Friday, August 25, 2006

Are we desperate for miracles?

Not a very comprehensive article.. but has quite a few interesting facts.

Thursday, August 24, 2006 22:01 IST

It’s been over a week since the news of the sweet water ‘miracle’, but many devotees are still thronging Mahim creek to drink the highly contaminated water at the risk of death. Warnings from doctors and BMC officials about the same continue to go unheeded in spite of the scientific reason for the change in the water’s taste.

Now we hear Ganesh idols (a déjà vu of the ‘96 miracle) are drinking milk, causing frenzy amongst his followers. So the question once again arises: Just what makes otherwise sound people give wind to logic? “Stress,” says psychotherapist Seema Hingoranny, “makes people desperate to cling on to hope and a higher power.”

She feels last year’s deluge and the recent train bomb blasts have made the city more vulnerable and gullible. Social commentator and columnist Anil Dharker agrees. “Both incidents were looked upon as some kind of punishment. So I guess people are looking for acts of kindness from God in hope of some kind of balance,” he says, adding that the pressures of living in a big city and dealing with its myriad problems are taking its toll.

Professor Nandini Sardesai has an interesting take. She blames the country’s education system for the ‘herd’ mentality and the inability to rationlise plausible phenomenon.

“Education doesn’t mean just getting a degree. Unfortunately, here we’re not taught to think for ourselves,” says the former head of the sociology department at St. Xavier’s College. The fact that people are being driven by blind faith is also a reflection of our social ethos. “There’s so much despair that people are willing to try anything for relief,” says Sardesai.

Says clinical psychotherapist Dr Varkha Chulani, “People who lack self-confidence need a crutch to solve their problems. They don’t have trust in their capabilities, so you’ll find them resorting to wearing rings, etc for luck.”

Of course, having faith is certainly not a crime, as Hingoranny sums up, “Faith should always be there. But one must set boundaries, as blind faith can cause both physical and mental damage.”


Blogger Arattai Ambujammal said...

Crying tree in Texas, Virgin Mary on a sandwich, ... there is no end to such frenzy. Somewhere amidst these, the true meaning of "God" that every religion imparts is lost. "God" doesn't need such short-lived publicity through media. That's for sure.
It would be nice to see and admire the science or Nature behind such events and appreciate it. Well.. that needs a bit of rationality and literacy.

11:24 PM  

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