Bollywood movies have practically drilled in our heads the fact that siblings get separated in the Kumbh Mela and so the popular saying goes, “Kumbh ke mele mein kho gaya tha”. But it seems now it will change with the emphatic entry of technology which will blend seamlessly with tradition. Technology has been in full force in the Maha Kumbh 2013 from the day one as per the media reports, what with Google map integration; GPS and ‘flying cameras’ determined to map and plot the 55-day festival with all the specifics. The biggest religious festival in the world impresses everyone with the number of people it draws that will be this time to the tune of tens of millions from India and around the world. The authorities seem to be in the mood to make the Kumbh Mela technically equipped as well.
There are arrangements to capture the glimpses of the mela at important points with 13 gigantic LED screens in the premises. The state government has spent about Rs.1.17 crore on the screens which will be static and some will be moving showcasing events like the aarti and other rituals to the devotees. And if that doesn’t impress you much then there would be flying cameras to take high definition snapshots of the tents, sadhu camps and the teeming million. Every inch of Allahabad has been mapped with Google map integration; GPS is enabling the locational data to be plotted for further usage and analysis. The sadhus are carrying Android mobile phones, tablet note books and data cards, their vehicles which include Mercedes as well have GPS technology integrated so they don’t get lost.
It indeed seems so strange, where spiritualism is bound everywhere with material paraphernalia. It is true that with the advent of technology we have been able to do many things which we never thought of before. Making the Kumbh Mela a digital event may be one of the priorities of the state government as it knows all eyes are now on this event. In fact the 10 months old state government has taken this opportunity to showcase its achievements as well. The much talked about event should get the maximum attention that seems the aim. After 2001 when it was last held this is the time to soak in spiritual as well as technological bliss, yes the hands are folded and the dip is still considered holy but what has changed is the way of expression, the digital effect has taken over in a big way. But what about the financial crunch which the state was reeling under as per the media reports again? It is an irony where we talk about the state which has lost more than 200 or even more lives due to cold and in the same breath we are now discussing about the technological advancements done there involving crores of rupees. Who would care to explain? Do we get enlightenment this way?