Faced with intense criticism, the Gujarat government has called off its proposed ‘Yagnas’ to propitiate the rain gods.

In view of the acute water crisis in the state, the Gujarat government had planned ‘Parjanya Yagnas’ at all the 31 district headquarters and eight major cities of the state on 31 May.

Instead, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has now instructed all the district authorities to perform ‘Narmada Jal Pujan’ on 31 May, the day of culmination of the month-long ‘Sujalam Sufalam Jal Abhiyaan’ during which all the ponds, lakes and canals were cleaned and deepened for increased storage of rain water.

Elected governments are not obliged to acknowledge that any programme is being called off owing public criticism, but the fact remains that many rationalists and others had ridiculed the obscurantist ‘invocation of rain gods’ in these modern times.

Among the many critics of the “Yagna” idea was Banaskantha Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (superstition eradication committee) which had called the Gujarat government plan against the ‘spirit of the Constitution’.

In a memorandum submitted to the State Governor O P Kohli, the Banaskantha Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti had urged the government to call off the “Yagna” as it would promote superstitions instead of scientific temperament.