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Why godmen, mullahs love Kerala's Nilambur?

October 14, 2008 13:13 IST
Last Updated: October 14, 2008 14:28 IST

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Faced with increasing competition and dwindling returns, self-styled Godmen from the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra are flocking to Nilambur in Kerala [Images] to learn magical tricks to attract more followers.

With growing demand from such enterprising godmen to learn magical tricks, many coaching classes have sprouted in Nilambur village in Kerala's Malappuram district, renowned for magic, says R K Malayath, a professional magician who has put in over 40 years in the field.

Malayath says when at first such godmen came to him for being tutored, he did not encourage them. But they were so desperate that they approached some quacks who charged them hefty fees. This forced him to accept their plea to hold classes, he says.

They willingly undertake a three-day crash course for a fee of Rs 5000, Maliyathsweets) are taken from thin air and 'shivalingam' from the mouth.

Kerala had launched a clean-up drive against fake godmen and godwomen few months ago following the arrest of Santosh Madhavan alias Amrita chaitanya, a self-styled godman, who is behind bars for allegedly raping some minor girls of an orphanage.

After Chaitanya's arrest, it was hard time for many such fake sanyasis in Kerala. However, many of those who were arrested are now out on bail and are happily pursuing their old vocation-- playing godman.

Madhathipathis, 'swamis' and even 'mullahs' flock to this remote village in Nilambur to learn the tricks,he says.

TheĀ  mullahs want to learn how talisman is taken from the thin air, Malayath said.

Some other tricks are also taught to the godmen, who were under the impression that some 'mantras' would be taught to them.

Asked why self-styled swamis from Kerala were not keen to learn magical tricks, he said the simple reason is that people in Kerala will not believe in these tricks.

Those who come to attend the classes are given a questionnaire to fill up and they have to give a photograph also. Some give fake names and addresses and refuse to give their photographs, Malayath, who has staged about 10,000 stage shows in India and abroad along with his wife and son, said.

Some of these swamis have shown interest in learning ways of performing 'poojas' and they were directed to Namboodiri illams by him.

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