‘They scream. Blood comes out’: Kerala police officer says it is time to stop Pongala

#1 Mar 2nd, 2018, 10:07
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sreelekhaips.blogspot.in

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A senior police officer in Kerala is campaigning to put a stop to a temple ritual in which the bodies of young boys are pierced with iron hooks. In a hard-hitting blog on Tuesday, R Sreelekha, the state’s director general of prisons and correctional services, asked authorities at the Attukal Devi temple in Thiruvananthapuram district to abolish the ritual of Kuthiyottam, saying that causing physical and mental pain to children is an offence under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Kuthiyottam is an eight-day ritual for boys aged between five and 12 years of age, and held alongside the annual 10-day Pongala festival. Sreelekha wrote that during Kuthiyottam, the boys are made to wear only loin cloths, take cold water dips three times a day, eat measly morsels while squatting on the floor and sleep on the bare temple ground. They are also not allowed to see their parents.

On the ninth day, when the main Pongala celebration takes place, the boys are decked in special garments, garlands and jewellery. Then, the skin next to their rib cage is pierced with an iron hook through which a silver thread is inserted. “They scream,” Sreelekha wrote in her blog. “Blood comes out. A thread will be symbolically knotted through the hooks to symbolise their bond with divinity. Then hooks are pulled out and ash roughly applied on the wounds.”

The Pongala festival this year began on February 22 and Kuthiyottam ceremonies commenced two days later. The body piercing ritual will be held on Friday.

Attukal Pongala

Pongala in Attukal is one of the biggest temple festivals in Kerala. Attukal Bhagavathi, the goddess, is believed to be an incarnation of Kannaki, the central character of the Tamil epic Silappathikaaram.

On the ninth day of the festival, women assemble on the streets of Thiruvananthapuram city in the hundreds of thousands to cook a pudding of rice, jaggery and coconut in earthen pots as an offering to Attukal Bhagavathi. Before they start cooking, the chief priest of the temple lights their firewood with fire from the shrine’s sanctum sanctorum.

In 2009, the Guinness World Records recognised the Attukal Pongala held that year as the largest gathering of women. Over 25 lakh women had participated then.
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#2 Mar 2nd, 2018, 18:42
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Grown men sticking pointy metal objects into young boys? Elsewhere this would indicate imminent jail time for the adults.
#3 Mar 2nd, 2018, 18:50
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#4 Mar 2nd, 2018, 23:10
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Trust the BBC to focus on the screaming and the blood. What about the positive aspect?







In the name of religion and/or culture, all sorts of weird things happen, and some of them involve pointy things being stuck into flesh. There is a Hindu thing, I forget the name, where they stick hooks and stuff in their flesh and hang fruit from it. Sometimes heavier stuff. Sometimes, I think (never saw), they hang themselves from the hooks. I don't know if there is any minimum age for all that... it doesn't surprise me at all that there is a place, somewhere in the world, where they do something like this to youngsters.
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#5 Mar 2nd, 2018, 23:44
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Nick are you talking about Thaipoosam?

Also this article has been sourced from a blog by R Sreelekha, the state’s director general of prisons and correctional services. I can understand piercing and all as a custom, however should kids be involved?
#6 Mar 3rd, 2018, 01:19
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Originally Posted by aarosh View Post Nick are you talking about Thaipoosam?
Yes, that's the one. Thanks.
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Also this article has been sourced from a blog by R Sreelekha, the state’s director general of prisons and correctional services. I can understand piercing and all as a custom, however should kids be involved?
I'm not saying that they should.
#7 Mar 3rd, 2018, 09:41
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post ...What about the positive aspect?...
That was then, Nick. This is now. Surely it's time to move beyond all this.
Walt Whitman - Song of Myself

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
#8 Mar 3rd, 2018, 13:39
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There is a Hindu thing, I forget the name, where they stick hooks and stuff in their flesh and hang fruit from it.
I think Nick must be thinking of the event in Pune. When I saw it the guy added a lemon each year to his burden. If he is still doing it he could stock a fruit cart with it afterwards. It was interesting that they put on ash before. That helps to coagulate the blood (calcium). My pain usually comes from a major mistake, nearly always my own inadvertent fault..
#9 Mar 3rd, 2018, 15:12
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post What about the positive aspect?
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Originally Posted by hfot2 View Post That was then, Nick. This is now. Surely it's time to move beyond all this.
It was a joke aimed at our usual response to the BBC But the BBC picked this up elsewhere (they seem to get most of their news from twitter these days anyway); I had seen it covered in the local press before I saw it on the Beeb.

No, I don't support sticking sharp things into children or cutting bits off. I don't support docking dogs' tails either. The only thing is that I'm surprised that anyone would be surprised.
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Originally Posted by edwardseco View Post I think Nick must be thinking of the event in Pune.
Actually, I was thinking of the even in Highgate, London... where I have witnessed this Thaipoosam stuff up-close on two or three occasions. But I've seen it in passing in India too: I think it is practised (celebrated?) in numerous places.
#10 Mar 3rd, 2018, 16:13
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#10
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‘They scream. Blood comes out’: Kerala police officer says it is time to stop Pongala
Kuthiyottam =/= Pongala.

The DGP herself offered pongala yesterday.
#11 Mar 5th, 2018, 15:43
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Body piercing rituals draw flak The Hindu

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Despite criticism over violation of child rights, 2 Kerala temples continue practice
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At Attukal in the State capital, the practice of keeping around 1,000 teenage boys in the temple premises for five days, leading up to the grand finale when thousands of women arrive in the city to offer pongala (made with rice and jaggery) to the female deity, has come in for criticism from the State’s Director General of Prisons R. Sreelekha. She raised the question of how the elders could allow hooks to be pierced into the sides of the boys, even ritualistically, in gross violation of their rights to protection and security.

Calling the practice ‘cruelty to the kids’, she wrote in her blog: “Parents conspire with temple authorities to put their children through rigorous mental and physical abuse for five days...And on the final day, each of them will be decked up with yellow clothes, garlands, jewellery and make-up on face, including lipstick, and made to stand in a queue for their last unexpected torture. An iron hook, tiny though it is, will be pierced into their skin on their flanks. They scream. Blood comes out. A thread will be symbolically knotted through the hooks to symbolise their bond with divinity. Then the hooks are pulled out and ash roughly applied on the wounds! All this for (the) temple deity!”
Quote:
The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KeSCPCR) in 2016 banned the practice, noting that it should be abolished from society, like the practice of sati. Dismissing a petition filed by an organisation, which sought the ban to be overturned, the Kerala High Court last month observed that children should not be subjected to any form of physical or mental suffering in the name of such ceremonies.

However, despite a ban, at least 12 households performed the ritual this year.
Click the above link for the full article
#12 Mar 5th, 2018, 17:26
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#12
My Mother's nephew, cried for years as a child and teen. He train for be next Takashi Ono, the famous gymnast. Sports is very similar to religion. Big men scream and proud the winning of young bodies patch with sewing ??
#13 Mar 5th, 2018, 22:09
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‘They scream. Blood comes out’: Kerala police officer says it is time to stop Pongala

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Originally Posted by miyu View Post Big men scream and proud the winning of young bodies patch with sewing ??
Sounds like A Japanese poem, miyu!
#14 Mar 7th, 2018, 14:29
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Haiku..
#15 Mar 7th, 2018, 16:13
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‘They scream. Blood comes out’: Kerala police officer says it is time to stop Pongala

Is it?

Maybe arranging words words beautifully comes naturally to miyu, like arranging food.

She is our poet... Of words and food!

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