Politicians in India have always had a disturbing obsession with superstition like black magic, vaastu or the dark arts.
And the latest incident to give the Samajwadi Party rift a weird turn (as if it was not weird enough already) is expelled SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav warning Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav that "in-house enemies" are using the dark arts to destroy them, according to India Today.
The SP drama already looked like a bad Bollywood movie but with this claim, it now resembles a Bollywood movie like Nagina.
"Do saal se tantra mantra chal rahe hain Netaji ke upper ek Kailashanand hai, ek Rajasthan ka hai, ek MP ka hai. Ek tractor narial chadh chuke hain Saifai mein Shivpal ke ghar par. Akhilesh ka bura karne ke liye aur Netaji ko vash me karne ke liye (There have been attempts to harm Akhilesh and Mulayam with the help of tantriks and the occult)," the report quoted Ram Gopal Yadav as saying in his letter to Mulayam and Akhilesh.
The report also said that Akhilesh supporters believed that Shivpal was using black magic against him and Mulayam because Mulayam broke his promise of making him the CM after three years.
This great 'revelation' by Ram Gopal Yadav comes days after MLC Udayveer Singh, expelled from the party, had written a "private letter" to Mulayam in which he had accused Mulayam Singh’s second wife Sadhna and Shivpal of using black magic to harm Akhilesh, according to IANS.
Singh had also said that he was merely airing his personal feelings but he insisted his views echoed the views of most party colleagues.
The obsession with black magic is not just limited to SP though. A report in Daily Mail stated that according to a leading astrology guru in Chennai, Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa has been in hospital since September because she is a victim of black magic.
The 'guru' went on to say DMK chief M Karunanidhi may also be suffering from bad health because of tantric spells.
The connection between Indian politics and black magic is a disturbingly old and strong one.
Before the Bihar election in 2015, a video clip showing Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar seeking the benediction of an unknown tantrik had gone viral.
On 16 February last year in Bengaluru, Congress workers were horrified when they found lemon, chilly, vermilion and other unknown materials wrapped in red cloth in the premises of the party head office. Congress had alleged Janata Dal (Secular) had performed black magic after losing the office building in a legal battle, another report in India Today had said.
On 26 October 2014, when Manohar Lal Khattar was being sworn-in as Haryana chief minister, BJP workers in black clothes were not allowed to enter the venue and were told to remove the black clothes as they were considered to be unlucky.
Similarly, in Maharashtra, senior Shiv Sena leader Mohan Rawale's obsession with wearing the 'lucky' colour yellow during campaigning for elections is so intense that once, he had recalled about 1.5 lakh campaign posters because they showed him wearing shirts of other colours.
A report in The Indian Express said that historian William Dalrymple had noted in his book Nine Lives that many politicians in Bengal and Bihar "not only worshipped skulls but also offered animal sacrifices to the goddess before standing for election."
The report also said that Indira Gandhi performed rituals "privately" to protect Sanjay Gandhi after the Emergency.
Even some politicians from the Left engage in superstitious practices, showing that superstition is all-pervasive in Indian politics. "Our local Communist MP may tell his followers that what we do is superstition, but that doesn’t stop him coming here with a goat to sacrifice when he wants to find out from us what the election results will be," Dalrymple had quoted a local tantrik in Bengal as saying.
Maybe the link between politics and superstition has something to do with the fact that a large section in India is superstitious. After all, politicians tend to support the beliefs of the people.
In July 2014, a sting operation by journalist Ashish Khetan revealed thatthe Pune Police had consulted a retired policeman-cum-tantrik called Manish Thakur to try and solve the Narendra Dabholkar murder case. In February 2015, former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar confirmed that the then Pune Police commissioner Gulabrao Pol had to be transferred because he had resorted to a planchet to solve the murder case.
In 2012, a church in Mumbai told its followers about a ‘miracle’ when droplets of water appeared at the base of a crucifix. When rationalist Sanal Edamaruku pointed out that the water was, in fact, coming from a drainage pipe, he made the church leaders so angry that they persuaded the police to file charges that Edamaruku had hurt their religious sentiments. Edamaruku himself had to flee to Finland to avoid further harassment.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Oct 27, 2016 10:55:16 IST