Reaping the fruits of mindlessness: Asaram, Shobhan Sarkar and Big Boss


Rohit Dhankar
Some obscure Sadhu called Shobhan Sarkar dreamt of 1000 tons of gold buried in the ruins of a fort. He had confidence enough to write a letter to one of the ministers in the government of our secular country. The constitution of our secular country makes ‘inculcation of scientific temper’ one of the fundamental duties for all citizens. The government, guardian of the constitution, initiated a scientific process to ascertain the possibility of finding gold at the place identified by the Sadhu. The government science machinery came up with a report that confirms possibility of some kind of metal (gold or no gold) in some quality (a gram or 1000 tons) at the identified place. The government considers it scientific evidence enough to start digging with all fan-fare and in full glare of the media. But not before the Sadhu does bhumi pooja to appease the bhu-mata. The whole nation is abuzz—some with the excitement of possibility of gold, others at the superstition and stupidity of the government.
I wonder if one can find a bigger example of superstition and mindlessness provided by a national government any where in the history.
A tea vender called Asumal Sirumalani learns meditation from his mother and declares himself a guru; start preaching one supreme consciousness—a commonplace in Hinduism, declares yoga as path to unite with that consciousness—another common place; and lo and behold, becomes an icon and the god for lakhs. He discovers a potent medicine for longevity—sleeping with young virgins, and his Bhaktas and family support him in getting as many young virgins as his depraved quest for longevity requires. The public throngs in his bhashanas and poojas, the politicians fall over each other to touch his feet; be they secular or bigots. He encroaches on public land with impunity and there is no authority to challenge him.
Manifestation of the same mindlessness at a large scale, and one cunning deprave reaping the fruits.
A bunch of so called celebrities are collected together in the lordship of another celebrity and put in a house for three months (not sure of the duration). There they manifest their idiocy, total lack of any kind of moral thinking, wrapped in their own arrogance, on a daily basis. Watching one episode (I am not recommending) of the farce makes it absolutely clear that they—all of them—are empty-headed idiots. The term homo-sapiens does not apply to them; it was not invented for them. If humanity has anything to do with either moral-sensibility or capability to think, they all belong to some other species. Morality and ability to think are totally alien to them. Then the boss comes and cracks his jokes with fabulous intelligence of a 3 year old child; which would be sweet if he were not approaching fifty. The youth of the country watches this farce every evening and wants to emulate them. In the process each one of them gains lakhs, and some may be crores.
Celebration of mindlessness at a gigantic scale!!
These three examples—and there are sores of others with the same characteristics—prove beyond reasonable doubt that power and money resides with fools; Lakshmi, as we all know, flies on an owl. And that the large sections of Indian public either have no mind or are extremely lazy to use it. Which one, is a matter of investigation.
The connection between the three examples is obvious: corrupt, and better still, stop if possible, all thinking. Raise the future generations in an intellectual environment where they can be totally controlled by the media and gimmicks. Deprive them of all reason and common sense. Then they are in your hands, you can make whatever you want of them. It suits the politicians, the corporate bosses, and feudal lords, all. The media, religious superstitions (sants) and celebrities are new weapons of the powers that be. And they are lethal. What chances poor Dabholkars stand against them?

7 Responses to Reaping the fruits of mindlessness: Asaram, Shobhan Sarkar and Big Boss

  1. Dharmender says:

    Absolutely sharp and to the point article. Always reading your thoughts through your blog Rohit Ji.

    Dharmender

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  2. riti says:

    ok. i read it

    Like

  3. prof. ahmed says:

    I dont know if we can say that this is core that characterizes the modern democratic society of India. Why cant they be read as aberrations of our public life. The person like and the people who read your blogs and appreciate your views and many more are core, and mainstream to the democratic life, and not these aberrants. In case of first, the state can be give given a benefits of doubts if you go by state’s version of the story which is that it was the palace of some Maharajas who amassed his wealth during 1857 which was part of some historical and local knowledge always. Anything happening first time can not be termed idiotic, so state is doing this first time then it can’t be termed idiotic. Ashumal is nothing but an example which is grounded and emerge from Indian history, and he needs to be situated in a modern democratic context, as no body other than brahmins could have been allowed to be saints before.

    These celebraties are protagonists of entertainment, the common entertainment. In a commercial age, what works is entertainment, entertainment, and entertainment! They are not there for developing criticality. Recently, a film called Shahid has been released, a fabulous film which shakes the criticality at core. And this has been possible in the context of modern democracy and state has not stopped at.

    So I feel that you are taking maximalist position. As if the state resolves to abolish these aberrations, we will not be a democratic country. these aberrations are important to sustain democracy as they work to help gauge standards.

    Ahmed

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    • Dear Prof. Ahmad, the Constitution (Article 51A) advocates development of “scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform” in the fundamental duties of citizens, and thus by implication, embeds the same as the obligation of the state. Now the Archaeological Survey of India, which is meant to drive the leading edge of inquiry into history, is now deployed to prospect the prophecy of superstition. Sir are you suggesting that we rejoice at government’s decision, celebrate Ashumal’s rise as a spiritual leader against brahmin hegemony and rejoice at trivialities of Big Boss in a country which ranks 63 globally in hunger index. On second thought your sanguine state of mind and consequently your position is indeed commendable.

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      • prof. ahmed says:

        Dear Mr. Rajeshsharma,

        I understand your state of mind and rage. Instead of commending my state of mind, you should pay attention to the logic of my argument. Do you disagree with the fact that the aberrations have any role in democratic society or not. I am only pointing out to Prof. Rohit’s point which suggests that a state should act very strictly against what he calls ‘mindlessness’. Little bit of etymological understanding will help you if you try to understand the term ‘mindlessness’ who decides what is mindfulness and what is ‘mindlessness’. A hard core consitutionalist state can not take liberty to interpret citizen’s acts as mindless, if it does so it will turn out to be non-consitutionalists very soon. Modernism sounds good at its face value, but if any act of strict following of it leads to what Foucault says “normalizing judgments’, which is harmless as it creates nothing but docile citizens. Asharams and bigg boss people as much Indian citizens as we who do political and social analysis and consequently gets enraged over the state of affairs which we consider are degrading, and developing towards anti-constitutional values. Every Society no matter democratic and non-democratic has this concept of entertainment and joke who do it for entertaining people. I dont think people who are in the BIgg boss house are really stupids if you talk to them otherwise, they are as sane as you consider yourself. There is acting as per the pre-scripted story. In film and entertainment theories, in my universities, many marxists theorists believe that consumption has class characters. Bigg Boss defies that principles, as lower class people get chance to peep into the life of so called celebrities. They can use their mind and laugh at them and their studpidies.

        Asharam is facing the power of democracy in anyway.

        So you dont have to commend my state of mind rather beyond immediate sharama ji. thanks and appreciate for speaking your mind.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Dear Prof. Ahmad, the Constitution (Article 51A) advocates development of “scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform” in the fundamental duties of citizens, and thus by implication, embeds the same as the obligation of the state. Now the Archaeological Survey of India, which is meant to drive the leading edge of inquiry into history, is now deployed to prospect the prophecy of superstition. Sir are you suggesting that we rejoice at government’s decision, celebrate Ashumal’s rise as a spiritual leader against brahmin hegemony and rejoice at trivialities of Big Boss in a country which ranks 63 globally in hunger index. On second thoughts your sanguine state of mind and consequently your position is indeed commendable.

    Like

  5. Rohit says:

    Thanks Prof. Ahmed. you are right I am indulging in polemics and am somewhat angry.

    BUT YOU COMPLETELY MISS-READ ME THAT I AM CALLING FOR STATE ACTION TO STOP MINDLESSNESS OF ASARAM AND BIG BOSS. I AM NOT. i do believe that every one has the right to choose one’s religious belief and activities, and Gurus. the state has no role in that unless someone’s religious activities are interfering in other people’s lives. similarly people do have their right to entertain themselves as they please.

    Having clarified that clarified that, I will re-iterate that state does have a duty to keep its own decisions and actions reasonable and in public interest. state has no right to squander public money on unfounded belief in some Sadhu or other. archeological investigations should be decided on their own logic; not on unfounded rumors of gold. and then what is the place for Bhoomi-pooja by a Sadhu in archeological investigations? These kinds of actions on the part of the state communicate to the people that a Sadhu with a certain following is reliable and his wishes should be respected in matter which are not religious at all. This encourages people to have faith n Sadhus and their gimmicks. that is where the state is at fault.

    Any one who know history of Hinduism also knows Bhakti movement and many of the Saints in that movement were non-Brahmins. How many of them were like Asaram, I do not know. What I am commenting in Asaram case is mindlessness of the public. I can not believe that a thinking person can have faith in people like Asaram. one is forced to come to the conclusion that at the least in this matter they close their minds and refuse to interrogate the nature of his acts. I don’t think this blindness helps democracy; yes, they do have their rights; but using those rights in a manner that harms the society and themselves. NO ONE, NOT EVEN THE STATE, CAN SAVE THEM FROM THIS BUT THEMSELVES.

    what I am saying is that these events make mindlessness acceptable, even glamorous, and therefore, but at the roots of democracy; that is critical citizenship. But in democracy they can not be countered by law or banning them. they have to be countered at the level of ideas.

    I am not saying that they are the core of Indian society yet. they might be majority by the way; but the society has not yet submitted to their kind of mindset. but they are neither powerless nor benign for the development of the society in democratic direction. They are positively harmful. In all this I am not recommending ban on their activities. I am calling the thinking citizens to counter them.

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