Kumbh Mela better organised than FIFA World Cup: Harvard

The Maha Kumbh Mela held at Allahabad in 2013 was better organised than FIFA World Cup in Brazil? Yes, says a group of researchers from the prestigious Harvard University.

Updated: Aug 21, 2015, 11:03 AM IST
PlayKumbh Mela better organised than FIFA World Cup: Harvard
Harvard researchers have described Kumbh Mela City as "sheer human achievement"

New Delhi: The Maha Kumbh Mela held at Allahabad in 2013 was better organised than FIFA World Cup in Brazil? Yes, says a group of researchers from the prestigious Harvard University.

Their book 'Kumbh Mela - Mapping the Ephemeral Mega-City' was recently released by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, under whose watch the Uttar Pradesh government had organised the 55-day event in January-February 2013.

In their 447-page book, the researchers have described Kumbh Mela as "sheer human achievement of creating the temporary, yet complex, infrastructure of the 24 sq km Kumbh City, comparable to almost two-thirds of Manhattan".

Read: Maha Kumbh : The giant spiritual fete

Students and faculty from five disciplines -urban planning, public health, business, architecture, and culture – were part of the team that mapped and studied the spectacle.

Video: Kumbh Mela Spectacle -1

“The way a tent township -- much larger than the size of Manhattan in terms of population - pops up in a very short time-frame is an example and a project for planners, urban bodies and policy researchers. How more than 100 million come to a small place, stay there for 55 days, apart from a daily cycle of a crowd of nearly five million bathing at the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, meet each other, pray, join their gurus, camp with sadhus and ascetics and safely return to their native places are the things worth studying,” the book says.

Video: Kumbh Mela Spectacle - 2

“...with 390 million communication events (calls, messages, etc) it saw largest use of cellphones at one place. If one individual goes through the call detail reports (CDRs) of mobile users at the Kumbh, giving just one second per call, it would take 12 years for him to go through the text messages and calls of just one company, the books says. Over 50 days, there were 146 million (145,736,764) text messages exchanged and 245 million (245,252,102) calls made.”

“So is India, which has high ambition to provide everyone everything from farmers to migrants to factory worker. Its ambitions are very high but capability very low, and then it generates disappointment. But the Maha Kumbh management and success belies this notion.”