Kumbh Mela 2019: No more mela of the missing
3, Feb 2019, 1:39 PM
Prayagraj: While Bollywood may have had a field day with the 'Lost in Kumbh' concept, it is no longer a grim reality. This year the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj is spread over 3,200 hectares and is expected to host over 150 million people from across the world.
The progeny of the famous Bhoole Bhatke baba Raja Ram Tiwari, Umesh Tiwari, as well as police-run computerised Khoya Paya Kendra (Lost and Found Centres) are making sure that every devotee reaches home. Considering that majority of Kumbh's attendees come from rural areas, the task of reuniting the lost becomes more difficult. Forget mobile phones, many of the attendees do not even know the names of the lost, addressing each other as 'Ram Bilas ki amma' (Mother of Ram Bilas) and the works.
Speaking to MyNation, Umesh Tiwari says the Bhoole Bhatke Shivir operates on goodwill more than technology. "Kumbh Mela has more of a rural attendance. Technology is all good but we have to be extra attentive to their needs." For instance, he shared an incident when a well-to-do merchant from West Bengal lost his belongings and ended up in his camp. "We got him a ticket to go home and he kept insisting that he wants to repay the gesture. So, I just told him that whenever a lost person speaking Bangla needs help in our camp, he can be available on the telephone to translate their details. That's the only repayment that we need," he says.
His father started the Bhoole Bhatke shivir in 1946 and continued the work for 70 years. Tiwari says this camp has become the family occupation with his 8-year-old grandson already offering his help with translation should an English-speaking lost person make their way to the camp. "He checks files with me and ensures that I call up and personally find out if all the lost have safely returned to their homes," he adds.
"We have no other work other than this. Bhoole Bhatke is our God."