M K Tayal:When India has closed temples and mosques due to fears of spreading Covid 19 virus, Yater and her husband Kardak Doji, though themselves being tribals, set up a Hindu temple in a remote village in Arunachal Pradesh so that they could pray for the world. Even as the Ministry of Home Affairs has lifted many restrictions in Lockdown 4, but temples and mosques are still not open to the public.
Yater, who works in the Public Works Department and Kardak Doji, a lawyer, were lockdown in Along district in Arunachal Pradesh. Even though being tribal, they used to pray daily Shiva and Ma Durga. “We decided to set up a temple so that other villagers could also join in and pray to Hindu Gods and Goddesses,” says Yater.
Getting a Hindu priest in the remote district to perform puja to do ‘murthisthapna’ of the idols was one of the major concerns after they selected a piece of land and denoted it to the village so that a temple could be constructed.
Finally, Yater got a few posters and a Shiv Linga and small idols together, and constructed the makeshift temple with their own skills and resources. “In such times, faith moves humans. God is omnipresent and I felt the need to connect with Shiva. Being tribals, our belief systems are different. But everyone in the village supported and now we have a temple where we all come and pray,” says Yater.
Kardak went to Hansraj College in Delhi and was exposed to the Hindu culture in the mid-eighties. “I used to visit Hanuman Temple in the Delhi University. I had a profound impact on me. I was drawn towards Hinduism. Now, we have got our own village temple,” Kardak adds.
“It is high time the government opens the temples. This idea of social distancing is too vague. People are adhering the physical distancing and the same can be maintained at temples too,” Kardark says.