Town of Mani Majra looks normal.
It lies in Chandigarh District in India.
It came to highlight a few years back for it being the location where Hollywood movie Zero Dark Thirty was shot.
However, it also has something which draws a thin line between superstition and belief.
A superstition that might upset a believer in hyper growth who wishes to see large townships with skyscrapers donning the sky.
A belief that seems to hold the entire Mani Majra together and lets them have a well planned development.
Around 400 years ago, a holy woman Mata Raj Kaur lived in the town. Revered by the locals for being a caring soul, she was respected by everyone. However, due to certain unclear reasons, she was obliged to abandon her temple where she used to stay. With resentment she cursed the entire town – Whosoever erects a building higher than the temple where she lived would face severe inconvenience. Ultimately the residents of the town, due to the growing demand of high rise buildings owing to the increasing population, had to increase the height of temple.
For some this is a case of superstition. For some it is a matter of belief. Is it a supernatural intervention ? Who knows !
However, one thing is quite evident. Due to the curse, inhabitants of Mani Majhra stay cautious of the extent of the development in the region. There seems to be an invisible hand of destiny intervening with things here.
The temple now acts as benchmark for people to limit the height of the constructions across the town.
As people get all pepped up to bring in development into their lives, they tend to forget to ‘plan’ the development. Raising high rises across the city with makeshift arrangements for their sustenance is not development. That only leads to chaos. What is required is a well planned development that considers all the aspects of a town. May be the curse is an invisible hand of destiny compensating for the missing wisdom from the society.
There is still an undercurrent emotion that considers this to be an impediment to growth. To that it can be argued that when nature takes things under its control, it is simply the indication of deteriorating condition of things around us. History is full of such examples.
Please note : This article does not intend to comment upon the historical beliefs of people. It is, in fact an attempt to highlight the importance of planned & sustainable development.
Source: Census of India. 1981 : SERIES-26 : CHANDIGARH : Part-XB