43-year-old Saikat Barman had quite a traumatic experience at a Belur Math, a temple founded by Swami Vivekananda in West Bengal when he had gone to visit it on a vacation with his daughter.
On Saturday, when Barman went to the temple with his daughter, the security guards told him his daughter can't enter the premises. The reason was she was wheel-chair bound.
In a heartbreaking note on Facebook, Barman wrote about the horrific experience.
"She was denied entry to the temple as she is a wheelchair user," he writes. Barman wrote that he pleaded with the guards, volunteers and the monks, but no one cared.
"Despite repeated requests, pleading with monks, volunteers and security guard and several journeys up and down the stairs lifting the wheelchair to gain access to the temple, my daughter was told that the rules in Belur Math do not allow wheelchairs to be taken inside the temple," he wrote.
In the FB post, Barman wrote that his daughter was 'humiliated and embarassed'.
"Tears in my daughter's eyes knew no bounds and I had nothing to console her. This was the biggest embarrassment life so far for her," he wrote.
Upset about the whole incident, when Barman was leaving the premises, he went to a Maharaj (monk) and asked him the reason for not allowing his wheel-chair bound daughter to enter the temple. The response was- "Wheelchairs travel on road and dirty and hence will be be detrimental to the sancitity of the temple." The Maharaj told Barman that wheelchairs are 'impure' and hence can't be allowed to enter a holy place.
As Barman points out, the biggest irony in the entire incident was that the headquarters of the 'Ramakrishna Math and Mission' that believes in the upliftment of the society made this insensitive rule. And even justified it.
Barman, who lives in London, has now written to the Secretary of Belur Math about the incident, asking for a response.
Read the FB post here: