‘Hindus make bad devotees, but are good clients’

Dipankar Gupta, senior fellow at the Nehru memorial museum and library, on the thin crowds around Baba Ramdev after the midnight eviction from Ram Lila grounds in Delhi, in Mail Today:

“Hindus have problems gathering around a religious leader, as a religious leader. They quickly transform the person, saffron robes, notwithstanding, to a specialist healer, magician and personal good luck charm. Hindus, therefore, make bad devotees but good clients.

“As tradition tells us, Hindus are not given to collective sentiments in their religious observances. The concept of a church or congregation is foreign to them. This is why one can be a pious Hindu yet never set foot in a temple.

“To be able to host an at- home with your own customised guru is the ultimate Hindu fantasy. This would not work for Muslims, Sikhs or Christians. The idea of a ‘ communion’ is essential in these religions. Hence, when Hindus flock to a so- called sadhu it is not always on account of religion.

“They are attracted to bearded individuals in saffron because of their supposed magical or physical powers. They are worried when such a person dies for they wonder who their next all- round talisman would be. Other religions do not think that way, primarily because the communion is so important for them.

“That also explains why no Christian priest, or Muslim maulvi or Sikh granthi would produce ashes, watches or sweets out of his sleeve, or hat, to win adherents.”

Read the full article: Ramdev as the Bruce Lee of yoga

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20 Responses to “‘Hindus make bad devotees, but are good clients’”

  1. tsubba Says:

    snake oil.

    mr. gupta have you heard of faith healing? have you heard of benny hinn, pat robertson etc etc? have you heard of catholic church soliciting witnesses of miracles so their members can be declared saints? i’ll will not even bother with the obscurantism of muslims.

    in any case churumuri’s efforts about this whole saga is breathtaking. the silence on the attack by cong on hapless protestors is deafening.

    churumuri your slip is showing….

  2. Objectivist Mantra Says:

    “As tradition tells us, Hindus are not given to collective sentiments in their religious observances. The concept of a church or congregation is foreign to them. This is why one can be a pious Hindu yet never set foot in a temple.”


    I do not agree with Dipankar Gupta’s views. The lines that I have quoted above are completely incorrect. Every religion in the world is given to collective sentiments. EVERY!

    You can’t have a religion without collective sentiment. A religion is like a political party. A political party does not focus on changing an individual, it is focused on changing the collective consciousness.

    Similarly, a religion is focused on universal salvation. The individual soul or the mind has very little importance for the religious ideologues. In fact, religious ideologues tend to hate the individualist types.

    Dipankar Gupta looks at the world through a collective (socialist, liberal and leftist) glasses. He is just trying to be politically correct, by trying to prove that Hinduism is somehow a queer religion. it is not.

    SAints of every religion make a mark by promoting miracles. Recently there was a move by Vatican to prove that an old lady, who died few years ago, of Kolkatta is a saint. Some religions have this strange theory that their evil dead will frolic in heavens with 40 to 70 virgins (i don’t know the exact number).

    So there are strange ideas in every religion. God is a basic human need. Hindus need God as much as everyone else does.

    Even the leftists need a God. That is why they are so eager to prostrate in front of the pictures of Communist monsters like Stalin, Mao, etc. Irrationality is part of human life.

  3. twistleton Says:

    My good luck is going to beat your goodluck’s punk ass…

  4. Curry Hurry Says:

    Finally, for churumuri, no more beating around the bush.

  5. vinay Says:

    seriously ….idiotic to the core, Mr Gupta , pls remove ur green tinted glasses and climb down from the musuem

  6. pin prick Says:

    Hypocrites like Dipankar Gupta always try to browbeat Hindu sentiments. They are not fit to be called intellectuals since they abandon dispassionate analysis in favor of their ideological promotion. The tragedy is that history is always colored with the historian’s prejudices. This is not an article critiquing the Hindu mores and customs. This is an article which shows the author’s ignorance and bias. Surely, he could have done better than saying that Hindus are attracted to “bearded men”. Has he not seen Osama or Mullah Omar or that scum Ilyas Kashmiri. He has not even bothered to conceal his hatred towards Hinduism, let alone being objective about it.

  7. Raj Says:

    “That also explains why no Christian priest, or Muslim maulvi or Sikh granthi would produce ashes, watches or sweets out of his sleeve, or hat, to win adherents” writes Dipankar Gupta, a senior fellow at Nehru Museum!!

    This “senior fellow” either doesn’t read any news papers OR too busy drinking kool-aid served by his liberal elites !! How about starting with Benny Hinn?

  8. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Cant understand how or why Dipankar Gupta is comparing Hindus with other religions in this matter.

    As tsubba showed with specific examples, these type of hoodwinking practices happen in other religions too. There may be differences in how it is done based on the cultural and social differences, but in general they are the same – a bunch of religious leaders selling snake oil masked by religious rhetoric.

  9. Mysore Peshva Says:

    Mr. Gupta’s conclusion is not only unsupported by the evidence he cites (or concocts), it is also not generalizable to the vast heterogeneity of Hindu people.

    In addition, my subjective view is that Mr. Gupta’s conclusion is also a bit ridiculous.

  10. Amit M Says:

    Comparing religions is always a bad idea. In his eagerness to do so, whatever fact-based point the author may have made is lost and that gives the usual mob of “liberal-bashers” another reason to rant; not that they need one, but in the case of articles like this one, they may even be justified!

    Saying that no other mainstream religion resorts to “producing” objects to “win adherents” is pretty off the mark. EVERY mainstream religion has their tricks/illusions/divinities (depending on your point of view) which are used efficiently/shamelessly by their religious leaders (and political parties) to win followers/whip them into a frenzy.

  11. Simple Says:

    Again, childish squabbles ” My religion is better than yours”. Ridiculous really.

  12. Abhi Says:

    Idea of religions came up when we were still living as tribes. 2 motives: Group survival (explains kill nonbelievers) and control of the mass by powerful people (explains swamis, maulvis).

    Its piece of garbage and hopefully its a matter of time before its treated so.

    I don’t understand what stops people (such as this author and tarlesubba) from saying religion is BS. Why does he have to go round and round and pick some other superstition legitimize your superstition?

    There are only 2 kinds of religions – bad and very bad.

  13. Faldo Says:

    Like others have pointed out, the article has inconsistencies and is unsupported by clear evidence. I only have a bone to pick about the last paragraph. I am no expert on religions, but I do not think a sadhu, a maulvi, priest or granthi can be equated (others can enlighten me here). I believe their purposes in their respective religions are different. Even if the author wanted to illustrate his point, he should have used an apples to apples comparison.

  14. Simple Says:

    No religion has been able to stop people from violating traffic rules or bribing cops when caught commiting an offence.

    No religion has been able to dissuade people from bribing government officials.

    No religion has been able to stop people from cheating their spouses.

    No religion has beena ble to stop people from being rude, from being jealous, from being insecure, from bitching, from pissing on the streets, from road rage, from jumping queues, from violating building by laws, from a hundred other everyday vices.

    In fact, if anything, religion provides an escape route – commit a sin and hope to wash off the sins by doing a ritual.

  15. E.S.Shridhar Says:

    Mr.Dipankar Gupta,
    Start to end it is crap. Let us get some facts straight. Religions are created for the good of the man and is and the rituals including congregation are geography based. Further, Hinduism is not religion, it is a way of living. Every Hindu need not be a believer.Hindus include non-believers who were grouped as “charvahas” in early days. The word ‘Hindu’ does not feature in our scriptures. The word Hindu is derived from ‘Sindhu’ (Indus). Hindus are people of Indus valley civilization. We have our own ways of congregation which differs from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Archaks/Purohits/purohits do not wear shirts in South India because of the warm climate. In Nepal they have to necessarily wear warm clothing all times. To be considered a devotee, You do not have to announce over a loud-speaker. Bhajagovindam written by Shankaracharya proves “devotion is knowledge fully matured”.
    Please desist from projecting silly pseudo secular views

  16. Gaby Says:

    For once I actually agree with Simple Anna.

  17. twistleton Says:

    my way of life is going to kick your way of life’s punk ass

  18. guest75 Says:

    Dipankar Gupta

    Devotion is in the heart of a person not in gatherings.
    Frauds and fakes can be found in every religion or place on earth. It would be person/group who are fooling people not the religion.

  19. Simple Says:

    Ah. Ms. Gaby – good to know that

  20. twistleton Says:


    My dear friend,

    I would go further than that and say religion IS the prank a few play on the many. Quite a long one, wouldn’t you agree, and it’s still continues… :D

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