Thursday, September 14, 2017

Why Babas Flourish in India

When human institutions fail, people turn to God.  Or to Godmen.

The proliferation of deras, babas, astrologers, quacks in India is a direct consequence of failed governance and dysfunctional public institutions.  When someone has no hope from rationality, it is not irrational to turn to irrationality.  It might be considered futile in a material sense, but psychologically, irrationality does offer certain advantages.

It helps people cope.

If people were told that not only that legal institutions have failed, but there is no divine plan or justice as well, what would keep them going?  More than food and water, our desires and hopes keep us alive, and looking forward to some future joy.

Religion and superstition flourish when people are afraid and insecure about their future.  When all rational avenues seem blocked, what are they to do?  Remain depressed?

This is not a defense of charlatans.  But to dissuade people from turning to them, we must understand why they do so in the first place.  They are rational agents and are just responding to their environment.

The only long-term solution is to re-establish their faith and confidence in rational institutions.  To provide them with an assurance that if they follow the rules, work hard, and are law-abding, they will see the natural rewards for it.  And similarly, the dishonest and those who bend the rules will be punished.  Currently, it is the opposite.

No wonder they, pessimistic about the worldly realm, prostrate before someone who claims otherworldly access.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Above all India is the only country where one can practice their faith freely.