#CongregationsIndia: Make Religious Events Simpler for Pilgrims - RVB Iyer, Reliance Jio Infocomm
by EVENTFAQS Bureau Industry Watch | January 5, 2021 | News
Congregations India Reliance Jio Infocom R V Balasubramaniam Iyer Punneet Sobti Kumbh Mela
Speakers R V Balasubramaniam Iyer, VP, Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited and Punneet Sobti, Kumbh Mela and MICE Specialist, discussed the role of technology in religion, religious events and congregations along with session moderator Giresh V Kulkarni, Founder, Temple Connect at the virtual ‘CONGREGATIONS INDIA: Government, Political, Sport & Religious Events Summit’ organised by EVENTFAQs Media on December 24, 2020.
Technology is key for larger reach
Talking about the use of technology for festivals during the time of COVID, Iyer said, “During COVID times, the Ganesha festival was one of the first festivals to be affected and we were all shut indoors. In Mumbai, the Government allowed a few pandals to actually conduct the festival, but with a lot of restrictions. Due to Government restrictions, the GSB mandal, which has one of the biggest pandals in Mumbai, could not bring in their iconic idol; instead, they had a digital projection of the large idol as a backdrop, along with a small idol in the pandal, and immersion was also simulated in a small pond with the help of technology. Jio took their entire proceedings to the digital platform and also launched a television channel for GSB exclusively for five days. This is how we had to redo the entire festivities so as to manage the current situation and reach people all over the country.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has helped us understand digital technology better and to amplify the reach of religious events. The virtual Kumbh is helping us easily reach 60 crore people, even those who can't afford to travel,” said Sobti.
Adding to this, Iyer said, “Now there are social distancing norms, but we cannot rely so much on digital, especially for religious visits, as it takes away the satisfaction of physically attending the places of worship and experiencing them.”
“Today, most of them are connected through some or the other digital platform, which has also helped make the reach of a religious fair like Kumbh much easier and faster, even if it is streamed live or virtually. Technology has helped in promotion of these events and spreading awareness across the country,” added Sobti.
Event organisers facilitate Digital
“I feel event organisers are the facilitators of the digital medium in these times and we are carriers of the content which organisations like Temple Connect are bringing to us from various such events. Event organizers need to make it simple to communicate and give people the content, and we will provide the infrastructure to make it easily accessible to follow for the common man,” said Iyer.
Offering a word of advice for event organisers and the Government, Iyer said, “We need to make religious events simple and hassle-free for pilgrims to stay disciplined and follow rules.”
Sobti added, “I would request the Government to not complicate the process of these fairs as pilgrims who visit these religious places are simple common people. Also, there is a gap in corporate communication in reaching out to the Government, which is why it’s necessary to promote the importance of Kumbh Mela through various channels in order to generate awareness among people on why the Kumbh Mela is held.”
Sharing his final thoughts on bridging the gap between event organisers and brands, Iyer said, “We should be treated as a partner and not a vendor, as this will give the brand ownership of the event as well.”
R V Balasubramaniam Iyer, Reliance Jio Infocom and Punneet Sobti, Kumbh Mela and MICE specialist, share insights on how technology is an enabler and makes things easy for people at religious events