Chandraswamis of Kashmir!

We need to stand up against these frauds who claim to be faith healers…

 In nineties of previous century a small time tantrik turned Godman Chandraswami by his sheer exploitative skills attained the position of spiritual advisor to then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. He traded spirituality among rich and powerful and became self-styled godman by exploiting religion with impunity. But as the maxim goes, ‘to every rise there is a fall’ that too when the climb is excessively quick and illusory. So, one fine morning this godman of the rich and the mighty fell from the grace and got buried deep into the oblivious world of condemnation. Kashmir, once the abode of pious Saints and Sufis has a splendid history of spiritual teaching. But for the last few decades organization of learning and preaching spirituality has gone astray. Over the period of time new tribes of self-proclaimed spiritual healers and preachers have invaded the otherwise pious spiritual mindset of Kashmiri people and their ethos.
The recent shameful act of a conman in the guise of spiritual healer in central Kashmir is just tip of the disgraceful iceberg. There are hundreds of such thugs who resort to all sort of exploitative strategies to fleece gullible common Kashmiri. The beastly exploitation of innocent girls by the ‘Darvesh’ offended the innocent people, but how about the other shameful activities of these valueless self proclaimed healers? Interestingly, a section of such self-styled spiritual advisors deal exclusively with high profile clientele of unethical politicians, corrupt officials and unfair businessmen working as conduits for their murky deals and kickbacks, eventually earning enormous clout within the corridors of power. Because of their mastery in establishing contacts and making deals they very often become rallying point for immoral elements of all shades and their fraudulent activities.

These glamorous healers can be traced in almost all parts of Kashmir delivering luscious sermons to exploit religious sentiments and at occasions resorting to emotional blackmailing. Most of these Darveshs usually target people with little knowledge and weak religious belief. Earlier this manipulative profession was practised by few crooked elements to earn a living but with diminishing values and wild materialism within the society it turned into an industry; a flourishing industry with its own rules of exploiting innocent and credulous people. The modus operandi of these self-styled faith healers varies from person to person but the ultimate motive is same—exploit and cheat. 
During the last more than a decade the Peer, Darvesh industry in Kashmir is surviving not only on common man’s sweat and sentiment but many wily and high profile Darveshs turned it into a flourishing trade. In contemporary civilized society of knowledge and technology continuing with such immoral and unethical activity at a much bigger scale without patronage is practically impossible. The patronage seems to be beyond commanding corruption and prevailing materialism; a patronage of much wider ramifications. Enormous authority and huge assets established and created overnight by otherwise modestly living persons of average intellect and negligible knowledge is something baffling and incomprehensible.  Obviously, this unethical drama of exploitation has much wider and deeper tentacles that go beyond the psyche of common man into the fundamentals of our social system. Unfortunately the political unrest within the valley has provided the most congenial atmosphere for exploitation and self-styled Peers, Darveshs and faith healers derive most out of this conflict. Many self-proclaimed spiritual leaders have a dual role of exploiters and agents of vested interest and deliver to the best satisfaction of their masters and are busy amassing huge wealth and enormous authority.
 Swindlers and exploiter in the guise of spirituality cannot be faith healers but the biggest sinners and criminals. In fluid situation of Kashmir vortex they have turned opinion makers and are influencing the fate of our political leadership in times of election and political crisis. Unfortunately, most of our power centers and opinion makers are directly or indirectly influenced and managed by self-styled Peers and Darveshs and live in symbiotic association where they are dependent on each other for their ulterior motives. Hence, these self-styled Darveshs are no less than Chandraswami in their belief and conduct. 
Budgam Darvesh cannot be blamed alone for what he conceived, created and committed, but collectively the whole society, administrative establishment and many other manipulative forces are equally responsible for this humiliating mess. A crook explored the vulnerability of our society! Exploited our staggering and weak religious belief, and harnessed our materialistic greed to establish his dissipated fiefdom for unending abuse of already exploited vale of tears. We as a society should seriously revert to our religion and authentic religious commandments and adhere strictly to that in letter and spirit for the best of our worldly life and the life here after. In the court of Almighty salvation is possible only through our better deeds and no Peer, Darvesh or Bab can plead for our case as he himself will be in the line of fire to seek forgiveness.