Monday, March 26, 2007

The Land of Temples

“Arunachal Pradesh is already in contention to be known as the land of temples”, a friend of mine suggested.

“That’s good for us,” I told him.

“Good for us! How?” He was not ready to agree.

I knew I cannot beat him in argument but I went for it. “Well, I can’t think of how it’s not good for us, any way,” I said.

“I think”, he said, “Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa was right when he said that God lives in the pure heart of every child.”

“That’s right, but…..”

“Let me finish first,” he interrupted me. “Remember those childhood days in Itanagar at H-Sector. We used to gather there at the open space-a sort of small playground for the children of the sector. We’d play, shout, fight and cry – it was such a fun, those days. You might have seen what has happened to that small playground. A temple has come up and fences have been erected around it.”

“Yes that’s so.” I had to agree because it happens to be true.

“Do you know what the children of the sector do now-a-days? Some play in the road and some whose parents think the road too unsafe to play on are confined to their home. H-Sector is just one example – go to A-Sector, B-Sector, C-Sector – everywhere in Itanagar and Naharlagun, you’ll see temples coming up at the spaces meant for the children. You’ll see…….” Just then his mobile rang. It was his mother.

“I have to go,” he said. He looked little annoyed to leave at this juncture. It was a disappointment for me as well, as I wanted to elicit some more from him.

The next day I made a quick survey to what he had told me about the temples. He was right. What once used to be a small open breathing space left in the colony or a small playground for the children, as he called it, was replaced by a temple in the heart of Ganga market. I still have vivid picture of Durga Puja pandal being erected in the place, some seven years ago, where the temple stood today. It was a much needed space left by the town planner, perhaps, to accommodate the future need of the market.

“Does law allow encroachment of public land anywhere to build a place of worship?” I asked myself.

“No comment”, said my inner voice. “This is a sensitive matter.”

I wonder if readers of Arunachal Diary has any comment on it.

-Shared by Gyati Tallo


  • Anon_tanii_gal

    Building temples is very well but whats the point of going to a temple if you are not a good human being . People assume they can get rid of their PAAP(sin)just by going to a temple or church occassionally or building one.

    Religion is a sensitive subject.In todays world Religion has become a political tool and probably has no relevance to spiritual matters ,oneness with god .Its more about people fighting over whether my God is better than your God . As an example look at the mess in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    People are free to practise their own religion but its when they become fundamentalists and seek to impose themselves on others that it leads to communal tension and aggression.

    I wonder how did they get the plot for building the temple .Was it legally alloted or was it encroached ? If it was encroached then a complaint with the relevant authority would ensure that the land stayed as a playground for children.

  • Gyati Tallo

    Building temples are not bad (as anon tanii gal said). It doesn’t matter for what one goes to temple. What I don’t understand is the rationale of building temples in every empty spaces left in the town- be it parking place, children play ground, avenue garden and so on. Hardly 5% (as per my approximation) of the Arunachalees are Hindus and yet so many temples in the capital of Arunachal Pradesh. I have no complaint on that.

    Anon tanii gal wanted to know if the lands where temples (mentioned in the Land of Temples) are built have been encroached upon or have been allotted for the purpose. There is no doubt that the lands have been encroached upon. One should, however, not be surprised if they have obtained allotment orders by now for the same. It’s not for nothing that Arunachal Pradesh is known as land of khusi-khusi .

    People of Arunachal, according to one of my friend, are very tolerant and accommodative to the alien culture and faith. Reason why no one complain to the administration or the relevant authority about the temples, may be. However, the protection of public property like children playground or park is a duty of the citizen. Lodging complaint with the relevant authority on encroachment of public land for building temple hardly amount to intolerance.

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