Harmony Lessons of Hindu Festival

February 2, 2007

Source: BBC News


The largest single gathering of people on Earth could hold the secret to how big communities can live together in harmony, according to researchers.

Psychologists have completed a three-year study into the 30 million strong Kumbh Mela - a Hindu festival in Allahabad, Northern India.

It involved experts from St Andrews, Dundee and Lancaster universities.

The team said its work at the event on the banks of the Ganges overturned many old beliefs about crowd behaviour.

The month-long Mela brings together the equivalent of six times the population of Scotland in one place, yet there is virtually no disorder, crushes or rioting.

The researchers found that even though people at the festival came from different castes and social backgrounds, there was a strong sense of common identity.