The Alexander Village Mandir, located at the corner of Third and Cross sts., has a long history of serving the Village and beyond for more than one hundred years. One of the most auspicious times for the Mandir and villagers is Diwali. This festival is one that the Mandir became famous for because of elaborate Rangolis and extensive Diya lighting throughout the entire Village. Everyone, regardless of their background looked forward to this time of the year.
Unfortunately, beginning eleven years ago in 1998, outsiders with no regard to the sanctity and beauty of the festival have been invading the Village. This has gotten so out of hand, that today only a few villagers dare light their Diyas, and the Rangolis have long disappeared.
The Mandir itself bears the brunt of the invasion with crowds literally pressing on the fences.
Several sections of the fence had to be repaired over the years, as was damage to the roof from fireworks that are more akin to bombs. The entire fence has to be repainted each year as a result of the dirty gutter water and mud that sprays from fireworks deliberately thrown in the gutters. Last year fireworks were also thrown into the generator (gasoline) room.
Apart from the damage to the Mandir, villagers have had their property, including vehicles, damaged as well. The racket that ensues from around 7pm to midnight is particularly hard on the elderly and young – not to mention the villagers’ pets.
Last year a police contingent was dispatched that blocked vehicular access to the area. This was of absolutely no consequence since the invaders have always come on foot.
The only persons affected by the actions of the police were villagers trying to get home. Other than that it was business as usual with raucous laughter, lewd behaviour, and indiscriminate use of fireworks. These people have become so brazen that last year they even set up a stand right by the Mandir selling food and alcohol.
To the credit of the Police Force, we believe a few arrests were made last year, but to the best of our knowledge the perpetrators were released without punishment and are bound to return this year again.
Diwali will be observed on Saturday, 17th October this year. We, the villagers and members of the Mandir are therefore pleading with the authorities to put more sensible deterring measures in place, including providing protection for the Mandir itself, and prosecuting arrested persons.