Monday, November 07, 2005

Shrine to tolerance built in India as a refuge from intolerant rioters

The Akshardham temple which reportedly cost about 45 million dollars to build, was recently opened to the public in New Delhi, India. This temple, which has been called a "shrine to tolerance", will be invaluable to citizens of New Delhi as a sanctuary, while fleeing from intolerant rioters.

The Swaminarayan sect that built the shrine, also owns another temple in Gujarat, the Indian state that has seen an enormous amount of religious rioting in the past few years. The success of this temple in Gujarat as a fortress against berserk fundamentalists led to the construction of this newer temple in New Delhi, which was also a scene of rioting against Sikhs in 1984, and more recently, a victim of multiple bomb blasts carried out by religious terrorists.

The temple is constructed of bright pink sandstone, intended to blind the eyesight of potential marauders, making it difficult for them to approach the building. It's tremendous size, the length of a soccer field and the height of a 12-story building, will make sure that it is able to accomodate most of the population of New Delhi inside during times of sectarian violence. It sits on 234 pillars topped by nine domes and is bedecked by more than 20,000 statues of gods and goddesses, encompassing the gamut of the Hindu pantheon. In case the temple comes under siege from rioters, these same pillars could also be used as lethal projectiles to crush the seething mobs outside.

The temple was symbolically inaugurated by representatives of the three major religions in India, namely, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who is a Muslim, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is a Sikh and opposition leader L.K. Advani of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. All three representatives joined in pushing open the door of the main hall of the temple, which was built heavy enough to withstand the religious fervour of a thousand people trying to storm in.

The temple also has an Imax theater, which, in normal circumstances, features a documentary about India's cultural spirituality. However, when the time comes to defend it from the slavering maw of batshit insanity, it will feature training films in weapons handling and the procedure of boiling oil before it is poured onto the milling crowd of rioters outside. The strategic location of the temple on the banks of the Yamuna river was also decided upon while keeping in mind the fact that it should allow refugees to escape via river, using boats, in case the bulwarks of the temple were to fail and be overpowered by it's assailants.

Indian media has been unanimous in it's praise for this newest symbol of the thread of tolerance deeply woven into the nation's cultural fabric. The Akshardham "is much more than just a temple," the Times of India daily newspaper said. It is "a celebration of the past, embracement of the present and terrified acceptance of the future," it said.

In unrelated news, Natwar Singh, the Indian Foreign minister who was indicted by the Volcker report in the Iraq Oil-for-Food scam, has been stripped of his portfolio and his Bajaj scooter stripped of gasoline.

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