LAW KUMAR MISHRA
PATNA: Virtual campaign , meetings, conferences, seminars and classes are routines during Corona crisis,but not allowed by the priests of Bodh Gaya.
They have rejected E pind daans.
For the first time in the history of Gaya,the annual fortnightly ritual of offering Pind daan(paying homage and food to the ancestors) has been cancelled in view of the Kovid 19 endemic.The annual Pitripaksh mela which was expected to be joined by over a million devotees from all over the world was scheduled to start today and continue till September 17.
Gaya district administration on Thursday claimed no devotee came to offer online prayers either.There were 1470 bookings for on line pind daan.
At Falgu river and Vishnupad temple none turned up.
To ensure,the devotees did not come to Bodh Gaya for the ritual,district magistrate of Gaya,Abhisek Singh has issued orders under different sections of IPC,Epidemic Control Act 1897 and Disaster Management Act 2005 preventing entry of outsiders to the town.Magistrates with police force have been posted at all inter-state and inter-district entry points to the town .Grand Trunk Road (NH2) which passes through Bodh Gaya too have been sealed for outsiders.
The revenue department of state government had issued an advisory to the DM asking him to cancel the annual fair.Social distancing will be a big challenge for the administration,DM said in his order to the priests(Pandas).According to him most of the devotees visiting Bodh Gaya for offering homage at Vishnupad Temple and offering prayers in Falgu river are in the vulnerable age group of 60 -65 years.To prevent spread of contamination of Kovid 19,annual Pitripaksha mela is banned,DM said.
The state tourism department had invited offers from the pilgrims for e- pindaan also in view of the epidemic.However,the local priests and their parent organisation Sri Vishnupad Management Committee opposed e Pindaan claiming it was against the Hindu religion.Its secretary,Giridhari Lal Pathak,said the rituals demand physical presence of the children of the ancestors at Bodh Gaya temple and Falgu river for offering Pindaan.Priests refused to entertain requests for E pindaan introduced by the state tourism department.
Manoj Mishra,a scholar in Sanatan philosphy said now,the Pindaan has been commercialised by the Bihar Toursim directorate who is sponsoring package tours for Bodh Gaya,offering E Pinddaans,.Some private NGOs and self proclaimed Godmen too have entered the “business: of Pitripaksha Mela.There are over 10,000 Acharyas who help perform the rituals every year during this period.They have been rendered jobless.Mishra said
He said on the first day of the Pitripaksha,no Pinddaan could be performed as no devotee came to the Holy city.Due to series of barriers put by the adminstration between Punpun and Bodh Gaya,the devotees could not make it to Gaya.
According to the management committee 1470 requests were received for E Pindaan.Most of the devotees interested in E Pindaan were NRIs,residents of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.