Pseudoscience & Religion

Sin and the Indian Railways

If you think that sin and the Indian Railways have nothing in common, please stand corrected. The most recent entrants into the field of sinning are indian-railways-superstition-2our railways! While Indian Railways is not exactly known for it’s secular image, of recent, it has been advocating a Hindutva line which could put many of our saffron brotherhood to shame. While we have the typical things like people wanting to enter Puttaparthi have to pass below the pictures of the “lotus feet” of the local thug turned prestidigitator turned god-man who goes by the name of Satya Sai Baba, people visiting the Bangalore railway station have to put up with the pearls of wisdom of one Pt. Sri Rama Sharma Acharya who has an affinity for sin that could put a Roman Catholic priest to shame. He says that sin brings along disease, grief and down fall too! All the science text books and those of medicine have to be thrown into the nearest dustbin as we have a brand new theory for the cause of disease- sin!! If you think are these are the ads placed by someone else on railway property, you are wrong again. Railways, which charge astronomical sums for ads, have allowed these to be displayed free of charge. When I had visited the reservation building of South Western Railways at the Bangalore junction station recently I was surprised at this because I have been under the impression that the Indian Railways, being a government owned institution, has to adhere to the principals of secularism enshrined in our constitution- that is the state cannot promote any religious activity. But, here we have the ads of these organisations called Gayathri Pariwar, Bangalore and Shanti Kunj, Hardwar, occupying prime railway advertising space free of charge, ostensibly in the name of promotion of public interest.

indian-railways-superstition-1One fails to understand as to how public interest can be served by misleading people by telling them that sin causes disease! This concept which went out of the window along with many such primitive concepts has been now publicized by the railways at the cost of the state promoting religious activity in a public place. It is not that this above mentioned Pt. Sharma has come to original theories about the cause of disease. He has many other pearls of wisdom to his credit; the way these are scattered around Bangalore railway station it seems that he is the originator of a lot of conventional wisdom, original theories about almost everything under the sun. He also says that the coward dies many times in a day while the brave faces death only once. Perhaps, the coward undergoes rebirth after each of these deaths which, according to our great Pandit, happen at least four times a day! We are also informed that the householder life is a hermitage where one has to do the sadhana of restraint, service and tolerance.

Well, Indian Railways, how about putting a few of our rationalist, humanist slogans free of charge, like:

Probably there is no god so enjoy life.

Disease is caused by a number of factors, dietary, environmental and genetic.

Hands that help are better than lips that pray.

I think there are quite few more we can suggest. I do request all concerned to email the South Western Railways general manger about our proposal. We would make the color flex prints and put them up prominently so that people could be better informed. At least these could be secular and not promoting an individual or a sect.

Well, we do need a clarification from the South Western Railways as to how such ads masquerading as pearls of wisdom could be displayed on railway property in a nation which is secular and in which no government institution can promote religious activity.


Update: Here is the contact information for the public relations office of the South Western Railways:

Phone : +91 836 2360747

Email :

Commenter Jayalakshmi has provided the URL to a government Grievance Forum where you can send your complaints.

About the author

Narendra Nayak


  • Hi,

    Those ads are for free?.. This is outrageous. BEtter to complain to the authoriteis. Government of India has just made a provision for similar complaints/grievances through this online Grievance forum on

    All concerned citizens should make this complaint.

    Nice blog.

  • well…we see what we are…

    one person said to santa …u looking smart today and u know what santa answered…”do u mean i was not looking smart yesterday?”

    now what do u disagree here? do u know anything about psychological disorders…ask a psychiatrist and he will tell u how “guilty feelings” causes diseases.

    i don’t think publishing good thoughts is wrong nor do i think there is anything hindu here. and if good things, like asking you to be brave is hindu then be it…what r u cribbing about?

    • “Guilty feelings” are religion’s primary tool! When the ad says that sin brings disease, grief and downfall, that is designed to create “guilty feelings”. Your argument is not logically consistent.

      We are not criticizing the ‘publishing’ of “good thoughts”. That is a straw man argument that you constructed in order to tear apart. What we are criticizing is falsehoods about medicine and corruption in a government-run organization. The constitution mandates that the government be held responsible by the people. Setting aside the superstitious nonsense inherent in the messages, the very fact that the Western Railways did a special favor to one group and ideology makes this a matter of legal and constitutional importance. Some folks may not care about corruption in the government, but I hope there are not that many of you.

    • You mean to say all diseases are to be treated by psychiatrists? How do you know that guilt brings disease? What about diseases of the fetuses and new born? what about metabolic disorders that are due to deficiency of enzymes? Are they also due to guilty feelings? We are not cribbing about anything. We have a right to express our opinions too like Sharma thinks he has or his chelas think so. Why should railway property be used to publicize opinions of one group only? What about pandemics like the swine flu going on now? Whose sins caused that? All these are lame excuses to justify the spread of a peculiar ideology which is a cross between Hindutwa and Roman catholic ideas of guilt and sin.

    • These “good thoughts” are going to do more harm than good.Especially in the minds of the uneducated, and the rest of the classes that a more vulnerable to exploitation.

      People are going to think that if someone has a disease then they have committed a sin and they should deserve that fate rather than taking them to a hospital for proper treatment. This will be the result of these “good thoughts”.

      You should learn to think first and start ranting later.

  • I agree that this is outrageous.. will post on the grievances forum promptly.

    That said, can we really have some humanist slogans on billboards/buses a la the London buses advertisements. It would be really interesting if it is tried out.

  • dear one,
    the maker of the bill board has taken the views of Pt. sriram sarma
    a noted saint and Indian culture promoter. All his views are outcome of the Indian culture, rich vedantha and philosophy propounded by great saints, spiritual scientists like patanjali,Itareya etc.,If you are a Hindu try to view that in Indian philosophy points of view and respect it. If you are a christrian try to understand the concept from the bible point of view. Good thoughts never do any harm to uneducated.whom you understand is uneducated. reconsider your views.

  • Nice to see Indian railways showing Our indian hindu thoughts. Railways must be appriciated for this. See Mr. Narendra Nayak u can never see india as u like, Its a a spiriyual land and ur silly explannations here taking pictures from bustands and railways stations are not at all a an obstacle for us to to be Hindu Nation. There r stations in india which depicted BIN LADEN, Che gavera and some ustaads, U will never take photos of such posters , becouse u r scared to be beheaded by a taliban boy living nicely in someparts of india, as like begal and kerala, where communits made them survive for votes.

    • It helps to read the article before commenting. The ads are put up by the railway dept. for free of cost. They are not the same as bills that vandals stick on walls.

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