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Bengali Baba Syndrome

Mumbai: Qasim Zainul Abidin, popularly known as “Bengali Baba”, is behind the bars. But hundreds of such rogues are still roaming around. Minting money alone does not satisfy them. Money begets vice and the gullible preys are aplenty. Women, in fact teen age girls, are their easiest prey who are sexually exploited for warding off evils, ensuring riches (and even treasures) or begetting handsome children. And the entire family meekly follows Baba’s biddings. Not only daughters are supplied to them for getting rid of black magic but even their luxury hotel bills are also paid. And this continued for years, not just with one but with three sisters. The victims are not illiterate villagers but highly educated ones – one pursuing MBBS. They enjoy choicest clientele – air hostesses, models, film actors who also have not only loads of money but also charms to appease their satanic desires. Every city abounds with them. Read classified ads columns. They guarantee remedy for all maladies on earth. Our superstition never allows us to question their supernatural powers nor suspect their integrity.

A few years ago a father-son duo was arrested in Bangalore for sexually assaulting their clients. There is no generation gap. What the father relishes is, without scruples, enjoyed by the dutiful son. And don’t raise the issue of their faith.

“Babas” are above religious divide. Swamis and Bengali Babas defy such religious constraints. After all they are helping their co-religionists from the miseries of the world. And when caught red-handed in one city, they conveniently move to another looking for new pastures. Here comes the ignorance of our faith. How sheepishly we succumb to their designs by their mere recitation of a few ayat or shlokas. Once convinced of their “religiosity”, we are ready to be fleeced to any extent – in cash and in kind.

Never do we ponder how can one single person ward off all kinds of maladies. Our faith in Allah takes a back seat. As long as we continue to believe in their spiritual powers; we shall ever remain promoting thousands of “babas” and “swamis.” Their tribe continues to flourish.

The Quran says in Surah Baqarah (
And [this also happened now; so] when a Prophet1 came to them from God in confirmation of the predictions which were with them, some of those to whom the Book was given cast off the Book of God over their backs [in such a manner] as if they did not even know about it2 and [in order to harm the Prophet] went after3 what the devils would recite and chant4 in the age of Solomon’s kingdom. [They attribute such chants and recitals to Solomon] – whereas Solomon never was guilty of disbelief; it is the devils who were guilty of disbelief – they would teach people witchcraft5. And6  [they went after] that which was revealed to the angels Harut and Marut in Babylon7. Yet they would never instruct anyone without saying to him beforehand8: ‘We are a test for you9; do not enter into disbelief10.’ Yet they would still learn from them the charm by which they could create discord between husband and wife11. And the fact of the matter is that they can harm none with what they learnt except by God’s permission12. [They knew that full well] and [still] they would learn that which would not profit them but what would harm them13; yet they knew that anyone who buys such things has no share in the life to come14. Vile is that for which they have sold their souls, if they but knew it! (101-2)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 January 2011 on page no. 19

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