Posted by & filed under Articles, In the Press, International.

On February 7, a hundred members of the sub-caste Bhangis took part, alongside Brahmins, the ritual bath in the Sangam on the occasion of the Maha Kumbh Mela currently taking place near the town of Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh). In doing so, they broke a taboo deeply rooted in Indian mindsets, becoming the first representatives …

… their community, located at the bottom of the caste ladder, to share with Hindu high caste Hindu celebration this time of purification for sin.

Besides this purifying bath, the Dalit group was allowed to stay in the tent camps established to accommodate the crowds of pilgrims. They were able to share the same living space as Hindu ascetics and other members of religious Hindus. They dined in the company of Swami Narendra Giri, one of the many Hindu priests and people attending theKumbh Mela . The agency UCA News that the information relates, quoting Rajni Nanda, one of Bhangis who lived that time novel: "I am blessed and washed. " Another dalit, Guddi Athwal, testifies as follows: "It was like a rebirth, especially when Hindu priests among the largest in the country have welcomed and accepted as part of the Hindu society. '

The Bhangis form a sub-caste lowermost of the social ladder. Despite the abolition of the caste system – removal enshrined in the Constitution of the Indian Union in 1950 – the discrimination they are subject remains very strong. The Banghis thus do not have access to the same temple and the same well as other castes. The origin of the discrimination to which they are being held in the occupation in which they are confined, ie the daily flushing of toilets (1).

On the occasion of a celebration as great as the Maha Kumbh Mela , which also sees the most extreme proponents of Hindutva ('hindutva') deploy their militant activism, initiatives exist to instill a greater sense of equality between men and women, irrespective of their caste origin. The origin of the ritual bath of this group Bhangis alongside Brahmins, is a sociologist, Brahmin himself and ardent promoter of the cause of Bhangis.

Bindeshwar Pathak is known throughout India for the work of the NGO he founded in 1970, Sulabh International Social Service Organization . During the 1960s, a young researcher and inspired by Gandhi's commitment to contribute to the modernization of his country, he took up the cause of the Bhangis, considering their degrading occupation had a negative impact on the ability of the Company to enter into Indian modernity. For this, it has a very concrete way developed a system to remove the toilet dry latrines and improve health conditions of the inhabitants. The NGO, through a network of 50,000 volunteers, has installed 7,000 public toilets and 1.2 million private toilet, while teaching Bhanghis other trades to allow them to change their life and profession.

After the bath a hundred Bhangis in Sangam, Bindeshwar Pathak said he had contributed to this event because he saw no reason that Bhangis be kept out of what constitutes religious celebration the largest in the country. "The idea behind this event is to allow these people to move up the social ladder. The message that is sent to all is that the scavengers are not 'untouchable' but they are part of society " , he said to the press.

Opened on 14 January, the Maha Kumbh Mela will end on March 10. To date, the largest pilgrimage in the Hindu religion will undoubtedly started some 100 million people.

The Kumbh Mela is held every three years. According to the Puranas, Hindu sacred texts Sanskrit four places in India (Haridwar on the Ganges, Ujjain on the banks of Kshipra , Nashik on the edge of Godavary, Allahabad at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati of ) correspond to drops of nectar of immortality fell on the ground, escaped from a pitcher as gods and demons fought them. Hindus believe that bathing in the river made ​​the days prescribed purifies them from their sins. If the Kumbh Mela is held every three years, the Maha ("great") Kumbh Mela is held every twelve years and is certainly the largest gathering of human beings facing the planet. For the most auspicious day of the pilgrimage (because of the new moon and the alignment of certain stars), 10 and 15 February next expected to peak attendance (10 February, the authorities expect up to 25 million people along six kilometers of shoreline Sangam).

During the first week of the pilgrimage are the sadhus and nagas who converged in procession to the sacred site. Thesadhus are holy men, bearded and dressed in saffron tunic, nagas are some who go naked and covered in ashes, and which normally live in caves and forests by feeding on roots and plants. Then past those early days, men, women and children are advancing to the banks where the waters of the three rivers merge, they bathe waist, throw water in four directions reciting prayers and sprinkle the rest of the body, thus purifying their sins in a unique opportunity that will not come before twelve.
 

Notes

(1) The term used to describe their occupation ( scavenger ) is not directly translatable into French ('scavenger' or 'scavenger'). It describes the occupation is at dawn for some 600,000 Bhanghis account that India, through the streets of towns and villages to pick up after the night fell directly from dry latrines still equipping a large number of homes. Do so daily cleaning latrines its costs 100 rupees per month and each scavenger handles a dozen home, earning about 1000 rupees so (14 euros) per month. Although a 1993 law prohibits the use of dry latrines, requiring the work of the Dalits , many houses still have Bhangis and perpetuate their occupation from father to son and mother to daughter. 
9 January 2013, Supreme Court in New Delhi was concerned that a bill banning the use of hand scavenger working and promoting their retraining remains a dead letter in the Federal Parliament for three legislatures.

 

(Translated from French through google)

Source : http://eglasie.mepasie.org/asie-du-sud/inde/2013-02-08-brisant-un-tabou-des-dalits-se-sont-baignes-aux-cotes-de-brahmanes-lors-de-la-maha-kumbh-mela-qui-se-deroule-actuellement-a-allahabad

Posted by & filed under Articles, Sulabh News, Uttar Pradesh.

For someone who was born a Muslim, went to some schools that were predominantly Christian and actually enjoyed being part of the choir in spite my extraordinarily big bass, I have to say I was very intrigued and very excited to have the opportunity to go and experience that Kumbh Mela in Allahabad this year.  

Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather at a sacred river for a bath in the river. It is held every third year at one of the four places by rotation: Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik and Ujjain.
Thus the Kumbh Mela is held at each of these four places every twelfth year. Ardh ("Half") Kumbh Mela is held at only two places, Haridwar and Allahabad (Prayag), every sixth year. 
The rivers at these four places are: the Ganges (Ganga) at Haridwar, the confluence (Sangam) of the Ganges and the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati at Prayag, the Godawari at Nasik, and the Shipra at Ujjain.
Kumbh means a pitcher and Mela means fair in Hindi. The pilgrimage is held for about one and a half months at each of these four places where it is believed in Hinduism that drops of nectar fell from the Kumbh carried by gods after the sea was churned. The festival is billed as the "biggest gathering on Earth".
There is no scientific method of ascertaining the number of pilgrims even approximately and the estimates of the number of pilgrims bathing on the most auspicious day may vary very widely from two to eight million depending upon the team(s) of persons making the estimate and the rough method of making the estimate.
In 2001, more than 40 million gathered on the busiest of its 55 days. According to the Mela Administration's estimates, around 70 million people participated in the 45-day Ardh Kumbh Mela at Prayag in 2007.
The last "Kumbh Mela" held in 2010 in Haridwar was estimated by the authorities to have attracted between 30 and 70 million people.
The current Maha Kumbh Mela began on 14 January 2013 at Prayag. According to expectations more than 100 million people will attend the 2013 Kumbha mela. The next Kumbh Mela will be held at Nashik on the bank of the river Godavari in 2015. The Kumbh at Ujjain is also called "Simhastha".
Kumbh Mela is organized every three years on a rotation basis of Prayag, Nashik, Haridwar and Ujjain.
Among the 100 million people expected to attend the 2013, there were 100 rather special ladies attended it for the first time in their lives. These 100 ladies are former human scavengers who were liberated by Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of the Sulabh Social Sanitation Movement foundation.
Before their liberation, the ladies who fall under the untouchable caste were forced to clear bucket toilets with their hands, they were not allowed to draw water from wells, had to wear bells on their necks to alert people passing by that they were coming ad had to clear the way, not allowed to worship in temples, had to live in the outskirts of towns, not allowed to have good names or even allowed to spit on the ground.
With the mere invention of a two pit latrine, much of that changed but to many the icing of the cake of their freedom was being able to perform their religion’s biggest ritual of having a dip in the River Ganges and to be accepted by the Hindu upper caste pundits who they dined together with them.
Ms Usha Chandra, the honorary President of Sulabh International said that she was beyond words when she learnt that Dr Pathak had arranged for them to attend the Kumbh Mela and that when she entered the water, it was beyond her wildest dream.
“Dr Pathak and the Sulabh International have totally changed our lives and we will forever be grateful. Not only have they liberated us, but they have gone further and brought us to perform this ritual and dine with priests,” she said with her voice full of emotion.
Ms Chandra said that the process of acceptability among society has been slow which was expected but said that she was recently caught off when she was requested to give away a daughter of one of the houses that she formerly cleaned.
Ms Lalita said that to be liberated, be able to earn a living, worship in temples and dine with people who once upon a time couldn’t touch you was a dream come true but to attend and perform prayers with the priests and also take the dip had uplifted her in a way she had no words to explain.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ms Dolly who is currently undergoing her undergraduate degree said that she was the first person in her clan to perform the Kumbh Mela.
“I consider myself very lucky to be here. Such rituals are usually done by the elderly and so for someone of my age to come and perform is nothing short of a miracle and I consider Dr Pathak a Godsend,” she said.
The presence of the 100 ladies at the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad caught the attention of people including fellow dippers, throngs of both local and international media, the police officers, men, women and children.
If I was ever allowed to describe what it must have felt for the 100 ladies to walk the 500 meters from their campsite to the Holy River, I would have to quote a sentence or two from the Shawshank Redemption.
 ‘…Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of shit smelling foulness I can't even imagine, or maybe I just don't want to. Five hundred yards… that's the length of five football fields, just shy of half a mile. Andy Dufresne – who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.’ After centuries of discrimination, they managed to take the dip that washed it all off.     

 

Source : http://washfair.blogspot.in/2013/02/100-new-princesses-of-alwar-and-tonk.html

Posted by & filed under Articles, In the Press, International.

India: Untouchables swim alongside Brahmins during the Maha Kumbh Mela

Broken taboo

Allahabad (India), February 9, 2013 (APIC) One hundred members of a caste of untouchables in India have participated in the February 7, 2013 ritual bath of the Maha Kumbh Mela alongside the caste Hindu priests "top" of Brahmins. The gigantic celebration is taking place near the city of Allahabad in north-eastern India.Participants broke a taboo and deeply rooted in the Indian mindset.

The Banghis placed at the bottom of the caste ladder, became the first untouchable to share with this high caste Hindus moment of celebration.

Besides this purifying bath, the group of Dalits, known as untouchables in India, was allowed to stay in the camps for thousands of pilgrims. They were able to share the same living space as Hindu ascetics and other members of religious groups in India, reports the news agency of the Foreign Missions of Paris, "Churches of Asia."

Garbage despised

The Bhangis form a sub-caste lowermost of the social ladder. Despite the abolition of the caste system enshrined in the Constitution of the Indian Union in 1950, the discrimination they are subject remains very strong. They do not have access to the same temple and the same well as other castes. The origin of the discrimination to which they are being held in the occupation in which they are confined, ie the daily emptying of latrines.

Breath of equality on the Kumbh Mela

"It was like a rebirth," reflects the Banghi Guddi Athwal. "Especially when Hindu priests among the largest in the country have welcomed and accepted as part of the Hindu society."

   The impressive festival of Maha Kumbh Mela are the most extreme proponents of Hindutva ('hindutva') deploy their militant activism. Initiatives aimed at emerging parallel instill a greater sense of equality in the celebration. The origin of the ritual bath of this group Bhangis alongside Brahmins is Bindeshwar Pathak, a sociologist, a Brahmin himself and ardent promoter of their cause.

Advancing the social ladder Banghis

The sociologist is known throughout India for action by the NGO he founded in 1970, "Sulabh International Social Service Organization." He has developed a very concrete way a toilet system to remove dry latrines and improve health conditions of the inhabitants.The NGO has installed 7,000 public toilets and 1.2 million private toilet, while teaching Bhanghis other trades to allow them to change their life and profession.

   "The idea behind this is to allow shared bath Banghis to move up the social ladder," said Bindeshwar Pathak.

Framed

The Maha Kumbh Mela

Opened on 14 January, the Maha Kumbh Mela will end on March 10. To date, the largest pilgrimage in the Hindu religion will undoubtedly started some 100 million people.

The Kumbh Mela is held every three years. According to the Puranas, Hindu sacred texts Sanskrit four places in India (Haridwar on the Ganges, Ujjain on the banks of Kshipra, Nashik on the edge of Godavary, Allahabad at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati of ) correspond to drops of nectar of immortality fell on the ground, escaped from a pitcher as gods and demons fought them.

Hindus believe that bathing in the river made the days prescribed purifies them from their sins. If the Kumbh Mela is held every three years, the Maha (great) Kumbh Mela is held every twelve years and is certainly the largest gathering of human beings facing the planet. (Apic / eda / rz)

(Translated from French through google)

Source : http://www.kipa-apic.ch/index.php?pw=&na=0,0,0,0,f&ki=239908

Posted by & filed under Articles, In the Press, Uttar Pradesh.

Ancient caste taboo broken at Hindu festival.

Bhopal: About 100 manual scavengers took a holy bath alongside higher caste priests in the river Ganges on Thursday during the ongoing holy Kumbh Mela pilgrimage in the northern city of Allahabad.
The ‘untouchables’ were allowed to stay inside camps meant for ascetics and followers of Hindu sects and dined with Hindu religious leader Swami Narendra Giri, one of hundreds of high-caste religious figures there, said a participant who declined to be named.
“I am blessed and cleansed,” said Rajni Nanda, one of the low-caste participants.
Scavengers are responsible for removing human waste from dry toilets at the houses of higher-caste citizens and are shunned by many Indians.
The whole event was “like a rebirth when top Hindu priests of the country gladly accepted us as part of Hindu society,” said Guddi Athwal, a Dalit who also attended.
Kumbh Mela, which is held every three years rotating among four cities – Allahabad, Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjain – is the holiest Hindu pilgrimage in India with 100 million people expected to attend and take a bath to wash away their sins over the 56-day period before it ends on March 10.
But Dalits are, in practice, not allowed near temples and other holy sites, despite reform efforts to instill greater equality in India.
Bindeshwar Pathak, the social worker who arranged for the Dalits to take part, said they should not be kept locked out of India’s biggest festival.
“The reason behind such an event is social uplift and a message to the people that the… scavengers are part of society and not untouchables,” he said.
 
Source : http://www.ucanindia.in/news/dalit-scavengers-bathe-with-priests-at-kumbh-mela/20247/daily

Posted by & filed under Articles, In the Press, International.

On the Indian festival Kumbh Mela is all broken traditions: women of the caste human feces cleanup, along with high-ranking priests perform various rituals. That is very unusual in India, where even the shadow of untouchables sometimes still shunned by people from a higher caste.

The initiative comes from Bindeshwar Pathak, a man who has long been committed to the caste of the poop-clearers. He says to the Indian channelNDTV that the women and the priests will hold each other's hands while performing the rituals, something that according to the old traditions actually unthinkable. Moreover, they will eat together later this week. That too is a break with the old ways, people from different castes may not actually make use of the same service, let alone a meal to share. 

The organization of Pathak, Sulabh International, has played a major role in 'liberating' the Bhangi's, a caste which almost 5000 years to clean up the shit of others. Still has a lot of the Indians no modern toilet that is connected to the sewer and the buckets of excrement must be collected and taken away. This is not only degrading, but also bad for health for all. According Pathak Sulabh International has more than 1.3 million toilets in the country provided that can be flushed. So your the Bhangi's their dirty work no longer do. In addition, the organization has many programs set up these outcasts must help again be included in society. festival where the Bhangi and the priests (the highest caste in Hinduism) together rituals will perform, the Kumbh Mela in the northern city ​​of Allahabad. There are currently tens of millions of pilgrims. They take a bath at the place where three holy rivers meet, and thus wash away their sins.

 

(Translated from Dutch through google)

Source : http://www.volkskrant.nl/vk/nl/2664/Nieuws/article/detail/3390716/2013/02/08/Strontopruimers-mogen-op-festival-hand-vasthouden-van-priesters.dhtml?utm_source=scherm1&utm_medium=button&utm_campaign=Cookiecheck

Posted by & filed under Articles, In the Press, Uttar Pradesh.

महाकुंभ में पेश हुई परंपरा की नई मिसाल, जानिए तस्वीरों में…

 

Source : http://www.bhaskar.com/article/UP-MK-NE-women-bathing-in-maha-kumbh-4173697-PHO.html?seq=2&HF-27=