ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Who Are Behind India's Asarams?

The way godmen and godwomen are thriving, with an influential section of their followers in the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, and even in premier scientific and technological establishments, the Constitution's hope of the inculcation of "scientifi c temper" lies shattered. The assassination of Narendra Dabholkar, a rationalist devoted to the eradication of superstition, on the one hand, and the roaring "success", until very recently, of the self-proclaimed godman Asaram "Bapu" in spreading unfounded beliefs, on the other, are pointers in this regard.

It is over a month since Narendra Dabholkar was gunned down in Pune. Despite the nationwide outrage over this shocking incident, there is absolutely no progress made by the Maharashtra police in apprehending the culprits. In my immediate reaction, in an article entitled “Dabholkar Is Done a Gandhi”, I concluded with a cynical prophesy that we would never get hold of Nathuram this time. It did not require clairvoyance or divine prowess to predict that Dabholkar’s murderers will not be caught. The police claim to have completed enquiries of over 2,000 persons, at an incredible rate of some 80 persons a day, and have almost concluded that the culprits have not left any clues.

As those who are familiar with his work on the eradication of superstition know, Dabholkar was killed because of his stubborn opposition to the fraudsters, claiming to possess divine and mystic power, who exploited the gullible masses. Moreover, he was openly opposed by the sanatani Hindus who sided with these fraudsters as part of their religion and condemned him as their dharma shatru. In their temerity, they justified his murder as the karmaphal (fruit of his karma) and continue spewing venom against him even to this day.

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