By Ritesh(R) Chugh and Ripan(R) Sethi
Amidst the chaos recently created by some of the Dera Sacha Sauda followers in Haryana and Punjab that brought two states to an unexpected halt, RR came across a video where a curious media representative was able to interview an elderly supporter to find out what made her commit to such hardship for the controversial religious leader. The response she gave probably broke a few hearts and surprised the rest. She said she was under the impression that the mob was going to attend a ‘Satsang (religious gathering)’. She was completely oblivious to the fact that she was merely a pawn who had been misled to join one of the biggest administrative unrest the states had seen in recent times. Hence, the passionate mob we saw on media is probably made of such people with diluted mindsets who are unable to differentiate between true religious gurus, who are meant to guide you on a spiritual path and the modern day self-styled godmen, making false claims to be the incarnation of God themselves.
Before going further, look at the table that portrays a viral joke on the modern day categorisation of society in India. We sincerely hope it is a joke!
Category Role in society
First Class Technical profession including doctors, engineers
Second Class MBA, administrators that control the First Class
Third Class Politicians that control both First Class and Second Class
Failures The underworld/mafia that controls all of the above
No school at all Become godmen/babas/swamis/gurus and all of the above go to them
*Remember this is only a satire!
Well, we are not too far from marketing professionals coming up with a dedicated strategy for this new vertical (godmen) with an apparently enormous growth potential. However, the community at large is the one at risk of deception due to missing governance. But aren’t emotions meant to be left out when it comes to making business decisions? So, who is to be blamed for this? Well it’s like a chicken and egg situation, how do we expect governance on godmen, when they are the ones often helping politicians make decisions? Their massive fan-following makes them an alluring vote bank. The situation is more complex than it appears at the surface. We are referring to a country with more than 99% of the 1.3 billion population believing in some form of religion and struggling with economic issues including unemployment and literacy, that generally amplify the common household challenges around inflation, corruption, health and so forth. Sadly, it is not uncommon for our compatriots unconsciously looking out for godmen for advice and immunity against these worldly issues, which is different to some getting on the spiritual path for peace. Blind faith combined with illiteracy is a deadly combination for any society, but for most of the unethical godmen, it is the ultimate nirvana. With the high number of preceding business models available in the godmen space, it doesn’t require any other strategic modelfor them to plan their fan-following based on the snowball impact. This then becomes a political challenge in a democracy with blind leading the blind caught in a vicious power cycle.
In the interim, there is no quick fix to the dubious godmen exploiting weaknesses of our society. The minority that tries to pull their families out of the vicious cult ecosystem are generally blamed to have been victims of modern education. How do we stop this? God knows – oh sorry, may be one of the godmen can enlighten us?
PS. On a different note, RR take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a joyful and blessed Diwali. Happy Diwali! (The views expressed are personal.