Sometimes the wheels of justice grind slowly, British author Terry Waite had once famously said. But, as the legend goes, justice is swift and fair in the court of Hindu god Golu.
After nine Congress legislators switched sides to back the BJP in the assembly and plunge Uttarakhand into a political crisis, leaders from both parties are making rounds of Kumaon to pray in several temples dedicated to the god of justice, seeking a ‘verdict’ in their favour.
The BJP-ruled Centre imposed President’s rule in the state on March 27, a day before the Harish Rawat government was scheduled to prove its majority in the assembly.
At least two petitions filed by the Congress and challenging the Centre’s move will be taken up by the Uttarakhand high court on April 6. Another petition filed by the rebel MLAs challenging their disqualification by the speaker will be heard on April 11.
But the Congress is not banking just on the court of law to save the Rawat government.
“Lord Golu is our biggest hope in the present times as he is just and dispenses justice swiftly,” said Khazan Pandey, state Congress general secretary, who made a three-day trip of Kumaon from March 27 to pray at four major Golu temples.
Hindus believe that Golu, also called Gwel or Goljyu, dispenses swift justice on matters that appear to have no solution in sight.
An incarnation of Lord Shiva, Golu is said to move around on his horse and camp at villages along the Himalayan foothills to hear and decide on people’s petitions. People also hang typed and hand written petitions at the hundreds of Golu temples in the hill state.
Another Congress leader Dinesh Kunjwal, who also visited several Golu temples, said that for the people of Kumaon, the Golu temple is the divine court.
“This is part of our faith. I have seen IAS officers, doctors and engineers putting up their pleas in the divine court of Golu devta which is a testimony to the people’s immense faith in him,” said Kunjwal.
The BJP, hoping to grab power in the state, is also pinning its hopes on Lord Golu.
A team of activists from the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha – the youth wing of the BJP – offered prayers at the Golu temple at Ghorakhal on Saturday.
“We have immense faith in Golu devta and know that he will dispense swift justice in this situation,” said BJYM Nainital district president Nitin Karki.
Mahipal Singh, a Delhi-based Kumaon resident who is associated with the Golu temple at Gerad, said the faith in people in the deity is immense.
Harish Ram, who retired as a havildar from the Army’s Kumaon Regiment, said he owes his life to Lord Golu who had performed a miracle in 2001 near Srinagar.
Ram said that a 15-minute prayer had cleared extreme weather conditions, enabling landing of a helicopter to evacuate him to a base hospital for treatment of a frost-bitten leg.
“I can today walk on my legs and I attribute to the blessings of Golu devta,” said Ram, now settled in Damuadhunga, Haldwani.
Umesh Singh Mehra, a farmer of Bhujiaghat in Haldwani, said his 28-year-old son survived a paralytic attack in January only due to their prayers to Lord Golu.