Urgent Need To Enact Bill

Urgent Need to  Enact Bill on

Eradication of Black Magic,  Evil Practices and Customs

In a recent issue of Andha-shraddha Nirmoolan Vartapatra, a Marathi monthly published by ANS, there are four articles describing the incidents of increased spread of superstitions occurred in various parts of Maharashtra. Let us look at them one by one.

Teacher’s Story

Raybhan Tembhurne is a school teacher in a small village of Bhandara district. He had three daughters; eldest Ratna, age 20, studying in college; Amita, age 16, studying in 12th standard; and the youngest Seema, age 13, studying in high-school. His was apparently a happy family. He had very good rapport with the villagers. He had some psychological problems for which he was under treatment in Nagpur. One of his friends suggested that he should meet Nandini, a lady Mantrik, famous in that area to cure any chronic disease, to treat jaundice patients, and to de-possess the witches. The public believed that she has supernatural power for handling such patients. Raybhan was very much impressed by her ‘treatment’. He was a firm believer of Satyug, a cult to bring goodness on this earth. He proposed Nandini to be with him to bring Satyug. She deserted her husband and started living with him as a ‘second wife’. She terrorized his family as well as villagers with her ‘spell of Goddess’. Every one started addressing her Mataji. Raybhan’s family was mesmerized by her speech and action. The young daughters stopped going to school. Mataji would never allow anyone in the family to take any outside medicine if they are ill. Mataji would insist that it is a spell of spirit and she has power to heal.

However one day the eldest daughter, Ratna, fell ill. But Mataji did not allow her any medical treatment. Nandini tried her power of healing. But Ratna succumbed to death that night. Raybhan buried the body in a nearby plot in spite of the plot-owners protest. The news of Ratna’s death reached the villagers and rumours started spreading. Agitated villagers believed that Raybhan had killed his daughter, instigated by Nandini who promised him a son if he sacrificed the daughter. The angry crowd wanted to kill all the members of the family for such a heinous act. However police interfered in time and pacified the crowd. The crowd insisted for a full inquiry of the incident by conducting the post mortem of the body. The body was excavated and sent to hospital. Villagers found flowers, coconut and other things of worship near the burial place. The timely action by the police prevented the massacre of the family and aftermath effects as it happened in Khairalanji incident. A Dalit family would have been victim of wrath of the society. The family was arrested and sent to jail.

These types of incidents are happening very frequently. It may happen that all the culprits will be released without any punishment due to some loopholes in the law under which they have been arrested.

Sufi Sikandar Shah

Jalana district in Marthawada area of Maharashtra is comparatively a backward area san education, san infrastructure facilities. That may be one reason for having a big harvest of Babas, Maharajas, and Devis operating in that district either openly or secretly. Suphiji Sikandar Shah is one of them who used to advertise in local newspaper. The gist of his advertisement used to be that he will change the destiny of the visitors; he has 22 years of experience; within 76 hours one will find the effect of his blessings for cases like loss in business, marriage stuck ups, family problems, not having any issues, possessed by ghost and spirit, cure for chronic diseases, de-addiction, vitality etc; tie the amulet blessed by him and problems will vanish. He camped in a hotel along with 4-5 accomplices and had a roaring business. No one raised an iota of doubt that a young person of age 25 – 26 can have experience of 22 years! He decorated his room with pictures of Hindu and Muslim gods and goddesses including Saibaba of Shirdi.

ANS activists decided to expose this Suphi ‘saint’. A sting operation was planned. Activists posing as a couple visited his place and narrated that they do not have any issues. Shah suggested that he has to examine the lady alone. While examining he was trying to remove her Sari. However, keeping presence of mind, she came out on some pretext. She narrated whole story to the activists and gathering. When they met Shah once again, he told that they have to perform certain rituals so that they may have issues. He started telling some cock and bull stories to impress the gathering. All the while he was insisting that she should come alone for the rituals. The team of activists, local police authority and TV crew entered his room and encountered him. He was shivering in his pants and on enquiry he confessed that he did all these things to amass the wealth. Because of preparedness of ANS activists, cooperation of the authorities and conscious public the gang is now in the jail awaiting the judgment.

Kundalini Baba

A local Spiritualism Centre in Madgao, Goa arranged a workshop of four days of Siddha Rameshaji Chouhan recently. Centre was very proud of such a distinguished guest who is an expert in awakening Kundalini through which good health, immense peace of mind and spiritual knowledge can be gained. The handbill circulated in the town promised many things about the Kundalini. “This Kundalini awakening process will result in removing all wicked thoughts, avarice, and bad habits from one’s life. The process of Shambhavi will bring the healing and supernatural powers. The Ganesh process will promise freedom from all spells; there will not be any worries hence forth. The patients suffering from kidney, heart, cancer, blood-pressure, AIDS, tumor, will have soothing experiences.” The handbill also mentioned the contact number for further information. On enquiry it was revealed that though the public lecture in the town hall is free of charge but subsequent consultation will cost 3000 Rs per day.

Local ANS activists attended the first day lecture. The host from the Centre introduced the guest, mentioning that Chouhan is a mechanical engineer and has six manufacturing units. In spite of being a millionaire, he has come all the way to fulfill the social commitment and bring happiness to all the listeners. At the end of the demonstration of Kundalini and the lecture, ANS activists started asking pertinent questions about Kundalini.

“It is observed that generally a spiritual person never indulge into self praise. How you are allowing such things?” To answer this, Kundalini Baba murmured something which was not audible at all. One activist suggested that Chouhan Guruji should visit Deaf and Dumb School and cure a few of the patients by Kundalini awakening.

“Guruji, our people are ardent devotees of God Vitthal, Pandurang, Ganesh, Magesh, etc. and we are leading a very satisfied and contented life by God’s blessings. Why do we need this Kundalini as though God’s blessings are not adequate?” Chouhan kept mum.

‘Guruji, there is a reference in Dnyaneshwari, that the persons with Kundalini power will be able to see the incidents happening beyond seven seas through telepathy, will you be able to tell us what is there behind the screen at your backside?” This question irritated him. “Do you mean to say that I don’t possess spiritual power?” he said angrily. At that juncture, the devotees of Guruji started shouting and disturbing the session. “We are interested in Guruji’s speech; not your questions and answers”. The devotees started attacking the TV crew and other journalists who were recording the events. Someone snatched the camera of a local journalist. Meanwhile police interfered and pacified both the parties. Thus the session ended with utter confusion.

It has become craze to arrange such bizarre workshops, lectures etc. to confuse the minds of the public by tall claims and concoct weird methods to achieve the everlasting peace of mind and happiness. These so called counseling centers are in money spinning business by fooling the people, including educated ones. There is no positive preventive method to curb such practices.

Nivruttibua from Kolhapur

Nivrutti Ramachandra Chougule, a middle aged person, who took voluntary retirement, started the business of family counseling in and around his village in Kolhapur district posing as Godman. It was rumoured that he practices black magic to cure the patients of chronic diseases; he has supernatural powers to solve any issues of the family. People used to rush to him for his advice, and sometimes called him to visit their places and bless them with his power.

A married woman from Tamagao, a village near Kolhapur invited him for ‘Vaastushanti’. During the ceremony Nivruttibua suggested her to have sexual relations to achieve the happiness of the new house. The lady was utterly confused and narrated the story to her family members. The members were very angry and the word spread around the village. The villagers gathered and started beating Nivruttibua with whatever in their hands. They tore his clothing and put a garland of shoes and chappals around his neck and took a procession to nearby police station.

Though police tried to safeguard Nivruttibua’s life from the crowd, the crowd wanted to beat him to death so as to punish him for his sexual desires.

These incidents are not rare. They occur regularly in villages. Since there is not much of news value, the news stories do not appear in the press or in media unless there are some extreme consequences. Police are not in a position to prevent such incidents due to lack of adequate laws.

All the above four incidents are self explanatory about the failure of existing laws to curb them. The time has come to stop all this nonsense, happening under the name of God and religion. The devoted people who have faith in the God also should come up and support the rationalists to prevent such episodes in future and insist to enact the law to prevent black magic, evil practices and gory customs which are still prevailing in the society.

-Prabhakar Nananwaty

(Thought & Action Jan- Mar 2008)