The Kumbh 2019 was the first of its kind. With the use of digital technology to enhance the attendee experience, Kumbh 2019 saw a conflation of the traditional with the modern. Chitranjan Kesari talks about the reality of a Digital Kumbh in India.
Use of technology in managing the crowd, social media branding, hospitality, Swachh Bharat, online payment, bank on mobile vans, Paytm and Google Pay are some of the ways in which the use of digital technology transformed this Kumbh 2019 into a Digital Kumbh.”
CHITRANJAN KESARI, HEAD IT, KANAKIA GROUP, MUMBAI.
Prayagraj Ardh Kumbh Mela, 2019 is the Ardh Kumbh Mela held at Triveni Sangam in Prayagraj (Allahabad), Uttar Pradesh, India from 15 January to 4 March 2019. This is the first time in the Indian cultural history that Digital technology has been used in this Kumbh for safety, security, promotion, visi-tor services, command and control rooms, online payment, etc. to give a few instances.Indian has never seen this type of high-tech Mela. Some companies provided online aarti through their mobile applica-tions. Other kind of technology that was used at the Kumbh are – CCTV camera, Live streaming important places and events like aarti, and GPS tagging. Google has also been known to provide free internet on some of the strategic sites.
CCTV played a major role in manag-ing security at such a crowded event, as it allowed the management to track all the visitors and take immediate actions in case of any disturbance to the peace of the gathering. Command and control rooms also witnessed the use of digital technology for the enhancement of security. Apart from these, regular online facilities too have been availed by the attendees with respect to online booking of rail and air tickets, hotel rooms, online payment of bills, online money transfers, calling ambulance or police in case of emergencies, etc. The Digital Baba was a particular centre of attraction at the Kumbh Mela. At the hands of the Digital Baba, was the awaken-ing of the ecstatic culture of the Sangam. It symbolized the kamandal, khapper, trishul or sword instead of the MacBook, Trypod,Selfie Stick, the expensive iPhone. These Digital Babas have differentiated the Indian spirituality and cultural traditions from the tune of the confluence of the Sangam, the stories in the camps, the satsangs, bhajans, meditations, chanting, tapas and yogic practices. The Government had also made certain special arrangements for media persons, providing computer and free internet for them. The Kumbh 2019 also became a promotional site for Digital India and Swatch Bharat movements. Use of technology in managing the crowd, social media branding, hospitality, Swachh Bharat, online payment, bank on mobile vans, Paytm and Google Pay are some of the ways in which the use of digital technology transformed this Kumbh 2019 into a Digital Kumbh.