Successful Kumbh earns Akhilesh a Harvard invite
Lucknow: The successful hosting of Maha Kumbh 2013 has earned Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav an invite from Harvard University to speak on how the 55-day religious congregation, which attracted tens of millions of people from India and around the world, went off like clockwork and was praised its organisation worldwide.
Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan, who has also been invited for the April 25 event, said it was a matter of great honour that the efforts of the state government were being recognised by such a world-famous university. The varsity would pay all the expenses for the trip.
A 50-member multi-disciplinary team, including faculty and student researchers from Harvard University, had travelled to Allahabad in January to document and analyse the processes involved in the successful Kumbh Mela. The world's largest religious festival occurs every 12 years and draws millions of visitors to a temporary, purpose-built tent city on the banks of the Ganga and the Yamuna. The Kumbh was also documented by various organisations; over 1,000 journalists had covered the festival, which concluded March 12.
Harvard's year-long inter-faculty project, coordinated by its South Asia Institute and its Global Health Institute, was keeping in mind the "focus on urbanisation", a faculty member told IANS.