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Coronavirus: Why are Indian babas judged differently from Teresa’s miracle cures?

How did they get that sovereign control over the Vatican? Well, it was a gift from Mussolini. Who else?

Would you believe what this is? This is an official celebration for humanity finding a cure for cancer. Luckily for us, the cure is cheap. Close your eyes and pray to one “St. Teresa” who, despite being dead, is apparently sitting in a place called “heaven,” available and listening to us. The method has already worked for two people worldwide. A small sample if you ask me, nevertheless…

What makes science and rationalism such a wonderful thing? Because, in science, only truth matters. The outcome of the experiment is everything. Nothing else is relevant: not the colour of your skin, not your religion, your gender, your caste, your country, the language you speak, nothing. That is why science has done amazing things, from antibiotics to fertilizer to editing genes. Science makes it possible for human beings to fly through the sky in metal tubes, or for them to sit at their desks, click a button and speak instantly to someone on the other side of the world.

But this works only as long as we apply the standard equally to everyone. The other day an Indian baba, who wears saffron, said he had something to treat the Coronavirus. Think about the kind of mocking reception it received from our educated elite.

Now, I will not go into the veracity of his claims. I am only talking about how his announcements were received. Remember science only works when the standards are the same for everyone.

But, was it? In fact, the Govt of India sent a Cabinet minister to the celebrations in the Vatican. The Chief Minister of West Bengal was also present to grace the occasion. The Govt of Kerala also sent a couple of ministers to the event. A large contingent of Indian intellectuals also welcomed the event.

At the time, I remember no widespread mocking from either side of the political divide. It was as if our collective scientific temper had taken a break.

When we create a double standard in debunking unscientific claims, we end up projecting our inferiority complex on the global stage. And from there it becomes fodder for the anti-Hindu global network. Take this video from Al Jazeera, the mouthpiece of the Islamic state of Qatar, talking about how Hindu groups “widely circulated” cow urine as a cure for the Coronavirus!

First of all, was it really widely circulated? From what I remember, it was a reality TV star and a couple of his guys doing something to get attention. But this did not matter. The saffron banners used by them activated the anti-Hindu predatory instincts of the Indian and global elite. The Indian elite engaged in loud and over the top condemnations of an irrelevant event organized by a handful of attention seekers. The global elite lapped it up gleefully and now Hindus have been branded as people who drink cow urine in hope of curing Coronavirus. This will now have cultural implications for Hindus worldwide. And possibly economic implications as well, because it affects India’s brand.

We have a billion Hindus in India. A handful of them will believe almost anything. Why do we let others use them to brand us all? In fact, why do Indian elites actively participate in this vilification campaign?

By some counts, there were 300,000 Catholics at the Vatican that day, celebrating Teresa’s miracle cure for cancer. Much more than the number of people who showed up to the cow urine party. But was Christianity’s global brand affected by this organized celebration of superstition? Absolutely not!

Why? Something to think about there.

Take the current pandemic.

Article from News18

That was in the middle of March. Apparently, god has other stuff to do. It’s not easy being god. Meanwhile, we have to manage by ourselves.

But did these antics affect the global brand of Christianity? Absolutely not. In fact, if you think about it, it is simply astonishing what the Church gets away with. The so-called Holy Father gets to have his own sovereign nation, recognized by every other country, with diplomats and everything, in the same way as India recognizes the United States. As Supreme Leader of a sovereign nation, he enjoys the status of a Head of State. The Vatican has been accused of everything, from collaborating with Nazis to covering up child abuse, but the “sovereignty” of the Vatican prevents anyone from doing anything about it.

How did they get that sovereign control over the Vatican? Well, it was a gift from Mussolini. Who else?

Imagine if a saffron wearing baba was getting away with all this. Imagine what the Indian and global elite would have said.

I challenge you to give me one reason that makes the claims of the Catholic Church more scientific than those of any saffron clad baba in any corner of India.

Just one. Take your time.

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a columnist and author.  

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