TORONTO: Fake astrologers and soothsayers are damaging brand India abroad by reinforcing stereotypes about India.
With fancy titles and superlatives tagged to their names, these charlatans are mushrooming in the West.
Take the case of Toronto and its surrounding cities. Till now, you could find these thugs making ludicrous claims in bold advertisements in desi papers only.
But now you can find them in the mainstream papers as well. Thumb through Toronto’s free morning dailies and you will find tons of these charlatans in classified columns.
One claims himself to be the “unique Indian astrologer’’ who solves all your problems instantly with “100% protection.’’
Another proclaims himself to be “the most powerful spiritualist from India’ who gives “100% guarantee to remove black magic & evil spirits.’’
Then there is one who says he is “the most powerful tantric master’’ from India to whom “your one phone call can change your total future.’’
Yet another one claims: “I am Master in removing and destroying jadoo, voodoo, bad luck…’’ The list goes on.
Shockingly, you won’t find such ridiculous ads in any newspaper in a major Indian city! But you find them here in Toronto – which is Canada’s largest city! What a shock!
And one wonders how these papers running these ads without even an iota of evidence in favour of the claims made in these advertisements.
On the other hand, when people read these ads by Indian charlatans making godly claims they must be laughing up their sleeve.
These crooks and their ads are inflicting a major damage on Brand India. The imagery they use in their ads only reinforces the impression that Indians are still snake charmers, that India is a country of obscure cults and pagan practices. They nullify that India is actually the land of the Infosyses, the Wipros and the Tatas of the world.
The modus operandi of these charlatans is simple: prey upon new immigrants whose new life in this country is full of uncertainties. They prey upon people’s uncertainties about success, businesses, jobs and their family life.
New immigrants – or even long-settled ones – fall for these thugs because people are looking for answers and certainty in their lives. And these charlatans calm their nerves by their ready-made answers!
This is out-and-out spiritual merchandising. Any sensible person knows this, but what can anyone do to stop it?
This is a cultural and social problem in the Indian context, and a grey area in the context of Canadian laws.
So exploitation of the gullible by these charlatans continues. And Brand India keeps eroding as these crooks mushroom.
One wonders under what category these crooks were admitted into Canada!