bharatiyas working for these Western agencies.
Meanwhile, the people who are the real keepers of this spiritual tradition aren’t aware of all this. When I talk to them, many are grateful, some say ‘we don’t have to worry, we have been around for 8000 years’, some say it’s not our job and the Government will take care of it, while some were hostile to me saying ‘Who are you? Why are you interfering? We trust those guys – they give us grants, they are very traditionally dressed & talk to us nicely’. So you get a range of reactions from people who ought to be better informed..hardly any person seems to have studied this matter seriously.
For the past 25 years I have been trying to uncover things which people have not been noticing, and I think this is probably one of the biggest, yet to be discovered, things I have come across in my recent career.
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