Food destroyed at Puri Jagannath Temple because a foreigner entered the shrine

Food worth rupees three hundred thousand was destroyed by the Puri Jagannath temple authorities as part of purification rituals. All this because an American tourist entered the shrine. The shrine once denied entrance to then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi because she married a Parsi.

The food was cooked for around 7,000 devotees and is referred as ‘bhog’ or ‘mahaprasad.’

All this is happening in a country in which millions of Hindus are starving. The temple is in an Indian state which has reported starvation deaths. It is being reported that a priest of the temple helped the foreigner to get inside the shrine.

There is no doubt that the activities of few orthodox people are damaging Hinduism. Majority of the Hindus are remaining silent spectators and are allowing few orthodox people to administer temples.

Take this incident as an example; if a few Hindus present in the temple had raised their voice, the destruction of the food could have been easily stopped. Instead we go back to our home and discuss and condemn the episode but never raise a finger when it is needed.

The doors of temple should be open to all people. It is true that majority of the non-Hindus enter temple out of curiosity. But that should not be a reason to deny entry.

Thousands of non-Hindus are daily entering shrines across India and they are not identified because they are not foreigners. The poor foreigner was identified because of the color of his skin.

There are several shrines across India that are denying entry to non-Hindus. The people of the particular area should come forward to get rid of these sorts of orthodoxies.