Belagavi: A night in the graveyard, fighting off ghosts, imagined and real, when you could be tucked safely in your bed? That's a choice that Satish Jarkiholi, former excise minister makes, one night every year, year after year.
On Wednesday night, even as the dead were being consigned to the flames at the Sadashiva Nagar crematorium in Belagavi, the four-time MLA curled up on a grave and spent the night at the crematorium. He has taken a vow to spend the night at the crematorium on December 6 every year as long as he is alive!
A well meaning gesture to fight superstition, it has now become an event!
As many as 50,000 people thronged the crematorium where Jarkiholi organised the anti-superstition event and had lunch and dinner besides attending lectures delivered by rationalists against superstition. Later, mattresses were spread out on the floor in the crematorium where Jarkiholi's associates including BMTC chairman, Nagaraj Yadav slept through the night with him.
Early Thursday morning, a calm looking Jarkiholi said no one could stop the events he was holding in the graveyard.
“My efforts will continue until the evolution of a Kalyan Rajya in Karnataka - devoid of blind practices and superstition. At the next event, we will ensure more than 60,000 people attend. This movement against superstition will grow stronger in the coming years,'' he said.
Hitting back at his political rivals who lodged a complaint with the Congress high command to stop him from holding programmes in the crematorium, Jarkiholi said the high command did not interfere in spite of receiving the complaint. The former minister also said he was planning to invite renowned thinkers and rationalists from different parts of the country to the graveyard for next year's programme. Courage, Mr Jarkiholi would be if he slept there alone!...