Current Page: 3 of 8
One persons descriptions dirty water and food at Amma Math
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 07, 2014 07:13AM

This was found from comments following the Rolling Stone feature story on Amma the hugging saint.

One person who gave the name 'Gitasun' reported having been a devotee for 7.5 years gave a lengthy description in the comments following the article. What is troubling is her description of water, food and health of the long term devotees at Ammachi's ashram.

If one wishes to evaluate an ashram or spiritual project, dont look only at the new arrivals - take care to examine the appearance and behavior of long term residents. How do they come across, physically and mentally?

Note: a diet high in carbohydrates and with animal protein absent may put some persons at risk of insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar, especially if one lacks opportunties for exercise.

A poor quality vegetarian diet may also carry too high a ratio of omega-6 fatty acids with few omega-3 fatty acids--this can predispose to inflammation, heart disease and depression.

And if one spends much time indoors doing seva or meditating, one may become deficient in Vitamin D - also important for health.

Little butter and too much vegetable oil may leave insuffient Vitamin A - especially if the vegetables are low quality, poorly stored and lack vitamins.



> []
> ng-saint-20120816
> Gitasun> Marnie

> Ammachi: A Western Renunciate’s
> Experiences behind the Scenes

> I feel so relieved to finally be free from this 7 year long damaging
> dependency with Mata Amritanandamayi and her organization.
> Although the depths of my > devotion were seemingly bottomless, and I would
> have done anything to gain her favor, somehow I have managed to extract myself
> from this bona fide cult > masquerading as a charitable organization. I am relieved to know that others too are waking up from the intricate web of subterfuge.

I struggled for the last two years trying to imagine life without > the guru, and I know how hard it is to undo the neural connections linking Amma to every aspect of thought.

I understand why for some it will be extremely difficult or downright impossible to break the bonds of this mind controlling sect.

> The truth about the Hugging Saint and the ancient manipulative techniques she employs, along with the scandals her devotees have orchestrated will sober up the more astute among us.

But the hordes of unsuspecting, innocent, guileless infants having
> divorced their real parents and lives, in order to clutch full-time to their Amma dolls, with mantras for pacifiers, while jockeying for Amma's mere glance, I feel really sorry for. Nothing can help them because the elaborate programming won't allow any thoughts contrary to that of Amma being god.

Even rational people will have a hard time accepting that what they gave all their time, resources and heart to was merely a charismatic bamboozling village girl. Even those who have left (and there are many) are still subtly afraid of retribution from Amma psychically or more tangibly from her army of ardent devotees.
> In Amritapuri, India, I was not quite in the innermost circle but had revealing contact for years with those closest to Amma and by all measure would be considered an insider. Being very outgoing myself I made friends with all who didn't hate me because of> my frequent close proximity to Amma and her personal handmaidens.

I got in with all the high ups to glean insight into Amma's mystical world. I wasn't shy in my conquests and thereby gained access which others could not. I rode on the waves > of bliss as I got to do special tasks for Ammachi and before Ammachi. I reveled in being needed and called while everyone else chopped vegetables.

I reverently breathed, meditated and did continuous awareness exercises which amplified my bliss to unprecedented heights. Amma seemed to like it. Unfortunately, most if not many people skimp on the practices and spend their time doing selfless service, moping around in "devotional" yearning, or gossiping and stuffing their faces at the western canteen.

I took a more maniacal approach toward everything from diet to speech to every
> moment of my day being accounted for.

> It was very revealing and not by any means the only time in my life I
> experienced altered states of consciousness. (I do take the
> stand that it can all be explained scientifically even Amma's psychic abilities. We laypersons just get flabbergasted when someone has somewhat refined their mental energy and mistake them for god.) It all went
> well, the visions of various deities, loud music spontaneously in ears, the exalted emotional states.

Eventually reality seeped back in and my life became a struggle to earn enough
> money to go to India> and get my fix year after year.

Each time a little more magic evaporated, yet I still decided to become a
> renunciate (a full time resident who gives their life to the ashram) It only costs $16,000 if interested.

But I noticed people were growing more unhealthy, the air quality seemed to get exponentially worse, the water filters seemed to be rusting and my duties became more clear. The honeymoon was over.

> One angelic young girl actually died of a tumor that spread throughout her whole body. She was 18 and spent almost her entire life there.

I personally (Gitasun)believe she died because of lack of nutrition and the toxins in the air and water surrounding the ashram. Of course Amma in her omniscience suggested tuberculosis and sent her to AIMS (one of Amma’s hospitals) only to be misdiagnosed and screwed > around for the last year of her life. Finally when they found the tumor it was too late.

> This compounded with the sheer insanity of virtually all the residents, the
> inability to get healthy nourishment, Amma’s rehearsed daily routine,
> everyone’s angry pent up explosive sexual energy, and the now complete impossibility to find any solitude or even quiet anywhere at any time within the ashram, had me at my wits end.

I started to question where this conforming, contentious, fearful, repressed new personality I adopted was going to lead me. Would I become as neurotic, diseased, insalubrious as so many long term inmates of the asylum had become?

Would I stay there an adulating sycophant, fearful of the world, believing the apocalyptic hype promoted by her minions-- that we are the chosen few, liberation is ours through service, everyone else in the world is perishing in the fire of worldliness, Amma will save us from the cataclysm sure to come in the western world?

I decided that I had had enough. I embraced the world as Amma claims to do while actually alienating her robots. I think many people there want to leave but have become so neurotic that they can't even communicate to others now without using their Amma speak or judging and condemning people for not being as "spiritual".

> Many want out, but the prospect of life middle-aged in some cold European city, financially destitute from all the touring with Amma seems too overwhelming. Others want out but are lost in their youth and have no job skills, education, dietary control, or interest in sports and are subject to depression in the world.

A great catalyst for me has been the outdoors. There are many nurturing friendships to be made in the world of outdoor sports. I really hope more people will become educated on cult dynamics and educate others.

> Inspiration for me was also in the form of Krishnamurti, The Guru Papers by Alstad, and guruphylliac (Guruphiliac blog? Corboy) whose website has many provocative articles on Amma and is a vast resource of links to other informative websites.
> >
> Amma has blabbered many things in India which went completely over the heads of even those sitting around her. I would look around shocked at times on chai stops (stops > on India tours) like "I can't believe she just said that, did you hear that?".

> Unfortunately none of this is published. She always lectures how national sovereignty fosters bigotry and unequal wealth distribution. She is all about tipping the scales so India gets more, just read her UN speech. She is talking like it’s the UN is the hand of god that can wipe out poverty, uplift women. You'd think in all her omnipresence she would know what a bunch of scoundrels she was supplicating.

> Amma has foreseen the collapse of western civilization, she speaks about it as karmically inescapable. She warns about natural disaster as imminent and the
> dollar being equal to the rupee. She hasn't gone as far to say that we will be a cashless, martial law enforced society with credits being our only wealth and no constitutional rights but she likes to paint a grim picture. And she has said that one day international order will reign as the governing force.

She says it like it’s a matter of fact.

But this will not be found on because she’s said these kinds of things when westerners used to ask her questions on Tuesdays and on chai stops.

> Amma is very careful about what is published by the math. She
> personally reads the final editions and has the swamis who know well her agendas get it to there. She is much more careful now than she was just 5 years ago.
> I have been in a room where Amma was meditating I have sat in her personal
> house while she rehearsed songs with brahmacharinis. I have felt intoxicated at times and other times driven to tears, and I have also felt nothing at all. It is subjective.

These emotional states, nervous tremors, are experiences that are
> felt around Amma. Or one could argue that she can transmit some energy but
> for what purpose? To get people hooked is exactly what she is doing; I have
> had numerous personal conversations with her. And frankly she is quite
> patronizing, elliptical and aloof. She is mocking, condescending or pretending, rather poorly to be overly caring. She delights in causing mental turmoil, all part of "surrendering the ego". But it’s true; too many people are too terrified of her to really have any meaningful dialogue.

Of course she makes herself appear busy and it’s very difficult to corner her or question her at all. Then when you finally do there is no meaningful dialogue, only authoritarianism. You can't get anywhere with her. She'll say it’s your ego that wants to come assert yourself before the master and that a true disciple is quiet like a mouse, listening and assimilating the teachings.

I see how it can be seen as the fault of the devotees around her cringing in reverence, tradition and conformity. But it is not their fault, they are brainwashed by Amma to > accept this conformity as discipline.

> One can see this during her satsangs on Tuesdays in Amritapuri where she
> lectures endlessly on ashram dharma and appropriate behavior. Most do not have > enough experience to really know the extent of the deception and programming.

> Amma claims nothing yet has Disney marketing executives buying her CNN time.
> Amma is her organization, it is her creation. The truth is the people closest
> to her are the most programmed and spineless. That’s the only way they ignore
> the truth boiling within, that something is wrong with Amma. She can't keep
> assertive people in her folds, they leave.

Go see what the endless game of pretense and suppression will bestow.

Thanks for coming out and sharing your experiences in Amritapuri. I am glad
> you brought up the issue of deplorable working conditions in which Westerners and Indians are taking part of, as seva. For renunciates seva is not elective and for visitors it is strongly suggested.

> For most it is mundane and something like vegetable chopping or washing clothes (with a very nasty Indian detergent but probably no worse than the usual stuff found in the states), but for the Others it can be working in the cassette stall, or the printing press, or gluing newsletters. These sevas are very nasty and one must breathe very crude chemicals nonstop. Many are sick Western and Indian alike but as A mentioned it’s not just from the working conditions but also the tainted water supply.

The filtered water there is so bad it tastes way harsher than any tap water I have ever had the misfortune of tasting here in the US. The water is clearly rusty and filthy.

Of course, with everyone in that densely populated coconut jungle, burning their trash (consisting mostly of plastic) every morning as their means of disposal, one can't expect air quality to be much better. The food is laden in chemicals outlawed in the US and frequently one can find plumes of smoke coming from trucks which is DDT used to kill disease spreading mosquitoes.

The sugar used for chain (chai? –Corboy) and sweets is so coated with DDT the ants won’t even attempt to carry it off. The backwaters are
> frighteningly polluted with feces and all manner of abomination.

So, it is no wonder that many long term resident W Westerners with their 1st world immune systems are looking terrifyingly unhealthy. If they aren’t gaunt from self inflicted starvation they are obese with that nutritionally deficient food they must eat more and more of just to get a little nutritionist’s a toxic place no doubt, that epicenter Ammachi’s brand of spirituality. Ammachi doesn't limit her erbal abuse to hippies; she likes to make fun of obese people, Japanese, overly devotional and gays. These are just the things I have personally witnessed.

> I was involved with Ammachi for 7.5 years. I was probably around her
> physically for over half that total time. I was a college student when I met
> her. I was finding that science knew little about subtle energy and I thought Ammachi was a better teacher. I started realizing how confusing and misguided the organization was slowly and it built up more and more in the latter 4 years. I started seeing how Amma manipulates people, how greedy she is, how hypocritical, and how contradictory her teachings are. I was very involved, had given much mental energy, time and money so it was difficult to sever. But the truth weighed in and I couldn't stand to be in her presence eventually.

Options: ReplyQuote
Indias Superstition Industry
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 12, 2014 06:17AM

"Asaram Bapu’s alleged sexual assault on a young girl offers an opportunity to throw light on India’s superstition industry and lift the veil on the state-temple-corporate complex....

"Asaram’s arrest is not just a matter of one more godman’s personal failings.

"Rather, this episode dramatises the thin line between faith and blind faith, and the near complete merger of faith, politics and money in contemporary Indian society. "

Guest post: Meera Nanda on India's superstition industry ...Sep 29, 2013 ... By MEERA NANDA. At one level, the arrest of Asaram is a rather humdrum, same
-old story. One more godman has fallen from grace. So, what ... industry/ - 92k - Cached - Similar pages


Guest post: Meera Nanda on India’s superstition industry

by Ophelia Benson

First published in India’s Frontline magazine; reposted here by permission.

Asaram Bapu’s alleged sexual assault on a young girl offers an opportunity to throw light on India’s superstition industry and lift the veil on the state-temple-corporate complex. By MEERA NANDA

At one level, the arrest of Asaram is a rather humdrum, same-old story. One more godman has fallen from grace. So, what is new under the sun? Aren’t we used to discovering the clay feet of our sadhu sants? Perhaps George Orwell was on to something when he said that “saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent”, for no all-too-human godman can ever live up to the qualities of godliness. Perhaps the wise course to take is to reflect upon the tragedy of overweening human ambition of these fallen gurus and move on.

Yet, if one pauses to think about it, Asaram’s arrest is not just a matter of one more godman’s personal failings. Rather, this episode dramatises the thin line between faith and blind faith, and the near complete merger of faith, politics and money in contemporary Indian society.

Asaram’s alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl is proof—if more proof is needed—why Narendra Dabholkar’s struggle against superstitious beliefs and practices is indeed the need of the hour.

The young girl was brought to the guru for an exorcism, of all things. From the revelations that are trickling in, it appears that this girl and her parents were made to believe by Asaram’s associates that she had been possessed by evil spirits which the guru had the ability to drive out. This kind of andh shraddha, or blind faith, which our godmen so routinely encourage and exploit, is precisely what Dabholkar and his Maharashtra Andhshraddha Nirmulan Samiti were fighting against, a fight that cost him his life.

Asaram’s case is also proof—if more proof is needed—that a state-temple-corporate complex is always and everywhere at work in India. Most of the times, it lies hidden in plain sight: we are so used to the sight of our elected representatives and the pillars of civil society—from prominent scientists, business tycoons to Bollywood superstars—prostrating themselves before gods and godmen that we do not notice how smoothly faith, politics and money blend into one another. It is when the godmen behave badly (as in Asaram’s case), or when they fall foul of the powers-that-be (as happened to Baba Ramdev after his anti-corruption rally last year), that the veil is lifted. It is on occasions like these that we see what has been lying under our noses all along, namely, the state-temple-corporate complex.

Narendra Modi and other political leaders may want to distance themselves from the fallen godman for strategic reasons. But it is no secret that Asaram was treated as the de facto rajguru in Gujarat under both BJP
(Bharatiya Janata Party) and Congress governments.

(For citation concerning BJP see here- Corboy


Indeed, when you examine the record closely, it is clear that Asaram’s hugely profitable empire of ashrams, gurukuls and schools was built up with the largesse of land given by the state as grant (which he later expanded through encroachment) and as private donations from the wealthy Sindhi-Marwari community. His political connections created a protective shield around him, immunising him from many allegations of crimes (including murder of children) and misdemeanours. The godman could literally get away with murder.

Asaram, of course, is hardly alone in using his political clout to amass a fortune. Behind every successful godman in India today stands a cluster of powerful politicos with free access to the public assets and the machinery of the state. Once launched, the successful gurus build business empires, which attract other corporate interests, especially those with interests in the burgeoning market in education and tourism.

Under the neoliberal regime that India put in place to attract private capital, both global and indigenous, it has become easier than ever before to funnel public money and public assets into religion-cum-business empires. Often all that is needed is an authorisation for a change in land use (from agricultural to institutional or commercial) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) or the State legislature conferring the status of a “university” on a teaching shop set up by a guru’s trust under the pretext of imparting “value-based” education. The neoliberal mantra of public-private partnerships has benefited religious entrepreneurs as much as any other corporate interests. The difference is that the aura of holiness and the layers of shraddha and andh shraddha protect the former from any serious inquiry, let alone a challenge.

Until recently, State governments, especially in BJP-led States, were falling over each other to offer public land to Swami Ramdev to set up subsidiaries of Patanjali Yogpeeth, his flagship ashram-cum-ayurvedic hospital in Haridwar, Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand conferred the status of a “university” on Ramdev’s ashram and Haryana recognised the gurukul set up by the baba.

These are fee-charging, for-profit teaching shops, not charities, though perhaps they get tax-breaks as charities. Ramdev’s government-sponsored ayurvedic formulary has made millions selling drugs of dubious safety and efficacy, while Aastha, the TV channel he owns through his proxies, has raked in huge profits. In their take-off stage, these businesses were, in part, subsidised by wealthy donors in India and abroad. Once the physical assets are in place, subsidiary government agencies and corporate interests step in to develop infrastructure such as roads, hotels and resorts and run luxury buses.

This triangular relationship between the state, the peddlers of “ancient values” of Hindu sanskriti and private money has become the standard operating model adopted by nearly all brandname gurus. It makes no difference if the State in question is “secular”, as States ruled by the Congress and the various regional parties claim to be, or is allied with the Hindu nationalists.

Ashram on leased land

Take, for example, the case of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who has constructed the headquarters of his Art of Living (AOL) ashram on land leased to him for 99 years by the State of Karnataka.

The corporate support of AOL from Infosys and other Bangalore-based software companies is well known. But, wait, there is more: AOL got a land grant of 200 acres (one acre is 0.4 hectare) from the State of Odisha, where a new university offering “modern teaching with ancient values” started operations last year.

The same business model was adopted by Madhya Pradesh, which honoured its native son, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, with a land-grant university. (My book, The God Market, provides evidence of the extensive state involvement in these cases, as it does for Baba Ramdev as well. I have only gathered the publicly available evidence and connected the dots between the active partners involved—the gurus and their political and corporate backers.)

Such state subsidies to gurus are over and above the direct subsidies many State governments provide for paying the salaries of temple priests, covering the cost of temple renovation, conducting pujas on behalf of those who cannot afford them, and setting up Vedic pathshalas, where students learn karma kanda, or priest craft.

Perhaps the biggest indirect subsidy temples get from the state is through tourism. New “pilgrimage circuits” are created by States with grants from the Central government. Indeed, it is not uncommon for State tourism departments, in collusion with temple management committees, to invent prachin itithas (ancient history) for the temples they want to promote, to sponsor cultural traditions associated with religious festivals (the spate of state-sponsored Navratri and Makar Sankranti celebrations in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, for example) or to invent brand new traditions altogether (the golden cart processions in the Meenakshi temple in Madurai, the staging of the “celestial” lights in the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, for example).

The open diversion of public funds and assets into religious institutions of Hindus (and of minority faiths as well, depending upon political calculations) is bad enough.

But the damage the collusion of state and religions does to the cultural habitat of civil society cannot be measured in rupees alone. The state-temple-corporate complex is grounded in the shared belief in gods and a shared blind faith in gods’ sales representatives here on the earth.

Faith-based nexus
When our elected representatives, policymakers and state functionaries approach the religious establishment as devotees, rather than as officials of a secular state with a constitutional mandate to create a secular public culture, what we get is a culture seeped in a disregard for the law, and a culture that protects irrational beliefs from critical scrutiny.

Take the case of the senior police officer D.G. Vanzara, charged with staging fake encounters in Gujarat. One of such encounters took the life of Ishrat Jahan, 19, and three others. In a letter of resignation written from Sabarmati Central Prison where he is lodged, Vanzara declared Narendra Modi to be his “God” and none other than Asaram to be his “guru”. It appears that his resignation was provoked by the fact that his “God” failed to protect his “guru”. The close entanglement of a law enforcement officer with the Hindu nationalist agenda of Modi on the one hand and with the godman on the other is obvious. The irony is that the “spirituality” he got from his guru was uncontaminated by any ethical considerations against killing innocents in fake encounters.

It is indeed sobering to think how many Vanzara-type law enforcers are out there who revere Asaram-type gurus who openly prey upon their devotees. As long as this faith-based nexus is in place, what hope can one reasonably have that lawbreakers will be punished and justice will be done, at least in those cases where the godmen themselves are implicated in the crimes being investigated?

Even more damaging is the state protection that irrational beliefs and damaging religious practices get when the powers that be approach religious authorities on bent knees and with folded hands. A case in point is Lalu Prasad’s recent visit to the ashram of the ‘tantric’ Vibhuti Narayan aka Pagla Baba in Uttar Pradesh’s Mirzapur district, where he conducted a fairly elaborate prayer.

It is well known that many of the tantric beliefs involve paranormal and occult powers for which there is no scientific evidence whatsoever. Indeed, the bhuta pretas that Asaram was promising to exorcise from the young girl he is alleged to have raped are very much a part of the tantric belief system. So ask yourself this question: will Lalu Prasad use his political clout to promote his “god” or will he promote values of critical thinking which question the existence of bhuta preta? We all know the answer.

A law against superstition?

What is to be done? Can a law against superstition—the kind that Dabholkar and his associates fought so long and hard for—help? Could such a law have prevented the latest horror story that is reported to have taken place in Asaram’s ashram?

Crimes like rape and murder, of course, do not need any new laws. They only require a more stringent and thorough prosecution of the alleged criminals without the fear of god-like powers of either the godmen or their political godfathers.

But what if there were to be a law that prevents any public discourses, advertisements and/or demonstrations by anyone, regardless of which faith or tradition he/she belonged to, about their ability to expel evil spirits, or to bring about miracles that defy all the known laws of physics and biology, or to provide cures for diseases with no known cures as yet?

Imagine also that such a law were enacted at the national level, with each State mandated to put it into practice. Let us also imagine—highly improbable though it is—that this law is applied stringently and with no fear or favour.

(Our hypothetical law is modelled after the law that had been pending in the Maharashtra State legislature for many years, and was passed as an ordinance following the murder of Dabholkar.)

Could such a law have prevented the rape and other crimes that allegedly happened in Asaram’s ashram?

The answer has to be a qualified “yes”. Such a law could have prevented someone like Asaram from claiming god-like abilities in the first place. It would not, of course, make crimes disappear, as most rapes and murders do not require the cover of faith. But such a law would make it harder for faith to provide cover for crimes, frauds and other misdemeanours.

Even more important, such a law can prevent the corruption of the public discourse that goes on day and night when alleged godmen instil blind faith in occult powers and phenomena that are entirely without any basis in the facts of nature as we know them.

Will such a law deprive people of their constitutional right to freely practice the faith of their choice, as the civil libertarians fear? Is a law against superstition really a law against religion itself, as the conservative forces aligned against Dabholkar’s initiative have asserted?

The right to believe and practise one’s faith is a precious right that must not be infringed upon. On that there is no debate whatsoever. But the question really is this: does the freedom of religion include the freedom to profess, encourage and profit from superstition? Where does religion end and superstition begin? Or, are the conservative critics of an anti-superstition Bill right in assuming that religion cannot exist without superstition?

Those who fear that such a law will deprive Indian citizens of their freedom of conscience and free profession and practice of religion ought to read the Constitution carefully.

Freedom of religion in the Constitution is subordinate to the Fundamental Rights of citizens. That means the state reserves the right to regulate or restrict any “economic, financial, political or other secular activity that may be associated with religious practice” if that activity can be shown to contradict “the norms of public order, morality, health and other provisions of this Part” (“this Part” refers to Part III of the Constitution which enumerates the Fundamental Rights of citizens).

One would think that curing someone of mental stress falsely attributed to possession by evil spirits, as Asaram was claiming to do, legitimately constitutes a “secular activity associated with religious practice”. There is no reason why the state cannot regulate it in the interest of protecting people’s fundamental interests in life and liberty.

Under the Constitution, the Indian state not only has the authority, but is in fact duty-bound, to curb those secular activities associated with religious practices that it deems contrary to the other fundamental rights of the citizens. Cultivation of a scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform is indeed one of the Fundamental Duties of every citizen of India, as enshrined in Article 51A (h) of the Constitution inserted by the Constitution 42nd Amendment during the Emergency in 1977. The Supreme Court has, in a few cases, accepted the principle that as these duties are obligatory on citizens, the State should also observe them.

Those who find the prospect of such regulation an unbearable restriction on their faith have some soul-searching to do. Is their faith so fragile that it stands or falls with irrational, superstitious and harmful practices? Is it not the duty of those who claim to uphold the faith to see to it that their faith tradition cleanses itself of outmoded beliefs and irrational ways of knowing?

All said and done, there is nothing more important than to carry on with the struggle against blind faith that Dabholkar gave his life for. Commitment to a scientific temper and critical thinking is the only weapon we have against the peddlers of blind faith and their political enablers.

Meera Nanda specialises in the history of modern science. Her most recent book is The God Market: How Globalization is Making India more Hindu, published by Random House in India (2009), Monthly Review Press in the United States (2011).

Share this:

Press This



This post has no tag

Skip to comment form ?

Al Dente
September 29, 2013 at 2:16 pm (UTC -8) Link to this comment

Or, are the conservative critics of an anti-superstition Bill right in assuming that religion cannot exist without superstition?

I think so.

September 29, 2013 at 6:28 pm (UTC -8) Link to this comment

Ms. Nanda is doing valuable work in opposing superstition, which is surely inseparable from so-called “religion”. If anything, I find her approach rather half-hearted, though perhaps it is tactically apposite.

But this is not the whole story: most people never encounter, or at least never recognise, religion. The “religion” sold by politicians, pundits, priests and other conmen is simply exploitation; I refer to all of it, every variety, without exception. Humans are prone to numerous cognitive biases, and these buttons are easily pressed by the godmen.

And yet there are people engaged in an endeavour, you can call it a research project in subjective science, which is quite different. Historically this religion has been easier to find in India than elsewhere, though it has always been far less common than the bogus kind. It appeals to very few, and is entirely useless for manipulating people. Even more remarkably, there are some who complete the project, and these it is that the godmen ape.

September 30, 2013 at 9:41 am (UTC -8) Link to this comment


September 30, 2013 at 12:58 pm (UTC -8) Link to this comment

This is excellent, and as always easy to spot the very same things happening here, with bogus “psychics” claiming to help the police find missing persons, or claiming they can tell your lovelife over the phone (forjust$12forthefirstminuteand$6.99foreveryminuteaftermustbeover21offernotvoidinRhodeIslandorPuertoRico), and so on. And faith-healing ministries, and spirit mediums who talk to the dead (Lilydale New York I’m looking at you here), plus all the other variations thereon that have been brought here by every generation of immigrants from every country in the world (since the Bering Land Bridge if that’s still the theory). And Pat Robertson promising to pray his shrivelled, charred heart out for you if you’ll just send him your life savings, and he really promises he won’t spend it on any more silly old helicopters to any silly old diamond mines this time, and those were just rumours anyway, started by Satan, which weren’t true at all.

And yes, they find ways to kill people, through brutal exorcisms of demons that don’t exist, and starvation, and refusing treatment for diseases because ‘if god wants her to live then she’ll live’, and the kid gets to die because their parents are deluded jackasses.

I wonder how an anti-superstition law would work once passed? If I’m understanding right, the state where Dabholkar’s legislation was being considered passed it, yes? I wonder how the enforcement is going? With chronically underpaid police officers, as I’ve read is often the case in many Indian states, how effective will they be in being part of stamping out something they probably grew up with themselves, mostly, and which likely their families are still involved in, if they aren’t themselves.

It sounds like a bit mountain to climb. If it works, and I hope it does, we should be sending people over there to find out how to make it happen here in Canada too.

December 30, 2013 at 6:32 am (UTC -8) Link to this comment

I saw and read abt Anniliese Michel , such a sweet and good girl, was said to be possessed by demons n in sequence of exorcisms died :( , even mother teresa was said to b exorcised in her last days, nw ppl u see, why will demon attack such good ppl , hitler or osama or mahmud ghazni (who destroyed somnath several times) nvr were possessed by demons, but such good souls like teresa were, why? Jus because they had a bit less willpower and boldness, nothing else!!! Priests said that Aniliese died for sins of other souls, such fools they r! I only believe in Vedas n dat too not blindly, everyone is responsible for their own conditions n one nvr suffers due to sins of other! These ppl must b hangd , seriously, they r kind of terrorists who spread terror among ppl, play with their minds and even cause deaths

Leave a Reply Cancel reply


About the Author

Ophelia Benson is a columnist for Free Inquiry and the co-author of The Dictionary of Fashionable Nonsense, Why Truth Matters, and Does God Hate Women?

Options: ReplyQuote
Penguin Books India Capitulates 2Hindu Fundo Bigots
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 21, 2014 07:22AM

Penguin Books India recently decided to recall and pulp all copies of Professor Wendy Doninger's “The Hindus: An Alternative History” in the face of legal action.

Author Resigned to Ill Fate of Book in India



After Penguin Books India recently decided to recall and pulp all copies of “The Hindus: An Alternative History” in the face of legal action, the book’s author, Wendy Doniger, was not surprised.

I kept hoping we might win the lawsuit, but it was looking bad,” she said on Friday.

Ms. Doniger, a professor of the history of religions at the University of Chicago, expected the book to meet trouble in India. For the edition published there in 2010, she said, she and her editors worked “to take out things we thought might be particularly offensive to Hindus, to not thumb our nose at them.” The changes to the book, which came out in the United States in 2009, weren’t substantive, she said in an interview, “but we changed some of the wording and softened some things that would be like waving a red flag in front of a bull.”

Indian Publisher Withdraws Book, Stoking Fears of Nationalist PressureFEB. 13, 2014

Penguin’s decision settled a case involving Section 295a of the Indian penal code, which outlaws acts “intended to outrage religious feelings.” The withdrawal of Ms. Doniger’s work comes against the backdrop of the looming general elections, in which the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., is expected to win significant gains over the Congress party.

Wendy Doniger said she wrote about how “Hinduism has dealt with pluralism.”

Ms. Doniger noted that she wasn’t the only author to face scrutiny by Hindu fundamentalist groups. But “right now people are really worried about what’s happening in India,” she said, and that has spurred “this tremendous outpouring of indignation” about the fate of her book.

In “The Hindus,” Ms. Doniger wanted “to tell a story of Hinduism that’s been suppressed and was increasingly hard to find in the media and textbooks,” she said. “It’s not about philosophy, it’s not about meditation, it’s about stories, about animals and untouchables and women. It’s the way that Hinduism has dealt with pluralism.”

The novelist Hari Kunzru said in an email interview that Ms. Doniger’s work “emphasizes that Hinduism has never existed as a single pure orthodoxy.” Instead, he said, Ms. Doniger shows how “it emerges from many linked traditions and folk practices.”

Ms. Doniger said of her source material, “I didn’t make this stuff up,” adding, “The stories are very human, and the gods are very interesting, because they have emotions, and they get in trouble and commit adultery.”

Mr. Kunzru said Ms. Doniger’s opponents were “particularly exercised by her wish to reinstate sexuality at the center of Hinduism.” The original legal complaint, filed by Dinanath Batra of the group Shiksha Bachao Andolan, described a “hidden agenda to denigrate Hindus and show their religion in poor light” and called Ms. Doniger’s approach to Hinduism “that of a woman hungry of sex.”

(Corboy--what about the vile men and boys who make the lives of women and girls in India a living hell of rape and harassment? Let Mr Batra and SBA take some interest in males who are hungry for sex, eh)

One example of the material for which Ms. Doniger has come under fire is her writing about the Shiva linga, a large stone image that appears in many Shiva temples and is worshiped with offerings of water and flowers. Ms. Doniger approaches the linga as an abstract symbol and as the sexual organ of the god Shiva. (As she writes in “The Hindus,”sometimes a linga is just a linga — or, more often, both a linga and a cigar.”) She compared its dual meaning to that of the cross in Christianity: “To say that the Shiva linga has nothing to do with the body of Shiva is the same as saying the cross has nothing to do with the passion of Christ, it only means God and love.

Mr. Kunzru, who faced legal action after reading excerpts from Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” at the Jaipur Literature Festival in January 2012, said he saw the fate of Ms. Doniger’s book in light of more than two decades of trouble for artistic expression in India, from the banning of Mr. Rushdie’s novel in 1988 to a controversy in 2011 over a biography of Gandhi by Joseph Lelyveld, a former executive editor of The New York Times. Mr. Kunzru said he did worry that if Narendra Modi, the B.J.P. candidate for prime minister, is elected in May, extremists would “feel empowered to attack” writers, artists and scholars.

It’s very easy to claim offense and very hard to prove that someone else wasn’t offended,” he said. “There’s a competitive market for offense in India. Religious and political groups want to show they’re serious about defending their sectional interests, and the law makes it easy for people to grandstand, particularly at election time.”

In the wake of Penguin’s decision, authors including Arundhati Roy publicly criticized the publisher. Ms. Doniger expressed frustration with Penguin’s parent company, Bertelsmann, but stands by her publisher. “I’m so sorry that a great deal of the anger that this has happened has been directed against Penguin India,” she said. “They took the book on in the first place, and four years ago, there had already been demonstrations in New York, when I was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award.”

Last week, the circle released a statement expressing its “concern and disappointment” over the “deplorable” decision to take “The Hindus” out of the market.

Asked if she could sympathize at all with those offended by her work, Ms. Doniger said: “In general, I don’t like people saying nasty things about other people’s religion, but this is something else. This is fundamentalism, which says that parts of its own religion are bad. In a sense, I’m defending their religion, and they’re attacking it.”

Ms. Doniger said she had no plans officially to protest the decision in India. She expressed gratitude for the “good run” the book had there. Its fortunes in the United States have been bolstered by the recent controversy, which sent the book shooting toward the top of Amazon’s best-seller ranks.

Ms. Doniger’s latest book, “On Hinduism,” a collection of essays, is in its second printing in India and will be published in the United States in March by Oxford University Press. She is also the editor of a forthcoming Norton anthology of primary Hindu writings, due out in November, and for which she’s “anticipating trouble.”

It’s not me, I’m collecting these texts,” she said. “It’s the texts these people won’t like. I’ve made a point of putting in a lot of them, so people will see Hinduism is both the thing Batra and company say it is and what I say it is.”

A version of this article appears in print on February 17, 2014, on page C1 of the New York edition with the headline: Author Resigned to Ill Fate of Book. Order Reprints|Today's Paper|Subscribe

Corboy note: In his biography, The Ochre Robe, published in the 1970s, Agehananda Bharati, who was a monastic in India in the 1950s, tells how he discovered that Hinduism had been distorted via a process of modern puritanism-- a stance not ancient at all, but which began in the 19th century when Indian reformers, anxious to get a good opinion from the West and to fend off sex negative christian missionaries, sought to make Hindu culture clean and modern and intellectually respectable by making it seem a systematic dognma and by suppressing its erotic frankness--in both visual arts, literature and ritual.

Doninger is facing the same obstacles encountered by Bharati, but now made more virulent by generations of fundamentalism-- which is endangering civil and secular discourse in India.

Options: ReplyQuote
Marriage hazards in other cultures - women travelers beware
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 21, 2014 11:17PM

Options: ReplyQuote
Beggars and scams centuries before Colonialism
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 07, 2014 12:42AM

Grifter strategies are ancient. This isnt caused by some special condition in the “mysterious East.”

What happens when you have a few who are obscenely wealthy and large numbers who are ambitious intelligent but barred by caste and inferior tribal status - and have very little to occupy their time and their talents?

Grifting and scamming.

CE Bosworth and others have found and translated old texts from medieval times describing a myriad of con
artists and scams perpetrated in the great urban centers of the Islamic golden age.

These beggars, criminals and scam artists were at work centuries before European Colonialism came on the

I first learned of via reading Kevin Rusby's Children of Kali. Rushby describing grifter techniques in India, points out that these are ancient and refers readers to CE Bosworth who translated old texts describing tricks used by cons and scam artists in the medieval Islamic world--especially the big cities

Here is a page from Rusby in which he references Bosworth’s descriptions of these scam tricks practiced during Islam’s golden age.

Warning: these are painful to read.

Children of Kali: Through India in Search of Bandits, the Thug ...... India in Search of Bandits, the Thug Cult, and the British Raj Kevin Rushby ...
beggars who could swallow the tongue and then feign miraculous re-growth, ...

Ingenious grifter strategies are created in India. One of Rushby's informants told him that India is a land of thwarted geniuses. Legions of brilliant and ambitious people are locked into the caste system. They cannot advance using their talents.

So they apply their talent to creating brilliant complex rip offs. Rushbys informant told how he discovered that shoe shine boys in Delhi had perfected a method to shoot hunks of wet shit onto people's shoes. Then an accomplice would appear, offering to clean the person's fouled footwear!

Here is the citation.


India has enough thar that people are locked into their social slots. Talent has no dignified legit outlet if youlose out in the caste lottery.

Note the description given below of the story tellers who could give tales from both Sunni and Shia sects, and all other known religions of the time and who had accomplices in the crowds to oh and ah.

Same technique as today. Tell stories that match your audience's desire and have 'plants' or 'shills' in the audience to model emotions and responses you desire from your audience.

You can bet that if these scams were known in the medieval Islamic world, these would have become known in Indian cities, too. This was portable knowledge.

This excerpted text is from an article printed in Smithsonian magazine.

What is described matches closely to methods used in India and Asia by
charlatan gurus and sadhus and in the West by profiteering human potential
types -- tell stories that match what your audience longs for and
already believes in.

Put accomplices 'shills' 'plants' in the audience to laugh and weep
and thus cue and model the emotions and responses desired from your audience.

And this was going on in the Middle ages, long, long before European colonialism.

Islam’s Medieval Underworld


In the medieval period, the Middle East was home to many of the world's wealthiest cities—and to a large proportion of its most desperate criminals

By Mike Dash July 22, 2013

Urban centers in the Middle East were of a size and wealth all but unknown in the Christian west during this period, encouraging the development of a large and diverse fraternity of criminals.

Who were they, then, these criminals of Islam’s golden age?

The majority, Bosworth says, seem to have been tricksters of one sort or another,
who used the Islamic religion as a cloak for their predatory ways, well aware that the purse-strings of the faithful could easily be loosed by the eloquence of the man who claims to be an ascetic or or mystic, or a worker of miracles and wonders, to be selling relics of the Muslim martyrs and holy men, or to have undergone a spectacular conversion from the purblindness of Christianity or Judaism to the clear light of the faith of Muhammad.

**(Corboy Similar to how today’s charlatans tell unverifiable tales of their own conversion and redemption. Repeat, this was going on centuries before European and American colonialism.)

Ibn Abbad, a minor Persian vizier of the 10th century, was patron to Abu Dulaf, a poet who earned his place at court by telling ribald stories of Islam’s medieval underworld.

Amira Bennison identifies several adaptable rogues of this type, who could “tell Christian, Jewish or Muslim tales depending on their audience, often aided by an assistant in the audience who would ‘oh’ and ‘ah’ at the right moments and collect contributions in return for a share of the profits,” and who thought nothing of singing the praises of both Ali and Abu Bakr—men whose memories were sacred to the Shia and the Sunni sects, respectively.

Some members of this group would eventually adopt more legitimate professions—representatives of the Banu Sasan were among the first and greatest promoters of printing in the Islamic world—but for most, their way of life was something they took pride in. One of the best-known examples of the maqamat (popular) literature that flourished from around 900 tells the tale of Abu Dulaf al-Khazraji, the self-proclaimed king of vagabonds, who secured a tenuous position among the entourage of a 10th-century vizier of Isfahan, Ibn Abbad, by telling sordid, titillating, tales of the underworld.

“I am of the company of beggar lords,” Abu Dulaf boasts in one account,
the cofraternity of the outstanding ones, One of the Banu Sasan…

“And the sweetest way of life we have experienced is one spent in sexual indulgence and wine drinking. …

“For we are the lads, the only lads who really matter, on land and sea.

In this sense, of course, the Banu Sasan were merely the Middle Eastern equivalents of rogues who have always existed in every culture and under the banner of every religion; Christian Europe had equivalents enough, as Chaucer’s Pardoner can testify(unquote)

These are what we see when legions of talented and ambitious persons are denied outlets and employment for their talent due to being born into inferior social caste structures. Or have lost caste and have no way to regain respect. These easy to fail societies were ancient and existed before colonialism.

Some are born into wealth and social advantage but may be younger sons of younger brothers who are denied full share of what they see to be their lawful due. (Note Osama bin Ladin. He had a fortune worth many millions of dollars, but was rumored to have an inferior position in his clan. Envy)

And then there is that perennial minority in every society who are born to advantage but prefer to operate outside of the establishment. They will always be with us. Guilt tripping us if we let them get away with it.

Those of us who are born into open societies where plenty of outlets are available for ambitious people cannot easily comprhehend the predicament of persons born into societies in which society is hierarchically organized according to caste, tribe, ancestery and where persons who are talented, ambitious but low caste have no dignified way to obtain education, support and outlets for their talent.

Options: ReplyQuote
Before going to India or a guru, read this
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 10, 2014 04:34AM

Gail Tredwell, a former close assistant to Amma the hugging guru, has an expose blog and wrote a memoir.

Here is one comment.



sridharFebruary 22, 2014, 5:51 am

Gail Madam., Are we not confusing spirituality with morality? While i do not condone shady deals., are they not present in human mind only to resurface in this eternal drama of creation., embedded in souls? Morality really helps in having a clear conscience., to introspect., but i am afraid about spirituality connection to it.. namaste.

This reveals the staggering chasm between the mindset which equates spirituality and morality and the mindset which sees spirituality and morality as different.

And...if you doubt this is normative for much of Hinduism, take a look at the Bhagavad Gita.

The BG is inserted into the midst of the Mahabharata, a much longer epic poem. Arjuna has repeatedly displayed his wisdom, his loyalty and his courage throughout the poem.

Now as the Bhagavad Gita begins, Arjuna, whose courage , is unwilling to kill his own clan in battle and with it, destroy its history and traditions.

The entity Krishna, accuses Arjuna of being a coward -- which ignores Arjunas many displays of bravery earlier documented.

He tricks and cons Arjuna to see his compassion as weakness, then sells Arjuna on the vicious argument that all thats needed is to trust in Krisna, give him total surrender in Bhakti devotion, remember that life and death are illusions, and do his duty as a warrior and be untroubled about the deaths of his clan.

This text, which does treat devotion/spirituality as distinct from conventional morality is considered 'holy'.

But takes the unwary Western aspirant into a moral desert.

Behind the gold brocades, sandalwood incense, sweet music..BEWARE

The BG is also a defense of that other curse of India -- the caste system.

Options: ReplyQuote
Reported scam in Dharamsala - sponsoring child monk?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 22, 2014 08:49PM

Corboy note to visitors to Dharamsala: See about reputable projects serving Indians in that area. Such huge sums of money and vast amounts of media attention go to the photogenic Tibetans that local Indian citizens in need of
job development and microloans are put in the role of Cinderella doing the housework while the glamourous sisters swan around.

> A commenter following this article wrote
> Another scam involving Tibetans cheating
> foreigners that came out before us by chance was
> – A German lady was made a guardian of a Tibetan
> monk (around 6 years of age) in the monastery and
> she was told to deposit USD 1500 (Approx.Rs.75000)
> towards annual maintainance and to further keep
> paying USD 1500 per annum (Even Private Paying
> Guest Facilities/Hostels in India dont charge that
> much).

She was told to visit the child every year
> on his birthday. Birthday was celebrated and she
> left. After a month or so, the same child was
> again celebrating birthday with another foreigner
> couple, who was again made a guardian of the same
> child.
> After so much we Indians have done about the
> Tibetans, just take a look at what we get back
> []

> All in all, the Tibetans are very cleverly
> diverting Foreigner Tourists to their own temples
> and monastries and where they are fleeced of their
> travel budget. This not only creates a bad
> impression of India amongst the Foreigners but we
> even lose out on the Tourism Income.
> Its high time the West knows the real face of the
> Tibetans and stop believing them.
> Full text of article here:
> Save Tibet: Real or One of the Best Scams in
> History?
> by Chris Chopp
> Safe Tibet? Really, enough already. When I first
> began traveling in India a few years ago you
> couldn’t help but see Free Tibet signs here and
> there. When I returned to North India in 2009,
> around the time of the 50th year of the Free Tibet
> movement, the amount of signs and posters
> assaulting the eyes was overwhelming. But I also
> started seeing signs for Free Palestine! Where
> does it end?
> This got me thinking then and still yet today; how
> many foreigners take the time to perform due
> diligence in regards to Save Tibet? How many
> travelers ask questions about the “facts” they
> are accosted with when traveling in popular
> tourist towns like Dharamsala or Mcleodganj?
> I understand the meaning behind the Save Tibet
> movement. I even agree that what occurred with
> Tibet at the hands of the Chinese government was
> not fair. So I did some digging around, asking
> local Himachalis what they knew about the Save
> Tibet efforts. The results were rather startling.
> Here are the facts that the “enlightened”
> wannabe hippies who flock to Mcleodganj and jump
> onto the Save Tibet cause either don’t seem to
> seek out, forget, justify, or flat out ignore:

> ?India government granted asylum to Tibetan
> refugees

> ?India government provided free land for Tibetan
> refugees

> ?India government allowed Tibet to set up their
> government inside the borders of India
> ?Tibetans are some of the wealthiest residents in
> India, thanks to the free land granted by India,
> by becoming growers of Himachal apples.
> ?Save Tibet NGO’s (charities) are big
> businesses for many Tibetans. Often these
> storefront NGO’s do not properly register with
> the government of India, thus operating illegally.
> Photos and forged documents are shown to
> perspective donors highlighting the benefits of
> the fake Save Tibet programs. The reality in these
> scenarios is that there are no programs, the money
> goes directly into pockets of the Tibetan NGO
> operators.
> ?Tibetan Monks walk around with new sneakers and
> iPhones, eat in local restaurants from budget to
> high-end, own cars (which most Indians can’t
> afford), and openly engage in rampant sexual
> relations with foreign tourists. Tibetans would
> still have you believe they are a suppressed and
> enlightened population?
> ?Monies received from fake Save Tibet NGO’s,
> real NGO’s, apple farming on the free land India
> provided, plus countless items sold to
> unsuspecting tourists such as hats, wallets,
> keychains, jackets, T-shirts, etc. emblazoned with
> FREE TIBET, end up in the form of luxury homes,
> vehicles, accessories and other objects that go
> along with a lifestyle inconsistent of a
> struggling refugee.
> I applaud Tibetans using India’s capitalistic
> society to make the most from their humble
> beginnings. Running restaurants, being merchants
> selling Tibetan items to tourists, farming and
> running other businesses is upstanding.
> My issue is many Tibetans have marketed a real
> issue (Save Tibet) through the years into a big
> money making machine for themselves. This process
> has turned into nothing more than exploitation of
> their own people, an issue in which they are
> supposedly trying to prevent China from doing.
> Also disconcerting is the amount of waste produced
> by the visiting Dalai Lama. Followers line the
> road holding incense sticks, white scarves
> purchased that day from local vendors and other
> nonsense items in hopes of gifting them to the
> Dalai Lama by some odd chance encounter. Indian
> military personnel are brought it as streets are
> cleaned and adorned with freshly drawn Buddhist
> symbols.
> Comparatively speaking there is a tremendous
> amount of waste when the US President visits any
> location.
> People are so consumed with the movement that they
> don’t even question the realities. Excessive
> purchasing of items which will be disposed of into
> non-existent landfills for a leader with no real
> power does not Save Tibet or free it from the
> grasp of China. It continues to siphon money from
> one demographic (the weak and foolhardy) into
> another (wealthy Tibetans).
> When the Save Tibet cause produces signs marking
> 50 years of exile, 50 years of uprising, 50 years
> of fighting as if it was the 50th annual Oscars
> broadcast, your movement is no longer a
> cause…it’s a business
> Comments
> ngawang
> on Sep 10, 2010
> at 1:48 pm
> I dont agree wit wat it has written on this page,
> this is written by some one who dosent like
> tibetan people at all,
> Chris(author of and owner of Full Stop India blog)
> on Sep 11, 2010
> at 4:26 pm
> Understandably there are some points in the post
> that are rather direct, yet passing along
> information to help inform tourists is not a bias
> against an entire race. I appreciate you reading
> and commenting and I am open to discussing this
> topic further.
> Ngawang on Sep 12, 2010 at 3:14 am
> thanks for ur respond,
> why i wrote this comment is that you have written
> so many misunderstanding things about tibetans in
> india, like tibetans people receiving money from
> NGO office. And lot of other bad things about
> tibetans and monks , as i m a tibetans, and i have
> never received any moneyfrom NGO. For ur kind
> information .
> i work very very hard for my living, so does our
> tibetans brother and sisters, and i love tibet as
> much as i love myself, if i have to i will die for
> free tibet, next time if you come to Dharamsala do
> try to spend times with tibetans people, then
> write wat you think about tibetans, not just
> listening to other people opinion about tibetans.
> you have never know how we went through past 50
> years, just try to read more about tibet,
> Chris on Sep 15, 2010 at 12:41 pm
> There are no misunderstandings, but rather, these
> are facts that I presented. Nowhere in the post
> did I claim that this applies to ALL Tibetans. I
> have spent time with Tibetans in Mcleodganj, but
> frankly, that is not the best representation of
> the hard working brothers and sisters you speak
> of. Mcleodganj is a tourist trap, a lovely place
> to visit, but a trap that feeds off the young and
> misguided foreign youths that believe they can
> change the world by blindly donating their
> parent’s money to unvetted organizations.
> You have taken this post very much out of context
> and responded with only emotionally based attacks,
> not facts. I’m afraid you are so passionate
> about your heritage and blinded by the Free Tibet
> movement, that you may be unwilling to research
> the realities of where the funding has come from
> to keep the “fight” alive. While I appreciate
> your comments and a healthy debate, this is a site
> for travelers to simply research and choose where
> to go, what to do and what to be mindful of. Full
> Stop India is not for political debate.
> Prithi on Sep 23, 2010 at 4:53 am
> That’s what Buddhism teaches to all of us.
> Definitely there are some black sheep and Ngawang
> you should admit it.
> I’m a Himachali and currently living in Delhi.
> I’ve seen Tibetan people of both states, and
> trust me no community is as hard-working as these
> people are.
> But for black sheep, go for shopping to Tibetan
> market near Kashemere Gate in Delhi, and you will
> know what I am talking about. They sell garments
> for double the price, and after bargaining you can
> buy a T-shirt of Rs 500 at Rs 200 easily.
> Chris! you also exaggerated some points. Offering
> incense sticks and khatag (white scarves)to HH
> Dalai Lama is a very religious custom and a show
> of gratitude of his efforts for well being of
> Tibetan people.
> Chris on Sep 23, 2010 at 9:11 am
> Prithi,
> Tibetans are hard working people, just as Indians
> are. The post in question was not meant as a
> generalized lumping of an entire race but rather a
> heads up to unsuspecting tourists regarding a well
> known inside scheme to fleece traveler’s
> pockets. Just as in the USA, we have pockets of
> the population running ponzi scams and insurance
> fraud. Heck, just think about the hot issue of
> illegal immigrants using tax payer based programs.
> There are exceptions to the rule in every category
> which you have brought up as well as Ngawang. The
> facts still remain that many Tibetans have made a
> very nice living from the help of the Indian
> government as well as generous support from
> foreign tourists.
> Regarding the offerings to the Dalai Lama: I
> understand the cultural significance. The mention
> in the post was a simple commentary on how
> wasteful this process is. Much like organized
> religions around the world, the poorest people are
> often the most adamant supporters of customs
> requiring them to purchase offerings or
> traditional signs of solidarity. There are cracks
> within the world of the Dalai Lama which the world
> is beginning to read and hear.
> My post is out there to make people at least stop
> and think before blindly supporting those who
> profit from misery. Thanks for reading and
> commenting!
> prithi on Sep 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm
> I totally agree with you Chris. I was trying to
> pacify Ngawang, so that he shouldn’t think that
> your post will have negative impact on foreign
> tourists.
> (Corboy deleted one post because Corboy deemed
> language a violation of's terms of use.
> Original can be read here.
> []
> .
> Tenzin on Feb 06, 2012 at 12:19 pm
> Chris is not a American guy. For sure he must b
> Shugden party or may b chinese. Who try to create
> us a problem. Get a life man..and die yourself.
> Chris Chopp on Feb 06, 2012 at 12:30 pm
> Actually Tenzin, I am a born and raised US
> citizen. I can understand we may not agree on this
> subject, however, there are better, more
> articulate ways of expressing your opinion.
> Wishing for my premature death is not how you
> invoke thoughtful debate, nor gain sympathy for
> your plight.
> I do thank you for reading Full Stop India.
> Sandip on May 12, 2012 at 1:54 am
> Hi Chris, I totally agree with your article. We
> have been living just next to a main Tibetan
> monastery in Uttarakhand for last 20 years and
> have seen the Tibetans quiet closely. They travel
> in swanky cars (even Audis and BMWs) their
> Religious heads have leather sofas costing more
> than USD 20,000 (Rs.10 Lakhs!!!) in their lavish
> bungalows spread across acres of free land given
> by Indian government.
> The Tibetan refugees community does not seem to
> be poor at all by any means. Just have a look at
> the number of Cars and Swanky bikes outside their
> temples/monastries on a day some function is
> organised. While most Indians cannot afford taxis
> for local travel, Tibetans cannot do without it.
> We had a talk with several Tibetan lamas and
> individuals and they say that they are unlikely to
> go back to Tibet because India for them is just
> like USA or Canada is for Indians. Tibet is very
> cold and we have to work there but here we enjoy
> good weather as well as we dont have to work. FREE
> TIBET is just a gimmick for them to gain foreign
> support and donations.
> Another scam involving Tibetans cheating
> foreigners that came out before us by chance was
> – A German lady was made a guardian of a Tibetan
> monk (around 6 years of age) in the monastery and
> she was told to deposit USD 1500 (Approx.Rs.75000)
> towards annual maintainance and to further keep
> paying USD 1500 per annum (Even Private Paying
> Guest Facilities/Hostels in India dont charge that
> much). She was told to visit the child every year
> on his birthday. Birthday was celebrated and she
> left. After a month or so, the same child was
> again celebrating birthday with another foreigner
> couple, who was again made a guardian of the same
> child.
> After so much we Indians have done about the
> Tibetans, just take a look at what we get back
> []
> All in all, the Tibetans are very cleverly
> diverting Foreigner Tourists to their own temples
> and monastries and where they are fleeced of their
> travel budget. This not only creates a bad
> impression of India amongst the Foreigners but we
> even lose out on the Tourism Income.
> Its high time the West knows the real face of the
> Tibetans and stop believing them.
> Stephen on Jul 17, 2012 at 7:40 am
> Thank you for writing an objective article that
> ventilates what unfortunately has become dogma:
> the ‘free-Tibet’ movement disallows anyone
> from viewing things in an objective way.
> The free Tibet ‘charities’ need a thorough
> shake. Since subscribing to some I have been
> bombarded with incessant requests for
> ‘donations’ and offers to buy ‘genuine’
> Tibetan products marked up at steep westner
> prices. Nowhere do I find how much of this money
> is going back to the refugees.
> The movement has become sanctimonious, and
> ‘holier than thou.’ This precludes it from the
> normal level of skepticism we would normally
> direct at such movements to ascertain how
> self-serving they actually are.
> So frankly I posit the free-Tibet movement has
> been hijacked by a shower of cliqueish
> self-serving middle class hippies who espouse this
> movement to get personal kudos and to fill their
> genuine, made in the Himalayan hills money belts.
> mandeep on Aug 21, 2013 at 5:08 am
> these tibetians living in india are rich guys. the
> poor ones are still slogging in tibet and daily
> burning themselves. there is a scam in which there
> tibetian head (i fogot his name) had bought lands
> illegaly in himachal pradesh and the govenment has
> found sources of undefined wealth. I dont
> understand why these thick-heads were assigned
> asylum and due to these people, india was pulled
> into war in 1962 with china.
> Jakob on Sep 07, 2013 at 6:47 am
> All other generalizations aside, everyone knows
> India is full of scammers on every level. Don’t
> go there to save the world. To paraphrase,
> somewhat freely, a decades old hollywood
> blockbuster: ‘Do not try and save the world. It
> is impossible. Instead, try and realize there is
> no world, and you will see it is only yourself
> that you are saving’. Ahem.
> Anyway, give the guy, Chris, some credit for the
> enormous work he is doing, collecting and
> organizing all this info. Forgive him if he has an
> opinion and feels compelled to warn or advise
> based on that opinion. And give the Tibetan cause
> for independence the respect you think it
> warrants. I personally think the culture is
> safeguarding the world’s spiritual heritage and
> that it may be in danger from chinese oppression.
> Give them the faith they need to retain their
> traditions

Options: ReplyQuote
The Devils Own Judo - Turning Your Heart into an ATM
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 22, 2014 09:06PM

The Devils Own Judo - Turning Your Heart into an ATM/Cash Point


"And if you come across one with a real baby, ask yourself why it is that you never see the baby cry and rarely even open its eyes. Many of these babies are drugged up to stay asleep and cause no trouble to their young ‘minders’."

The many experienced travelers in India - and Indians, too -- advise that giving money directly to children will teach the wrong lesson: that
attending school is a waste of time.

Microloans to people starting home businesses, especially women who
are the ones who tend to save money and spend it on family welfare
--that is what changes matters for the better.

The Devils own Judo. Here is a story from one traveler to Dharamsala.

Corboy Note: It would be a kindness to post signs in mulitiple languages at entrance of and inside the exit gate to the temple, to alert departing visitors of the milk scam. The DL should show some compassion on behalf of the many coming to town on his account.

Signage doesnt cost much, and well done accomplishes much.

Baby Milk Scammers

"The area around the temple (Dalai Lama temple, Tsulangkhang, Dharamsala) has a lot of beggars and they have a particularly sneaky scam that they work on
soft-hearted foreigners **and they focus on people coming out of the temple at the end of their visit who are more likely to be predisposed to be feeling generous.**

Plagues of rat-like girls clutching dirty bundles of rags that may or
may not contain small babies plea for baby milk. “Not money, madam, baby
milk. Baby hungry, come with me to shop, buy baby milk”. They picked the
wrong mug – I have no sympathy for them and not one cell of maternal
instincts. I’m also far too wise to the scams and cons.

This is a particularly cunning and clever scam since it takes advantage
of the ‘It’s not for me, it’s the baby’ plea which has mothers reaching
for their wallets. The reason it’s clever is that most people would happily give a few rupees to get rid of the beggars but if one of them hooks you on this scam, you’ll get fleeced for tens of dollars or pounds. The girls
are not local, they are clearly shipped in from the plains, they dress differently, have a totally different facial structure and colour than the locals and they are very well trained. The unwary tourist thinks they’ll
get away with spending maybe 100 rupees (about £1.20 at that time) but
once they’re in the shop with the shopkeeper (who is in on the scam),
the baby milk turns out to be massive expensive packs of dried milk.

Not wanting to seem mean or rude and with the shopkeeper watching them,
the unwary tourist parts with a couple of thousand rupees, the girl goes off, returns later and returns the milk for a part refund of the ridiculously
over-priced amount that the tourist paid. As someone commenting on this scam in a forum on the Indiamike website pointed out, nature provides young
\ mothers with the wherewithal to feed their babies, if they are indeed
their babies or even babies at all.

If you want to help poor people in India, this isn’t the way to do it.
Give your money to the temple or to local charities who can manage it
properly, and not to these girls who are working for gangsters as
professional beggars.

And if you come across one with a real baby, ask yourself why it is
that you never see the baby cry and rarely even open its eyes. Many
of these babies are drugged up to stay asleep and cause no trouble to their young ‘minders’. You think you’re helping them, but more likely you’ll just encourage people to continue this scam, to buy babies from mothers who
cannot afford to keep them, and to hook the babies on cheap drugs

Another anecdote


Eric Earle
September 19, 2013
Why You Shouldn’t Give

I was sitting in a car in lower Dharamsala, waiting for my friends Nitin and Vikas to return from a few errands. A woman, dressed in orange robes, came to the window with an outstretched hand, an open palm.

I’m sure you can picture it: the universal body language of a beggar.

(I actually did give this lady and her child 10 rupees to take their picture)

I shook my head. I shook it again. She stood their standing, arm outstretched. “No money.” she said.

Paradoxically pointing to a jar with a few rupees in it. I noticed a
picture of the Goddess “Shiva” (or some other Goddess) in the jar. I shook my head again.

She stood there, being persistent (at least). I shook my head again. “No money,” she said. Still, obviously asking for money. I shook my head again. This went on for several minutes until finally she left.

As she walked away a feeling of uneasiness swept over me. I felt a little bad. Maybe I should have given her money, I thought. Last year when I came to Dharamsala I gave lots of money to beggars, because they had so little, and I, comparatively, had much. This year, I had made up my mind that I wouldn’t give. But this encounter seemed hurt me a little, somewhere inside I felt this.

When Nitin entered the car I said, “who are these beggars – they are so persistent! – and why are they wearing orange robes?”

He said that they are supposedly priests or people who collect donations for the church. He said that they used to come around scarcely, but now they come around all the time. He said that most of them are scammers, and that they just end up pocketing the money.

The same lady then came back to my window.

Nitin spoke a few Hindi sentences in an aggressive, loud tone. They exchanged a few words. And she quickly left.

“What did you say to her?” I asked, rather surprised. I was curious as to what he had said to make her leave so fast!

He smiled, paused a moment. Then said, “I said, what do you want? What do you want? Why did you come back here? If you have a healthy body and mind then go work! Work for your money. Do not just stand around and beg. Work for your money. If you are skilled, if you become a good, valuable human being, you will make money.”

I peered upwards, and to the right, out of the windshield of the car, my left hand stroking my chin. Nitin was right, I thought.

He then told me, “these women get easy money. They make good money begging on the streets. It’s sad. If you ask their children, they will tell you that they don’t want to go to school, they just want to beg. And that’s crazy!”

Perhaps that’s what we are teaching people when we give them money on the street. Perhaps, instead, we should give to charity that helps people find work, or that helps save our planet (or rather our species, because our planet will be fine)


I asked Nitin about some of the other beggars in upper Dharamsala. These beggars are mothers who walk around with very small babies. They tell tourists, “no money, just food, very hungry.” I remember buying some rice-milk for one of these mothers last year, and being surprised when it turned out to be 500 rupees!

Nitin said, “oh yes, they are a scam, they have a deal with the shops, they sell the rice back to the shop for 50 rupees less, and keep the money. Beggars are always coming up with new tricks.”

So a word to the wise: be careful when you travel.

Your heart may be telling you, in fact, pulling you to give some money to
these beggars. Perhaps though, you should save that money, and donate it to a local charity. Or perhaps the Bill and Melinda gates foundation. Or a charity of your choosing. (or maybe, after traveling back from a foreign country, you could – instead of exchanging your old rupees, euros, yen – donate your left over currency to ExChange The World. This is an idea for a non-profit, I had while traveling.

There would be see-through donation boxes at some of the biggest airports in the world, the idea would be – instead of paying high rates and exchanging your currency at an airport, or rather than exchanging your 4 euro and 50 cents, to instead, help ExChange The World, and donate to help save our species, repair the planet, and help people find work.) (What do you think?)

I of course believe it is smart, noble, and humble to give … I urge you to consider giving as wisely as possible.

Options: ReplyQuote
Compare and Contrast
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 25, 2014 05:57AM

(Disclaimer: this does not imply endorsement by CEI or Corboy. )

Here are two ashrams dedicated to different gurus -both deceased

Compare and contrast

Shirdi Sai Baba

Meher Baba

Advice about beggars

Shirdi Sai Baba Ashram


16. Devotees desirous of feeding the poor can arrange to do so against cash payments to be made to the Prasadalaya itself or the Account office. Coupons are not accepted for this purpose.

17.Devotees desirous of distributing alms to beggers can do so only in the beggar`s shed,near Prasadalaya with the help of the Prasadalaya Incharge.

Meher Baba Ashram -Meherabad



Don't sell anything to local residents, either of your own accord or if approached.

At railway stations
•Never give money to anyone to buy a ticket for you. Only hand over the money when you can see you are getting the train ticket.

In Ahmednagar
•Women should not take rickshaws or bicycle alone after dark.
•Beggars and local residents who shout "Jai Baba" and ask your name should just be ignored.

© 1983, 1986, 1992, 1997, 2000, 2009 by Meher House Inc. All rights reserved. 7th online edition, last updated 10/30/09.
India photos © 2009

Shirdi Sai Baba trust also offers detailed information that assist visitors to identify those legitimately associated with the Mandir vs those who claim to do so but are not affiliated.


6.As the Samadhi Mandir is overcrowded at the time of Aarati, devotees should safeguard their ornaments and purses from pick pocketers and take care their children.

7.Devotees should note that all religious functions and Poojas in the Shri SaiBaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi premises are to be arranged and performed through the office of the Shri SaiBaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi. Necessary payments for these are to be made at the office against a receipt. Boxes have been provided by the Shri SaiBaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi in the Mandir itself to receive the devotees' offerings by way of Dakshina and Donation.

8.Offering to Shri Sai Baba in cash or kind can also be made at the donation counter against a receipt.

9.Devotees should bear in mind that Baba left no heirs or disciples and should guard themselves against such deception practiced by impostors.

10. As all the necessary assistance and guidance is readily available to the devotees at the Niwassthan Office of the Shri SaiBaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi assistance from unauthorized guides at the S. T. stand, if taken by the devotees, will be at their own risk.

11.Devotees are warned against practitioners of black magic professing allegiance to Shri Sai Baba and also against those circulating chain letters, asking the receiver to send a certain number of copies of the letter to his friends.

12. Literature about Shri Sai Baba containing authentic information in various languages has been published by the Shri SaiBaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi at reasonable prices and is readily available at its Book shops near the Samadhi Mandir.

13. Donations should always be sent by Money Orders, Postal Orders, Crossed and A/c. Payee Cheques or Drafts to ensure safe delivery of the same. Do not send cash or currency notes in postal envelopes. online donation also accepted through []

14. As the various dealers and vendors of Pooja articles are not connected with the Shri SaiBaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi, devotees should first fix the price before buying these articles to avoid any trouble thereafter. A complaint/suggestion book is always kept in the office for the use by the devotees, in which they are requested to write clearly their complaints/suggestions along with their full names and addresses. The Shri SaiBaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi authorities take due note of such complaints/suggestions.

15. All donations for oil for the Nanda-deep and for firewood for Dhuni in the Dwarkamai are to be given in the Donation office only. Further details regarding these can be obtained from the Temple incharge


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/25/2014 09:55PM by corboy.

Options: ReplyQuote
Reflections on being asked for items by local children
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 03, 2014 09:31PM

(Corboy note: one of the worst things to give is candy, or any
other form of concentrated sugar. Too much candy from too
many visitors can give children dental caries. And...
what if dental care is not readily available in the area?

The seeming generosity of sweets can become a gift of future

A Fistful of Rupees By Greenwald

Several years ago, on a solo trek in northern India, I was joined by an eight-year-old boy wearing a tattered red vest.

He startled me with a phrase in perfect English:

“Excuse me, sir, but what is your hobby?”

Startled, I stammered a brief but no doubt incomprehensible reply about astrophotography. The lad took my gibberish in stride.

“Very good,” he recited handily.

“Mine is coin collecting. I collect coins of every country. Please, sir, you will give me a coin of your country. Any coin of your country. I want a coin of your country. You will give it to me NOW....”

This ingenious gambit was but a new angle on what has become one of the most common and frustrating dilemmas faced by travelers. Children (of all ages) in India, Nepal and Tibet – as well as Africa and the Americas – have come to see begging as a lucrative and entertaining form of trick-or-treat.

Nor are their demands limited to cash. Returning tourists tell of being hounded for color film, batteries, even Motrin. Young porters in Nepal’s Helambu region have been caught soliciting AA batteries for their Sony Walkmans; it’s only a matter of time before trekkers into that ethereal realm are assailed by schoolchildren beggaring phone cards, MP3 diskettes and Nintendo cartridges.

(In Hindu and Buddhist cultures, of course, begging for alms is a well-established custom. It supports pilgrims and monks while giving lay persons an opportunity to practice generosity. Such spiritual mendicants, however, are easily distinguished from four-year-old urchins who cling to your shins and allow themselves to be dragged along for three miles.)

There’s a kind of chicken-and-egg question about begging and giving on Third World trails. Which came first? Some people argue that impoverished locals, confronted by invading hordes of affluent tourists, were the first offenders.

This makes little sense. People are unlikely to demand something they have never received before – and expectations of winning coins, candies or “school pens” from transient strangers were not conjured up by children in remote villages.The problem started, more likely, with the first tourists and trekkers to visit these hamlets.

Surrounded by raggedy children, and lacking any other means of explaining themselves, they began doling out money and sweets. Such behavior turns kids into beggars faster than you can say “one rupee” – as future travelers to those regions soon discovered. Even a used Bic is a rich prize to a kid whose parents make 40 cents a day. In no time at all, anyone wearing rip-stop nylon became a potential mark.

* * *

Generosity isn’t a habit we want to be cured of. Despite our sometimes better judgment, we will give things away. The trick, of course, is to do it without promoting greed or tooth decay. It isn’t difficult. With a bit of imagination and planning, gift-giving can be one of the most pleasurable parts of a trip – and a great way to forge connections with local children and families.

What to keep in mind

The first thing to remember while packing for a trip is that generosity doesn’t have to mean giving away things. Sharing a bit of yourself, opening a window into your own world, is a good place to begin. During my years as a travel writer I’ve learned that people around the globe, from Bali to Belgium, have one thing in common: they all want to know about my family, and see what my home looks like.For the oddest thing about westerners – from the Thai or Malian point of view – is that we tend to travel alone.

Our apparent solitude is incomprehensible to people who have lived in one village, within an extended family, for generations. The quickest way to break the ice is to pack along some family snapshots, and a few dozen postcards of your home town. Such evidence places you in the world as a legitimate resident – and creates a foundation for dialogue and friendship.

Dealing with children is not much different. They, too, are acting out of a natural curiosity: a desire to make contact with the bizarre-looking aliens tromping through their villages.

Begging is a simple form of communication, and the possibility of a reward makes it all the more fun. But what these kids really want (like kids everywhere) is to be entertained. If you know how to juggle, do string figures or play the harmonica, you’ve got it made.

If not, a few simple props will do. Cornered by a troupe of 10-year-old beggars in Delhi, I pulled out a small, inflatable world globe. What started as a feeding frenzy quickly became a geography lesson. The kids immediately began matching bits of news they’d heard on the radio – about Russia, Japan and the U.S. – to the appropriate countries, and argued heatedly about why India was pink and Pakistan blue.

A plastic magnifying glass, strong enough to burn holes in a dry leaf, seems miraculous to kids seeing it for the first time (but don’t leave it behind; especially in a village of grass huts).

Any toy store, or an outfit like the Nature Company, can supply you with cheap but astounding objects like gyroscopes, holograms and magnets. When I stop for a lunch break – and find myself surrounded by a bunch of kids with outstretched palms – I’ll hand out colored pencils, and let them draw in my sketchpad. It’s great fun and their uninhibited sketches of mountains, flowers and beefy tourists in blimp-like parkas are among my most prized souvenirs.

Rules for giving gifts

Though I demonstrate things like kaleidoscopes and prisms, I rarely give them away. T

he kids don’t mind; their natural appetite for engagement has been satisfied. Sometimes, though, at an unusually hospitable lodge, I’ll befriend the owners and want to offer a token gift to them and/or their children. For these situations, I offer two rules of thumb.

First, and most importantly, never give gifts directly to children. Give the present to a parent (or an older sibling) and let them make the actual presentation. Such a gesture is a sign of respect, and reinforces the endangered notion that family members – rather than wealthy tourists – are the ones to turn to for gifts and rewards.

Second, it’s unwise and irresponsible to give away money or candy (unless you’re planning a follow-up visit with a dentist).

There are other gifts more genuinely expressive of one’s personality. Picture postcards, mentioned before, are light and cheap, but are always cherished – and displayed – by the people who receive them. Ballpoint pens, folding penknives or “disposable” lighters (they’re refilled all over the Third World) are also appreciated.

Don’t get too exotic; a travel companion once gave a Moroccan woman a little green flashlight, and she chucked it into her stew.

Kids are easier. I recommend balloons, tops (stock up on those little Hanukkah driedels before your trip), magnifying lenses, prisms, little rubber dinosaurs or those cool hologram stickers sold in card stores. These are fun and educational presents that kids can share, and that might help them unlock a few secrets of the universe to boot.

* * *

There is another, very different kind of begging, much more poignant and disturbing than requests for bon-bons or coins.

Quite often – especially along major trekking routes – children and adults appeal to the traveler for basic medical supplies. First-aid items like aspirin, antibiotics or iodine are hard to refuse, especially when the person making the request substantiates their claim by clutching their head, doubling over or displaying a gaping wound.

It’s a tough call. But playing doctor can sometimes backfire, with terrible results. What if the child is allergic to penicillin? What if blind faith in a temporary treatment (applying iodine, for example) keeps a villager from seeking further care?

My sense is that it’s best to help however one can – short of dispensing drugs. I won’t leap to the aid of anyone with a bruised elbow, but if a situation looks threatening I usually try to deal with it. In a few cases I’ve found out where the nearest health post was and given a relative (or local porter) enough money to take the sick or injured person there.

This kind of behavior risks casting westerners as cure-all philanthropists, but watching people suffer isn’t much of an alternative. Again, there’s nothing inherently wrong with giving; problems arise when people give compulsively, without regard for the consequences.

Although I’ve portrayed myself as something of a saint, let it be known that I’ve left the imprint of my Vibram sole in more than one kid’s rear end (the Indian coin-wallah being a prime example). I’ve also denied help to people who probably had legitimate claims on my good will. What to do? The issue is confusing and every encounter is different.As with so many other situations, though, a little mindfulness goes a long way. Before I give away anything to anyone, anywhere, I find it useful to ask myself a few questions. Will what I’m doing improve this person’s life, or degrade it? Will it promote greed and dependency, or foster some small degree of autonomy?

And finally: how will fellow travelers to this place – tomorrow, next month or 10 years from now – be affected by my actions? For unless we can find a way to stop the cycle, what is now an irritating habit will become for many Third World residents and their children a way of life.

This frightening prospect became vividly clear to me two years ago, after I’d dragged an unusually persistent Limbu brat – affixed like a leech to my leg – all the way to his packed-earth house on Nepal’s Naudanda Ridge.

I deposited him on his doorstep, rapped on the door and began lecturing his mother. My name, I told her, is not “One Rupee;” she might try teaching her kid some manners. (Unquote)

Options: ReplyQuote
Current Page: 3 of 8

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.