Mrunal Manmay Dash

Eating chicken biryani by some‘Rationalists’ on the recent solar eclipse day in Odisha has stoked a major controversy in the State with religious gurus terming them as anti-hindus.

It was the case of science versus belief, which made this issue snowball into a full fledged controversy. As religious gurus plunged into the controversy to condemn the act of the ‘Rationalists’, it also irked the believers in Hindu tradition and custom.

Puri Shankaracharya, Nischalananda Saraswati said, “Those who ate biryani showing off their rationalism, do not have any knowledge of Hindu scriptures nor philosophy.

"They are nobody and people should ignore them," said the religious guru.

Similarly, a renowned preacher in Odisha, Baba Balia said, “They have ridiculed us by their act. This is a direct insult to our culture.”

The controversy was fanned after some ‘Rationalists’ in Bhubaneswar and Berhampur made it a point to show their belief in science and disbelief on faiths and customs surrounding solar eclipse on October 25 when a partial solar eclipse unfolded in Odisha and several other parts of the globe.

They arranged food (Chicken Biryani) for people who wanted to eat on the day.

Speaking to OTV, a rationalist, Pratap Rath said, “I won’t term it as superstition. Keeping a fast on solar eclipse is rather baseless. Whenever such a situation arises, I will make sure to arrange such food distribution programme to aware the people that this is only a celestial phenomena and it has nothing to do with religion.”

Similarly, another rationalist, Debendra Sutar said, “Our intention behind arranging a food distribution programme was to make people aware about the science behind solar eclipse.”

However, Odisha Mutt Temple Association’s President, Kameswar Tripathy condemned the views by the rationalists.

Speaking to OTV, Tripathy said, “This is nothing less than hurting our religious sentiments. However, they are free. We can’t ask them to do anything.”

It is pertinent to mention here that as per the Hindu panchang and calendar, it is prohibited to eat before 12 hours of solar and lunar eclipses. The tradition has been a part of Hindu religion since ages.