Thursday, May 23, 2019 11:05 PM

Why God-men are a Growth Industry ?

God-men are a growth industry in India. Political patronage keeps their social and economic empire beyond the regulation. The climate of religion based politics creates a fertile ground for the phenomenal growth of so called God-men.  The sociology of faith in a deeply divided and hierarchy/status-conscious society like ours   sustains the mass following for these self styled spiritual groups even after their conviction.

In mythology, it is given that miracles  happen. In a deeply religious society like India, astrology is more popular than  astronomy as, great scientist, Jayant Narlikar observed . Mythology  and metaphysics are more credible than macro economics or mathematics. Thus, these  God-men thrive on the social landscape of India. In a country with humongous inequalities and multiple forms of mass deprivation, the appetite for such miracles get manifold turning into a bonanza for these self styled modern day Gods and Goddesses.

When public discourse is fast being replaced by metaphysical issues than material issues, god men find a favourable terrain to expand .The phenomenal growth of the businesses of these God-men in the recent past is a testimony to the impact of changed social and political landscape in India.

As Vivek Agnihotri a film-maker and writer says, a persisting problem, lack of awareness, financial, physical or social constraints, a failed support system and an environment fed on blind faith leads us to an address which offers hope, instant gratification and a promise to a miracle. However in current times, we have seen fraudsters, scamsters and rapists masquerade as religious gurus. They have palaces, a fleet of cars, all kinds of luxuries, gold, diamonds and a mass of land. Some of them have their own militia. Thus, these God-men while claiming to be exploring spiritual world  amass and enjoy  unparalleled material wealth and  luxuries. Yet, they enjoy following , thanks to the army of supporters they cultivate among whom there are influential people in society too .

Besides,  liberalisation and the penetration of TV has also contributed to the growth of this phenomenon , argues, Vivek Agnihotri. A sudden shift from a localised mindset to a global mindset, from joint family to nuclear family, from a secured, lazy government job to demanding, competitive private jobs, unplanned urbanisation and the sudden advent of consumerism and materialism has given birth to a new social disorder. It has resulted in new kinds of pressures, stress and insecurities. This milieu reinforces, faith,  belief and hope. At a time when the ruling dispensation accords more importance to faith rather than constitutional values, the God-men becomes a growth industry .

The culture of instant gratifications and instant solutions to longstanding problems  provide the instrumentality for the God-men  to grow. Politicians , also flock to these God-men for support as masses come under the sway of such God-men who act as magicians, miracle-workers, healers, priests, mystics and masters of all spiritual energies. Thus ,these  so called gurus and babas with their mass following  and their large sphere of influence in society are seen as perfect vote banks by the politicians . Thus, these God-men escape the scrutiny of law . The politician, god-men nexus is a quid pro quo relationship .  Politicians ,businessmen ,corrupt officials and  black money hoarders use these empires of God-men even for money laundering. As religious and spiritual issues are sensitive subjects that can rouse public sentiment, the law enforcement agencies too are wary of putting them under legal scanner. Thus, the fiefdoms of  these God-men act as some sort of tax havens within the country . These God-men use social engineering  , techniques of brand promotion to expand and sustain their mystic image . With the commercialisation of health care making it unaffordable for a large section of Indians, these God-men attract gullible people in the form of alternate health care providers.

Secularism means keeping religion out of politics. Democracy means keeping  politics out of religion. But, India compromised both on democracy and secularism. This distortion in polity breeds God-men. In fact  as Hegel famously said, by separating church from state we are actually doing both a favour. 

As the societies are increasingly getting complex and human life much more complex, these God-men cash in on people’s personal fears, anxieties, uncertainties and problems.


Singapore Summit: A Landmark Event

THE Singapore meeting between the leader of the DPRK Kim Jong-un and the president of the Untied States Donald Trump on June 12 was a landmark event. The joint statement issued after the summit committed the United States to provide security..


What is Doctor Copper?

Copper is a base metal that has versatile applications across utilities, heavy industry, transport and communication. Therefore, the price of copper, which is determined by demand-supply dynamics for the metal, is considered to be an excellent..


Trump’s Dangerous Move on Iran

As anticipated, President Trump has announced the withdrawal of the United States from the nuclear agreement with Iran. This brazen and unwarranted reneging from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action which was signed by six countries with..


Failure is a comma, not a full stop

A student from Hyderabad pursuing M.S. programme at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, in the United States, committed suicide, depressed over his poor performance in the semester exams. Such a small failure has cost the life of a..


Reservations and a ring side view

It’s the issue of reservations for weaker sections that becomes a source of conflict with me and people around right from my college days. It has even entered into my family after I fathered a girl. I and the other groups holding the opposite..


On Supreme Court Judgement on Passive Euthanasia

Permitting passive Euthanasia can have disastrous consequences in India's corrupt medical and legal system and especially at a time when human relations are increasingly monetized and criminalized. Though there are many moral, human and..


Why am I educated?

One of my uncles visited my house on a Sunday and hoped to find us in a weekend holiday mood. To his great surprise, I was not available at home. ..


Be humble, it costs nothing

Amitabh Bachchan once narrated an anecdote that he was part of, which when read in all its richness brings the virtues of a down-to-earth extraordinary individual. ..


Data Breach & Violation of Privacy

The exposure of how a UK firm, Cambridge Analytics has been accessing Facebook data for use to influence voters shows how democracy is at risk from parties that have money and can use big data to influence elections...


India has 1 stray dog per 42 people, a record in the world

Dogs and mosquitoes are a major menace in Indian  cities. The Kerala government had approached the Supreme Court stating that the compensation for dog bite victims, decided by the committee appointed by the Court (which in some cases is as..


Grave threat to the Secular Democratic Republic of India

As the country celebrates the 68th anniversary of the Republic, it is necessary to recall that it was the Constitution which came into effect on January 26, 1950 that made India a Republic.  It is a sombre fact that this Constitution is..