Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Church of Scientology | India Religion | Anti-Scientology

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      • A controversial religion has gripped India with its business principles and self-help routine.
    • A controversial religion has gripped India with its business principles and self-help routine.
    • By Mridu Khullar Relph
    Anti-scientology protesters
      • Anti-Scientology protesters demonstrate on the streets

      In India, where the most popular psychology books include such titles as “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and “Who Moved My Cheese,” there's a new self-help guru in town: Scientology.

      Founded in 1954 by United States science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, the Church of Scientology is the religion of Hollywood stars like Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Isaac Hayes, claiming a worldwide membership of 12 million.

      Ironically, however, in a country overcrowded with religions and beliefs, Scientology has taken a different approach: it's being taught as a business tool. With 19 "technologies," each focusing on a different area of life, Scientology courses give advice on business, disaster management, communication, the art of selling, even marriage and family. Scientologists, while not offering a direct explanation of what exactly these technologies entail, claim to have the best how-to manuals you'll ever need.

    • In the last six years since Scientology came to India, approximately 5,000 Indians have become members, according to estimates.

Church of Scientology | India Religion | Anti-Scientology

  • But despite Whitta's confidence in the techniques and a growing audience for the workshops, Indians are beginning to ask questions. As the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 unfolded, several online groups claimed that Scientologists were on the scene, trying to take advantage of victims. According to CounterKnowledge.com, the British branch of Association for Better Living and Education, which is a Scientology-related non-profit in LA, sent out emails asking members for money to print copies of "The Way to Happiness" and send them to Mumbai. The website asserts that the Volunteer Ministers VMs) "were sent solely to keep people away from trained mental health professionals and to use their own form of mental therapy — dianetics— to console the bereaved." After the Mumbai attacks, anti-Scientology campaigners asked the Cardinal Archbishop of Mumbai to stop the distribution of these booklets. According to the Telegraph, Damian DeWitt, the pseudonym of one of the anti-Scientology supporters, wrote in a letter: "Many of us Catholic and Christian critics of Scientology's human rights abuses are deeply concerned about Scientology's infiltration of India and its co-opting government, municipal, civic, and religious organizations ... . The VMs routinely deceive the Indian public that they are a secular organization … . In fact, all of its practices are inseparable from the rest of Scientology."
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