“But these, dear Indians, dear Hindus, are your leaders and your holy men. They are your mirrors and your death wish. Take a good look at them. Because they are not looking out for you.” These scathing words by Shuddhabrata Sengupta, from a piece published recently in India and reprinted in this issue of e-flux journal, condemn the country’s leaders for their role in fostering the conditions that led to the catastrophic number of coronavirus deaths the country is now suffering. It is not just India’s political leaders that are at fault, but also the holy men who advise them—spiritual leaders whose fatalism and deference before higher powers became lethal in the human, political domain of real needs. This is not to say that the holy men are frauds. On the contrary, the immediate horror of the pandemic in India is actually a reflection of their deference to cosmic forces that are completely indifferent to human life. The holy men are even as holy as the stars—stars that we should all remember don’t give two fucks about us, about administration or politics concerning people and life: “The stars, indifferent in heaven, feel no need to laugh at you. Frankly, no matter what you think about them, they don’t even care about you.”…

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