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.
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.
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 smithsonianmag.com 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.