‘Spirituality’ Could be the New Sunrise Sector
The Desi Oon Initiative with its diverse and creative product line is a much needed impetus for the greatly neglected indigenous wool
Government authorities are now conducting a serious investigation on the former chief of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) for exchanging highly sensitive information with an outsider. Her act could have or already has jeopardised the national financial security. Chitra Ramkrishna, the NSE CEO, ran India’s biggest stock exchange as per the advice of a mysterious Himalayan Baba. Though this baba could manifest at will at any place, he chose not to waste his superpowers of teleportation on mundane things like running the NSE and instead provided the NSE chief with an email ID to share confidential information. One way to read this absurd comedy is to see this as a clever cover-up for serious fraud. The authorities are proceeding with their investigation on that assumption. On the other hand, however, this could probably be a case of mental illness and religious delusion.
As the Indian unemployment level is reaching a record level and the economy is in a tailspin, ‘spirituality’ could be the new boom sector. Ashrams and evangelical centres that advertise on miracle healing etc are some of the best startup stories of our time. Any entrepreneur in this sector should find their niche if their startup has to become a unicorn.
One needs to have a unique selling proposition to succeed in this market. Hugging, kissing, kicking devotees or spitting on them, speaking comical absurdities in flawless English, doing acrobatic positions and peddling consumer goods, solving life problems by changing one’s breakfast from idli to panipuri or upma, being the spiritual mother, uncle, grandma, dad or aunt, cross-dressing, being the conduit of Jesus or Allah, doing fancy dress parade in the costume of Vishnu, Devi or Shiva’s avatars, manifesting wrist watches, gold chains etc out of thin air, teaching to breathe etc—all these have been already taken by enterprising gurus. But we are 150 crore people and population is exploding, so the market potential is vast, provided you can find your ‘superpowers’.
The first step is to set up an ashram or a retreat centre, preferably on encroached government land, to keep the costs low. Then build a place of worship. Consider this investment as risk insurance. The next step is charity. Giving free food in a country teeming with a starving population is an excellent public relations exercise, and the cost for running this scheme can be recovered as a non-taxable donation. It will serve as a money-laundering conduit, and once the local politician sees that your startup has his voters as your customers, he will help you legalise the encroached land. Of course, the politician follows the mob, so one can’t blame him.
If you get your basics right, your ‘spiritual centre’ will become a networking place for the high and the mighty. You will soon have bureaucrats, defence personnel, corporate honchos etc taking advice from you. Brand yourself well. Your appearance should be exotic. Stick to the dress code.
Expand your bottom line by brokering power deals, corporate deals and even billionaire marriages. It doesn’t matter whether you are semiliterate or don’t know the difference between an atom bomb and a tender coconut. If you play your cards right, you may get the chief of atomic research weeping on your lap or the head of ISRO consulting you on the next launch ‘muhurta’. Influential people will queue up to surrender their skills, time, wealth, scientific training and common sense at your feet. You can thank me later in cash and kind once you own your fleet of Rolls-Royce and cruise ships. The only thing that can throw a spanner in this well-oiled money-making machinery is your stupidity. Your job is to get others to surrender their common sense to you, not lose your own.
For all we know, this farce of the former NSE chief is a startup idea that floundered when the baba forgot that a man who could teleport should not be seen using mundane things as ‘emails’. The poor woman might be a victim of a conman rather than a partner in crime. But this is just the tip of the iceberg of greater malice. Scratch deeper, and you can find the tentacles of such gurus run deep and wide in every aspect of our lives. Forget the IIMs, IITs and Kota factories. Force your kids to be ‘spiritual’. That is where the future is.
Author of Asura, Ajaya series, Vanara and Bahubali trilogy