Patna, Apr 1 (IANS) — People throng there to offer flowers, fruits and water from the river Ganga, considered holy by Hindus, at Gandhi’s idol — just like they do for their religious deities.
“I have been worshiping Mahatma Gandhi’s idol along with other gods and goddesses in the temple since my young days,” said 54-year-old Jogender Paswan.
People call him Lathidhari Bhagwan as Gandhi is typically depicted in India with a walking stick.
An elderly man associated with the temple said: “The Gandhi idol was installed at another place just two days after his assassination in 1948.
“But a land dispute forced people to reinstall the idol in the Kali Temple premises later.”
Interestingly, people worshipping the father of the nation there believe he will take rebirth to free people from growing social evils like corruption, violence and moral degeneration.
Krisnha Mohan Singh, a caretaker at the temple, said some people worship him for divine blessings. “The illiterate worship him for superstitious reasons and the literate out of respect,” he said.
The idol has, however, suffered damage over the years.
Gandhi’s statues are otherwise ubiquitous in Bihar’s towns. Several of them can be found in Patna alone, mostly neglected and in the limelight only when leaders come to garland it occasionally.
© Copyright 2003 IANS India Private Limited, New Delhi. Posted on Religioscope with permission.