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Do you believe in magic?
This question was asked on air the other day. As this was an
Asian channel, there was a big response. Sworn statements of how on auntie was
taken ill, without any cause(virus may be?) , and then they found some flour
and hair in her hand bag, and once the hand bag was cleared she was well again!
Then there was a doctor, who at a certain price will rid you
of this ailment. And he said he had a degree from a certain university and was
I know that in the sub-continent this is a regular
occurrence. People devote time and money to sooth Sayers and those who promise
to change the course of your destiny. But there too, a bill called the Maharashtra evil practices and magic act, is in the
process of becoming a law.
How about those who are living in a western country, in the
21st century and are considered enlightened and informed. It seems
when it comes to superstitions, we like to keep up our traditions.
The government here has been making similar efforts to
control this practice. Under the consumer protection regulation a bill has been
passed to replace the fraudulent mediums act of 1951. Under the new act any
mediums, personal healers face prosecution if they can not prove that their
clients get results.
The Asian community is well known for blaming the unknown
for most misdemeanours. It is never the fault of the individual, but it is
either Karma, black magic or evil spirit which has put the spanner in the
works. And there are many fraudulent practitioners who benefit from it , and
reinforce these beliefs.
What really surprises me is the reinforcement of these un
proven claims by the Asian media. Most Asian glossy magazines carry pages and
pages of advertisements for holy men and women who claim to right all the wrongs
in your lives with a fee. The Asian television channels are the same, they
have special programmes ,where viewers
are asked to ring on premium phone lines and tell their troubles. These
mystics, are sometimes bearded and robed, and are either have marked
foreheads(if Hindu) or are bearded with prayer beads and a head gear if Muslim.
They tend to give advise on diseases, marital problems, son or daughter wanting
to marry out of the religion, in fact on ANYTHING!
So why does the consumer protection law doesn’t apply
here? Why are the Asian television
channels and the Asian media in this country not subject to the same scrutiny?
I have once before questioned the role of OFCOM, regarding the practices of the
Asian channels. They invite people to call in for big prizes at premium rates,
what scrutiny is there that these are overboard? When the main broadcasters are
penalised for such practices, why are these channels not scrutinised?
What about the print media? Why is there no scrutiny of such
unscrupulous advertisements? Because if it is due to political correctness,
then it is harming the very people it is trying to protect.