As many as 1,000 changing rooms installed across Prayagraj Kumbh Mela are serving more for branding activities of corporate houses than their primary objective. Women after taking a ‘holy dip’ in the Sangam, the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical river Saraswati are bound to change their cloths in the open air. It creates big embarrassment not only for the women but also for their companions of Kumbh journey as well as for other devotees too.
The changing rooms across the banks of Sangam are wrapped in big size flexes of corporate houses, but neither a signage of changing room is available nor the Mela administration making people aware about them. Hence, this big size infrastructure has just become a showpiece for advertising and branding activities.
With a feeling of embarrassment in her eyes, 29 year old Hemvati Kumari from Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh who made her first visit to Kumbh Mela today, said, “I am totally not aware about any changing room here. No one has made us aware about them. We are feeling embarrassed here changing cloths in the open in front of hundreds of people.”
Echoing with Hemvati, a devotee from Ghazipur district in Uttar Pradesh, 55 year old Anita Pandey said, “The administration should have made awareness about the changing rooms. Women’s dignity is being treated badly.”
Mismanagement with this big size infrastructure has resulted into big inconvenience among the women of across age groups. Supriya, 24, a post-graduation student from Lucknow expressed similar feelings, “The changing rooms are covered with corporate branding flexes from all sides. On Sangam end, a side should have left for big signage depicting them as changing rooms in English and Hindi. In the current form, they do not serve their objectives. Hardly any changing room you can see if anyone is using them.”
The 46 year old Indrani Ganguly from Pashchim Medinipur in West Bengal said, “Few women are using the changing rooms. Larger numbers of rooms are not serving any objective except advertising for companies.”
Developing such an infrastructure has been a commendable job but the administration and the advertisers must have assured that changing rooms serve better else it will only be an activity of corporate interests on the name of serving the devotees.