Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Deep-rooted beliefs!

One of the things we do on getting back to India is to hire a help and end up adopting the family as well! Bhuvana, our help, has an younger brother who appears periodically and cleans the car. No matter he is expected to appear more often, but does a good job when he descends. He has moved north of Bengaluru and so he does descend!

Today is Ayuda Pooja and an important day. Santosh rang the bell in the morning and asked me to take the car out. He wanted to give it a thorough cleaning, better than normal as it was Pooja day. He planned to decorate it by tying two small banana plants on the sides, a huge garland in the front and so on. I disappointed him by telling him a few flowers should be enough!.

Went up for my shave! As I shaved, I recalled the story that Khsatriyas had to draw blood if they took their swords out of their sheaths ! Wondered what they did on Ayuda Pooja day. As I thought about this, sure enough, I cut myself and drew a little blood! I suppose the rules apply even to a mild brahmin!

Went down as soon as Santosh was ready and moved the car back.

Santosh performed the pooja. He knew the ritual quite well. Later he asked me to drive forward. I heard a pop and realised he had kept lemons in front of the four wheels. Symbolic sacrifice done I came up.

As I thought about this ritual, my questions were: when did  a vehicle become a weapon?  Yes it has the potential to draw blood, even take life. And as most Indians perform this pooja; has it reduced Indian accident rates?

 Here are some stats.  Road fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants per year: The world average was 20.8 and India was lower at 16.8.
I thought, not so bad! Hopefully the pooja  was a factor! But again Sweden was the lowest at 2.9. So it must be more than just a yearly pooja that reduced accidents and thus fatalities. Suprisingly USA at 12.3 was much higher than what I expected. Eritrea was the worst at 48.4.

The summary also said: According to the World Health Organization, road traffic injuries caused an estimated 1.26 million deaths worldwide in the year 2000. The average rate was 20.8 per 100,000 people, 30.8 for males, 11.0 for females. 90% occurred in low and middle income countries, with South-East Asia and Africa having the highest rates.


Raghunath said...

I thought Ayudha in the context of puja is meant to cover all tools, not necessarily weapons. In fact in the office all the implements inc computers etc are worshipped. As for kshatriyaa I am sure they wouldn't pull their swords out of their scabbards on this day as they too would be placed for worship. Whether this would offer a non-believer a chance to stage a coup, I am not aware!
Thanks for the stats on RTA (Road Traffic Accidents). It is the 3rd or 4th commonest cause of death world over and is regarded as being an epidemic of greater importance than the conventional infections e.g. cholera, plague etc. Of course Cardiovascular diseases and cancer occupy the pride of place.

srinidhi said...

That is true! We did clean the machines in the factory!

Isn't it tragic that a 'tool' for transport also becomes a weapon of mass destruction. Hard to digest the fact that it is considered an epidemic ranked 3rd or the 4th in importance.