Scenes from an Indian Scientology Graduation - 2018-06-25
know next to nothing about Scientology, but my interest was piqued when a friend sent me an invitation to a Scientologist graduation ceremony in Delhi. The religion, established by L. Ron Hubbard in 1954, has been making inroads into India's overcrowded local faith market since 2003. According to news reports from 2012, anywhere between 3,000 to 7,000 Indians have been involved Scientology—according to Abhishekh Kumar, a "junior executive" I spoke with, the number is now over 30,000.
The event on Saturday took place in a bungalow that serves as the Delhi headquarters and marked local students' completion of courses such as "Knowing Who to Trust", "Route to Infinity", "Happiness Rundown" and others. The courses range from between five hours to two weeks, and cost between Rs. 1,200 to Rs. 10,000. Some, like "How to Improve Relationship with Others" are basic lectures, while others, like "Dianetics",and "Auditing" involve equipment like the electropsychometer, or e-meter . The e-meter is said to measure a person's mental state while a minister asks intimate questions in an attempt to cleanse the person's Thetan, or immortal spiritual being.
Present at the event were about 30 graduates who had done courses over the last several years, their family members, and allies. One guy even flew in from Kuala Lumpur to collect a certificate. Before the ceremony, we were shown a clip from a game show from Scientology TV, where a host asks a contestant to choose from three curtains: One, "has more alcohol than he can consume"; another has "amazing drugs"; and a third offers "family and self respect." This video was available at a discounted price of Rs. 1,000 for the day.