Why was the crowd in Allahabad Lathi Charged leading to Stampede?

In an unfortunate turn of events 20 (possibly more) people have died in a stampede in Allahabad.  These pilgrims were there for the Maha Kumbh.Now, I have been looking at many news outlets and except for one, no one is reporting why the railing collapsed?  It is being made out as if the crowd made it happen.  Well, FirstPost says it clearly that a "cane-charge" happened on the crowd in the railway station before the railing gave way. District officials said that a cane charge-prompted stampede … [Read more...]

Chobi Mela: an International Photography Festival in Bangladesh

Chobi Mela, the first festival of photography in Asia, is one of the most exciting ventures that Drik has initiated. The first Chobi Mela – International Festival of Photography was held Dec.1999-January 2000.  It is held every two years in Dhaka. The festival examines the dramatic shifts in image production, ownership and distribution brought on by new developments in the media landscape.  … [Read more...]

2 million Russians take a dip in icey cold waters celebrating “Feast of Epiphany” – Russian “Kumbh”?

As India is celebrating the Maha Kumbh, it seems Russians also have something similar - which now has become more of a "Health Benefit" event - thanks to the Ice Water Swimming group people.  But there is a religious reason also.  One difference between Russian practice and MahaKumbh is that Russians don't do to "a place".. they just take a dip wherever they live.More than two million people in Russia celebrated the Feast of Epiphany, taking part in traditional bathing by immersing themselves i … [Read more...]

Harvard Research team in India to study Maha Kumbh 2013; Gather, analyze “Big Data” from the largest human gathering

A team from Harvard is in town at the Mahakumbh.  In a bid to understand the dynamics of the largest human gathering on planet.  It also presents interesting opportunities for some on the team.  Including integrating their interest in "Big Data" to make sense out of this entire human get-together.The effort is bring called 'Mapping India's Kumbh Mela'.  The multi-disciplinary team wants to understand how such a large number of people can come together peacefully and celebrate this millenia old … [Read more...]

Study: Participating in MahaKumbh improves physical and mental well-being of Pilgrims; Positive impact remains even after the event

The MahaKumbh 2013 has been talked about a lot as it started this week.  It has attracted attention for its Naked Sadhus - the Nagas; the crowds, the celebs who have been and will be there.  The pilgrims who go there, go for a Spiritual aspiration.  Of liberation.  Now, without any deep enough awareness of the Spiritual experience, one may or may not be able to experience a liberated state.Does that mean that ordinary folks are just restricted to experience large crowds, din above which you hav … [Read more...]

Naga Sadhus aren’t meant to be just Naked and “High on Pot” Ascetics; Real Ones Embody the Grace of Shiva beneath the Veneer of societal disdain

Who are Naga Sadhus?To understand the Naga Sadhus, it is important to know who Shiva is.  Because these ascetics - those who are really on Spiritual path and seriously with a Guru who knows what he doing, as opposed to just a naked Sadhu taking intoxicants - are on the path as closely aligned to the life of Shiva, the original Yogi, as it can possibly get!For the Yogis, Shiva is not a "God".  He is the origin of all Spirituality.  When he walked the earth, he did so with complete disdain for … [Read more...]

Shilpa Shetty visits Mahakumbh and takes a Dip at Triveni

Shilpa Shetty, the Indian Actress, took the dip at Maha Kumbh yesterday.  She was tweeting her way to the kumbh.  Her dip and the process was handled by Swami Chidananada of Parmartha Niketan.  En route 2 the KUMBH MELA,Allahabad.With my parents,thanks 2 dearest Gopi(Hinduja) uncle,who made my moms dream possible.— SHILPA SHETTY (@TheShilpaShetty) January 14, 2013   Took 3 (Very cold) dips,brrrrrrr!!Officially now I will attain moksh:) Now back in Mumbai,can't wait to hug my son … [Read more...]

MahaKumbh 2013: 100 million to Converge at Ganga including Richard Gere, Catherine Jones, Dalai Lama (Pictures)

Mark Twain happened to witness a Maha Kumbh in his life when he visited India. And, this is what he said about his experience:“ It is wondeful, the power of faith like that, can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining. It is done in love or done in fear: I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond i … [Read more...]