The Assassination of Narendra Dabholkar
A 67-year-old man from India died last week. Actually, he was murdered. His name was Narendra Dabholkar.
Chances are you’ve never heard of him.
Dabholkar was a writer and social activist. He spent most of his life traveling throughout his native India, a nation currently making wondrous strides towards modernism and enlightenment. Yet for all its progress, much of India’s population of 1.27 billion remains shackled to centuries-old superstitions. Self-professed gurus are still found in almost every village. Even more of these slimy sages ply their deceit in India’s cities. Through magic tricks and acts of illusion, they intimate a belief in possessing special powers, which leads to conning people out of what little money they’ve saved. Some even profess to communicate directly with the (so-called) gods, claiming they can cure serious ailments. One would be hard pressed to find a lower form of humanity than these slugs who target the most vulnerable people in some of the poorest regions of the world.
From the moment he witnessed “holy men” accepting money in exchange for worthless advice and false cures, Dabholkar knew that he had found his life’s calling. The forces against him were hardly either harmless nor inconsequential. India’s vast superstition market has been a national plague for centuries, not only robbing poor people of their meager subsistence, but obstructing public awareness. His mission to dissolve the nefarious caste system, which subjugates the poor into unspeakable bonds of poverty met with fierce resistance. What these soothsayers and their many enablers did to others were not just petty crimes victimizing primarily the destitute and the illiterate. They were (and remain) a cult enterprise with a stranglehold on communities bearing a comparison to the Black Hand.
Dabholkar knew the dangers he was up against. He’d been warned many times of the powerful forces who feared public exposure. His life was threatened numerous times. He was assaulted on many occasions. Nonetheless, Dabholkar fought on. He consistently declined offers of police protection. He continued to investigate claims of the paranormal. He studied their nefarious methods. He eventually recreated the “miracles” he witnessed — unmasking the deceit. Over the course of three decades, Dabholkar made in excess of 3,000 public speeches, slowly but surely converting vulnerable minds one at a time. He spoke out for reason and rationality. He spoke out against fakes and frauds. For this, Dabholkar paid the ultimate price — with his own life.
On August 20th, Dabholkar was taking his usual morning walk when two men reportedly approached him on a bridge. Four shots rang out. Two bullets hit him — one in the chest and the other in the head. Dabholkar died at the hospital. As of now, no arrests have been made. This wasn’t a robbery. No valuables were taken. The Indian media called it what it truly was — an assassination.
Dabholkar had been in the news a lot lately. He’d begun making tremendous strides. People were starting to listen to his message and head his call for collective common sense. At the same time, many others — those threatened by the advancement of culture and enlightenment of minds — became increasingly fearful of exposure. So, apparently someone decided to do something to silence this brave man, forever.
One of Dabholkar’s most substantive acts was getting the “Anti-Black Magic Bill” introduced into India’s National Congress. This law, which still hasn’t been passed yet, intends to outlaw the practice engaging in superstition-for-profit. Even though one would expect such a bill to pass easily in a country rife with chicanery, it now languishes without enough support to become law. Of course, the gurus and holy men — and their millions of misguided followers — have come out strongly against this. Some critics even claim the proposed law would “adversely affect Hindu culture, customs, and traditions.” SOURCE HERE Once again, it’s hardly a surprise that religion poisons everything. So, the snake oil continues to sell.
I regret that I never met or knew Narendra Dabholkar. But that hardly matters. What’s important is to learn about him now. It’s not too late. It’s never too late to start fighting for truth and justice. If anything, Dabholkar’s senseless death should be a wake-up call. Indeed, martyrdom can be a powerful force which perhaps can bring about new laws which protect the innocent and punish the guilty.
Of course, superstition, and it’s contaminating fallout is hardly confined to India. In fact, it’s right here in our own back yard.
We have our own brand of this quackery. Here, in America they’re called psychics and fortune tellers. Remarkably, just as I’m writing today’s article a television commercial appeared for something called “California Psychics.” According to the advertisement, for $1 a minute, a complete stranger will give you advice. Who knows how much harm these frauds are doing. And that’s just over the telephone. Shouldn’t we have our own “Black Magic Laws” against these practices? Let’s call out the Sylvia Brownes and John Edwards and the other filth and label them for what they truly are — liars and thieves.
Moreover, how and why do we allow Gypsy fortune tellers to openly conduct business in our communities? Their actions are anything but light entertainment for idiots. Unfortunately, when they pull off their carefully crafted scams, often resulting in stealing vast sums of money from their targeted victims, current law makes it nearly impossible to prosecute their crimes. Consider the most recent case of a Gypsy fortune teller in Florida who ripped off her victim out of $25 million. READ STORY HERE
Before we look at India with righteous indignation, shaking our heads, let’s remember that superstition is a global cancer with tentacles everywhere. Fraud knows no boundaries of geography or race or income or social status. Virtually everyone is victimized in some way by this nonsense. And so let’s all make Dabholkar’s death a call to arms to continue investigating and researching, exposing the frauds and championing the voices of reason.
Alas, let’s honor Narendra Dabholkar’s memory in the way that I suspect he would approve. By carrying on his fight with even greater commitment and determination.
Note: With sincere thanks to Dr. Arthur Reber for proving me a link to the story on the death of Narendra Dabholkar, which can be found HERE. Readers are also encouraged to read Paul Harris’ excellent take on this tragedy, which can be found HERE