Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pujaris wash temple after suicide

This story was done after I had got all the necessary material after visiting the spot for which the reporter could share a joint byline without budging himself from the environs of the office. In today’s newspaper journalism in India as taken a specific beating with most of the so called graduates in Mass Communication wriggling their way out from a story which requires field work. They prefer doing the desk job by getting the raw material or the full story from the net and worse still claiming that they have broken the story. One classic case was in Bangalore Mirror. This reporter who had given a story and since I surf the net for news had read about the same story. So I politely asked him as to how he got this story, he replied that he had broken it after two weeks of lobbying with his source. When I told him about the same story with two weeks before date line on the net, he quickly replied that he is the one who gave the story to them. ‘Funny’ I thought but he went on to add that half the material one gets to see on ‘Wikipedia’ was written by him. That was the pits of ‘lying’ and that too unashamedly. Well if you have reporters who are passing out with a genuine attitude problem of going to the field to do reportage, on the other hand you have editors who acknowledge this, but do not take any corrective steps. At this rate I fear that the near future for field reportage will no longer exists, and the ‘readers’ will be supplied with cooked up vegetables rather than street side chopped masala which he had missed on the News Television channels. I for one have given hundreds of my stories to such reporters who have no insight on the subject but yet claim that they do have.
Anyway here is the story which I was asked by my Editor in BM to share with a crime beat reporter.
Like this temple being washed away with the sinful sorrow of a suicide which happened within it’s premises, Newspaper Journalism too needs a few bold Editors who will take a corrective step on the daily reportage to keep the pitiful readers with on field reportage rather than desk top reportage.

Volunteers perform cleansing rituals through the day, keeping thousands of devotees waiting for darshan at Ulsoor’s Someshwara temple.

Thousands of eager devotees were shut out of the historical Someshwara temple in Ulsoor on Friday. They were greeted by a short notice that read: No darshan till 5 pm, inside, 15 devotees were hard at work cleansing the premises after a shocking suicide had sullied it that morning.
An unidentified man, aged around 60 years, killed himself, in a room inside the Someshwara Temple. He was found hanging in the room where the chariot bof the Lord is kept. It is believed that the unidentified man sneaked into the temple in the morning when the watchman had gone to wash his face leaving the main door open.
The incident came to light later in the morning. Interestingly, temple volunteers did not bother to wait for the temple management to act. They ‘cleansed’ the premises with water and performed homas and havans under the priest’s guidance throughout the day.
Devotees who visited the temple were shut out till 5 pm.

The Someshwara temple, a historical place receives at least 3,000 devotees every day; the figures exceed 4,000 on Mondays and Fridays.
Murgaraj, a security guard at the temple, was the first to see the body. “I opened the temple’s door at 4.45 am and was shocked to see somebody hanging. I immediately called the local police. They came and found a piece of bun and Rs 40 from the victim.”
The police are tracing the identity of the person. They are yet to find out the reason behind his extreme step and importantly, why he chose the temple premises for his last act. The body has been shifted to Bowring hospital, police said. A local resident and a volunteer at the temple, Vijay Kumar, told Bangalore Mirror that the temple was closed for devotees as the cleansing process was on till 4.30 pm. Nine different homas were performed were performed to remove the ‘impure air’ created by the suicide.
Confusion prevailed among devotees who were surprised to find the entry was bared till evening. A large number of devotees gathered in the evening to take part in the final homa and perform the pooja. “This is the first time something like this has happened. We pray for the departed soul’s peace,” a devotee said.

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