Spotlight again on lighting of Makara Vilakku at hill shrine

It is clear that when one looks at the balancesheet of the festival, it will be the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) which will be laughing all the way to the bank. Every year, the TDB earns a few hundred crores from the “Mandala - Makara Vilakku” season. As for the hapless pilgrims, many lose their health standing in 20-hour queues during the season or perch atop “unofficial” spots like Pulmedu to view the celestial light which has already been revealed as a hoax. Perhaps, that explains why there were only Keralites among the 102 who perished in the stampede.

Former tantri Kantararu Maheswaru had revealed in 2008 that the “divinity” ascribed to “Makara Vilakku” was nothing but the handiwork of people who light camphor at Ponnambalamedu.

Revelation

Former TDB chief Raman Nair had gone a step further and said in a TV debate then that it was lit jointly by the TDB staff, police and some others. However, barring a few rationalists whose predecessors were beaten up way back in the eighties when they got photographs of the clandestine lighting process, none picked it up and campaigned.
No, not even the self-righteous media.

As pointed out by senior journalist Kesavan Nampoothiry who was himself a practising priest, the tantri had distinguished between “Makara Jyoti” and “Makara Vilakku.”
“Makara Jyoti is a star that appears on the eastern horizon on “Makara Sankranthi” day and the “Makara Vilakku” is the “light worship” of the tribal people,’’ the tantri had then said.

The TDB as well as Kerala Government may have a relook at the whole make-believe story around “Makara Vilakku” that has claimed so many lives over the years.

Three big human tragedies have visited Sabarimala on January 14 and it is time to avoid a fourth one.

Police report in four days

The special team of the Crime Branch of the Kerala police, which began investigation into Friday’s stampede that claimed the lives of 102 Ayyappa pilgrims,will submit its initial report in four days, report agencies from Vandiperiyar.

 Team head SP S Surendran, who leads the Hurt and Homicide wing of the crime branch, said the report, including forensic findings, would be submitted to ADGP (Crime Branch) Vinson M Paul in four days.

The six member team visited the accident spot and took evidences. Forensic experts also visited Pullmedu area where the mishap occurred, official sources said.

Besides the Crime Branch probe, Kerala government had also announced a judicial inquiry into the mishap. 

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