Successful Kumbh earns Akhilesh Harvard invite

This despite the death of 38 devotees and fire mishap

Notwithstanding the death of 38 devotees and several incidents of fire, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his colleague Azam Khan have been invited by the prestigious Harvard University for successfully organising the 55-day long Mahakumbh, the world's biggest fair.

Officials said the two would be sharing the story on successfully organising the event at a programme to be hosted by the Harvard sometime in the next month. The dates have not yet been finalised.

Officials said the two leaders had accepted the invitation.

Khan, who was the chairman of the Mahakumbh Fair Organising Committee, had, while speaking in the state Assembly a few days back, said the varsity had invited them to speak there and added that it was an “honour” for the state.

Khan had resigned from the post of Mela Committee chairman after the stampede taking moral responsibility for the tragedy but his resignation was rejected by Akhilesh and he was asked to continue.

The Mahakumbh was a case study for Harvard. The university had sent a team to undertake a comprehensive study of the fair, which was organised over 58 sq km area on the bank of the Ganga in Allahabad.

The varsity had focused on the management of the fair, which was attended by millions of devotees from across the world. Thousands of sadhus and saints and “kalpavasis”  are housed in tents that are erected in the makeshift township, preparations for which start well in advance.

The makeshift township is equipped with all the facilities that a city has. It had electricity, water, health system, roads and other things. It was dismantled in a couple of days after the Kumbh got over on March 10 with the last “snan” on the occasion of Mahashivratri.
The varsity felt that the system could be copied in some other countries.

Although this year's Mahakumbh that occurs every 12 years witnessed the biggest footfalls, it was marred by a stampede on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya on February 10 in which 38 devotees lost their lives and scores others injured. A few fire incidents also claimed some lives at the fair.

The Mahakumbh was a case study for Harvard. The university had sent a team to undertake a comprehensive study of the 55-day long fair.

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