From Harvard to Kumbh on study tour

A research group from the Harvard Business School (HBS) has spent five days in Allahabad looking at various aspects of the Kumbh Mela. As some of the members of the group put it, the first-hand experience from "ground zero" has helped dispel several notions and also left many questions unanswered.

The group's visit is part of the first-ever research initiated by the HBS, which will look at the organisation of the Kumbh Mela. The basic question being asked: "How on Earth is an event of this size possible?"

Adopting a multi-disciplinary approach, at least four different branches related to urban designing, public health, sanitation and environment of the HBS have been working on Kumbh for the past few months and the final results are likely to be out some time later this year. The research is likely to produce a huge database on Kumbh, which has largely been dealt with on the basis of estimates so far.

Issac Dayno, one of the students of HBS and a member of the group led by Prof Diana Eck, said, "I have been meeting people with the question as to whether salvation can be attained by bathing in a river the water of which is polluted. And there are so many answers." Eck said: "I have been looking at the religious aspects."

On Tuesday, which was the last day of the group's stay here, Eck and her group also joined Swami Chidananad Saraswati of Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, in the clean-up drive of Sangam and Qila Ghat here.

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