In a moment of pure television, an Indian rationalist has challenged a black magician to kill him on live TV—and survived to tell the tale.
On March 3, Sanal Edamaruku of Rationalist International found himself opposite Pandit Surinder Sharma, a tantrik who claims to be a consultant for top Indian politicians and is a wellknown face on TV.
During a discussion on “Tantrik power versus Science” on the ultra-tabloid India TV run by Rajat Sharma, Sharma claimed he was able to kill any person he wanted within three minutes using black magic.
The rationalist challenged him. The tantrik chanted special mantras, used water, his fingers and a knife, but failed. All this, while the TV station ran the item as “Breaking News” with a super in Hindi that read, “Now Everything Will Happen Live”. Then the tantrik claimed that the technique worked only at night.
The rationalist accepted the challenge again, and the TV show spilled well over its scheduled time. This time, the tantrik used mantras, paper, butter oil, peacock feathers, mustard seed, wheat flour dough, and his finger nails. But he failed again.
Over a couple of hours, a dangerous and widespread Indian superstition had been slayed in the studios, while the channel laughed all the way to the top of the ratings’ chart.
Photographs: courtesy India TV/ Rationalist International
Read the full story: The only place black magic works is in your mind