Saturday, May 26, 2012

The 'Nirmal baba' phenomena

SCENE I ( Nirmal Darbar ) :
“Baba , I haven’t been able to study “
“Hmmm …when was the last time you ate gulab-jamun ? “
“I don’t remember babaji . Maybe 5-6 months “
“See ! Go eat them today , distribute some . Kripa will come “

Replace the gulab-jamun with samosa/rasmallai/burning incense/chaat/visiting some old mosque/wearing yellow shirts ….and all kinds of CRAP you can think of .
The man sits on a throne like chair , smiling ,waving his hands and distributing ‘kripa’ . He is omnipresent .
From news channels to entertainment channels to devotional ones .. he has one hour segments booked for himself !

It’s been two weeks since I first heard of Nirmal Baba !
A news telecast showing ‘FIR launched against Nirmal Baba ji’ .

At that time , I thought he must be one of those numerous Godmen spreading their charms ,and left it at that .
But over those two weeks , slowly , grudgingly , my feelings towards him have changed from interest to amusement to wonder to RESPECT !

Respect ? You’ll ask .
Yes , respect for his sheer shamelessness . His outright boldness in coming up and milking the Indian public for all we are worth .
What he is doing isn’t anything new . There have been frauds before him , and many more shall follow .
But his USP lies in the fact that ,he is doing it in the face !
No pretending , no religious gibber-gabber ,no dressing up like a sadhu , no yoga ,no giving ‘pravachans ‘ .
 All he does is , sit on his throne , give people random CRAPPY advice and asks them to give money in turn .

For proof  ,check this out :

And the BEWILDERNG ( actually not that bewildering , once you look at it ) fact is , people comply .
They come in herds and bow down to him , citing examples of how taking his name solves half their problems .
( The guy who filed the case , had been depositing 1/10 of his salary into his account every month ! )

The entire phenomenon represents all that is wrong about religion in society today .
The real devotion , real meaning of God , the actual teachings of religions have lost been lost .
At one time ,religion had been a path along which we could find Him ,if we follow it dutifully .
We , have twisted religion into something to be feared , something to be squeezed ( and gained favours from ) , something to be manipulated according to our will .

All we see are our gains . The moment we are told ,
“Go worship your old sandals .It will bring you INSTANT gratification . “
We’ll do it !
Because somewhere down the lane , that’s what religion is all about …fearing , bribing , getting your work done and falling prey ti the eternal weakness , GUILT .

And until this mindset isn’t dealt with , there will be many more Nirmal babas . And many more ‘devotees’ .