Preying on predicament

Dear Editor,
My attention was recently drawn to the disgusting practice of some self-styled ‘pandits’, who encourage unsuspecting persons to contact them for relief from various forms of personal difficulties, such as financial, domestic, romantic, health issues etc etc. The ‘services’ of these unscrupulous ‘pandits’ are commercially advertised in the newspapers, radio and TV stations like any other money-making ‘business’.
Some of these perpetrators advertise themselves as having come from India, presumably as a ploy to project themselves as superior to the ‘lesser’ Guyanese ‘pandits’…..and perhaps to justify their higher ‘fees’!
I do not think that a genuine, sincere ‘pandit’ would engage in any such scam — aimed at self-enrichment at the expense of poor, bewildered people, whose faith in God might have been shaken. Those people need guidance to restore their faith in God, not to redirect them to some ‘short-cut’ bribery of God via unscrupulous scamps and charlatans parading as ‘pandits’.
I wish to take this opportunity to plead with our genuine pandits — as well as the leadership of our Hindu organisations, such as the Dharmic Sabha, the Virat Sabha, the Guyana Pandits Council et al — to use their good offices and personal influences to help eradicate this scourge from our society.
(Also, it is perhaps opportune to start considering the possibility of certifying or licensing qualified pandits, who would have graduated from some formal training and who can then be appointed and paid regular salaries by the mandirs which employ them. After all, our pandits are regular people whose material needs must also be met.
(Of course this suggestion might be easier said than done, but I do not think it is beyond our collective ability to initiate the relevant discussion and appropriate action).
I should also mention that I previously shared the substantive contents of this letter with a number of Hindu friends in Guyana and the Canadian diaspora, all of whom support the idea that something needs to be done.
Finally, I share with readers the following extract from a report in the Globe News in Toronto (ref. http://global after extorting $100,000. to exorcise evil spirit-police). In summary: the police claimed that an astrologer and psychic known as Master Raghav, who was living in Toronto but visiting from India, handed out his business cards at a Rexdale Mall in February-March. A Brampton man who received one of the cards set up an appointment (which cost just $20.) and was informed that a sick family member had been “the victim of an evil spirit”. After this initial ‘psychic reading’, the man was convinced to withdraw $101,000 from his bank and provide it to the psychic to remove the evil spirit. The exorcism was ‘not successful’, and the victim reported the matter to the police. The psychic was arrested and charged $5000. In the meantime, the sick relative is still sick!

Nowrang Persaud