Days after the UP government changed, in official parlance, the name of the 2019 Ardh Kumbh to the Kumbh citing “ardh” or “half” signifies nothing in Sanatan Hindu culture, the All India Saints Body expressed anger over being left out of key decisions taken for the 2019 Ardh Kumbh and asked the UP state government to keep it informed about any further decisions.
In a meeting with 13 other Shankaracharyas from across the country held on Friday, Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad head priest Narendra Giri said the Parishad, the ruling body of all sadhus across India, should be involved in the planning process leading to the Ardh Kumbh pilgrimage to be held on the banks of the Yamuna and Ganga in 2019, one of the worlds largest religious gatherings.
“We have written to the state government that we should be informed before any decision is taken regarding the Kumbh mela,” Giri said. Last week the winter session of the state Assembly was adjourned sine with SP and Congress MLAs staging a walkout when the government passed the Prayagraj Mela Authority Bill in which the Ardh Kumbh was renamed the Kumbh since Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was of the belief that “ardha” (half) has no significance.
The Opposition, calling the BJP “anti-Hindu” and “anti-religion” for proposing to change the names in the Bill, demanded that the Bill be sent to a select committee for scrutiny. Leader of Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary also said that Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad head Narendra Giri had informed him that on December 29, all sadhus would gather in Allahabad against the proposed changes.
Narendra Giri had last week told The Indian Express, “No one has the right to change the name of this ancient cultural gathering. Who are we to change its name? We will discuss why the Yogi government took this decision and on what basis. The Ardh Kumbh is a legacy of Prayag, how can one change its very name?”
On Friday, Giri also said that the government should institute an advisory committee comprising sadhus to assist the Prayag Mela Authority. “We have no problem with the Authority. But an advisory body headed by Akahara Parishad members and a member from each Akhara across the country should be instituted to oversee the preparations of the Kumbh,” he said.
He also declared molesation accused Virendra Dev Dixit, basti based Swami Sachidanand Saraswati and Allahabad based Trikal Bhavanta as “farzi babas” who have been “duping and misleading the public” and tarnishing the name of the clerical order by their misdemeanour. The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) this week inspected ashrams of self-styled godman Baba Virendra Dev Dixit in Delhi and said he might be running a human trafficking racket.
In September, the Akhara had issue the first such list of 13 “farzi babas” including rape convict and Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim Singh, rape accused Asaram Bapu, the Mecca Masjid and Samjhauta Express blasts accused Aseemanand.