Here’s a message that’s profound in it’s simplicity – Sorry no puja of motorcycles will be performed without helmet. The message from Sarala temple at Jagatsinghpur, Odisha addresses those who are in the habit of getting their vehicles blessed after a purchase.
For those of religious faith, while it may be difficult to put a trace to when the practice began, but getting a car or bike blessed soon after purchase is normal practice for many. Maa Sarala temple management is now practicing a ‘no helmet-no puja’ practice for those without safety gear.
This isn’t the first time the region is in news in context to implementation of helmet use. In September 2017, Superintendent of Police, Jay Narayan Pankaj worked with petrol pump owners in the region (Jagatsinghpur) to not sell fuel to two-wheeler riders without helmets. The drive reinforces road safety and wishes to highlight the benefits of using helmets. The district police is determined to reduce road fatalities among two-wheeler riders. Talks with temple managements across the district provide hope that the drive will ensure riders resort to a helmet from day 1 of riding.
Whether it be to express gratitude for good fortune or an appeal for safety, diverse reasons prompt new bike owners to throng temples to seek blessing. The no helmet no puja initiative will prompt riders to think of safety from day 1. The announcement comes during the ongoing 2018 Road Safety Week. In terms of road fatality, India accounts for about 400 road deaths on a daily basis. The number of accidents and injured is even higher.
The use of helmets has often been discussed in the public space but soon loses fizzle. A few years ago, Pune City sought to fine riders not using helmets and even blocking passage in army cant areas in the city for failure to wear helmets. The same was to be practiced in college campuses.