14 June, 2021

The Un-Godman

The fracas in Delhi over the ‘World Culture Festival’ has allowed a sneak peek of a dangerous new phenomenon.

Illustration by Saahil
The Un-Godman

Whether you are religious or not, spiritual or not, cultural or not, you have to admit that this has been a less than edifying week for that burgeoning breed of Indian mortals called godmen. Truth to tell, many of them have not exactly covered themselves in glory in recent years—their greed, lust and thirst for power and pelf have showed them up to be as human as those whom they wish to guide to a higher, superior power. But the fracas in the nat­ional capital over the ‘World Culture Festival’ organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living has allowed a sneak peek of a dangerous new phenomenon. The servility of the state before a private organisation, and the distortion of civic, legal, environmental and military mechanisms by the executive to meet the megalomaniacal requirements of those with one eye on the ­Guinness Book and another on the Nobel Prize. The long-term portents of this unholy matrim­ony are ominous for a secular, socialist republic.This is not to belittle the millions who feel the need for a ‘guruji’ to make sense...

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