Kanwariyas; Devotees or Destroyers of peace? India under Saffron GundaRaj?

While Muslims are stopped from offering Namaz in public, the Indian government has no say whatsoever on this bizarre event that took place today. The Saffron clad Kanwar pilgrims reportedly smashed a car and toppled it on a busy street in Delhi in a video taken on Wednesday and shared online. Around a dozen Kanwarias are seen in the video smashing the windows of the car with sticks and then tipping it over as policemen and spectators watch without stopping them. The car had allegedly brushed past them on a road in Moti Nagar, which led to the attack, reports news agency ANI.

The passengers rushed out to safety as their car came under attack.

“Both- a man and a woman managed to escape the spot and didn’t sustain any injuries,” said a senior police officer. He also said that the two refused to file the complaint against the group.

The police, however, said they would investigate the incident and file a case.

Kanwar Yatra is an annual pilgrimage by the Shiva devotees who walk from their homes to Haridwar, Gaumukh, Gangotri in Uttarakhand to fetch a pot filled with Ganga water during Shravan, the fourth month of the Hindu calendar (July 23-Aug 22). The Ganga water is used as an offering to their local Shiva shrines on Amavasya or the New Moon day or Shivaratri day.

Various camps and rest stops are set up for the devotees on the roadside, which disrupts traffic as only a part of the road is left for cars, buses and trucks. Despite traffic, the pilgrims are often seen walking in large groups on the road balancing the pots on their shoulders.

The devotees travel from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Each year, heavy security measures are taken by the government and the police. The traffic on Delhi-Haridwar national highway is also diverted.

This Kanwar Yatra is a ritual, which is said to make you a true Shiva devotee or Shiv bhakt. By performing this ritual, your claim on Shiva becomes stronger and more authentic. It is futile to argue if it forms an essential part of Hinduism or Shiva bhakti.

It can be said that Kanwar Yatra precedes modern roads, traffic regulations. Kanwariyas, sometimes occupy the road, despite whatever the emergency might be.