T.T.Rammohan quotes from an article which marvels at the successful organisation of the Kumbh Mela festival.
On the sandbanks of the river Ganges at Allahabad, bureaucrats and workers from Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state and one of its poorest, took less than three months to build a tent city for 2m residents complete with hard roads, toilets, running water, electricity, food shops, garbage collection and well-manned police stations.....If we can pull this off so well, wonders Rammohan, why don’t we simply replicate (and multiply) the efforts in all the villages and towns all over India and build much-needed infrastructure?
.....Devesh Chaturvedi, a senior official who is divisional commissioner of Allahabad, is proud of the “huge task” that he and perhaps 100,000 workers have completed in organising this year’s festival.
He mentions 165km of roads on the sand made of steel plates, 18 pontoon bridges, 560km of water supply lines, 670km of electricity lines, 22,500 street lights and 200,000 electricity connections, as well as 275 food shops for essential supplies such as flour, rice, milk and cooking gas.
Apparently, the organisers of the Kumbh Mela and the workers are imbued with a deep sense of mission. They feel it is a service to God, through service to pilgrims. That casts a spell over them and induces them to take on formidable challenges.
Perhaps that’s the reason our ancestors managed to build thousands of temples in far-flung places often in inhospitable terrain. Just imagine the logistics of carrying stones up a mountain, through dense forests, and with no trail. It required some motivation and religious belief provided that. Maybe our brains are hardwired to respond to only a religious calling.
To build modern-day temples such as dams, bridges, airports, roads, expeditiously should we invest each activity with a religious meaning, complete with rewards and punishment? It might just work.