I’m a Hindu & I detest rowdy Kanwariyas!
Now that we have a govt which encourages a display of Hindutva, this question needs to be asked more than ever: Does being a devout Hindu mean to be a chauvinist who wears his arrogance on his sleeves
Every year in the month of ‘Shravan’, bang in the middle of the rainy season, my son—who is a school going teenager—eagerly looks forward to the two-three holidays he gets because of the Kanwariya traffic. Like many other teenagers, he is opinionated and justifies these holidays by saying, “well, who wants to bear with the unruly and uncouth behaviour of the Kanwariyas? Definitely not me, nor do I want my teachers, friends or my mom to face them !”
It was difficult for us as parents to make him understand that this is a holy pilgrimage that is undertaken by lakhs of believers of the lord Shiva. He refuses to believe that any religious practice can be so disruptive and uncivilised.
Pilgrimages indeed have great significance in Hinduism. But do we go on pilgrimage, playing loud music for spiritual reasons? Do we do so to enjoy the comforts of a camp especially made for us? As a Hindu, I know that these pilgrimages should be undertaken austerely without any extravaganza because ideally pilgrimages are never about the outward reflection of our spiritual journey.
A colleague and some acquaintances recently shared their experiences regarding Kanwar yatra, which they performed bare foot without stopping. They had blisters on their feet and had a terrible time being hungry and thirsty through the journey.
Over the years the commercialisation of Hindu religion has taken it to a new low. Jarring bhajans were once laughed at, they are now suffered silently; the saffron, a symbol of peace and detachment is now a fearsome colour; and Ram or Shiva, the Gods of eternal peace and love have become symbols of warring aggression
If you ask me, I am not in favour of such a pilgrimage, simply because it doesn’t elevate us spiritually, it just tests our patience. But well, faith makes us do many odd things. And I accept faith and belief.
But the Kanwariyas these days do not believe in testing their patience, their faith—they believe in testing yours.
Sample this: you want to reach office as soon as possible and you are happy that through the newly built NH stretch, inaugurated by the Prime Minister, you can reach in time. And suddenly you are stuck in a traffic jam. Why? Because a hoard of unruly Kanwariyas wouldn’t let you pass. They hold sticks in their hands, wearing saffron and flaunting tricolors, they will suddenly appear before a moving car and stop it with a strong thump of their hand (you will be thankful that they have not banged it with a stick). The heady mix of nationalism and religion makes it even more toxic, more tortuous.
Sample this too: you have a severe headache and would like to lie down quietly in a dark room when a sudden burst of noise will startle you out of your wits. This is actually a loud bhajan playing carriage passing by your residential society. You want them to pass quickly, but no. How can they! They are the Army of Lord Shiva. They have to dance and shout like people possessed and cause nightmares.
Sample this as well: you are standing at a red light waiting to go across the road when these so-called pilgrims unabashedly pass a lewd remark and go off leaving you recoiling in disgust.
Do I need to quote more such instances? Scores of videos and photographs of the Kanwariyas are available on social media including, which show them smashing cars with sticks, misbehaving with commuters, smoking weed, drinking and urinating in full public glare. As though this wasn’t enough, another video featuring a top Uttar Pradesh cop raining rose petals on them has gone viral on social media. This act of a senior officer made it clear that Kanwariyas enjoy official sanction and even patronage.
Such official gestures only embolden lumpen elements if the Bulandshahr incident is anything to go by. After violence in Guru Gram (Gurgaon), a fresh video of Kanwariyas indulging in violence surfaced from Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh. In the video, a large group of unruly Kanwariyas can be seen attacking a police vehicle.
How can any government allow such hooliganism to trample upon dignity of common citizens and their basic constitutional rights?
Do the majority of Kanwariyas understand the significance of the tough pilgrimage they undertake or are they just a bunch of unemployed, small-time hoodlums out to have fun, free food and some cheap thrills?
Is this Hindu revivalism or a new low of Hindu degeneration? Do they even understand the ideals of Lord Shiva or Ram?
And what happened to those who strongly opposed Namaz being offered in a park in Gurugram? Now when we are witnessing how hooligans are abusing Hindu Dharm on the roads, throwing whatever regulations we have off gear, don’t they have anything to say?
Over the years the commercialisation of Hindu religion has taken it to a new low. Jarring bhajans were once laughed at, they are now suffered silently; the saffron, a symbol of peace and detachment is now a fearsome colour; and Ram or Shiva, the Gods of eternal peace and love have become symbols of warring aggression.
It’s shameful to watch how the ruling political party is allowing and abetting transformation of the idea of Hinduism.
But excuse me, I am a Hindu and the acts of these Kanwariyas and their ilk don’t represent my religion. And a devout Hindu would never like to be a part of their pilgrimage.
I am a Hindu, I am a woman and I detest rowdy Kanwariyas!