Saturday, May 8, 2010

Are the holy shrines partial to Celebrities????

I woke up today to hear very exciting news of Hrithik Roshan one of the very “Cool-headed” bollywood actors bashing up the media in the holy shrine of Shiridi. The news was not shocking nor was it a very fresh of its kind. Media-bashing by celebrities, especially actors have been a common thing in the past. However, this happening in a holy shrine is something that is new, and that too in a place like Shiridi, which is actually a place of solace.

My story is however not on that, my question is somewhat different. I happened to visit the holy shrine of Shiridi around two weeks back, what I saw was a complete different arrangement. Anything remotely photographic or any device that could anyway function as a camera was not allowed inside the temple premises. I was very amazed at the strong security arrangements that the temple follows amidst the present situation that constitutes of many security threats. The policy of the Darshan is very organized and this lets all the devotees have a glimpse of His Holiness Sai-Baba’s Samadhi in a very amicable manner. The process if streamlined and there is virtually no lapses in the security per say.

This however, is not the order of the day, when there is a celebrity like Hrithik Roshan or Sanjay Dutt visiting the holy Shrine. There are reporters all around with different kinds of cameras, then there is the full media fully allowed with their equipments in the holy Shrine and allowed to do any and every sort of photographic activities in the Shrine. Well, well, well we have a change of rules over here. There is a different set of rule for the Shrine when there is a celebrity and this is not only true for Shiridi but also true for various other shrines like Tirupati, Akshardham and many others. Why is this double standard being played on with the people? In a holy shrine, where every devotee is supposed to have equal privileges for access to God, there a development of class difference occurs between one kind of people and another kind of people. Why can’t Hrithik Roshan go to the temple just like any other common man? He should have remembered that this is not his film studio, but a place of worship where star tantrums and glitterati could have been kept aside. Also why did the Shrine authorities not follow the rules that they have set for common people. What makes them let the media enter the shrine with all their equipments? Is there no security threat in that? Is there no danger of an even bigger accident considering the fact that a famous person is inside the temple premises.

I go to places like the Vatican and the Tomb of Jesus, which are also religious shrines of importance. However I don’t see any celebrity getting a special treatment if they are visiting these places. Consider Tom Cruise visiting the Vatican. Would he have got a special privilege over there? Would the gates of St Peter’s Basilica open for him with some higher importance? The answer is no. of course there is more fan following of Tom Cruise compared to Hrithik Roshan internationally, but this fan following is only for his films, he is not given special privileges otherwise and this should be the norm.

The Indian society is by nature a publicity-hungry, sycophant society. The administration of any institution, shrine or anything goes overboard in worshipping these “demi-gods” created in the society itself. It is very unfortunate that such an incident had to take place today in a religious shrine, but I would not hold the press or the star as responsible, but rather would have my grudges on the temple administration, that prepares a different set of rules for people like me and a different set of rules for celebrity worshippers.

I often wonder if God Himself approves of such sycophantic policies. How can somebody actually bribe (if not monetarily then influentially) his way to God? Is this how we are going to shape the country? India is known for her culture, tradition and heritage, but when will the time come that this country will also be known for her good discipline and order? We have to prepare ourselves for the modern world keeping our own so called primitive values intact, and this is no way that such developments are going to happen.

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