Makaravilakku - the controversy thickens
The ghastly mishap at Pullumedu near Sabarimala involving pilgrims, who thronged the pilgrim centre to witness the Divya Jyoti, has snowballed into a huge controversy, with the high court of Kerala joining the fray. In Sabarimala, Makaravilakku is celebrated on the Makara Samkranti day, which was on 14th January this year. This festival attracts a lot of pilgrims from neighboring states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra. 104 people were killed in the accident, and over 50 people have suffered injuries.
What is Makarasamkranti?
Makara Samkranthi, celebrates the Sun's journey northwards. This is the day when the sun enters into the zodiac Capricorn or Makara Rashi. It is also known as Uttarayana Punyakalam and the heralds the arrival of spring season. This festival is celebrated all over India.
Makaravilakku – Divine or Man-made?
While Makaravilakku is man-made, Makara Jyoti is a celestial star that appears on the horizon. Makaravilakku is said to be a man-made fire organized by the officials of the Forest Department in Ponnambalamedu. It is believed that heaps of camphor (karpooram) is burned to produce this light.
Makaravilakku Festival attracts a lot of pilgrims from outside Kerala, most of whom go there in the belief that this is a divine light. Exploiting people's inborn tendency to believe in miracles to mint money is not only unethical, It is also illegal as per the Constitution of India. Since Makaravilakku festival is a celebration of Makarasamkranti like other parts of India, it is still relevant without this man-made Jyoti.
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