KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Hindu Sangam has come out with a set of guidelines to ensure that Thaipusam, which falls on Jan 19, is celebrated in a spiritual and religious manner and not turned into a carnival.
Its president A. Vaithilingam said the guidelines were drawn up after studying numerous complaints received from the people throughout the country.
Among the main complaints were on cleanliness, toilet facilities and allocation of stalls for small businesses, the high charges for performing archanai (prayers) and carrying paal kudam (milk pot) and improper methods of carrying the kavadi.
Vaithilingam said the guidelines would be distributed to all temples concerned with the request that they implement them.
“We have had discussions with the management of the Batu Caves Temple who promised to implement the guidelines in stages over the next few years,” he said.
He said the public needed to be educated to ensure they would not patronise shops which sold non-religious items.
He added that a booklet would be published this year.
Among the guidelines proposed by the Sangam are that:
Vaithilingam said kavadi bearers should be discouraged from pulling chariots with hooks on their bodies, smoking cigars, walking on knives, whipping and carrying bottles containing alcohol.
He said those who followed the kavadi bearers should avoid using big drums, indulging in derogatory street dancing and disco dancing and singing unsuitable film songs.
He also said there had been a sharp drop in the number of coconuts broken by Hindu devotees following campaigns carried out over the past few years but the number of coconuts broken by the non-Indians had increased.
“There is a need to educate the people on alternative modes of fulfilling vows like giving food (annathaanam) and sponsoring thaneer pandhal (drinks stalls),” he added.