“Faith is reason grown courageous”

In religious context, faith drives myth market to thrive. If myth kaput, faith moves in to undo the effect.
This week, I visited Shani Shingnapur, an otherwise nondescript town of 4,000 from western Maharashtra. The obsession to belief among locals provided me a good story.

Last week, as reported
here, Shingnapur registered a robbery of Rs 73,000. Previous years too, Shingnapur saw theft cases. These developments were otherwise enough to shatter Shingnapur’s faith in Shani, a hindu god that derives its name from planet Saturn.

But locals prefer to live with the myth.

The allegory is Shingnapur stands as world-wonder. It has no crime record even as homes have no doors, doors sans lock. Locals recite fairy-tales underlining that Shani keeps the evils away from Shingnapur.

In denial, locals strive hard to preserve Shingnapur’s brand image of zero crime town. Such branding fetch them livelihood.

Villagers don’t make it explicit but their minds loudly read: if Shingnapur’s image dents, number of devotees thronging to Shingnapur with an overwhelming feeling of reverence, may take a hit.
Fewer devotees mean fewer business to locals.
So for locals, to live with the myth, unconsciously so, is to continue add value into village brand. It brings more money to them, keeps the Shani happy and makes the thief think twice.
Related Report (Photo: A.B.)

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