The span of life for a human being is normally a period of about hundred years. Death is caused by old age and incurable sickness. Also due to natural disasters such as thunder, lightning, earthquake and even accidents.
These are all, in a way unavoidable. But should men get into avoidable deaths under circumstances that are tragic and pitiful? Deaths due to superstitions, rituals, ceremonies and foolish beliefs continue to occur even in these days of rational thinking and scientific advancement.
Recently a tragic stampede of 18 people occurred in Mumbai on the occasion of the demise of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin. This highly respected religious leader of Bohra community, died on Friday, the 17th of January 2014 at the age of 102. He had lived a full length of his life but still, his demise has to be mourned.
But not at the risk of a stampede that had taken palce when a large number of devotees rushed in hundreds and thousand and flocked into Saifee Mahal, a two-storeyed bunglow in Malabar Hill area of Mumbai. All the tragic deaths occurred due to heavy suffocation.
No less is the horror and tragedy of people dying at religious gathering elsewhere in various part of India. The Times of India, in its issue, January 19, 2014 has listed out these avoidable deaths in the recent past. In the year 2008, nearly 400 people died due to suffocation and stampede in religious festivals at Ram Janki temple at Uttar Pradesh, Chamundi Devi temple in Jodhpur and at Nainadevi Shrine in Himachal Pradesh.
Precious 22 lives were lost in a stampede at a shrine in Haridwar on the 8th of November, 2011. More than 100 pilgrims died while returning from Sabarimala temple in Kerala. Buses that carry the Ayappa devotees get into accidents in various parts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra. Does god enjoy a malicious pleasure on the sufferings of his won devotees? If so, does it deserve to be prayed?
On the 13th of Oct 2013, a stampede at a bridge leading to a temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Datia District has killed at least ninety pilgrims. Many more accidents at religious gatherings, all over the country go unreported. The lesson that we learn from these avoidable deaths is that there are miles to go for sane thinkers before reaching the destination of rationalism and common sense. Creating a social awareness and rational thinking are the primary tasks to be fulfilled.