Manish kumar, a 5th-year Law Student at Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar has written this Article “Blind faith and Black Magic“
INTRODUCTION – Blind faith and Black Magic
Blind faith and Black Magic in India is considered widespread social problem. Like any other country, we will find numerous superstitions and blind faiths in the people of India. The number of superstitions and blind beliefs is very large as our Indian society is made of people belonging to various religions, and cultural, ethnic, linguistic and racial groups. There are many common superstitions in the people belonging to various groups who believe in blind faith and black magic. Observers have observed educated people in India following beliefs that may be superstitions. They are afraid to face consequences emerging out of their own reality and they love to shield their problems through alternative means, despite of it is right or wrong. Mahatma Gandhi stated, “We must enforce faith with reason; if faith becomes blind, it perishes.”
On the other hand, black magic the name itself sounds so strange, the people who practice this black magic promise to do strange things. They claim to cure any serious disease. Sometimes they challenge to make a person free from cancer or AIDS or any other diseases which is serious of this much nature. Even though the high professional doctors fail to cure such diseases, but they are claiming that we can do this because we have some supernatural powers. Needy people are actually defrauded by them, and we as people are responsible for spreading their so-called business of black magic. This practice has caused serious injuries to many people, and sometimes they have lost their lives or money. This happens due to the lack of education among people, and also because there are no laws to prevent this serious crime. They advertise their so-called business of black magic on TV channels, newspapers, and at every public place, which creates a negative impact on people’s minds. So at least government has to take some steps to stop such kind of advertisement. As well as there should be a complete ban over black magic. Because this is a time of science, there is no empirical evidence for the existence of black magic.
Due to practice of such things, every time people got cheated or become victim of fraud. Sometime this fraud leads to death of victim due to dangerous situation and delay in valid treatment.
People are having blind faith on these so called saints; they do everything, whatever they say, by ignoring the law and order. They forget the difference between right or wrong, lawful or unlawful. Actually there is always a difference between faith and blind faith, when faith becomes blind it become very dangerous for society. On the name of such, so many serious crimes are happening like rape, murder, kidnapping etc
OBJECTIVE OF STUDY
The main objective of this research is to know that what steps have been taken by the government to solve this problem of blind faith and black magic and fake saints. We want to know that does our country have any law or legislation regarding one of these serious crimes happening in the name of religion or custom. And if they do not have any law then what will be the reasons for it. It is us believe that black magic and other acts like it, should be banned completely because it is one of the major causes that we are still a developing country, not a developed country. The thing is when people of countries like USA, UK, China, Japan, Russia etc. are working on technology and talking about life outside the earth, we the Indian people are still going to these fake saints or babas just to solve our problems with the help of black magic and supernatural powers, And the weirdest thing is that advertisements of such babas are coming in a national newspaper and even if you search about anything related to black magic on Google or any other search engine, the first thing you will see, it will be the advertisement of such babas. People are having blind faith on these fake babas and they are just making them fool on the name of religion and custom, nothing else. They are playing with the feelings of innocent people, so our main aim is to stop this kind of practices.
QUESTIONS OF LAW
- Whether the practice of black magic or any other similar practice comes under the Right to Business or not?
- Whether advertisements on black magic should be allowed beyond a reasonable extent or not?
ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS OF LAW
- Article 19(1)(g) of Indian constitution says that All citizens shall have the right to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. But with an exception that “Nothing in sub clause (g) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the general public, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause, and, in particular, nothing in the said sub clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it relates to, or prevent the State from making any law relating to,
(i) The professional or technical qualifications necessary for practicing any profession or carrying on any occupation, trade or business, or
(ii) The carrying on by the State, or by a corporation owned or controlled by the State, of any trade, business, industry or service, whether to the exclusion, complete or partial, of citizens or otherwise”
So as it written in our constitution that we have the right to do any kind of business, but with an exception that it should not violate any other law, as we know that black magic also effect law and order sometimes it was an illegal means of business. No doubt that they are using their right to business but in an illegal manner. So we can say that if they are doing such practices for the welfare of humanity or society, then they can do it because it’s their right, but if they are doing so for evil purposes or in a way which is unlawful then it is not their right.
The advertisement of black magic should not be allowed at any cost because black magic is totally immaterial for human needs or any true need. Black magic makes people think of unwanted things or engage in a criminal conspiracy. People start doing different activities and think that it makes them rich or strong people and in doing this they commit so many crimes. So at least we have to stop the spreading of black magic or their advertisement.
FIRST PERSON TO RAISE THIS ISSUE: DR. NARENDRA DABHOLKAR
Dr. Narendra Dabholkar was the first person to raise his voice against blind faith and black magic. He was the founder-president of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS). Actually he was an atheist and did not believe in vastu shastra. He started focusing on eradication of superstitions and black magic. He was brutally murdered after receiving threats from religious fanatics for many years. Extremists condemn him for opposing Hinduism. Liberals endorse him in principle. In one of his speech he said “Even today, people throw stones when a wish is fulfilled [speaking of specific orthodox tradition]. If I threw stones, I’d be arrested for stone pelting, but thousands throwing stones is appreciated as religious faith. And there is no law for this. They ask, which law should be used.”
In 2010, Dabholkar made several failed attempts to get an anti-superstition law enacted in the state of Maharashtra. Under his supervision, MANS drafted the Anti-Jaadu Tona Bill (Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Ordinance). It was opposed by some political parties. Political parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena opposed it claiming it would adversely affect Hindu culture, customs and traditions. Critics accused him of being anti-religion but in an interview with the Agence France-Presse news agency he said, “In the whole of the bill, there’s not a single word about God or religion. Nothing like that. The Indian constitution allows freedom of worship and nobody can take that away, this is about fraudulent and exploitative practices.”
In a press conference a couple of weeks before his death on 6 August 2013, Dabholkar had complained that despite being tabled in seven sessions of the state assembly, they had not discussed the bill. He had criticized the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan, stating that the minister had disappointed the progressive people in the state. A day after Dabholkar’s murder, the Maharashtra Cabinet cleared the Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Ordinance, however the parliament would still need to support the bill for it to become law. After 29 amendments, it was finally enacted as an ordinance on 18 December 2013.
LEGAL ENACTMENTS to prevent Blind faith and Black Magic
When we talk about the legal enactments on blind faith and black magic, we don’t have any legal act at centre level. Only two states of India out of 29 states having such enactments and even those two states government faced a lot of criticism while passing those acts. These states are Maharashtra and Karnataka. The Maharashtra State Assembly passed the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Bill, commonly known as the Anti-Superstition Bill in 2013. Then in 2017, Karnataka legislature passed an anti-superstition bill called the Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017.
Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013
An Act to bring social awakening and awareness in the society about blind faith and black magic and to create a healthy and safe social environment with a view to protect the common people in the society against the evil and sinister practices thriving on ignorance, and to combat and eradicate human sacrifice and other inhuman, evil, sinister and aghori practices propagated in name of so called supernatural or magical powers or evil spirits commonly known as black magic by conmen with sinister motive of exploiting the common people in the society and thereby destroying the very social fiber of the society; and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
SECTION 2(1)(b) 0F THIS ACT
Under this section, the following 12 things were banned completely:-
- Under the pretext of expelling the ghost, assaulting by tying a person with rope or chain, beating by stick or whip, to make the person drink footwear soaked water, giving chili smoke, hanging a person to roof, fixing him with rope or by hair or plucking his hair, causing pain by way of touching heated object to organs or body of a person, forcing a person to perform sexual act in the open, practicing inhuman acts, putting urine or human excreta forcibly in the mouth of a person or practicing any such acts.
- Display of so-called miracles by a person and thereby earning money; and to deceive, defraud and terrorize people by propagation and circulation of so called miracles.
- With a view to receive blessings of supernatural power, to follow the inhuman, evil and aghori practices which cause danger to life or grievous hurt; to instigate, encourage or compel others to follow such practices.
- Doing any inhuman, evil and aghori act and black magic in search of precious things, bounty, and water resources or for similar reasons in the name of karni, bhanamati and making or trying to make human sacrifice in the name of jaran-maran or the like or to advice, instigate or encourage committing such inhuman acts.
- To create an impression by declaring that a power inapprehensible by senses has influenced one’s body or that a person has possessed such power and the thereby create fear in the mind of others or to threaten others of evil consequences for not following the advice of such person or deceive, defraud and deter him.
- By making the persons believe that a particular person practices karni, black magic or brings under the influence of ghost or diminishes the mulching capacity of a cattle by mantra-tantra or similarly accusing a particular person that he brings misfortune to others, or is a cause for spread of diseases and thereby making the living of such person miserable, troublesome, or difficult; to declare a person as saitan or incarnation of saitan.
- In the name of jaran-maran, karni or chetuk, assaulting any person, parading him naked or put a ban on his daily activities.
- To create a panic in the mind of public in general by way of invoking ghost or mantras, or threaten to invoke ghost, creating an impression that there is ghostly or wrath of a power inapprehensible, by senses causing physical injuries and preventing a person from taking medical treatment and instead diverting him to practice inhuman, evil and aghori acts or treatment, threatening a person with death or causing physical pains or causing financial harm by practicing or tend to practice black magic or inhuman fact.
- Prohibiting and preventing a person from taking medical treatment in case of dog, snake or scorpion bite and instead giving him treatment like mantra-tantra, ganda-dora or such other things.
- Claiming to perform surgery by fingers, or claiming to change the sex of a fetus in womb of a woman.
- (a) To create an impression that special supernatural powers are present in himself, incarnation of another person or holy spirit or that the devotee was his wife, husband or paramour in the past birth, thereby indulging into sexual activity with such person; (b) To keep sexual relations with a woman, who is unable to conceive, assuring her of motherhood through supernatural power.
- To create an impression that a person with an intellectual disability person as having inhuman powers and thereby rob the others.
Section 3 of this act describes Punishment under this act
The offences punishable under this act shall be cognizable and non-bailable.
Imprisonment for the term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to seven years and,
If a person dies due to the aforementioned reasons, then authorities can apply section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. Additionally, the fine for the offence shall range between five thousand to fifty thousand rupees.
Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic act, 2017
Section 17 of this act
Similar to the Maharashtra bill, the Karnataka government banned the following things:-
- Performing any inhuman, evil act and black magic in search of precious things, bounty and hidden treasure for similar reasons in the name of such as banamathi, Mata-Mantra, assaulting any person, parading naked or put a ban on his daily activities or instigate advice or encourage committing of such inhuman acts.
- To create an impression by declaring that a power inapprehensible by senses has influenced one’s body or that a person has possessed such power thereby create fear in the minds of others or to threaten others of evil consequences for not following the advice of such person or deceive defraud and deter him.
- Under the pretext of expelling the ghost, assaulting by tying the person with rope or chain, beating by stick or whip to make the person drink foot wear soaked water, giving chilli smoke hanging a person to roof fixing with rope or by a hair or pluck his hair, causing pain by way of touching heated object to organs or body of a person, forcing a person to perform sexual act in the open, practice inhuman acts, putting urine or human excreta forcibly in the mouth of a person or practice any such acts.
- By making the persons believe that a particular person practices banamathi, Mata Mantra black magic or brings under the influence of ghost or diminishes the milking capacity of a cattle by mantra-tantra or similarly accusing a particular person that, he brings misfortune to others or is a cause for spread of diseases and thereby making the living of such person miserable, troublesome or difficult, to declare a person as saithan or incarnation of saithan.
- To create a panic in the minds of public in general by way of invoking ghost or mantras or threaten to invoke ghost creating an impressing that there is ghostly or wrath of power inapprehensible by senses causing physical injuries and preventing a person taking medical treatment, instead diverting him to practice inhuman evil and aghory acts or treatment threatening a person with a death or causing physical pains or causing financial loss by practicing or tend to practice black magic or inhuman act.
- Claiming to perform surgery by fingers or claiming to change the sex of a foetus in womb of a woman.
- To create an impression that special supernatural powers are present in himself, incarnation of another person or holy spirit or that the devotee was his wife, husband or paramour in the past birth thereby indulging into sexual activity with such person.
- Persuading, propagating or facilitating rituals that involve self-inflicted injuries such as hanging from a hook: inserted into the body (sidi) or pulling a chariot by a hook inserted into the body.
- Persuading, propagating or facilitating rituals involving harm inflicted on children in the name of curing them, such as throwing them on thorns or from heights
- Practicing evil practices against women by forcing isolation, prohibiting re-entry into the village or facilitating segregation of menstruating or postpartum women; and subjecting women to inhuman and humiliating practices such as parading them naked in the name of worship or otherwise, such as “betthale seve”.
- Forcing any person to carry on evil practices such as killing of an animal by biting its neck (gaavu), that cause harm to public health nuisance.
- Facilitating any person or persons to roll over (urulu seve) on the leaves of left over food by other persons in any public or/and religious places, or similar practices that violate human dignity
- Coercing any person or persons to perform fire-walk at the time of jatras and Religious festivals, causing physical injury.
- The practice of piercing from rods from one side of, jaw to another side of the jaw including the tongue i.e., “baibiga” practice.
- Pelting of stones in the name of Banamathi, Mata-Mantra and mantra-tantra on the residential houses during night or day.
- Prohibiting and preventing a person from taking medical treatment in case of dog, snake or scorpion bite and instead of giving him treatment like mantra-tantra, ganda-dora or such other things.
Section 15 of this act– What is not banned?
Under this, there are certain things which are not banned, they are:-
- The form of worship such as Pradakshina, Yatra, Parikrama performed at religious places
- Harikata, Keerthana, Pravachana, Bhajana, teaching of ancient and traditional learning and arts, practice, propagation and circulation
- Miracles of the deceased saints propagation, publicity and circulation of the same and the propagation, publicity and distribution of literature about miracles of the religious preachers which do not cause physical injury
- Performance of prayers, upasana and religious rituals at home, temple, darghas, gurdwara, pagoda, church, and other religious places which do not cause physical injury
- All religious celebrations, festivals, prayers, procession and other act relating other rituals
- Piercing of ears and nose of children in accordance with rituals and performance of religious ritual such as Kesh Lochan by the Jains
- Advice in regard to vaastu shasthra, and advice by jyothishya and other astrologers
Section 3 of this act describes Punishment under this act
A punishment of between one to seven years and a fine of Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000 for violators, but specifies that if there is a death resulting from any of the practices, it should be taken up under section 302 of the IPC. The offences punishable under this act shall be cognizable and non-bailable. It can be Imprisonment for the term which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to seven years.
When we talk about judiciary’s outlook on Blind faith and black magic, we will find end number of cases when courts criticized this kind of practices and give its decision in the favor of victim. Here we will discuss some controversial cases as well as some heinous cases.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh vs. Central Bureau Of Investigation
The Special CBI Court of Panchkula sentenced Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim to ten years of imprisonment in connection with a decade old rape case. Special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh pronounced the quantum of punishment in makeshift courtroom in Rohtak jail. Ram Rahim was held guilty on charges of rape of a female devotee in 1999 on Friday. While the prosecution, reportedly, had demanded the maximum punishment for the rape convict, the Defense had argued that Ram Rahim Singh was a social worker and had worked for the welfare of people, so the judge should take a lenient view. The CBI registered the rape case against the self-styled godman in April 2002 following allegations of sexual exploitation of two women followers. A Dera Sadhvi had sent an anonymous letter to the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, stating that Ram Rahim was raping her. Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place to prevent any untoward incident.
Rampal singh vs State of UP
The court of the Judicial Magistrate acquitted Rampal, a well-known saint, in two cases under IPC sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 426 (mischief), 147 (rioting), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), and 34. The court had shifted to the central jail to pronounce the verdict.
PRACTICAL EVALUATION– Research Questions
To know about people’s opinion and their way of lookout this issue, we conducted an online survey. In that survey, we asked them a few questions, which they have to answer either no or yes. A total of 135 responses we get and all the responses were from different states and even some of them were from different countries. We get responses from people of different age groups. Let see what people think about this:-
Our first question to them was:- do they believe in black magic?
For this question, approximately 60% of people said that we don’t believe in black magic, but the shocking thing is that 40% of people still believe in all these things. So we can say that the belief of this 40% of people is also the reason for such problems.
Our next question to them was:- Do you go to baba for black magic?
This answer was quite satisfactory for us as we were hoping that nowadays very few people go to these kinds of people. But as we know that this survey was in the English language, we can predict that only educated people might have participated in this survey and of those educated people 16% of people are still going to such persons.
Our next question to them was:- Do you think black magic babas have powers?
So 83% of people believe that they don’t have any kind of power but 17% of people still believe that they have power which is quite shocking. The percentage has increased by 1% from the last question. So we can say that those people who don’t even go to these babas also believe that they have some powers.
Our next question to them was:- Should they be banned?
Most people think that yes they should be banned. Those people who said yes to our first question that they believe in black magic even they are saying yes to this question, which is quite appreciable.
Our last question for them was:- is it affecting our country’s development?
So we are expecting that most people will say yes to this question because everybody knows very well that directly or indirectly this problem is affecting our country’s development.
We also asked few more questions which people have to answer at their own level. We asked them about the newspaper in which they have seen such kind of advertisements. The names we get in most of the answers are Punjab Kesari, Danik Bhaskar, and Amar Ujala etc.
Those who said yes to the question that they have visited babas or pakhandis etc, we asked them about their experience over there. And the responses we get are very shocking. Some of them said we felt relaxed after visit and some said it was a terrible experience. One more question we asked them was that write one word for these peoples. Most of the people said that they are fake, fraud, cheaters, criminals and some of them also abused them. So we can say that this survey helps us a lot in our project to understand the mentality of people.
As to our conclusion, we conclude that even the blind faith and black magic and aghori practices are illegal in some states of India but still the number of cases and victims are increasing every year. Somehow the people are also responsible for that as they don’t differentiate what is just and what is unjust. But there should also be a separate law at central level for this glitch to stop it. Superstitious people criticized the acts introduced by some states as anti-religious. As no religion promote the idea of blind faith and black magic and allowed to do so then how it is anti religious. It’s the other side to religion, which does more harm than good. People do not share these practices openly and only a few individuals have access to the daily occurrences that happen behind closed doors. We are not saying that don’t understand what black magic is? But try and see the better to it. So people never have to tread into the dark that’s why wise people always said, “There is always light at the end of tunnel”.
On the other hand, it is not only black magic which is curse for the Indian society but the blind faith is another serious issue which is father of all other evil practices. Without having faith no one can go to these fake babas. The main reason for the blind faith is illiteracy and lack of awareness. We found in our research that people are as much as blind with their faiths that they are even ready to put their life on stake. Here we would like to mention one recent case of Delhi. Somebody found 11 members of the family hanging from an iron-mesh in the ceiling. While the body of 77 years old lady, head of the family, was lying on the floor in another room of the house. The police recovered notes from the house which founded writings about ‘badh tapasaya’, attempting to attain something great by getting into a banyan tree-like formation, finding the ‘road to god’, and detailed notes about tying feet and hands and covering mouth to appease god. It had also mentioned that the members would not die and someone’s spirit would come and save them. One of notes mentions that “The Sky and earth will start shaking but you need not fear. I will come and rescue you”. How can a prudent man think like this. Other than blind faith, what can we call it? 11 people hanged with ceiling thinking that they will not die. Have you ever listened such a reckless thing. The recommendations we made should be followed strictly and immediately, or we cannot predict what type of cases we will encounter in the future…..
While studying this topic Blind faith and black magic, we were able to find some of the suggestions to deal with this problem. They are :-
- Our first suggestion is that there should be a proper law or act for dealing with blind faith and black magic. As we mentioned earlier that only two states are having acts to deal with this problem so we should have an act at central level. So that we can punish all those criminals who are cheating people or harming the society by playing with people’s faith.
- Secondly, the government should ban any kind of advertisement related to this problem from all newspapers and televisions, as well as from all public places like bus stands, railway stations, etc. Because newspaper and televisions are the most accessible means for common people.
- Thirdly, government should also run some awareness camps, workshops and seminars to aware the people. There should be a annual camp in each village to aware the rural people about black magic. Rural people should teach properly that they should go to doctors rather than going to these fake babas. Because in a disease the doctor is the only person who can help them, not these babas.
- Lastly, the people should also understand their responsibility and do inform the police or related authorities about those people who are practicing this kind of evil acts.
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