Female ascetic vows to end life over sacred bath at Simhastha Kumbh

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Ujjain, April 26 (IANS) Trikal Bhavanta, a female ascetic, on Tuesday said she is ending her life by taking ‘samadhi’ after the government failed to allocate her all women ‘Akhara’ space and time for a sacred bath at the Simhastha Kumbh pilgrimage here.

She has been sitting in a 10 feet deep ditch in which, Trikal Bhavanta said, she would be buried alive.

The police has been trying to dissuade the ‘sadhvi’ (female sage) from committing any such act, Additional Superintendent of Police Amarendra Singh told reporters.

“Three policewomen have gone down the ditch to tell her to draw back from taking her life,” he said.

Allahabad-based Trikal Bhavanta in 2014 founded the ‘Shri Sarveshwar Mahadev Baikunth Dham Muktidwar’ – known in short as ‘Pari’ Akhara and billed as the first female Akhara in India.

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She has since been waging a campaign for the ‘Pari’ Akhara to be given the same status as the male Akharas in Kumbh melas.

An Akhara is an order of Hindu renunciates who see themselves as defending and protecting ‘Dharma’. They trace their origin to the work of the 8th-century philosopher Adi Shankaracharya.

They have always had male members.

The ‘Akharas’ are allotted special place and time for ‘shahi snan’ (royal bath) at every Kumbh pilgrimage.

The Madhya Pradesh government recognises 13 Akharas — all male — for the purpose of Simhastha Kumbh.

Earlier, Trikal Bhavanta had gone on a hunger strike to voice her demand that ‘Pari’ Akhara be given the same status and facilities at Simhastha Kumbh as the male Akharas.

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She had ended the hunger strike on the assurance of Madhya Pradesh’s minister in charge of Simhastha Kumbh Bhupendra Singh that her demand would be looked into.

“Despite the assurance, my demands have not been heeded,” she said on Tuesday.

“Unless Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan himself gives an assurance, I will not back down,” she added.

Trikal Bhavanta’s agitation comes in the backdrop of a series of unsavoury incidents at Simhastha Kumbh which ‘sadhus’ (male sages) taking part in the pilgrimage blamed on government mismanagement.

On Sunday, a ‘sadhu’ Tapasvi Giri was seriously injured in a murderous attack near a temple.

There were also incidents of theft at the pilgrimage site.

Some sadhus demonstrated against these incidents of violence and theft on Sunday.

Chief Minister Chauhan was here on Monday to placate the sadhus.

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