The Charlatans

Our society is flooded with charlatans of varied kinds. They, with their false claims hoodwink innocent people and amass thousands of rupees.

The staunch believers of these ‘Dhongi Babas’ pay no heed to anyone trying to instill some sense in them. Lower class often become a prey to these ‘babas’ and robbed of their life-time possessions.

Electronic media has highlighted this social evil and showed their real faces time and again but weak faith, insecurities, financial constraints make this clan more vulnerable.

I’ve come across a maid who told me about the ‘baba’ where sufferers would take a dip in the filthy water and get rid of any afflictions. The maid had high-grade fever. So, her mother took her to baba instead of consulting any doctor.

It is to be noted that a day before she took her monthly salary as well as an advance, so financial constraint was not the actual reason. Sometimes fraternal persuasion and flimsy beliefs make them to do what is otherwise considered wrong.

At her mother’s incessant pressure, she reluctantly visited that baba. A middle-aged man was sitting in the courtyard and women were waiting for their turns. The area was brimming with believers. Everyone had their personal concerns, be it simple fever, any chronic disease, marriage issues, or childlessness.

As their turn came, baba put a hand on her head and she was instructed to submerge in the dirty pool but she ran away leaving her mother behind. Afterwards, she was severely berated and slapped by her mother for this effrontery, and her mother deeply feared the wrath of baba.

It could be nothing more than the news printed on the first page of any afternoon newspapers to provoke readers’ curiosity or published on the last page of leading newspaper. I’ve never believed that, because that class normally fabricate stories to amuse themselves and others, until I watched a program on TV, where a baba was accused on account of his indecent behavior with women, forced them to take a dip in the pool of water.

We, at times, consider poverty and monetary issues as the main reason behind this sort of moral degradation, but lack of education and fragile beliefs can be taken as significant factors toward these failings.

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