While the media may be wrapped up in immediate concerns of contagion, we can only assume that the millions flocking to the Kumbh Mela are taking the long view.
While the government contemplates the logistics, costs and implications for personal liberty of introducing quarantine for travelers, and hostile states whip up anti-vax sentiment, we might take a peek at the link between faith and pestilence, as sadly the two often travel hand in hand. Amongst the largest gatherings on the planet is the Hindu pilgrimage … Continue reading Forty days
As crowds continue to gather in their millions in Praygaj for the biggest Kumbh Mela of all time, I'm still sitting in London thinking of Nehru. He was a prolific writer and many of his letters are passionate expressions of love for India, and in particular the Ganga, or Ganges. to his daughter Indira he … Continue reading A River of Pilgrims
Lying in his prison cell, Pandit Nehru dreamt of liberation for India and imagined a new secular age which would cast superstition aside to allow this ancient civilisation to embrace modernity, with all the freedoms that promised. During his many periods of incarceration he wrote extensively to his daughter about his love of India and … Continue reading Dreams of Liberation
Polish photographer Michal Iwanowski recently walked from his home in the UK to his family home of Mokrzeszow in Poland: a journey of over 1000 miles. His journey was prompted by graffiti saying 'Go home Polish' scrawled on a wall in Cardiff. Is this a pilgrimage? There is certainly a tradition of ritually returning to … Continue reading Does pilgrimage have to be religious?