UnNews:Indian cult comes under fire from government
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16 February 2010
NEW DELHI, India-- The Indian government is so mad it's seeing purple. Baingan Bharta, a popular cult leader, has faced ruthless questioning from officials all the way up to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the ethics of the Religious Order of the Eggplant, a religion Bharta began about two years ago.
Bharta, who can usually be seen in the traditional garb of his Order of the Eggplant followers, has been accused of profiteering off of poor, naive people by promising "Happiness and salvation through the growth and consumption of eggplants," but only a specific strain called Bt brinjal. Bt brinjal can only be grown one season and the seeds are very expensive. This has led many farmers to protest, but Bharta calls the yearly purchase "The tithe to please the almighty Plant."
Because of the confusing nature of the situation, both the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Keeping Track of All of India's Religious Sects and Off-shoots have been diligently reviewing the situation. "Baingan Bharta enjoys cult status," says Jairam Ramesh, environmental minister, but Vickram Chandhok, religious sect minister, interjects and finishes "The Question is when do we get to cook these nut jobs and eat them for dinner?"
Even the general population has been divided over this issue. Three small-scale riots have taken place over the last six months, all directly related to the Order in some way or another. Two of the riots were started by protesting members of the cult that don't believe they are being treated fairly. "It's not fair!" said an anonymous man in New Delhi, "Just because we can't afford the seeds doesn't mean we don't love the Almighty Plant. I want to go out on the boat too, you know."
The boat in question is the Solanum melongena, a luxury yacht that Bharta owns in the Kandla sea port. Bharta has been accused of using money donated by his followers to buy the boat and regularly entertains the highest donors with picnics in the Indian Ocean. Bharta never directly addresses these allegations of embezzlement, and countered this reporter's own inquiries by simply shrugging and saying "The Great Plant provides."
- Madhur Singh "What an Eggplant Uproar Says About India's Economy". TIME, February 15, 2010