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  1. says

    They are followers of this man

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Periyar_E._V._Ramasamy

    Periyar is basically an early Indian James Randi. His followers actually go around doing the same tricks as the sadhus to show people how it’s done.

    Basically a lot of people don’t like them but they don’t associate them with atheism in so much as a sort of “periyarism”. But they are a rather quiet voice out here comparatively.

  2. says

    Actually on a more serious note, mental health is often treated like this in India. The problem being that psychiatrists are either rare or worse symptomatic of being crazy. (You must be crazy if you have to see a shrink).

    So a lot of people simply don’t get seen. Therapy in India in psychiatry is only developing now and most psychiatric patients are treated solely through medication.

    So this gives rise to a lot of holy men who “cure” psychiatric issues by claiming they are demons. They prey on those who are desperate, because admitting your loved one needs a psychiatrist is worse than blaming a demon. This feeds into the idea of demons in the population.

    Even simple cases of OCD often are treated like this and there are many stories of temples where the gods intercede if you pray in them. (Like a reverse C’thullu)

  3. Nepenthe says

    You’re right, they aren’t street skeptics. It’s not a street in South Asia without a gaping mudhole in the middle and at least three goats. I saw no goats.

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