Last March, when water began dripping from the feet of a statue of Jesus in Mumbai, Edamauku visited the site to investigate the claim.
His investigation has infuriated some Catholic groups and leaders in Mumbai, and led to a larger debate about secularism in India.
Sanal Edamaruku is a devout rationalist. He believes that all phenomena can be explained by science. Edamaruku has taken it upon himself to travel around India disproving miracles. In 2010, on live television, he challenged a tantric who claimed he could kill a man with one look. He survived.
But Edamaruku says it’s not just about theatrics, miracle men and superstitions are a deep problem in India.
“The problem is, unlike the small superstitions, like people being afraid of a cat crossing their way, in India, superstitions have a deeper impact,” he said. “It’s making them weak, and it’s blinding them.”
He points to many cases where people worry they’ve been the victim of witchcraft and actually kill the people they believe have cursed them.
I met Edamaruku three years ago in Delhi. But this time, we spoke over Skype, because he has decamped to Europe, for “an extended lecture tour.” Few believe he’ll be giving all that many speeches. Edamaruku faces jail time back home.
So what happened?